Cards prospects on BaseballHQ 2014 Mega-Lists

Some of baseball's preeminent minor league experts from BaseballHQ share their rankings of St. Louis Cardinals prospects on several tools-related "best of" lists, along with five players in their overall top 100. Plus bonus 2013 draft recap.

BaseballHQ's annual "Minor League Baseball Analyst" arrived in my mailbox recently. The first prospect guide to fully integrate sabermetrics and scouting includes detailed reports on over 1000 minor leaguers.

In Part one, we reviewed their top 15 St. Louis Cardinals prospects with the details as to why they're ranked where they are. In Part two, Cardinals' organizational rankings in areas such as pitching, hitting, depth and top talent were compared to their National League Central Division competitors. Then we followed with a look at individual player movement and projections changes from 2013 to 2014.

Here in the final installment of this annual series, we will compare several of the top Cardinals prospects to the best in the game overall, by position in terms of long-range potential in the Major Leagues as well as in top skills. Closing this article will be a review of the Cardinals' 2013 draft.

The Cardinals made a very strong showing compared to other organizations with six in the overall top 100 prospects. Only one other organization, San Diego, also had six prospects in this year's 100 best. Also notable is that four of the Cardinals are in the upper half.

Top 100 Prospects of 2014 - Top 100 minor league prospects in terms of long-range potential in the major leagues.
2. Oscar Taveras, OF, STL (up from #5 in 2013)
19. Carlos Martinez, RHP, STL (up from #34)
45. Kolten Wong, 2B, STL (up from #47)

As in the case of many prospect raters, the overall site rankings represent a melding of multiple votes. BaseballHQ is no different. Despite Stephen Piscotty making both Rob Gordon's list (#88) and Jeremy Deloney's (#98), the outfielder somehow missed the consolidated top 100. Alex Reyes also slipped in at number 95 in Gordon's personal rankings.

In the positional lists below, the Cardinals had better hope their infield will remain intact for some time. Other than Kolten Wong, the organization has no top 15 prospects at catcher, first, second, third base or shortstop.

They do have three names on the outfield list, though. That can serve as a reminder that trading strength in one area to address needs in another is not an unreasonable concept.

Top 15 Prospects by Position – Catcher
1. Travis d'Arnaud, NYM (repeats from 2013)
No Cardinals ranked (Steve Bean was 11th in 2013)

Top 15 Prospects by Position – First base
1. Jonathan Singleton, HOU (repeats from 2013)
No Cardinals ranked (Matt Adams was 4th in 2013)

Top 15 Prospects by Position – Second base
1. Kolten Wong, STL (up from #2 in 2013)

Top 15 Prospects by Position – Third base
1. Miguel Sano, MIN (repeats from 2013)
No Cardinals ranked (Piscotty was 14th in 2013)

Top 15 Prospects by Position – Shortstop
1. Xander Bogaerts, BOS
No Cardinals ranked (same as 2013)

Top 45 Prospects by Position – Outfield
1. Byron Buxton, MIN
2. Oscar Taveras, STL (same as 2013)
22. Stephen Piscotty, STL (#14 third baseman in 2013)
34. Randal Grichuk, STL (up from #45 in 2013 – LAA)

Top 75 Prospects by Position – Starting pitcher
1. Taijuan Walker, SEA
7. Carlos Martinez, STL (up from #14 in 2013)
62. Alex Reyes, STL (NA in 2013)

Top 15 Prospects by Position – Relief pitcher
1. Heath Hembree, SF
14. Sam Freeman, STL (NR in 2013)

Let the latter ranking be a reminder. Though he was lost in the lefty shuffle from Marc Rzepczynski to Kevin Siegrist last summer, Sam Freeman is still considered a good relief prospect.

Note the following lists are unordered.

Top Power - Top 25 prospects that have the potential to hit for power in the Major Leagues, combining raw power, plate discipline, and the ability to make their power game-usable.
Oscar Taveras, OF, STL (repeat from 2013)

Top Batting Average - Top 25 prospects that have the potential to hit for high batting average in the major leagues, combining contact ability, plate discipline, hitting mechanics and strength.
Oscar Taveras, OF, STL (repeat from 2013)

Top Speed - Top 25 prospects that have the potential to steal bases in the Major Leagues, combining raw speed and base-running instincts.
No Cardinals listed (again)

Top Fastballs - Top 25 pitchers that have the best fastball, combining velocity and pitch movement.
Carlos Martinez, RHP, STL (repeat from 2013)

Top Breaking Balls - Top 25 pitchers that have the best breaking ball, combining pitch movement, strikeout potential and consistency.
Carlos Martinez, RHP, STL (repeat from 2013)

Conclusion: Once Taveras and Martinez are up for good, the Cardinals' current top run may come to its end.

Bonus coverage - St. Louis CARDINALS 2013 DRAFT RECAP
The Cardinals put a premium on pitching and they loaded up with two lefties with their two first round picks. Overall, they signed their first 29 selections and were able to lure three players in the last six rounds with six-figure bonuses. The Cardinals spent quite a bit of coin on this class, but it was money well spent.

LHP Marco Gonzales (1st) may not have great velocity, but he has a plus-plus change-up and simply knows how to attack hitters. LHP Rob Kaminsky (1st) was a high school pitcher with an advanced arsenal for his age. RHP Mike Mayers (3rd) wasn't considered a great prospect entering the draft, but he works with a nice repertoire and could get better with a more polished delivery.

There aren't many position players that stand out, but SS Oscar Mercado (2nd) has the glove and footwork to be an outstanding shortstop some day.

Sleeper: RHP Nick Petree (9th) has a well-above average feel for pitching and commands his pitches extremely well. He doesn't light up the radar guns with a high-80's fastball, but he can cut and sink while mixing in a big-bending curveball.

Draft Grade: B- (down from A in 2013)

In closing, thank you to BaseballHQ for giving us this special look into their data. Please respect them and copyright laws by not duplicating this material.

Link to Part one of this report: "BaseballHQ's top 15 Cardinals prospects: 2014"
Link to Part two: "BaseballHQ pegs Cardinals system #6 in MLB"
Link to Part three: "2014 Cardinals prospect changes from BaseballHQ"

Special bonus for The Cardinal Nation subscribers: The first reader who posts their interest on the special thread discussing this article series located on our "Cardinals Insiders" message forum will receive a special prize.

BaseballHQ has provided a copy of the brand-new 2014 Minor League Baseball Analyst, which will be mailed to the winner. One copy is being awarded following each segment of this four-part series.

Thank you for subscribing and for reading. Good luck!

Brian Walton can be reached via email at Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.

© 2014 The Cardinal Nation, and All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

The Cardinal Nation Top Stories