Welcome back to The Cardinal Nation's in-season St. Louis Cardinals Monthly Top 40 Prospect List. Each month, I present my view of the top prospects in the Cardinals system.
|Martinez remains no. 2|
While any rankings with numbers attached appear very absolute, I suggest you look at players in groupings. For example, there is little difference in prospects number 21 through 25, for example, or 23 through 27.
This report reflects my opinions and not that of the entire The Cardinal Nation staff, so feel to address any comments or questions either through the premium message board or via email or private message if you prefer.
Note: Players remain eligible for the list as long as they maintain their prospect status (less than 50 innings pitched or less than 130 plate appearances in the major leagues.)
Some necessary background
This month's report incorporates changes from the start of the year through April 30. That includes transactions, spring training, extended spring training and the first month of the regular season. While that is a lot of ground, it should be remembered that we already have separate awards for the top players of the month. This is a longer-term, prospect-oriented view, instead.
Another factor to remember is that many players are adjusting to a higher level of play for the first time in April. Those who get out of the gates quickly may have a short-term lead, but many others will figure it out, too, with a few more at-bats or innings-pitched.
In other words, current performance does matter, but not too much. A good month can reinforce an earlier opinion, while a bad month does not usually materially affect a prospect's ultimate future.
Following each player's name under "Prior" is where he was ranked by the site coming into the season. Next are the levels at which the player competed during the month, followed by his primary position.
The top 10
|On the ropes as April opened, he ended it on top with a 14-game hitting streak. The only question is "when?"|
|Continuing to demonstrate his considerable potential in the majors. About done with this list.|
|Surprisingly short rope following a strong spring training. Needs to play his way back up and should do just that.|
|Took to Triple-A very quickly, but apparently still behind Oscar. A little Triple-A time is good.|
|Seemingly doing everything that is expected of him at Palm Beach. Double-A candidate.|
|1.38 ERA in spring training, but under seven K/9. Preparing for call that came on 5/4 to Peoria.|
|Nicely made the big step into full-season ball at 19, but 7.3 BB/9 needs a remedy.|
|Had to return to Double-A, but is producing across the board. Should be 1st OF to Memphis.|
|Big transition year. OBP under .300, but SLG over .400 at Peoria.|
|Surprise first promo to StL but may not yet be ready for the bigs after just 21 AAA games.|
The second 10
There was a lot of movement here. For his first appearance, I slotted Aledmys Diaz in just behind Tim Cooney. Like Tyrell Jenkins, Diaz can move up with a solid return from the DL. Greg Garcia, Mike Mayers and Mike O'Neill moved into this group.
|Smooth first month in Triple-A. Working his way into MLB consideration.|
|Excitement over first time through the league tempered by ongoing shoulder soreness. On DL.|
|Doing his thing in a pitchers league. Five steals, but very little power.|
|14||Tyrell Jenkins||11||PB DL||RHS|
|Many eyes will be on the talented, but oft-injured right-hander when he returns in late May perhaps.|
|Received the Memphis promotion for which he was ready this spring.|
|Adjustment time. No home runs and just three RBI in his first month at Double-A.|
|Earned chance to show if he can replace Descalso, not Wong, in St. Louis.|
|Decent introduction at Palm Beach but not nearly as dominating as Gonzales.|
|Still doing what he does - a .402 on-base mark at Springfield. No room at Memphis, though.|
|Solid 10.5 K/9 rate, but 4.61 ERA high. Hard to see an opening in St. Louis soon.|
|A bit of a bumpy month with 6.6 BB/9, 3 HBP, 5.11 ERA. Plenty of time.|
|Not enough hard data to go on to adjust status until short-season ball.|
|Quietly producing as PB's cleanup hitter. System-best 20 RBI despite no home runs.|
|Lefty had a nice GCL intro last summer. Preparing for short-season.|
|Very uneven first month at A-Advanced, then injured.|
|Defensive standout leading the system in stolen bases (7) but also in caught stealing (5).|
|TCN's Pitcher of the Month received an early-May promotion to Palm Beach.|
|Bumpy first month at Double-A. Over six walks per nine did not help.|
|Quietly adjusting to Midwest League well, batting .309, 11 RBI, three steals.|
|Continues to be a versatle and valuable player offensively and defensively.|
|Making the big jump from Dominican Summer League to US play in June.|
|As expected, the OF talent at Memphis is limiting his playing time. Blocked at every turn.|
|Closed early for Memphis, then made nice MLB introduction.|
|Solid first month with Springfield. Should have been among our top 40 last winter.|
|Health had been his challenge. Batted .325 with 18 RBI (2nd in system) in 1st month in MWL.|
|Doing well in second year in MWL. .325 BA, 17 runs, six steals from top of Peoria order.|
|Already had 21 Memphis starts under his belt, so uneven April is not adjustment.|
|Waiting to see what the hard-thrower can do, probably at State College.|
|Quietly had a very good month at the plate. Remains a Tony Cruz insurance policy.|
|The story continues. Among highest strikeout and walk rates in the system.|
|Same challenges as pen mate Tuivailala, but over one run lower ERA.|
|Too bad a hamstring injury put him on the DL. Very strong Double-A intro.|
|At 28, not really a prospect anymore, but his superb first month at Memphis cannot go unrecognized.|
Pitching injuries and ineffectiveness are the names of the game this month. Until John Gast and Jordan Swagerty can actually get out there and compete, they will remain off the top 40. Keith Butler has some work to do before getting back to St. Louis and Seth Blair must locate that elusive consistency.
|NR||John Gast||19||Mem DL||LHS|
|Long-term shoulder injury, 40-man removal sends the signal. A lot of lost time.|
|NR||Jordan Swagerty||29||Spr DL||RHS|
|Repeated setbacks from April 2012 Tommy John surgery is concerning.|
|Struggled in St. Louis' pen to open season. Others now closing for Memphis.|
|Can't seem to get it together consistently. April ERA good, but far too many on base.|
None yet, but with 43 innings pitched with St. Louis, Carlos Martinez is almost certainly done here. So am I - for this month. Thanks for reading!
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