Monthly Cards Prospect Rankings: August 2014

Our monthly subscriber-only, in-depth report on rising and falling St. Louis Cardinals prospects. The new rankings reflect two graduations and some good play.

Welcome back to The Cardinal Nation’s in-season St. Louis Cardinals Monthly Top 40 Prospect List. Each month during the season, I present my view of the top prospects in the Cardinals system.

As the heat of summer bears down, the short-season players, including 2014 draftees, completed their first full month of play. Other players, having competed since April, are fading a bit. Top 10 prospect James Ramsey has been traded away while reliever Sam Freeman has graduated forever.

Three players have moved into the new top 40 from the July honorable mentions list with another exploding from off the radar into the number 32 spot.

Some necessary reminders

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.

It should be remembered that we always have separate awards for the top players of the month. This is a longer-term, prospect-oriented view, instead. 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.

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.)

Prospect Rankings

Following each player’s name under “Prior” is where he was ranked by the site at the start of last month. Next are the levels at which the player competed during the month, followed by his primary position.

The top 10

I made no changes from one through seven. Everyone had good and bad points with no one standing out exceptionally enough to pass others.

I have to be honest with what happened at the bottom of the top 10. In my opinion, there is a huge gulf between prospect nine and those who follow. It was tough for me to promote Carson Kelly into the top 10 based on his very average season, but the prospects immediately following him are not doing any better.

Rk Prospect Prior Team Pos    
1 Oscar Taveras 1 StL OF    
  Just a few at-bats away from permanent ineligibility from prospect lists. Still adjusting to MLB, but should be fine.
2 Marco Gonzales 2 Mem LHS    
  Not quite ready for MLB,but gaining valuable Triple-A experience. Should be back in September. 
3 Stephen Piscotty 3 Mem OF    
  May be wearing down a bit as indicated by his .200 batting average in July. 
4 Rob Kaminsky 4 Peo LHS    
  A 19-year-old will have some ups and downs. Though his July ERA was 2.05, he walked more than he struck out.
5 Randal Grichuk 5 Mem OF    
  As usual, good and bad. 8 July HRs led system, but 33 Ks were 3rd. .234 BA.
6 Alex Reyes 6 Peo RHS    
  Another mixed bag. Top K rate among starters, but 1.645 WHIP dead last among starters.
7 Luke Weaver 7 GCL RHS    
  As August opened, received promotion to appropriate level at Palm Beach after dominating GCL. 
8 Tim Cooney 9 Mem LHS    
  Cardinals organization July Pitcher of the Month showing more consistency.
9 Charlie Tilson 10 PB-Spr OF    
  Earned Double-A promotion at 21 but not too much help in Springfield lineup. 
10 Carson Kelly 11 Peo C    
  Went three weeks between RBI. In straight job share with Steve Bean, with comparable results.

The second 10

With Freeman vacating number 13, the rising tide pulled up inconsistent Tyrell Jenkins and injured Aledmys Diaz two spots each. I would much rather move up guys playing really well.

Juan Herrera at number 17 is a player to watch. The shortstop came to the Cardinals a year ago with a reputation as a strong fielder, but this season is delivering at the plate and on the bases.

Breyvic Valera, Tommy Pham and Mike Mayers move into the bottom of the second 10. The only player bumped out of the top 20 is Zach Petrick after his move into the Memphis bullpen.

Rk Prospect Prior Team Pos    
11 Patrick Wisdom 12 Spr 3B    
  Batted .202 with just two home runs in July. Wondering when he turns the corner in a hitter's league.
12 Tyrell Jenkins 14 PB RHS    
  Strikeouts way down in July and inconsistent results overall. When will he put it together?
13 Aledmys Diaz 15 Spr DL SS    
  Spent July on AA DL until early August activation at Palm Beach. Waiting to see if he can throw.
14 Jack Flaherty 16 GCL RHS    
  Threw just eight innings in July, but they were very good. 2.25 ERA, 12 K, 2 BB.
15 Nick Petree 17 PB RHS    
  Had a bumpy ride in his final start of the month, but overall has been very good at Palm Beach.
16 Greg Garcia 19 Mem 2B    
  Improving BA, but little pop not helping him make a push into the St. Louis picture. 
17 Juan Herrera 20 Peo SS    
  Hit .319 and plated 13 in just 69 July ABs. Batting 3rd at Peoria as SS. Not getting enough attention.
18 Breyvic Valera 21 Spr 2B    
  Even in first month in AA, batted a respectable .276. Will look for more in August.
19 Tommy Pham 26 Mem OF    
  Refuses to be completely buried in crowded outfield, but August may be last shot in org. 
20 Mike Mayers 24 Spr RHS    
  Quietly pitching decently for Springfield despite tepid run support. 3.55 July ERA.


The third 10 is basically made up of two groups of players – those moving up and those flat in the rankings.

Among those improving since July are Ian McKinney, Edmundo Sosa, Sam Tuivailala, Sam Gaviglio and Fernando Baez. The latter three were in the 31-40 group last month.

Standing still were Mike O’Neill, injured Jacob Wilson, Oscar Mercado and C.J. McElroy.

Rk Prospect Prior Team Pos    
21 Ian McKinney 25 SC DL LHS    
  Pitched very well at Johnson City, but hurt after rough State College return. 
22 Mike O'Neill 22 Spr OF    
  Off the 40-man, but at least back to Memphis in early August. Hard to be optimistic about MLB chances.
23 Jacob Wilson 23 Spr DL 2B    
  Was really having a nice season before knee injury.
24 Zach Petrick 18 Mem RHS    
  With seven starters at AAA, it appears Petrick has been squeezed out of the rotation.
25 Edmundo Sosa 28 GCL SS    
  .268 in July with 11 RBI and just two fielding miscues. 
26 Sam Tuivailala 33 PB-Spr RHR    
  Earned big promo to AA. Upper-90s velocity gets attention, but July walk rate of 4.4 needs to come down.
27 Oscar Mercado 27 JC SS    
  Batted just .228 with system-high 14 errors in July. 10 of 16 stealing bases. 
28 Sam Gaviglio 32 Spr RHS    
  TCN's July Pitcher of the Month is on the move upward in the rankings after rough 2014 start.
29 C.J. McElroy 29 Peo OF    
  In 2nd Midwest League season, had great June, but rough July, batting just .228. Did not move up with Tilson.
30 Fernando Baez 34 SC RHS    
  In 1st month starting, ERA right at 4. Ks still good but 5.4 walks per nine a concern.


There were significant changes in the final 10.

One of the few hitters in the system having a truly outstanding season, Gulf Coast League Cardinals outfielder Magneuris Sierra, debuts at number 32. Mason Katz, Bryan Dobzanski and Dixon Llorens move up from the July honorable mentions into the 31-40 group.

Improving in the rankings are Memphis teammates Eric Fornataro and Boone Whiting. Dropping down from July are Ronald Castillo, Lee Stoppelman and Ronnie Williams.

Rk Prospect Prior Team Pos    
31 Eric Fornataro 37 Mem RHR    
  Very strong month for Memphis, 0.48 ERA, 7 saves, but no return StL promo yet.
32 Magneuris Sierra NR GCL OF    
  18 y/o batting almost .400, 24 RBI, 13/14 in steals in 1st 36 games in US. 
33 Boone Whiting 39 Mem RHS    
  Improving for second straight month, with 1.96 July ERA and good K/BB numbers. 
34 Ronald Castillo 31 Peo OF    
  Can't seem to stay healthy and hitting just .203 last month post-DL stay.
35 Mason Katz HM PB 2B    
  Very solid July .907 OPS at Palm Beach breaks the infielder into the top 40.
36 Bryan Dobzanski HM GCL RHP    
  1st 8 pro IP went well - 2.25 ERA, 9 Ks against just 2 BB out of NJ high school.
37 Lee Stoppelman 30 Spr LHR    
  Back in AA, but still skidding downhill. July ERA near six, walks up, Ks down. Concerned.
38 Kurt Heyer 38 Spr RHS    
  Only 5.5 K/9 and July ERA over 5, but still has plenty of talent.
39 Dixon Llorens HM PB RHR    
  Sidearmer has great results, excellent K rate, but also walked 6.2 per nine.
40 Ronnie Williams 35 GCL RHS    
  Rough first full month with 7.52 ERA, 1.7 WHIP. 

Honorable mentions

I really wanted to bring pitcher Juan Perez and second baseman Malik Collymore into the top 40, but did not want to be too hasty in removing others. That could easily change if August results are similar to July.

Rowan Wick remains among the honorable mentions due to his State College success, but unless he figures out the Midwest League this month, his time here is likely over. One could argue that reliever Chris Perry’s results should keep him among the top 40 prospects.

Rk Prospect Prior Team Pos    
HM Malik Collymore NR GCL 2B    
  Only 19, 2B is hitting .344 with 28 RBI in 37 games. Also 7 steals.
HM Juan Perez NR JC RHS    
  Just turned 19, Venezuelan has a 2.89 ERA, 8th in the Appy League. 
HM Chris Perry NR Peo-PB RHR    
  Continued strong even after Palm Beach promotion. Our Reliever of the Month again.
HM Rowan Wick HM SC-Peo OF    
  Had great run in NY-Penn League, but struggling badly in Midwest League debut. 


As noted above, James Ramsey was traded and Sam Freeman exceeded the innings pitched threshold during July.

Rk Prospect Prior Team Pos    
Grd James Ramsey 8 Spr OF    
  Traded to Cleveland in Justin Masterson deal. Seemed another tweener outfielder to me.
Grd Sam Freeman 13 StL LHR    
  Has earned his keep as the third left-hander in St. Louis' pen and graduated from this list. 

Dropped out

Cody Stanley and Kenny Peoples-Walls left the top 40 from last month. Stanley did nothing wrong – others just passed him. Peoples-Walls has been struggling mightily since May, but is young enough to regroup and recover.

Rk Prospect Prior Team Pos    
NR Cody Stanley 36 Spr C    
  .267 average and 6 RBI in July not attention-grabbing but not terrible,either.
NR Kenny Peoples-Walls 40 Peo-SC OF    
  Had to be dropped down to State College to regroup. Still just 20 years old. 

That is it for another month of prospect ranking. Thank you for reading!

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

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

The Cardinal Nation Top Stories