TCN 2016 Cards Prospect #26: Darren Seferina

St. Louis’ Class-A second baseman had a quietly-productive year in his first shot at full-season ball.

The Cardinal Nation/ Player Profile

School: Miami Dade Community College

2015 rank Pos. DOB Ht. Wt. Bat Thw Signed Round
39 2B 01,24,94 5-9 175 L R 2014 5th

Selected 2015 stats

Peo 0.295 0.367 410 58 121 26 4 33 37 88 23 0.369 0.354 0.446 0.800

Staff comments (individual rankings in parentheses)

Message board community (21): Darren Seferina checked in at #21 in the voting of the members of our message board community. This is a nice bump for the 2014 fifth-round draftee after he was chosen as the #39th prospect last year in the community balloting.

Loushuler began the discussion in the community voting thread noting that Seferina is just a year older than fellow Cardinal prospect, Eliezer Alvarez, and Seferina had a great year at Peoria, following his strong 2014 debut at State College. BobReed noted that Seferina has an age advantage over the 25-year-old Jacob Wilson relative to his league.

BobReed also said that Seferina has really good gap power that may blossom into double-digit home run totals in a few years. GM4aday likes that Seferina demonstrated an increase in power in 2015 over 2014 and he also hit 12 triples to go along with his 23 stolen bases. - Jeremy Byrd

Derek Shore (27): As the Cardinals’ first position player selected in the 2014 draft, Seferina quickly made a name for himself after his first full season with Low-A Peoria Chiefs. Seferina, 21, was named a Midwest League Post-Season All-Star following a slash line of .295/.354/.446 with 32 extra-base hits and 33 RBI.

“Leadoff man who can drive the ball in the gaps and steal bases for us," Peoria Chiefs manager Joe Kruzel told Dave Eminian of the Peoria Journal-Star. On defense? "He makes all the plays, strong arm on double-play relays. Had an unbelievable June.”

With his short 5-foot-9 175-pound, but impressive athletic frame, the immediate comparison to Kolten Wong is suggested by his build alone. Although Seferina will never approach Wong's ability to knock the ball out of the ballpark, he does abuse the gaps and foul lines as he notched the second most doubles (26, next closest Stephen Piscotty) and topped the Cardinals system with 12 triples in 2015.

Apart of a well-rounded skill-set, the middle infielder also swiped 23 bags this past season but was thrown out 17 times in 40 attempts, altogether. It's hard to imagine Seferina having much success as a burner on the bases as Midwest League catchers aren't known to throw out a solid percentage of runners. The caliber of arms and ability to make a quick throw at a much more efficient release is significantly better at the higher levels.

Defensively, Seferina has played predominantly second base and is looked at as a scrappy defender with a strong arm. During instructs, he also saw time at shortstop. His speed should allow him to charge in and range deep and up the middle. I would assume he could handle the position with an adequate arm.

If he can steal bags at a competent rate with his gap power you are looking at an everyday table-setter in the making. If not, Seferina could hit at the bottom of the order with good bat-to-ball skills and speed that puts pressure on defenses. A late-inning pinch-runner can always affect a game as well and is not the worst of outcomes if his development slows.

Seferina arose as a notable prospect in 2015 and probably is due for a stint at High-A Palm Beach to start the 2016 season. Also, expect to see him play other positions as the Cardinals value versatile middle infielders.

Brian Walton (29): I am a bit surprised that I ended up being the one to give Seferina his poorest ranking, because I really like the second baseman. I think he could be one of the stealthiest prospects in the entire Cardinals system.

Though he was passed over for the Midwest League All-Star Game, that perception changed by the end of the season. As voted upon by managers, Seferina stood alone as the top second baseman in the 16-team Class-A league with his berth on the Post-Season All-Star Team.

During instructional league this fall, the native of Curacao summarized his 2015.

“It was really a roller coaster year for me,” Seferina said. “The first two months were bad (.237 batting average through May). Then I focused. I talked to Jobel (Peoria hitting coach Jobel Jimenez) and he helped me a lot. I had a great year (.318 from June 1 on).”

I asked Seferina about his stolen bases. While his total was fourth-highest in the system, his success rate of 58 percent leaves a lot to be desired and must be improved for him to fit in the upper level of batter orders ahead.

“I wasn’t working on a lot on my speed stuff during the off-season as I thought it would be fine,” he said. “But I got through this year and saw that I need to work on stolen bases. It is my job.”

When the left-handed hitter puts the ball in play, good things happen. While his BABIP looks high at .367, it is actually down from his .383 mark as a rookie in 2014.

Before I close, I want to come back to a point made earlier. Of all the players in the entire Cardinals system in 2015, this second baseman not only legged out the most triples, but also knocked the second-most doubles, only behind a hitter who is now a major league starter. Think about that.

Seferina may not have worked extensively on his baserunning last winter, but he definitely made extra-base hitting a priority.

“Last off-season, I was hitting with my hitting coach down in Miami,” Seferina said. “I told him that I wanted to hit more extra-base hits, have more gap power. We worked hard on it and I took it to the season this year. I felt very good about it and I saw a difference.”

If Seferina was a six-footer, my guess is that scouts would be slobbering all over his potential to lengthen all those gappers as he fully matures physically. Seferina logged these accomplishments in full-season ball at the age of 21, the same age at which Wong played in the Midwest League.

As his journey toward St. Louis continued, Wong never once placed in the top 10 in the system in doubles. His best year for three-base hits was eight in 2013, compared to Seferina’s 12 in 2015.

I am not saying Seferina will become Wong one day, as three more difficult levels of play remain ahead. However, if he continues to progress as he did in 2015, it is clearly not out of the question.

Our 2016 top 40 series continues: To see the entire list of top Cardinals prospects and remaining article schedule, click here. This includes the top 40 countdown and nine in-depth, follow-up articles. Most of the latter are exclusively for members of The Cardinal Nation.

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