St. Louis Cardinals: Final top 20 prospect rankings

| September 27, 2013 | 25 Comments
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John Nagel

Owner/Editor of Grew up in St. Charles but currently lives in Atlanta, GA with wife and two young childen
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2013 saw a big turnover in our prospect rankings. Several prospects have graduated from our list and are currently on the major league roster. Shelby Miller, Matt Adams, Trevor Rosenthal, and Michael Wacha all were top 10 prospects at the beginning of the season and have moved on. Carlo Martinez and molten Wong are with the big club, but are still considered prospects.

Michael Wacha is the most recent removal from our list as he has surpassed the 50 innings limit for rookies. I also took out Ryan Jackson because I feel like he is not a prospect any more.

The United Cardinal Bloggers’ September project is a top 7 prospect list. Since prospects are what I do, I expanded to 20, as I usually do a top 20 each month. You can view each top 20 prospect list from this year at the bottom of the article

Let me know what you think!

1. Oscar Taveras

2013 was a down year for Taveras to say the least. This offseason will be key to determining the role he plays at the beginning of 2014. If the Cardinals re-sign Carlos Beltran, then I think Taveras will begin the season at Triple-A Memphis. If that is the case, I think his stay there will be short. Taveras is still a top MLB prospect considering the down season.

2. Carlos Martinez

Martinez’s future is a big question mark. Like Taveras, the offseason moves will give us somewhat of an idea what we can expect from Martinez for 2014. Although I would like to see him in the rotation, I don’t know if there will be a spot open. A trade could be a possibility.

3. Kolten Wong

I have questioned the Cardinals use of Wong since he was promoted on August 16th. The lack of consistent playing time has not allowed Wong to get into the groove. I hope Cards fans aren’t down on Wong because he still should be considered the second baseman of the future.

4. Carson Kelly

While the first three on the list have major league ability now, the next couple aren’t there yet. Kelly has a while before he is ready for the big time, but his possible future puts him high on this list. Kelly had a solid bounce back year at State College after struggling at Peoria. Hopefully a full season assignment will give us a better idea of what to expect from this young third baseman.

5. Tyrell Jenkins

I really wanted to put Jenkins in the four spot, but his shoulder injury has me concerned. Jenkins was shut down on July 6th with shoulder pain. 2013 was up and down for the tall Texan. A complete game shutout in May helped Jenkins get a late June promotion to Palm Beach. Hopefully a healthy 2014 is in store for Jenkins.

6. James Ramsey

Ramsey is probably the most improved prospect on this list for me and I may have him rated higher than others, but I feel like he could be a difference maker in center field.  Ramsey, who will turn 24 in December, is not a young buck. If he can cut down on is strikeouts, I feel like he could be the Cards everyday center-fielder for a long time.

7. Stephen Piscotty

Piscotty, like Ramsey, took a big step forward in 2013. Piscotty made the transformation from third base to outfield (a position he played some at Stanford) in 2013 and his defense is still a work in progress, but his arm strength is a plus for a corner outfielder. Piscotty’s bat should produce a .300 average or above and between 15-20 home runs, maybe more. A lot to like from this 22-year-old.

8. Marco Gonzales

I have been guilty of comparing Gonzales to Michael Wacha. Both were the Cards’ first picks in the draft, both drafted out of college, and both advanced pitchers for their level. That is where the comparisons need to end. Wacha has made an incredible jump from Texas A&M to St. Louis, and we should not expect the same from the Gonzaga product. That being said, Gonzales future is a bright one.

9. Zach Petrick

A virtual unknown at the beginning of the season, Petrick has made a name for himself this year. He pitched at three levels and had big success at each. This undrafted free agent will soon be fighting for a rotation spot in Busch Stadium. I believe late season fatigue caused a small drop at Springfield, so Springfield should be a likely destination for Petrick in 2014.

10. Rob Kaminsky

Kaminsky dominated the Gulf Coast League for 6 outings and then struggled for his last two appearances, Like Petrick, arm fatigue could have been the problem here. Kaminsky struck out 28 batters in just 22 innings. I think Kaminsky and his devastating curve ball are ready for a full season assignment in 2014, we will see if the Cards push him there.

11. Charlie Tilson

After missing all of 2012, Tilson bounced back in a big way in 2013. A full season placement to start the year seemed like a little bit of a push but he handled it very well hitting .303 in 100 games. On August 28th Tilson was promoted to Palm Beach and did not miss a beat. I would assume that will be his starting spot next season.

12. Lee Stoppelman

Give a hand to the Cardinals scouting department for Stoppelman, a 24th round pick in 2012 out of the University of Central Missouri. In 100 1/3 professional innings across four levels, Stoppelman has a 1.26 ERA and has struck out 127 batters. A Kevin Siegrist comp is not too far-fetched, although Stoppelman doesn’t have the velocity that Siegrist does. I would not be surprised to see Stoppelman in St. Louis at some point in 2014.

13. Tim Cooney

Cooney and Stoppelman make up probably the two best left-handed pitchers in the Cardinals system. While Cooney’s win/loss record at Double-A Springfield doesn’t look impressive (7-10), there is more to the story. Cooney’s K:BB ratio was almost 7:1, which is very impressive. It will be interesting to see where the Cardinals start him next season.

14. Breyvic Valera

Valera, who turned 21 in August, quietly had a very solid season for the Peoria Chiefs. Valera hit .309 with only 30 strikeouts in 128 games. As a potential top of the order guy, I would like Valera to raise his on base percentage (.358 in 2013) and also steal more bases (13 in 2013). He showed his defensive flexibility, playing 5 different positions.

15. Alex Reyes

Reyes could possibly be higher on this list if he were closer to the major leagues. He is so young and raw that you never know what could happen in the future. As an 18-year-old, Reyes struck out 10.5 batters per nine innings. While his velocity is up there, he needs to develop his secondary pitches. A possible full season start to 2014 would be a huge step forward.

16. Patrick Wisdom

I bet if you asked Wisdom he would tell you that he was not happy with his 2013 season. While he hit 15 home runs, he struck out 137 times and hit just .235 in 129 games. A late season promotion to Palm Beach was a nice step forward. A cut down on the strikeouts should lead to an increase in average.

17. Jacob Wilson

Wilson was my pick for Player of the Year for the Peoria Chiefs after hitting 18 home runs and driving in 82 runs between Peoria and Palm Beach. Wilson will get to continue his excellent season during the Arizona Fall League. That move shows us what the Cardinals think of him. I could see him climbing this list next season.

18. Kenneth Peoples-Walls

The Cardinals’ 4th round pick in 2011, Peoples-Walls excelled at Johnson City in 2013 hitting .300 with 7 home runs and 35 runs batted in. Peoples-Walls is extremely athletic and one scout said that he was “one of the most athletic players in the Appalachian League.” It looks like a move to outfield may be in the future of the 20-year-old.

19. Jordan Swagerty

2013 was a lost year for Swagerty following Tommy John surgery in 2012. He only pitched in 10 innings and struggled in those appearances. Prior to his surgery, he was soaring through the system and on a similar path to Joe Kelly. Swagerty has the skills to work his way back up and 2014 should be a redemption year for the fireballer from Arizona State.

20. Starlin Rodriguez

Rodriguez began the season as a second baseman and ended the season as a left-fielder. The switch over happened in the middle of the season thanks to solid second base depth throughout the system. While Rodriguez’s stock slips a little as an outfielder, he still had a solid 2013. Time may be running out on Rodriguez’s future as a top 20 prospect.

There were a few players who I debated putting on this list but eventually chose not to.

John Gast

Gast probably belongs on this list but his injury scares me for now. I believe he will return to this list after he is healthy in 2014.

Samuel Tuivailala

The converted shortstop had an up and down year on the mound for Peoria. He needs to be able to command his pitches including his mid-90’s fastball.

Colin Walsh

Walsh turned 24 on Thursday and only has 1/2 season above High-A. He is on the verge of being passed on the second base depth chart by Jacob Wilson

Seth Blair

Swagerty’s college teammate was looking for a breakout season in 2013 at Springfield. It never happened and opponents hit nearly .300 against him. He still has a great arm and a future in the bullpen could be possible.

Steve Bean

While Bean has awesome skills behind the plate, his bat has yet to develop. If he show a little offense he could rise up this list.

Check out our previous top 20 lists from the 2013 season


Pre-Season 11-20:

Pre-Season 1-10:





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Category: Top Prospects

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  • Johnny

    KPW is heading to the OF not second. Why you so low on Reyes?

    • John Nagel

      Yes, thank you. I thought I read somewhere where he was moving to 2B. OF makes more sense and he has already started the transition in instructs.

  • Johnny

    S-Rod gonna have to some polish next season both in the field and at the plate before he even moves up. Had him as one of my sleepers going into the season to break out at the AA level but that didn’t happen as from what I saw couldn’t touch off-speed and breaking pitches. If he can’t hit those pitches at this level it doesn’t look good for his future.

  • David Johns

    No Tyler Lyons? He struggled a bit in his callups, but excelled in the minors didn’t he?


    • John Nagel

      Tyler Lyons was not eligible for this list because he has thrown over 50 IP this season at the MLB level

  • http://None Bob

    From what I’ve seen of Taveras, I’m not at all enthusiastic about him. I’m very excited about Piscotty’s progress and have the impression that his defense is a great deal better than you imply. Also, I wonder if Mason Katz isn’t really the best 2B prospect in the system for the long term.

    • Johnny

      What doesn’t make you enthusiastic about OT?

      • http://None Bob

        He’s lazy. He shows very little interest in running down fly balls or running out hits. Contrary to what I’ve read elsewhere, he’s not a 5 tool player. His arm and speed are very average.

  • joel

    St Louis can keep Beltran, let be real the only player that stay consistent all was Carlos, Reasons why Cards can benefits from Beltran, 1) Veteran 2)Clutch looking games that Cards win was by his offense 3) cards can afford to have Craig on the DL so he will be the regular 1b,
    Now if they are going to let Beltran walk because Adams offense is a huge mistake, people just look the HRs on the stats, but look his # of K with half of Beltran and Holliday PA he is getting have being a easy out for pitcher like Kershaw Liriano, Bailey. So u want Adams as a regular or a proved veteran that have more HR than the young guys for to straight yr.

  • Charlie

    No love for Mike O’Neill.

    What does the little guy have to do to get some respect?

    • John Nagel

      O’Neill is an interesting player. He is a corner outfielder with below average range and arm, little to no power and average speed. He is not an everyday player. There is something to be said for his ability to get on base, and I could see him getting a Sept ’14 call up. Also he will turn 26 in February, ancient for a prospect.

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