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.
|NA=not in Cards org|
I will finish this segment with a look at some of the most notable player changes in 2016 from the 2015 list.
Movers and shakers
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 email@example.com. Also catch his Cardinals commentary at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.
© 2016 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com and stlcardinals.scout.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.