Where Will TCN Top 40 Cards Prospects Report?

Our top 40 St. Louis Cardinals prospects for 2015 designated by which spring camp to which they are invited.

Now that the St. Louis Cardinals have disclosed their initial spring training camp plans:

Non-roster invitees to Major League camp
STEP Camp invitees (early minor league camp)

… it is a good time to review how the members of The Cardinal Nation top prospect list for 2015 have fared in terms of their camp assignments.

Here are the top 40 raw counts by camp/type. To the right are the total populations in each camp, which includes all invitees, top 40 and non-top 40 prospect players alike. At the right are the comparable numbers from one year ago.

  2015       2014  
Spring distribution Top 40 Camp total Top 40 %   Top 40 Top 40 %
MLB camp - 40-man 8 39 20.5%   10 25.6%
Non-roster invitees 7 18 38.9%   10 55.6%
STEP camp 13 23 56.5%   14 58.3%
Regular minors camp 12 132 9.1%   6 4.6%
Total 40       40  

As you can see, eight members of the top 40 are among the 39 players already on the 40-man roster, down from 10 last year. Another seven top prospects are among the 18 non-roster invitees to big league camp, also down from 2014. In fact, the top prospects are just over one-third of the NRI population after being over half last year.


Not surprisingly, the STEP Camp, or early minor league camp, continues to have the highest concentration of top prospects with 13 of the 23 camp invitees, comparable to last spring. Top-three prospects Alex Reyes and Rob Kaminsky are back in STEP Camp for a second year.

At the lower end of the spectrum, a dozen members of the 2015 top 40 have regular minor league camp as their initial destination. That is double from last year and suggests there has not been a fill in of new top prospects at the upper levels of the system to replace the ones who graduated. There are a number of longer-shot, younger players in this group.

The next view shows the top 40 by camp assignment and position with ranking for each player.

Top 40     Top 40     Top 40     Top 40  
40man (8/39) Rk   NRIs (7/18) Rk   STEP (13/23) Rk   Minors (12/132) Rk
Pitchers (2)     Pitchers (3)     Pitchers (5)     Pitchers (8)  
Gonzales 1   Cooney 7   Reyes 2   McKinney 18
Tuivailala 8   Mayers 25   Kaminsky 3   Petree 20
      Petrick 29   Flaherty 6   Dobzanski 24
            Wilson 9   Williams 31
            Morales 35   Poncedeleon 34
                  Llorens 37
                  Baez 38
                  J Perez 40
Catchers (1)     Catchers (1)     Catchers (1)     Catchers (0)  
Stanley 26   C Kelly 11   Katz 33      
Infielders (3)     Infielders (2)     Infielders (4)     Infielders (2)  
Diaz 12   Wilson 14   Herrera 17   Collymore 22
Garcia 21   B Valera 15   Sosa 19   Seferina 39
Scruggs 30         Mercado 23      
            Wisdom 27      
Outfielders (2)     Outfielders (1)     Outfielders (3)     Outfielders (2)  
Grichuk 4   Piscotty 5   Tilson 10   Wick 28
Pham 13         Sierra 16   R Castillo 36
            McElroy 32      

Look at the pitching, specifically. That is the really interesting part of this story, in my opinion.


Only five of the top 40 pitching prospects are in big league camp, just half the quantity of the year before. It is a good thing that the major league staff seems relatively set, as there are not a lot of potential high-impact arms approaching St. Louis soon. Certainly Marco Gonzales, Sam Tuivailala and Tim Cooney are very interesting, but after that, there is a dropoff.

The pitching STEP Campers remain about constant from year to year, with the promise represented by Reyes and Kaminsky still a long way from St. Louis. During the upcoming season, College draftees Luke Weaver and Andrew Morales could actually move ahead of the former high schoolers in timing, if not level.

The vast majority of the eight top 40 pitchers in regular camp, six of them specifically, have never pitched above Class-A ball. The two who have, barely have. Nick Petree made the last start of the 2014 season at Double-A and Dixon Llorens had a failed five-game trial at Springfield last summer. In other words, there are a lot of undeveloped arms among this group.

Last year, top 40 outfielders and infielders were balanced at eight each across the four camps. For 2015, the outfielders stayed constant while the top 40 infielders shot up by three. The list of catchers grew by one, but that is dependent on how well Mason Katz progresses at the position and whether it is a permanent move or a sideline.

Finally, here is the entire 2015 top 40 in rank order with spring camp assignments. From this view, it is clear that 10 of the top 15-ranked prospects will be in Major League camp this spring. But as already noted, the skew is away from the Cardinals’ traditional strength, pitching.

TCN 2015   MLB camp MLB camp Minors Minors 
Top 40 rk 40-man (8) NRI (7) STEP (13) Regular (12)
1 Marco Gonzales      
2     Alex Reyes  
3     Rob Kaminsky  
4 Randal Grichuk      
5   Stephen Piscotty    
6     Jack Flaherty  
7   Tim Cooney    
8 Sam Tuivailala      
9     Luke Weaver  
10     Charlie Tilson  
11   Carson Kelly    
12 Aledmys Diaz      
13 Tommy Pham      
14   Jacob Wilson    
15   Breyvic Valera    
16     Magneuris Sierra  
17     Juan Herrera  
18       Ian McKinney
19     Edmundo Sosa  
20       Nick Petree
21 Greg Garcia      
22       Malik Collymore
23     Oscar Mercado  
24       Bryan Dobzanski
25   Mike Mayers    
26 Cody Stanley      
27     Patrick Wisdom  
28       Rowan Wick
29   Zach Petrick    
30 Xavier Scruggs      
31       Ronnie Williams
32     C.J. McElroy  
33     Mason Katz  
34       Daniel Poncedeleon
35     Andrew Morales  
36       Ronald Castillo
37       Dixon Llorens
38       Fernando Baez
39       Darren Seferina
40       Juan Perez

Join the discussion with other Cardinals fans here

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

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