Now that the St. Louis Cardinals have disclosed their initial spring training camp plans for Non-roster invitees to Major League camp and 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 2016 have fared in terms of their camp assignments.
Here are the top 40 raw counts by camp/type. The total populations in each camp include all invitees, top 40 and non-top 40 prospect players alike. At the right are the comparable numbers from one year ago.
|Spring distribution||Top 40||Camp total||Top 40 %||Top 40||Top 40 %|
|MLB camp - 40-man||8||39||20.5%||8||20.5%|
|Regular minors camp||10||TBA||12||9.1%|
As you can see, eight members of the top 40 are among the 39 players already on the 40-man roster, same as last year and down from 10 in 2014. Another eight top prospects are among the 23 non-roster invitees to big league camp, up one from 2015. In fact, the top prospects are just over one-third of the NRI population for the second straight year after being over half in 2014.
Not surprisingly, the STEP Camp, or early minor league camp, continues to have the highest concentration of top prospects with 14 of the 26 camp invitees, roughly comparable to last spring. Top-two prospects Alex Reyes and Jack Flaherty are back in STEP Camp for a second year – in fact, it is the third year for the suspended Reyes.
At the lower end of the spectrum, nine members of the 2016 top 40 have regular minor league camp as their initial destination, but none in the top 20. (Also listed here is the Rule 5 selected player, pitcher Luis Perdomo.) That is down from last year as a number of longer-shot, younger players are 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 (8/23)||Rk||STEP (14/26)||Rk||Minors (10/TBA)||Rk|
|Pitchers (3)||Pitchers (5)||Pitchers (6)||Pitchers (7+1)|
|Catchers (1)||Rk||Catchers (1)||Rk||Catchers (0)||Rk||Catchers (0)||Rk|
|Infielders (2)||Rk||Infielders (2)||Rk||Infielders (5)||Rk||Infielders (2)||Rk|
|G Garcia||19||Wisdom||24||De Jong||16||Cordoba||23|
|Outfielders (2)||Rk||Outfielders (0)||Rk||Outfielders (3)||Rk||Outfielders (0)||Rk|
Look at the balance between pitching and position players – eight prospects each – in big-league camp.
The pitching STEP Campers remain about constant from year to year, with the promise represented by Reyes and Flaherty not ready for St. Louis. During the upcoming season, also keep an eye on hard-throwing youngsters Junior Fernandez and Sandy Alcantara.
The vast majority of the seven top 40 pitchers in regular camp, six of them specifically, have never pitched above Class-A ball. The one who has, Andrew Morales, struggled last season and was not invited back to STEP Camp. In other words, there are a lot of undeveloped arms among this group.
Last year, top 40 outfielders and infielders were at eight and 11, respectively, across the four camps. For 2016, the infielders stayed constant while the top 40 outfielders dropped by three. The list of catchers dropped from three to two, an indication that most all of the hopes to replace Yadier Molina one day rest on the shoulders of Carson Kelly.
Finally, here is the entire 2016 top 40 in rank order with spring camp assignments. From this view, it is clear that just five of the top 10-ranked prospects will be in Major League camp this spring. The STEP Camp group is especially talented – 10 of the top 18 - a good indicator for the future.
|TCN 2016||MLB camp||MLB camp||Minors||Minors|
|Top 40 rk||40-man (8)||NRI (8)||STEP (14)||Regular (9+1)|
|29||Luis Perdomo (R5)|
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