40 Days, 40 Nights, 40 Cards Prospects: 2015

Our 10th annual countdown started Monday, December 1. Over a 40-day period, we unveil our top prospects in the St. Louis Cardinals minor league system for 2015.

Once again, it is time for the unveiling of our annual The Cardinal Nation/Scout.com Top 40 Prospect List, back for its 10th year. During the period we call “40 Days, 40 Nights, 40 Cardinals Prospects”, a new top St. Louis Cardinals prospect is disclosed each day, starting with number 40 and carrying us well into the New Year.

We will continue until the number one pick is identified – our consensus top prospect in the St. Louis Cardinals minor league system coming into the 2015 season. Who will be crowned as the new king?

As always, following the top 40 countdown will be our annual nine-pack of “best-of”, “just-missed” and in-depth analysis articles to conclude this series.

As has been the process in recent years, the final ranking representing the site is actually a melding of multiple lists. Our voters are site publisher and editor Brian Walton, and you, the readers.

Since mid-September, the members of our free message board community have been conducting voting for their own Cardinals prospect list. This detailed annual ranking involves considerable debate and discussion. The fan voting process has been imitated but never duplicated, as our readers continue to be the some of the most knowledgeable folks around when it comes to the players in the Cardinals minor league system.

The Cardinal Nation community ranking is given its customary one-third weighting to yield the countdown order unveiled here. The community leader who led the voting process, “PadsFS,” aka Jeremy Byrd, will also speak for the group in the individual player capsules posted daily. In addition, our Springfield reporter, Derek Shore, will provide his scouting-oriented commentary on each member of the new top 40 as well as those who just missed out.

To follow the countdown, entirely free for the first time for 2015, you can either read each new story when posted on our home page every morning or click on the individual players’ names which will be listed below as they are unveiled. You can also return to this page daily to check the current status of our Top 40 countdown.

As always, readers can join in the debate at our free message board, where there will be a new discussion thread devoted to that day’s entry onto the top prospect list.

To check out the corresponding rankings from each of the past nine winters, either click on the highlighted years here: 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, or you can always use the permanent links located on the lower left side of our home page.

The Cardinal Nation/Scout.com Top 40 Prospects – 2015

40. Juan Perez
39. Darren Seferina
38. Fernando Baez
37. Dixon Llorens
36. Ronald Castillo
35. Andrew Morales
34. Daniel Poncedeleon
33. Mason Katz
32. C.J. McElroy
31. Ronnie Williams
30. Xavier Scruggs
29. Zach Petrick
28. Rowan Wick
27. Patrick Wisdom
26. Cody Stanley
25. Mike Mayers
24. Bryan Dobzanski
23. Oscar Mercado
22. Malik Collymore
21. Greg Garcia
20. Nick Petree
19. Edmundo Sosa
18. Ian McKinney
17. Juan Herrera
16. Magneuris Sierra
15. Breyvic Valera
14. Jacob Wilson
13. Tommy Pham
12. Aledmys Diaz
11. Carson Kelly
10. Charlie Tilson
9. Luke Weaver
8. Sam Tuivailala
7. Tim Cooney
6. Jack Flaherty
5. Stephen Piscotty
4. Randal Grichuk
3. Rob Kaminsky
2. Alex Reyes
1. Marco Gonzales

There’s more!

At the conclusion of the countdown, we will follow with a nine-part series which drill down into the details behind the top 40. Most of these articles will be exclusively for TCN members.

We will analyze each voter’s individual top 40 lists, year-to-year changes and the top additions. The voters highlight their ranked players that did not make the combined top 40 and we unveil our All-Prospect Team - the highest-ranked players at each position. We will take a view behind the numbers, a look back at our best and worst picks from the previous year, the top prospect list cut by level of play and wrap it up with those on the 2014 list who dropped off for 2015.

2015 Top Cardinals Prospects – The Final Tally
2015 Top Cardinals Prospects – The Newbies
Cardinals Prospects: Best of the Rest – Community
Cardinals Prospects: Best of the Rest – Brian Walton
2015 TCN/Scout.com All-Cardinals Prospect Team (free)
2015 Top Cardinals Prospects – Behind the Numbers
2015 Top Cardinals Prospects – Picks and Pans
2015 Top Cardinals Prospects by Level
2015 Top Cardinals Prospects – The Graduates

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The voting process
Here is a bit of insight into the process. During November, Brian Walton documented his top prospects in the Cardinals minor league system. The Community vote was then folded in.

A weighted score was tabulated, which drove the ranking you will see here. The individual scores will also be shown on the player pages as they are unveiled each day, along with a wealth of additional information on each of the 40 prospects.

To come up with the 40 names, each of us submitted lists of 46 players. This year, 53 prospects were identified on at least one list, meaning some good players just missed the cut. Ties were broken by the best single voter score.

In terms of qualification, all players in the Cardinals minor league system are eligible, including those on the 40-man roster, as long as they have not exhausted their MLB rookie designation.

In the following, the voters briefly explain how they made their selections.

Brian Walton
The top 10-15 Cardinals prospects should be fairly consistent across most prospect raters. The real work is in identifying the next tier - solid contributors and quality players today on the cusp of breaking out. Tools can really come into play here.

Targeting emerging players is my most anticipated and ongoing challenge. At the same time, it is easy to give up too soon on talented prospects whose careers may have hit a bit of unexpected turbulence.

In the process of ranking, we sometimes put too much weight on current results while missing out on signals of greater potential ahead. Before a strong statistical base as a professional is established, some credence is given to draft position, but clinging to that hope too long can lead to disappointment.

My initial contenders for the 2015 top 40 included over 60 names. They were ordered based on personal observation as much as possible. I was out to see all the affiliates in person this spring, summer and/or fall, and in many cases, multiple times. I also received valuable input from coaches, scouts and others in and out of the organization.

Message board community
This is a very straight-forward process. On our free message board, all comers were welcome to cast their vote for any eligible player, with all votes equal. The process began with the number one prospect and is continuing through 60.

Voting closed on a particular spot in the rankings when enough time had elapsed to exhaust responses or a candidate established a large lead. The winner was recorded and the voting began anew on the next number in the list.

Discussion and debate is welcomed and anyone could participate. As the result of convincing arguments presented, personal votes were influenced and in some cases changed, indicating a healthy give-and-take among the readers.

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