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.)
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.
|Just a few at-bats away from permanent ineligibility from prospect lists. Still adjusting to MLB, but should be fine.|
|Not quite ready for MLB,but gaining valuable Triple-A experience. Should be back in September.|
|May be wearing down a bit as indicated by his .200 batting average in July.|
|A 19-year-old will have some ups and downs. Though his July ERA was 2.05, he walked more than he struck out.|
|As usual, good and bad. 8 July HRs led system, but 33 Ks were 3rd. .234 BA.|
|Another mixed bag. Top K rate among starters, but 1.645 WHIP dead last among starters.|
|As August opened, received promotion to appropriate level at Palm Beach after dominating GCL.|
|Cardinals organization July Pitcher of the Month showing more consistency.|
|Earned Double-A promotion at 21 but not too much help in Springfield lineup.|
|Went three weeks between RBI. In straight job share with Steve Bean, with comparable results.|
The second 10
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.
|Batted .202 with just two home runs in July. Wondering when he turns the corner in a hitter's league.|
|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.|
|Threw just eight innings in July, but they were very good. 2.25 ERA, 12 K, 2 BB.|
|Had a bumpy ride in his final start of the month, but overall has been very good at Palm Beach.|
|Improving BA, but little pop not helping him make a push into the St. Louis picture.|
|Hit .319 and plated 13 in just 69 July ABs. Batting 3rd at Peoria as SS. Not getting enough attention.|
|Even in first month in AA, batted a respectable .276. Will look for more in August.|
|Refuses to be completely buried in crowded outfield, but August may be last shot in org.|
|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.
|21||Ian McKinney||25||SC DL||LHS|
|Pitched very well at Johnson City, but hurt after rough State College return.|
|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.|
|With seven starters at AAA, it appears Petrick has been squeezed out of the rotation.|
|.268 in July with 11 RBI and just two fielding miscues.|
|Earned big promo to AA. Upper-90s velocity gets attention, but July walk rate of 4.4 needs to come down.|
|Batted just .228 with system-high 14 errors in July. 10 of 16 stealing bases.|
|TCN's July Pitcher of the Month is on the move upward in the rankings after rough 2014 start.|
|In 2nd Midwest League season, had great June, but rough July, batting just .228. Did not move up with Tilson.|
|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.
|Very strong month for Memphis, 0.48 ERA, 7 saves, but no return StL promo yet.|
|18 y/o batting almost .400, 24 RBI, 13/14 in steals in 1st 36 games in US.|
|Improving for second straight month, with 1.96 July ERA and good K/BB numbers.|
|Can't seem to stay healthy and hitting just .203 last month post-DL stay.|
|Very solid July .907 OPS at Palm Beach breaks the infielder into the top 40.|
|1st 8 pro IP went well - 2.25 ERA, 9 Ks against just 2 BB out of NJ high school.|
|Back in AA, but still skidding downhill. July ERA near six, walks up, Ks down. Concerned.|
|Only 5.5 K/9 and July ERA over 5, but still has plenty of talent.|
|Sidearmer has great results, excellent K rate, but also walked 6.2 per nine.|
|Rough first full month with 7.52 ERA, 1.7 WHIP.|
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.
|Only 19, 2B is hitting .344 with 28 RBI in 37 games. Also 7 steals.|
|Just turned 19, Venezuelan has a 2.89 ERA, 8th in the Appy League.|
|Continued strong even after Palm Beach promotion. Our Reliever of the Month again.|
|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.
|Traded to Cleveland in Justin Masterson deal. Seemed another tweener outfielder to me.|
|Has earned his keep as the third left-hander in St. Louis' pen and graduated from this list.|
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.
|.267 average and 6 RBI in July not attention-grabbing but not terrible,either.|
|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!
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