Cards Prospects: Carioca's Best of the Rest

The third of three looks at Cardinals prospects that just missed our Top 40 with CariocaCardinal.

Editor's note: As regular readers know, CariocaCardinal has built upon his popular monthly in-season rankings of St. Louis Cardinals by his participation in The Cardinal Nation Top 40 prospect list for the second consecutive winter.

Like the other voters, Carioca's individual list included several prospects that just fell short of making the consolidated Top 40. This is the first of three articles in which each of us highlight those prospects – our "Best of the Rest".

Following is the overall top 40, with Carioca's list through #46 next to it. (Remember that we each ranked 46 names to develop a consolidated list of 40.) Highlighted are the unique names from each list.

38 of the players named to the consolidated top 40 were also among Carioca's top 46. The exceptions are Pete Kozma and Audry Perez.

Three names were also by at least one another voter, but still fell short of the top 46. They are Cody Stanley (also Walton #34), Lee Stoppelman (also Community #35) and Steve Bean (also Community #38 and Walton #43). The write ups for these three will appear in the other companion articles to this one.

Carioca had five names unique to his list, all of whom missed the consolidated top 40. This report will highlight all five, four of whom brought up the tail end of his submitted list of 46 names.

Group Top 40 CariocaCardinal 
1 Oscar Taveras Oscar Taveras
2 Shelby Miller Shelby Miller 
3 Trevor Rosenthal Michael Wacha
4 Michael Wacha Trevor Rosenthal
5 Carlos Martinez Carlos Martinez
6 Kolten Wong Kolten Wong
7 Matt Adams Matt Adams
8 Tyrell Jenkins Tyrell Jenkins
9 Anthony Garcia Anthony Garcia
10 Carson Kelly 10 James Ramsey.
11 Jordan Swagerty 11 Ryan Jackson
12 Stephen Piscotty 12 Seth Maness
13 James Ramsey 13 Carson Kelly
14 Seth Maness 14 Greg Garcia
15 Ryan Jackson 15 Stephen Piscotty
16 Greg Garcia 16 John Gast
17 Starlin Rodriguez 17 Adron Chambers
18 Patrick Wisdom 18 Breyvic Valera
19 Breyvic Valera 19 Starlin Rodriguez.
20 John Gast 20 Jordan Swagerty
21 Charlie Tilson 21 Patrick Wisdom
22 Kevin Siegrist 22 Charlie Tilson
23 Adron Chambers 23 Boone Whiting
24 Sam Freeman  24 Eduardo Sanchez
25 Boone Whiting 25 Kevin Siegrist
26 Eduardo Sanchez 26 Dixon Llorens
27 Eric Fornataro 27 Maikel Cleto
28 Maikel Cleto 28 Scott Gorgen
29 Pete Kozma 29 Mike O' Neill
30 Seth Blair 30 Tyler Lyons
31 C.J. McElroy 31 Colin Walsh
32 Mike O'Neill 32 Eric Fornataro
33 Dixon Llorens 33 Sam Freeman
34 Adam Ehrlich 34 Keith Butler
35 Tyler Lyons 35 Adam Ehrlich
36 Colin Walsh 36 C.J. McElroy
37 Victor DeLeon 37 Tim Cooney
38 Audry Perez 38 Cody Stanley
39 Tim Cooney 39 Steve Bean
40 Keith Butler 40 Lee Stoppleman
41 Seth Blair
42 Victor DeLeon
43 Richard Castillo
44 Dean Kiekhefer
45 Jacob Wilson
46 Ben O'Shea

CariocaCardinal's player commentary follows.

Scott Gorgen (Carioca's #28)

The Cardinal Nation/ Player Profile
(including links to full 2012 and career stats)

2012 rank Pos. DOB Ht. Wt. Bat Thw Signed Round
NR RHS 1/27/1987 5-10 190 R R 2008 4th

School: University of California - Irvine

Selected 2012 stats

MEM 1 2 4.14 4.39 8 8 0 37 32 20 3 19 26 0.83 0.237 0.257
SPR 5 7 4.09 3.63 21 16 0 92.1 87 49 7 39 93 1.32 0.254 0.321
Total 6 9 4.11   29 24 0 129.1 119 69 10 58 119 1.13 0.249  

Scott Gorgen was considered one of the top pitchers in the Cardinals system in 2010 prior to being injured. He had a miniscule ERA and his control was much improved from a year earlier. After missing all of 2011, Gorgen came back in 2012 and put up peripheral numbers at Double-A very comparable what he had done there in 2010 (nearly as good in every category except ERA). Gorgen struggled with control when moved up to Triple-A but for a player in his first year back from surgery he pitched very well.

Let me add in this microstat line - 11.1 IP, 8 H, 1 HR, 6 BB, 19 K, .200 BAA. That was Gorgen's line in relief last year. The 19 strikeouts in 11.1 innings is almost Wacha-like.

I expect Gorgen to come back even stronger in 2013 and if used in relief, he has shown he might put up some strong numbers. Gorgen should begin 2013 at Triple-A in the bullpen. However, if the Cards want him to continue as a starting pitcher, numbers could force him to start the season at Double-A.

Richard Castillo (Carioca's #43)

The Cardinal Nation/ Player Profile
(including links to full 2012 and career stats)

2012 rank Pos. DOB Ht. Wt. Bat Thw Signed Round
NR RHS 10/11/1989 5-11 165 R R 2007 FA

Home: Barquisimeto, Venezuela

Selected 2012 stats

PB 2 3 1.86 3.69 6 6 0 38.2 22 9 2 10 23 1.32 0.169 0.185
SPR 7 5 3.76 4.16 19 19 0 110.0 126 49 8 32 65 1.73 0.297 0.327
Total 9 8 3.27   25 25 0 148.2 148 58 10 42 88 1.61 0.267  

I have to figure that there is a reason the Cardinals did not give up on Richard Castillo despite being passed by many other prospects the last few years. They had such faith in him that they were willing to give him 3 1/2 years at Palm Beach to figure things out.

In 2012 that faith was rewarded. Castillo reduced his walk rates and also started inducing many more ground balls. Castillo's strikeout rates are still low, so he is far from a sure thing - in fact he could be an early cut just as easily as he could make the 40-man roster at the end of 2013.

However, if he can continue to keep the ball on the ground and men off base, I expect Castillo to bounce between Memphis and Springfield in 2013. I believe he still has a chance to make it as a valuable major leaguer.

Dean Kiekhefer (Carioca's #44)

The Cardinal Nation/ Player Profile
(including links to full 2012 and career stats)

2012 rank Pos. DOB Ht. Wt. Bat Thw Signed Round
NR LHR 6/7/1989 6-0 170 L L 2010 36th

School: University of Louisville

Selected 2012 stats

PB 2 2 2.24 2.74 46 0 14 60.1 61 23 3 4 41 1.71 0.260 0.292

Dean Kiekhefer has pitched extremely well as a relief specialist since joining the Cardinals organization. He has high groundball rates, low walk rates, and keeps the ball in the park. He is extremely tough on left-handed hitters, holding them to a WHIP of under 0.80 the last two years with a 9.6 percent line drive rate. With 22 saves the last two years, he has shown the abiity to close as well as be a potential LOOGY.

Kiekhefer should open 2013 at Double-A Springfield. Without a solid LOOGY prospect ahead of him, he could move up from there by the end of the season.

Jacob Wilson (Carioca's #45)

The Cardinal Nation/ Player Profile
(including links to full 2012 and career stats)

2012 rank Pos. DOB Ht. Wt. Bat Thw Signed Round
NA 2B 7/29/1990 6-0 195 R R 2012 10th

School: University of Memphis

Selected 2012 stats

BAT 0.275 0.309 160 28 44 7 6 25 13 33 2 0.367 0.341 0.444 0.785

I had a gut feeling when Jacob Wilson was drafted that he could be a surprisingly good hitter. After an early start when I was questioning my gut, Wilson turned it on the last 16 games of the season. After hitting .188 with a .526 OPS in his first 30 games, Wilson hit .424 with a 1.223 OPS in his last 16 games.

I do not expect Wilson to hit quite as well in the future as he did those last few games, but despite the small sample size, I think it showed his potential. It was possibly the result of him figuring something out that he can carry into 2013.

Wilson still has some defensive issues to resolve as well, but if he can swing the bat anywhere near like he did in late 2012, he could move up quickly from what I expect to be an opening day roster spot at Peoria.

Ben O'Shea (Carioca's #46)

The Cardinal Nation/ Player Profile
(including links to full 2012 and career stats)

2012 rank Pos. DOB Ht. Wt. Bat Thw Signed Round
NA LHS 9/9/1991 6-6 250 L L 2012 35th

School: University of Tampa

Selected 2012 stats

BAT 3 3 3.12 3.56 13 12 0 60.2 61 22 21 5 43 0.79 0.262 0.291

Ben O'Shea flew well below most people's radar last year. That included his time in college, from where he went undrafted until the 35th round. His late draft status might not have been due to being unknown as much as having been considered a tough sign. That would seem like a logical conclusion since he had a strong 2012 college season and he turned down a 10th-round offer from the White Sox after junior college in 2011.

O'Shea has a pitcher's body at 6-foot-5 and 235 pounds. He has the early makings of a strong LOOGY candidate with significant left/right split in 2012. His overall 8:1 K:BB ratio at Batavia was only marred by him giving up a significant number of home runs (all to right-handed hitters).

If O'Shea can keep the ball in the park in 2013, he could rise quickly.

To reference our entire list of top 40 Cardinals prospects for 2013 and read about each individual player, click here. You can also learn about each of the voters' philosophies in making their selections and much more.

Next up: This article series continues with our All-Prospect Team, the highest-ranked players at each position. We then dive into the numbers behind the top 40, take a look at our best and worst selections from 2011 and the top prospects by level of play.

There's more! Monthly and quarterly subscribers who upgrade to our annual pass will receive in the spring the 2013 FOX Sports NEXT Prospects Guide, a $4.95 value, for FREE. The perfect hardcopy companion to "40 Days" includes the top prospects from all 30 MLB organizations and much more. We author the Cardinals section of the guide as always.

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