Tommy Edman (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

A Stanford-trained middle infielder at short-season Class-A is our top St. Louis first-year player in 2016

The Cardinal Nation’s top 50 prospect countdown for 2017 continues at #35 with our top first-year player in the system in 2016. FREE report!

2016 rank Pos. DOB Signed Round
NA SS 05 09 95 2016 6th

Selected 2016 stats

SC 0.286 0.305 255 61 73 14 4 33 48 29 19 0.396 0.400 0.427 0.827

Staff comments (individual rankings in parentheses)

Message board community (33): Tommy Edman, The Cardinal Nation 2016 Rookie Player of the Year, finished as the 33rd best prospect in the community vote. He first collected support from BobReed as early as #22.

BobReed was quite elaborate in his summation of Edman. He noted that Edman had a 151 wRC+, on the heels of a sustainable .305 BABIP, achieved in the somewhat tougher New York-Penn League. He also brought up the Stanford product’s tremendous 48/29 BB/K ratio. Wileycard brought up that Edman has exceptional speed and a high on-base percentage. He keenly observed that Edman has the best slugging percentage of all of our shortstop prospects in 2016 and mentioned that he is a terrific fielder to boot. - Jeremy Byrd


Derek Shore (33): Following a three-year career at Stanford University, shortstop Edman was a major cog at the top of the order for the Low-A (short-season) State College Spikes on their way to the 2016 New York-Penn League title.

Edman, 21, owned a career slash line of .281/.362/.365 with four home runs and 71 RBI through 168 games (631 at-bats) for the collegiate Cardinal. Most impressively, the shortstop drew more walks than he struck out, drawing 77 free passes to 57 punchouts against Pac-12 pitching.

From the Cardinal to the Cardinals, Edman was selected by St. Louis in the sixth round of this past summer's draft, signing for his slot value at $236,400 and was assigned to the highest level of any of the team’s draftees at State College. All the switch-hitter did was prosper, garnering TCN's 2016 State College Player of the Year award in addition to being named our top first-year player.

The 21-year-old led the Spikes in runs (35), hits (61), triples (4) and stolen bases (19). He ranked second on the team in average (.286) and total bases (78). His pitch selection was so good he ended up leading the league in walks (48) and also ranked fifth in the NYPL in stolen bases.

“Edman knows what his job is and always seems to find a way to get on base,” State College manager Johnny Rodriguez told TCN's Kara Duriez. “He is a grinder and that’s what this team thrives on.”

As far as his skill-set, Edman doesn't wow anyone with tools, but is described as a hard-nosed middle infield type, who could grind his way to the big-leagues. His best tool was defense out of the draft with soft hands, good actions, and average range and arm strength at short, where he played mostly for the Spikes.

Baseball America's Michael Lananna spoke with one pro evaluator who characterized Edman as a "better version of David Eckstein."

Edman is a switch-hitter with average to a tick above-average speed, who makes consistently hard contact from both sides of the dish and profiles perfectly as an up-the-middle utility type. I would even venture to say his skillset reminds me of the Cardinals current utility player Greg Garcia, who also has a superb feel for the strike zone and makes a lot of contact.

In 2017, Edman should be ready for a full-season challenge at Low-A Peoria.


Brian Walton (42): I wonder which Edman we will see in 2017 after he receives a winter of rest. After playing a full NCAA spring schedule for Stephen Piscotty’s alma mater, the infielder reported to State College in mid-June and stepped directly into the lineup, making an immediate impact.

An overall good year hid a considerable and consistent decline, however. After a dominating start to his professional career in June, during which he batted .372 with a .982 OPS in 17 games, Edman’s numbers deteriorated over each of the next three months. His OPS was in a free fall, dropping by an average of over 100 points each month – to .856 in July, .769 in August, to .627 over the final five contests in September.

As they say, speed does not slump, though. Edman maintained his successful pace on the bases all season long, stealing 9 of 10 in June-July before going 10-for-12 to close out the year.

It seems the organization recognized the negative trajectory with fatigue a possible explanation as to why Edman was not invited to fall instructional league camp in Jupiter, Florida.

Cardinals minor league hitting coordinator George Greer sees Edman’s fast first-year start as a continuation and validation of his collegiate training.

“He came from the program at Stanford,” Greer said. “Mark Marquess does a really fine job out there as coach.

“He learned how to take the right pitch early in the count. He learned how to not swing at pitches out of his zone. He was able to make good swings from both sides of the plate on pitches that he needed to hit; and he did not miss them,” Greer said.

Manager Rodriguez has even higher praise for his 2016 shortstop, drawing a heady comp between the New York-Penn League all-star and a three-time MLB all-star and 2016 World Champion.

“He is like a little Ben Zobrist, but smaller,” Rodriguez told me this summer. “Ben Zobrist is about 6-foot-3. He is about 5-foot-11, 5-10, maybe less. He plays second and short, but I don’t really mean the versatility.

“It is the bat. He takes pitches. He is very quiet at the plate. Great pitch recognition. He will foul pitches, take borderline pitches. He does not chase and gives you quality at-bats. He grinds at-bats all the time. He doesn’t chase and puts the ball in play. You watch him and he is not afraid of hitting with two strikes. And that is very important.

“That is why he is like Ben Zobrist,” the manager concluded.

I agree with Derek that Peoria will likely be Edman’s likely initial assignment to open 2017. However, if that is the case, he may be asked to slide over to second base, with his potential keystone partner being top prospect shortstop Allen Cordoba. The latter seems a good bet to jump up to the Midwest League from Johnson City and should receive priority.

TCN Scouting Grade: 4, Risk: High (click here to review scales)


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