Cards Prospects on BaseballHQ 2015 Mega-Lists

Some of baseball’s preeminent minor league experts from BaseballHQ share their rankings of St. Louis Cardinals prospects on several tools-related “best of” lists, along with five players in their overall top 100. Plus bonus 2014 draft recap.

BaseballHQ’s annual “Minor League Baseball Analyst” arrived in my mailbox recently. The first prospect guide to fully integrate sabermetrics and scouting includes detailed reports on over 1000 minor leaguers.

In Part one, we reviewed their top 15 St. Louis Cardinals prospects with the details as to why they’re ranked where they are. In Part two, Cardinals’ organizational rankings in areas such as pitching, hitting, depth and top talent were compared to their National League Central Division competitors. Then we followed with a look at individual player movement and projections changes from 2014 to 2015.

Here in the final installment of this annual series, we will compare several of the top Cardinals prospects to the best in the game overall, by position in terms of long-range potential in the Major Leagues as well as in top skills. Closing this article will be a review of the Cardinals’ 2014 draft.

The Cardinals made an average showing compared to other organizations with three in the overall top 100 prospects, all new from last year. “Fair share” for any organization would also be three. St. Louis’ participation is down from six the year before.

Special bonus for The Cardinal Nation members: The first reader who posts their interest on the special thread discussing this article series located on our “Cardinals Insiders” message forum will receive a special prize.

BaseballHQ has provided a copy of the brand-new 2015 Minor League Baseball Analyst, which will be mailed to the winner. One copy is being awarded following each segment of this four-part series.

Thank you for subscribing and for reading. Good luck!

Top 100 Prospects of 2015 - Top 100 minor league prospects in terms of long-range potential in the major leagues.
45. Alex Reyes, RHP, STL
70. Stephen Piscotty, OF, STL
89. Marco Gonzales, LHP, STL

As in the case of many prospect raters, the overall site rankings represent a melding of multiple votes. BaseballHQ is no different. Lefty Rob Kaminsky also made Jeremy Deloney’s top 100 at #92.

In the positional lists below, the Cardinals had better hope their infield will remain intact for some time. The organization has no top 15 prospects at catcher, first, second, third base or shortstop.

They do have a very strong representation - four names - on the starting pitching list, though. That can serve as a reminder that trading strength in one area to address needs in another is an approach that may continue.

Top 15 Prospects by Position – Catcher
1. Blake Swihart, BOS
No Cardinals ranked (Steve Bean was 11th in 2013)

Top 15 Prospects by Position – First base
1. Matt Olson, OAK
No Cardinals ranked (Matt Adams was 4th in 2013)

Top 15 Prospects by Position – Second base
1. Jose Peraza, ATL
No Cardinals ranked (Kolten Wong was 1st in 2014)

Top 15 Prospects by Position – Third base
1. Kris Bryant, CHC
No Cardinals ranked (Stephen Piscotty was 14th in 2013)

Top 15 Prospects by Position – Shortstop
1. Carlos Correa, HOU
No Cardinals ranked (same as 2013-14)

Top 45 Prospects by Position – Outfield
1. Byron Buxton, MIN (same as 2014)
19. Stephen Piscotty, STL (up from #22 in 2014)
35. Randal Grichuk, STL (down from #34 in 2014)

Top 75 Prospects by Position – Starting pitcher
1. Lucas Giolito, WAS
23. Alex Reyes, STL (up from #62 in 2014)
43. Marco Gonzales, STL (unranked in 2014)
59. Rob Kaminsky, STL (unranked in 2014)
74. Jack Flaherty, STL (ineligible in 2014)

Top 15 Prospects by Position – Relief pitcher
1. R.J. Alvarez, OAK
No Cardinals ranked (Sam Freeman was 14th in 2014)

Note the following lists are unordered.

Top Power - Top 25 prospects that have the potential to hit for power in the Major Leagues, combining raw power, plate discipline, and the ability to make their power game-usable.
No Cardinals represented (Oscar Taveras was included in 2014).

Top Batting Average - Top 25 prospects that have the potential to hit for high batting average in the major leagues, combining contact ability, plate discipline, hitting mechanics and strength.
No Cardinals represented (Oscar Taveras was included in 2014).

Top Speed - Top 25 prospects that have the potential to steal bases in the Major Leagues, combining raw speed and base-running instincts.
No Cardinals listed (again)

Top Fastballs - Top 25 pitchers that have the best fastball, combining velocity and pitch movement.
Alex Reyes, RHP, STL (Carlos Martinez was included in 2013 and 2014).

Top Breaking Balls - Top 25 pitchers that have the best breaking ball, combining pitch movement, strikeout potential and consistency.
Rob Kaminsky, LHP, STL (Carlos Martinez was included in 2013 and 2014)

Comment: It is encouraging to see Reyes and Kaminsky begin to take Martinez’ place on the national stage.

Top 75 Fantasy Impact – 2015
16. Marco Gonzales (LHP, STL)
21. Randall Grichuk (OF, STL)
35. Stephen Piscotty (OF, STL)
45. Tim Cooney (RHP, STL)

Bonus coverage - ST. LOUIS CARDINALS 2014 DRAFT RECAP
Over the years, the Cardinals have done an excellent job of building through the draft despite not having picked higher than #13 since 1998. Their 2014 draft looks like more of the same. In round one the Cardinals took Florida State RHP Luke Weaver. At 6'2", 170, he isn’t overpowering, and his fastball sits at 88-92, but had been topping out at 96 mph in his sophomore season. He mixes in a good change-up and an average slider. They also landed high school RHP Jack Flaherty (supplemental 1st). The 6'3" righty sits at the same 88-92 mph with a good slider and a change-up that has nice potential. The team picked up RHPs Ronnie Williams and Andrew Morales with their two 2nd round picks. Both profile as back-end starters or relievers. The club didn’t draft a position player until selecting Miami Dade JC 2B Darren Seferina (5th), who had a solid debut, hitting .291 with 20 SB in the NYPL. They did a good job of securing potential major league talent, though none of the players has elite level upside.

Sleeper: RHP Daniel Poncedeleon (9th) was drafted for the fourth time and finally signed for just $5,000. The NAIA Embry-Riddle grad has a good idea of how to pitch. His low-90s fastball has good movement and he keeps hitters honest with a nice four-pitch mix. He showed better than anticipated results in the NYPL, going 3-3 with a 2.44 ERA and 14 BB/52 K in 44.1 IP.

Grade: A- (up from B- in 2014)

In closing, thank you to BaseballHQ for giving us this special look into their data. Please respect them and copyright laws by not duplicating this material.



Link to Part one of this report: ”BaseballHQ’s Top 15 Cardinals Prospects: 2015”
Link to Part two: ”BaseballHQ: Cardinals System in MLB’s Middle”
Link to Part three: ”2015 Cardinals Prospect Changes from BaseballHQ”

Join the prospect discussion with other Cardinals fans here



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