2016 Top Cardinals Prospects: The Final Tally

Pulling together all the votes on the St. Louis Cardinals’ top minor league prospects for 2016.

As our yearly 40 Days, 40 Nights, 40 Prospects series moves into its analysis phase, this article brings together the voting of the participants from The Cardinal Nation, me - Brian Walton (BW), Springfield beat writer Derek Shore (DS) and the members of our Scout.com St. Louis Cardinals message board community (Cm)*.

The far left column of the table below is the aggregate ranking as we counted down daily over the last six weeks. To the right of the players’ names are our individual votes. (Note that we each ranked at least 50 players to ensure the group’s top 40 would be as representative as possible.) Next are the prior years’ rankings of the players in the new 2016 Top 40 from 2015 all the way back to when players joined the system.

* (Cm) represents the collaborative effort among a group of very knowledgeable Cardinals fans from our Message Board. That group actually went on to rank 60 players. Click here to see the entire community list and their reasoning behind each selection.

Rk Group BW DS Cm   15 14 13 12 11 10
1 Alex Reyes 1 1 1   2 7        
2 Jack Flaherty 2 2 2   6          
3 Marco Gonzales 3 6 3   1 6        
4 Luke Weaver 4 4 4   9          
5 Tim Cooney 5 3 5   7 12 39      
6 Charlie Tilson 6 7 8   10 13 21 15    
7 Aledmys Diaz 12 8 7   12          
8 Nick Plummer 7 9 12              
9 Edmundo Sosa 8 12 10   19 32        
10 Magneuris Sierra 13 5 13   16 NR        
11 Sam Tuivailala 10 15 6   8 36 NR NR NR  
12 Carson Kelly 9 10 15   11 9 10      
13 Harrison Bader 20 11 9              
14 Austin Gomber 14 18 11   NR          
15 Jake Woodford 11 21 14              
16 Paul DeJong 19 19 16              
17 Sandy Alcantara 15 13 29   NR          
18 Junior Fernandez 21 14 23   NR          
19 Greg Garcia 16 20 22   21 20 16 NR NR NR
20 Jacob Wilson 17 17 26   14 28 NR      
    BW DS Cm   15 14 13 12 11 10
21 Bryce Denton 22 16 28              
22 Daniel Poncedeleon 26 23 17   34          
23 Allen Cordoba 23 28 18   NR NR        
24 Patrick Wisdom 18 29 27   27 15 18      
25 Anthony Garcia 30 24 20   NR NR 9 22 29 NR
26 Darren Seferina 29 27 21   39          
27 Ian McKinney 27 32 19   18 25        
28 Trey Nielsen 24 30 25   NR NR        
29 Luis Perdomo 25 22 35   NR NR NR NR    
30 Michael Ohlman 31 34 24   NA NA NA NA NA NA
31 Ronnie Williams 28 25 36   31          
32 Oscar Mercado 32 33 30   23 22        
33 Arturo Reyes 36 26 34   NR NR        
34 Corey Littrell 35 31 31   NR          
35 Ian Oxnevad 37 37 32              
36 Eliezer Alvarez 33 40 37   NR NR NR      
37 Andrew Morales 50 38 38   35          
38 Alvaro Seijas 38 45 48              
39 Matt Pearce 41 NR 33   NR          
40 David Oca NR 35 43   NR NR        
    BW DS Cm   15 14 13 12 11 10
  NA=not in Cards org                    
  NR=not ranked                    

I will finish this segment with a look at some of the most notable player changes in 2016 from the 2015 list.

Plummer

Movers and shakers

Top debut – 2015 draftee: Nick Plummer - #8
(next: Harrison Bader - #13)

It is an odd situation when only one member of the most recent draft class makes our top 12 Cardinals prospects. So it is, with outfielder Nick Plummer still on his first-round honeymoon.

It is even more unusual that the best-ranked pitcher from the draft only placed 15th in our top 40, but that is the case, with supplemental first-rounder Jake Woodford specifically. In fact, Woodford is the only 2015-drafted pitcher to make our top 34 (with Ian Oxnevad at #35 this year). That may be a first from a system known for its pitching.

Top debut – already in system: Austin Gomber – non-ranked to #14
(next: Sandy Alcantara, Junior Fernandez – NR to #17/#18)

Austin Gomber was not entirely under the radar as the Cardinals’ fourth-rounder in 2014, but kicked his pitching into a second gear at Peoria this season after his State College debut in 2015. The big left-hander is the organization’s co-Pitcher of the Year for 2015.

It is not surprising that two other top debuting players who had been in the system in 2014 were not ranked one year ago. Both hard-throwing right-handers Sandy Alcantara and Junior Fernandez came over to the US this season from the Dominican Summer League and impressed in the Gulf Coast League.

Top top 40 returnee: Anthony Garcia – non-ranked to #25
(next: none)

Only one former top 40 player returned to the list after not making it a year ago. In fact, outfielder Anthony Garcia missed the top 40 in both 2014 and 2015 due to his two-year struggles at Palm Beach. Having re-established momentum in Double-A, Garcia not only moved up to Memphis, but he also received a 40-man roster spot.

Seferina

Fastest riser: Darren Seferina – #39 to #26
(next: Daniel Poncedeleon - #34 to #22)

Though not many players showed big jumps in the top 40 from year to year, Darren Seferina moved up 13 spots. I have said it before and I will say it again, the second baseman may be the most underrated position player in the Cardinals system.

Right-hander Daniel Poncedeleon earned a lot of attention with a strong start to the season at Peoria and continued strongly in the Florida State League.

Biggest fall off the top 40: Breyvic Valera - #15 to non-ranked
(next: Juan Herrera, Nick Petree - #17/#20 to non-ranked)

Two middle infielders felt the biggest drop from year to year. Both Breyvic Valera and Juan Herrera moved from a top 20 spot to missing the top 40 entirely.

Valera had a surprisingly rough year back at Springfield while other prospects passed him by. He went unchosen in the Rule 5 Draft. Herrera has been forgotten after his season was ruined by injury.

Right-handed pitcher Nick Petree was the other top 20 player from 2015 who fell off the list, as his results stalled at Springfield, leading to a demotion to Palm Beach. That is a route that Valera followed before returning to Double-A.

Biggest fall still on the top 40: Ian McKinney - #18 to #27
(next: Oscar Mercado - #23 to #32)

Two prospects fell nine spots each from year to year. Lefty Ian McKinney did not have a bad year at all, but did not arrive at Peoria as quickly as hoped as others impressed more in 2015.

The Chiefs’ 2015 shortstop, Oscar Mercado, continues his slow slide after being drafted in the second round in 2013. All the tools are there and the steal totals are high, but so are the errors and a concerning lack of progress at the plate.




To reference our entire list of top 40 Cardinals prospects for 2016 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 as we highlight the newest members of the top 40. Then, the voters highlight the players on our personal lists that did not make the 2016 consolidated top 40. We move next to our All-Prospect Team, the highest-ranked players at each position, dive into the numbers behind the top 40, take a look back at our best and worst selections from 2015, the top prospects by level of play and finally those players that left the top 40 from last year to this.



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

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