The subject here in the 45th article in our Top 40 St. Louis Cardinals Prospects for 2015 series is our view of the organization’s best minor league prospects by position. At the end, all top 40 members are shown by position in an organizational prospect depth chart.
The selection process is very straightforward. We have already unveiled our top 40 prospects in the system via the “40 Days, 40 Nights, 40 Prospects” series. Putting together this year’s All-Prospect Team is as simple as culling the top-ranked player at each position from that top 40.
The Cardinal Nation/Scout.com St. Louis Cardinals All-Prospect Team includes 12 players – eight position players, including two corner outfielders considered as one group, plus four pitchers – left and right-handed starters and relievers.
Actually, this time, only 11 of the 12 come from the top 40. The left-handed reliever is broken out separately for the fourth year. For 2015, the top-ranked LHR is Dean Kiekhefer, among our “Best of the Rest.”
Listed are each player’s overall ranking in the top 40, age and highest level played in 2014.
The Cardinal Nation/Scout.com St. Louis Cardinals 2015 All-Prospect Team
|First Base||Xavier Scruggs *||30||27||MLB|
|Second Base||Jacob Wilson *||14||24||AA|
|Shortstop||Aledmys Diaz *||12||24||AA|
|Third Base||Patrick Wisdom||27||23||AA|
|Corner Outfield||Stephen Piscotty||5||23||AAA|
|Corner Outfield||Randal Grichuk *||4||23||MLB|
|Centerfield||Charlie Tilson *||10||22||AA|
|LH Starter||Marco Gonzales *||1||22||MLB|
|RH Starter||Alex Reyes *||2||20||A|
|LH Reliever||Dean Kiekhefer *||40+||25||AA|
|RH Reliever||Sam Tuivailala *||8||22||MLB|
|* new members|
|Ages as of 1/1/15|
Last winter, the 2014 team had just five repeaters, and just four at the same position (names without * above). In a record level of turnover, eight of the 12 members of our 2015 All-Prospect Team are first-timers and one other is back after a two-year absence.
Carson Kelly makes his third consecutive All-Prospect Team, one at third base and the last two as a catcher. Other repeaters are third baseman Patrick Wisdom, with his second appearance, and outfielder Stephen Piscotty, also a repeater from 2014.
Though they rarely played together due to respective injuries, Springfield’s middle infield of Jacob Wilson and Aledmys Diaz made their first All-Prospect Team, joining Double-A infield teammate Wisdom.
Centerfielder Charlie Tilson made the Team in 2012, but once James Ramsey was drafted in 2013’s first round, the latter took over the spot for our last two All-Prospect Teams. Now at Springfield while Ramsey is with Cleveland, Tilson is back here.
Among starting pitchers, Gonzales passed Rob Kaminsky from the left side while Alex Reyes replaces graduated Carlos Martinez on the right side. Tuivailala’s rapid ascent from Palm Beach to the majors in 2014 mirrored Gonzales’ path, thrusting the 22-year-old into the spot as our new top right-handed reliever.
TCN/Scout.com St. Louis Cardinals All-Prospect Teams – 2006 through 2015
|Catcher||Carson Kelly||Carson Kelly||Adam Ehrlich|
|First Base||Xavier Scruggs||J. Rodriguez||Matt Adams|
|Second Base||Jacob Wilson||Kolten Wong||Kolten Wong|
|Shortstop||Aledmys Diaz||Oscar Mercado||Ryan Jackson|
|Third Base||Patrick Wisdom||Patrick Wisdom||Carson Kelly|
|Corner Outfield||Stephen Piscotty||Stephen Piscotty||Oscar Taveras|
|Corner Outfield||Randal Grichuk||Oscar Taveras||Anthony Garcia|
|Centerfield||Charlie Tilson||James Ramsey||James Ramsey|
|LH Starter||Marco Gonzales||Rob Kaminsky||John Gast|
|RH Starter||Alex Reyes||Carlos Martinez||Shelby Miller|
|LH Reliever||Dean Kiekhefer||Sam Freeman||Sam Freeman|
|RH Reliever||Sam Tuivailala||Keith Butler||Eduardo Sanchez|
|Player of Year||*Magneuris Sierra|
|Pitcher of Year||* Rob Kaminsky||* Zach Petrick||* T. Rosenthal|
|Catcher||Tony Cruz||Bryan Anderson||Robert Stock|
|First Base||Matt Adams||Mark Hamilton||Mark Hamilton|
|Second Base||Kolten Wong||Daniel Descalso||Daniel Descalso|
|Shortstop||Ryan Jackson||Pete Kozma||Pete Kozma|
|Third Base||Zack Cox||Zack Cox*||David Freese|
|Corner Outfield||Oscar Taveras||Oscar Taveras||Daryl Jones|
|Corner Outfield||Anthony Garcia||Allen Craig||Allen Craig|
|Centerfield||Charlie Tilson||Adron Chambers||Jon Jay|
|LH Starter||John Gast||John Gast||Jaime Garcia|
|RH Starter||Shelby Miller||Shelby Miller*||Shelby Miller*|
|Reliever||L: Sam Freeman||Eduardo Sanchez||Eduardo Sanchez|
|R: E. Sanchez|
|Player of Year||* M. Carpenter|
|Pitcher of Year||* B. Dickson||* Lance Lynn|
|Catcher||Bryan Anderson||Bryan Anderson||Bryan Anderson|
|First Base||Curt Smith||Mark Hamilton||Mark Hamilton|
|Second Base||Jose Martinez||Jose Martinez||Jose Martinez|
|Shortstop||Pete Kozma||Pete Kozma||Tyler Greene|
|Third Base||Brett Wallace*||Allen Craig||Randy Roth|
|Corner Outfield||Nick Stavinoha||Joe Mather||Nick Stavinoha|
|Corner Outfield||Jon Jay||Jon Jay||Cody Haerther|
|Centerfield||Colby Rasmus||Colby Rasmus||Colby Rasmus|
|LH Starter||Jaime Garcia||Jaime Garcia||Jaime Garcia|
|RH Starter||Jess Todd||Adam Ottavino*||B. Hawksworth|
|Reliever||Jason Motte||Chris Perez||Chris Perez|
|Player of Year||* David Freese|
|Pitcher of Year||* P.J. Walters|
|First Base||Mike Ferris|
|Second Base||Jose Martinez|
|Third Base||Travis Hanson|
|Corner Outfield||Nick Stavinoha|
|Corner Outfield||Cody Haerther|
|LH Starter||Eric Haberer|
|RH Starter||Anthony Reyes|
Winners from the previous nine seasons are included for comparison purposes with our TCN/Scout.com Cardinals Minor League Pitcher and Player of the Year in those years listed in bold. The current organizational winners are Gonzales and Magneuris Sierra.
Named by The Cardinal Nation as top pitcher and player in 2014 were Kaminsky and Sierra. This is the first time since 2011 that both of our top two award winners from the prior season did not become the top prospects at their respective positions the next winter.
The asterisks (*) denote those cases in past years when either the Pitcher or Player of the Year (or both) was not ranked as the top prospect in the system at his position in the following off-season.
Those 2014 top prospect team members leaving the list for 2014 did so for different reasons. Martinez, Kolten Wong, Oscar Taveras and Sam Freeman graduated to the majors. Ramsey was traded away. The progress of Keith Butler was slowed by injury, opening the door for others to overtake him. Others passed by hotter prospects are Kaminsky, Oscar Mercado and Jonathan Rodriguez.
Age and experience
With Scruggs at 27 years of age, there is a greater spread in ages than last year. Along with Kelly, who played at the age of 20 last season, this year’s All-Prospect Team has another addition at that same age, Reyes. The average age of the 2014 team is 22.7 years, the highest since I have been tracking this stat.
The level of play reached by the average player is listed as Triple-A, but mathematically, it is slightly below that level. Last year, it was just above Double-A, so the 2015 team is slightly more experienced than last year’s.
In an indication of the top prospects marching toward the majors, four of the 12 prospects on the team reached the majors during the prior season for the second consecutive year. Just one peaked at the Triple-A level last season, followed by five at Double-A. Only two of the 12 finished at Class-A in 2014 with none below.
Runners-Up/Depth Chart (name/overall ranking)
I will close with this year’s “Runners-Up” - the 29 players that made the 2014 Top 40, but not this All-Prospect Team. The following list also provides a quick visual snapshot of system-wide depth behind the All-Prospect Team.
|Pos||#||Name (top 40 rank)|
|C||1||Cody Stanley (26)|
|2B||5||Breyvic Valera (15)||Greg Garcia (21)||Malik Collymore (22)|
|Mason Katz (33)||Darren Seferina (39)|
|SS||3||Juan Herrera (17)||Edmundo Sosa (19)||Oscar Mercado (23)|
|COF||2||Rowan Wick (28)||Ronald Castillo (36)|
|CF||3||Tommy Pham (13)||Magneuris Sierra (16)||C.J. McElroy (32)|
|LHS||3||Rob Kaminsky (3)||Tim Cooney (7)||Ian McKinney (18)|
|RHS||11||Jack Flaherty (6)||Luke Weaver (9)||Nick Petree (20)|
|Bryan Dobzanski (24)||Mike Mayers (25)||Zach Petrick (29)|
|Ronnie Williams (31)||D. Poncedeleon (34)||Andrew Morales (35)|
|Fernando Baez (38)||Juan Perez (40)|
|RHR||1||Dixon Llorens (37)|
Top prospect depth up the middle appears considerable, with the corners sparse, especially on the infield, but also in the outfield. On the pitching side, the right-handed supply remains strong. As long as there are ample starters, relievers will follow.
As always, for more information about these players, click on their highlighted names above to be taken to their free The Cardinal Nation/Scout.com player profile pages with bios, photos, news and more!
Further, to see the entire Cardinals system by position and level on one page, along with all transactions year-round, check out the Roster Matrix at The Cardinal Nation blog.
To reference our entire list of top 40 Cardinals prospects for 2015 and read about each individual player, click here. You can learn the voters’ philosophies in making their selections and much more.
Next up: This article series continues for The Cardinal Nation members as we dive into the numbers behind the top 40, take a look at our best and worst selections from 2014, the top prospects by level of play and finally those players that left the top 40 from last year to this.
Our 2015 top 40 countdown continues: To see the list of top Cardinals prospects announced to date and remaining article schedule, click here. You can also read the voters’ philosophies in making their selections.
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