More Top Prospects Lower in Cardinals System

Season-opening rosters for the St. Louis Cardinals indicate fewer of the best prospects are opening 2015 at the highest levels of the system compared to the year before.

In this article, we will focus in on how members of The Cardinal Nation top 40 prospect list fared in their season-opening roster placements.

These new assignments across the entire system are available via the new, updated Roster Matrix at The Cardinal Nation Blog.

Alternatively, you can explore each team’s roster right here at The Cardinal Nation. They are current as of the start of the regular season. By clicking on player names, you can view bios, photos, videos, articles, news items, links to current season and career stats and much more – everything you need to know about a player’s history in one place.

Full-season clubs
St. Louis Cardinals
Memphis Redbirds
Springfield Cardinals
Palm Beach Cardinals
Peoria Chiefs

With the initial 2015 rosters set, here are the assignments of the Cardinals top 40 prospects as ranked here at The Cardinal Nation during the off-season.

The right column block indicates a re-sort of the same data, prospect grouping by season-opening level of play. In the far right column, the 2014 season-ending assignment for each member of the top 40 is included.

Rk 2015 TCN Top 40 open   Rk 2015 TCN Top 40 open end 2014
1 Marco Gonzales Mem   4 Randal Grichuk StL StL
2 Alex Reyes PB   13 Tommy Pham StL DL Mem
3 Rob Kaminsky PB          
4 Randal Grichuk StL   1 Marco Gonzales Mem StL
5 Stephen Piscotty Mem   5 Stephen Piscotty Mem Mem
6 Jack Flaherty Peo   7 Tim Cooney Mem Mem
7 Tim Cooney Mem   8 Sam Tuivailala Mem Mem
8 Sam Tuivailala Mem   21 Greg Garcia Mem Mem
9 Luke Weaver PB   26 Cody Stanley Mem Spr
10 Charlie Tilson Spr   29 Zach Petrick Mem Mem
11 Carson Kelly PB   30 Xavier Scruggs Mem Mem
12 Aledmys Diaz Spr          
13 Tommy Pham StL DL   10 Charlie Tilson Spr Spr
14 Jacob Wilson Spr   12 Aledmys Diaz Spr PB
15 Breyvic Valera Spr   14 Jacob Wilson Spr Spr
16 Magneuris Sierra Peo   15 Breyvic Valera Spr Spr
17 Juan Herrera PB   20 Nick Petree Spr Spr
18 Ian McKinney EST   25 Mike Mayers Spr Mem
19 Edmundo Sosa EST   27 Patrick Wisdom Spr Spr
20 Nick Petree Spr   35 Andrew Morales Spr PB
21 Greg Garcia Mem          
22 Malik Collymore EST   2 Alex Reyes PB Peo
23 Oscar Mercado Peo   3 Rob Kaminsky PB Peo
24 Bryan Dobzanski EST   9 Luke Weaver PB PB
25 Mike Mayers Spr   11 Carson Kelly PB Peo
26 Cody Stanley Mem   17 Juan Herrera PB PB
27 Patrick Wisdom Spr   28 Rowan Wick PB Peo
28 Rowan Wick PB   32 C.J. McElroy PB Peo
29 Zach Petrick Mem   33 Mason Katz PB PB
30 Xavier Scruggs Mem   36 Ronald Castillo PB Peo
31 Ronnie Williams EST   37 Dixon Llorens PB PB
32 C.J. McElroy PB          
33 Mason Katz PB   6 Jack Flaherty Peo GCL
34 Daniel Poncedeleon Peo   16 Magneuris Sierra Peo GCL
35 Andrew Morales Spr   23 Oscar Mercado Peo JC
36 Ronald Castillo PB   34 Daniel Poncedeleon Peo SC
37 Dixon Llorens PB   38 Fernando Baez Peo SC
38 Fernando Baez Peo   39 Darren Seferina Peo SC
39 Darren Seferina Peo          
40 Juan Perez EST   18 Ian McKinney EST SC
        19 Edmundo Sosa EST SC
        22 Malik Collymore EST GCL
        24 Bryan Dobzanski EST GCL
        31 Ronnie Williams EST GCL
        40 Juan Perez EST JC

What leaps out to me initially in the left columns was the lack of Double-A prospects in the top nine. Yet Springfield picks up the gap with four prospects between number 10 and 15.

Moving to the right, the balance in the number of top 40 prospects at the five levels below St. Louis (Memphis, Springfield, Palm Beach, Peoria and extended spring training) is greater than ever. No fewer than six prospects are at any of those five levels.

Palm Beach, often a spot passed over in recent seasons by top prospects, is tied for the most top 20 players with five and stands alone with the most top 40 prospects with 10. This is the first time that has happened in recent years.

A shift away from the top

Following is the data summarized, split out by level for both the top 20 and top 40. The same table from this time last year is provided alongside for comparison.

2015 level Top 20 Top 40   2014 level Top 20 Top 40
St. Louis 2 2   St. Louis 2 3
Memphis 4 8   Memphis 8 12
Springfield 5 8   Springfield 3 7
Palm Beach 5 10   Palm Beach 4 8
Peoria 2 6   Peoria 2 5
Extended  2 6   Extended  1 5
Total 20 40   Total 20 40

There has been a general downward shift of top prospects in the organization from year to year. In 2014, half of the top 20 were either in St. Louis or just one step away at Memphis. This year, the comparable count is just six.

At every level from Springfield on down, there are more top 40 prospects than last year. That includes extended spring training.

Promotions not slowing

Now, we will review a summary the movement of the top 20 and top 40 from last year to this.

2014-2015 Top 20 Top 40   2013-2014 Top 20 Top 40
Promo 3 level 2 2   Promo 3 level 0 0
Promo 2 level 0 1   Promo 2 level 1 2
Promo 1 level 5 13   Promo 1 level 6 12
Flat 12 22   Flat 12 24
Down 1 level 1 2   Down 1 level 1 2
  20 40     20 40

As the 2015 data indicates, the promotions of Jack Flaherty and Magneuris Sierra from the Gulf Coast League to Peoria, a three-level jump, are unusual. However, if you include the two- and three-level jumpers together, the total of three is only one more than a year ago.

The totals of those being promoted at a traditional one-level step, those staying put and those dropping a level are almost identical in 2015 compared to 2014. This tends to refute my perception that the organization’s prospect pipeline is not flowing as fast as before. Instead, at least the top prospects are moving normally.

Of course, all of this is just point in time analysis. The organization has shown its willingness to promote selected prospects during the season – as well as move ones back down who show they are not ready.

Those who are initially repeating the same level but may appear ready for an additional challenge, as well as players sent down to open this season - Marco Gonzales and Mike Mayers, specifically - could become candidates to move up with fast starts and some help from above. Same with several of the extended spring training participants.

To keep up with the action, check out our daily Cardinals minor league notebooks with all the action from the night before. In addition, our in-depth weekly team notebooks will commence with Peoria on Tuesday, April 14.

Bookmark the Roster Matrix

To see the full 2014 season-ending rosters by level and position for the entire Cardinals system on one page, along with every transaction all season long, check out the Roster Matrix, always up-to-date and free at The Cardinal Nation blog.

Join the discussion with other Cardinals fans here

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

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