Let me start by apologizing for my lack of writing. Work keeps me at my busiest during the early and late part of the seasons and really only allows me to blog during the dog days as well as the postseason.
Anyways, for my top 7 prospect lists, I’m defining a “prospect” as a player that has yet to make their Major League debut. As a newbie to the prospect world, I may not be as knowledgeable as I should be, but here it goes:
Honorable Mention: Jack Flaherty, Magneuris Sierra, Breyvic Valera
Notes: I’m not big on ranking low minors guys high on prospect lists. It is so hard to guess what a players future might be playing at a level like that, hence listing Flaherty and Sierra here. I’m a huge Valera fan, he is a great contact hitter, but playing 2nd base and possessing absolutely no pop leaves him just outside the top
- Tim Cooney LHP – Cooney is the definition of a solid, but not special prospect. I was extremely impressed with Cooney’s control and fastball life when I had the opportunity to watch him. However, just being on this list worries me with Cooney. The Cardinals have not been shy about cycling pitchers to the big leagues, but Cooney hasn’t made it yet. Marco Gonzales and Nick Greenwood are a couple of lefties that got the call before Cooney this year, concerning.
- Stephen Piscotty OF – Widely considered the top prospect in the system, I’m admittedly low on Piscotty. I must be missing the hype. Piscotty is an average defender in right field, with a plus arm. It’s supposed to be the bat that plays for the converted 3rd baseman, but Piscotty had a disappointing year at the plate for AAA Memphis. The .355 OBP is playable, for a .288 average with only a .406 slugging isn’t where it needs to be for a corner outfielder. If Piscotty isn’t going to hit the ball over the fence (9 home runs) he will need more than the 32 doubles he posted this year. A right handed Matt Carpenter, with fewer walks, seems like a decent comparison.
- Rowan Wick OF – Wick burst on the scene by breaking the State College home run record (14) in only 119 AB’s. Wick slashed .378/.475/.815 for an INSANE 1.29 OPS. That drastically dropped to .220/.291/.433 when Wick got the call to Peoria. The power was still on display for the 21 year old outfielder though, posting 8 doubles, 2 triples, and 6 home runs in 141 AB’s. The knock on Wick is the inability to make contact. 91 K’s in 260 AB’s is glaring. When making my list, I just couldn’t ignore Wick’s power in an organization that desperately lacks it.
- Mason Katz 2B – An even bigger shock than ranking Piscotty 6th, is ranking Katz 4th. I’ll tell you know that I have Katz rated as the best position prospect in the Cardinals system. Katz does two things incredibly well; he gets on base, and hits the ball over the fence. Katz is 24 and still hasn’t made it past A Peoria yet, which is startling. On the other hand, he plays 2nd base and slugged .436 this year w/ 20 bombs. While only hitting .237, Katz managed to get on base at a .321 clip so I’m not as worried about the lack of average.
- Luke Weaver SP – Bring on the pitchers! Despite calling up Wacha, Miller, Martinez, Rosenthal, Gonzales, etc, Weaver is the second of four pitchers on this list. There isn’t much to talk about statistically with Weaver given that he only has 9.1 professional innings under his belt. The 2014 first round pick is expected to take a Wacha/Gonzales type fast track to the major leagues, and we should all be excited to see another young top arm in the system.
- Alex Reyes SP – Electric is the first word that comes to mind with Reyes. Reyes struck out 137, yes 137, in just 109.1 innings at Peoria this year. Reyes mid 90’s velocity is a huge plus for an arm just barely 20 years old. Reyes also possesses a devastating breaking pitch. The only step left for this kid is to harness his control. 61 BB in 109.1 is just far too many. Even if Reyes has to sacrifice a few K’s to reduce the walks, his talent will play.
- Rob Kaminsky SP – I’ll make this short and sweet. Kaminsky is young (20), left handed, possesses good velocity, good off speed stuff, good control, and impressive stats (1.88 ERA in A this year). Mix all that together, and you have the Cardinals top prospect.