All posts by The Cardinal Nation staff

The Cardinal Nation’s Team Recaps and Top Players of 2019

photo: Andrew Knizner (Frank Ramirez/The Cardinal Nation)

Continuing our 14-year tradition, the staff of The Cardinal Nation will share our recaps of the just-completed season at each level of the St. Louis Cardinals system, including the major league club. We will also crown three award winners for each team – The Cardinal Nation Minor League Starting Pitchers, Relievers and Players of the Year.

We will unveil our selections, one team recap or award per day, every day, beginning on Monday, September 16, and continuing into early November. Club recaps are first, then the Dominican Summer League (DSL) Red Reliever of the Year and all the way through the Memphis Redbirds Player of the Year.

Several special awards will be added and of course, our top selections for the entire Cardinals minor league system for 2019 as well as the best-performing rookies follow. The minor league section of the series will conclude with our choice as the top manager in the organization before we break down the big-league club’s top players and regular season and post-season results, if applicable.

Those at the keyboard are our team of locally-based reporters – covering every Cardinals minor league affiliate first-hand – as they select the very best of the best at each level and overall, from over 300 players.

They include Frank Ramirez (Memphis), Derek Shore (Springfield), Blake Newberry (Palm Beach), Satchel Perlowski (Peoria), Nick Mazone (State College), Cole Sams (Johnson City) and Paul Ivice (Gulf Coast League). Veteran TCN analyst Leonda Markee will recap 2019 for the two DSL clubs.

Note: While the team reports and all winning names will be made available to everyone as this master article is updated daily, the detailed commentary behind most of the player awards in this series will be exclusively for The Cardinal Nation members. All major league articles will again be free for all.

This 49-article series will include analysis from our local reporters as well as comments by scouts, Cardinals players, coaches and executives. We explain what tradeoffs were made and what we saw in the best players to take the field at each level of the Cardinals system during the 2019 season.

Again, we begin the process with a daily series recapping each minor league club’s 2019 season in depth, looking at records, injuries, player movement, key stats and much more. Once they are published, you can click on the highlighted team names below to read those articles if you missed them the first time.

2019 The Cardinal Nation/Scout.com Award Winners/Schedule

Minor League System
Free articles Member articles Member articles Member articles
2019 Team Recaps Top Relief Pitcher Top Starting Pitcher Top Position Player
Dominican Red (Rk)  Luis Garcia Angel Cuenca Diowill Burgos
Dominican Blue (Rk) Victor Villanueva Gustavo J. Rodriguez Darlin Moquete
Gulf Coast (Rk) Connor Coward Ludwin Jimenez Patrick Romeri
Johnson City (SS-R) Will Guay Michael YaSenka Chandler Redmond
State College (SS-A) Jack Ralston Enmanuel Solano Pedro Pages
Peoria (A) Edgar Escobar Kyle Leahy Brady Whalen
Palm Beach (A+) Ramon Santos Alex FaGalde Justin Toerner
Springfield (AA) Kodi Whitley Angel Rondon Dylan Carlson
Memphis (AAA) Chasen Shreve Daniel Ponce de Leon Randy Arozarena
Minor League System
Member articles Member articles Member articles Member articles
Top System Players Top Relief Pitcher Top Starting Pitcher Top Position Player
Rookies of the Year Jack Ralston Michael YaSenka Chandler Redmond
Players of the Year Junior Fernandez Angel Rondon Randy Arozarena
Emerging Players of the Year Wilfredo Pereira Ivan Herrera
Comeback Player of the Year Alvaro Seijas Juan Yepez
Manager of the Year Roberto Espinoza
St. Louis
Free articles Free articles Free articles Free articles
Top Players Rookie of the Year
Tommy Edman
Top Relief Pitcher Top Starting Pitcher Top Position Player
Giovanny Gallegos Jack Flaherty Kolten Wong
StL Team Recaps
Regular Season
Regular season by the Numbers
Post-season

Click on the player name highlighted in the table above to be taken to that detailed article. In addition, select each team name to read the 2019 overall summary for that level.

Then, join the daily discussion at The Cardinal Nation’s free message board, as each selection is unveiled.

If you ever forget the location of this article, you can always use the permanent link on The Cardinal Nation homepage. Underneath the site logo in the left column, click on “Season Recaps/Top Players”, and select the year.

Our annual Cardinals Top 50 Prospect Ranking countdown will begin in late November after this series concludes. Please remember that the two processes are separate and distinct.

This effort is to recognize the top performances on the field in 2019, whether or not the players are projected to have a major league future down the road. In other words, this is all about current year results at the assigned level of play, not future potential.


Not yet a member?

Join The Cardinal Nation for the most comprehensive coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals from the majors through the entire minor league system.

© 2019 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Cardinals Announce Contract Extensions for Mozeliak, Girsch and Shildt

photo: Michael Girsch, Bill DeWitt Jr., Mike Shildt, John Mozeliak (Jeff Curry/Imagn)

The St. Louis Cardinals made several announcements today (Tuesday, November 5) during an afternoon press conference at Busch Stadium, including contract extensions for President Of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak, Vice President & General Manager Michael Girsch and Manager Mike Shildt.

“Mo and his staff have helped to consistently guide our organization over the past 12 seasons, and after some recent close finishes, we were excited to see the team win the N.L. Central this season, and advance to the League Championship Series,” stated Cardinals’ Chairman Bill DeWitt, Jr.  “I’m pleased to announce today that Mo has agreed to continue to the lead our baseball operations into the next decade.”

Mozeliak, who joined the Cardinals organization in 1995, served as Senior Vice President & General Manager from October of 2007 to June of 2017, when he was promoted to the newly–created position of President of Baseball Operations.  The Cardinals have advanced to the postseason in seven of their 12 seasons under Mozeliak, including two N.L. Championships and a World Series title in 2011.  The Cardinals 73 postseason games during Mozeliak’s tenure are 2nd most in the majors, trailing only the Dodgers (82).

“I’m personally excited to remain with the Cardinals organization and thrilled to continue to lead our baseball operations group,’ stated Mozeliak.  “We will continue to explore all avenues to make sure the Cardinals remain at the forefront as our Game continues to evolve.”

Girsch, who was named V.P. & General Manager in June of 2017, and has been a member of the Cardinals organization since 2006, oversaw the team’s first division title since 2015 this past season.

Shildt, named yesterday as a finalist for this BBWAA N.L. Manager of the Year Award, guided the team to a share of its 12th N.L. Central title in his first full season at the helm, overseeing a transformation of the team’s defense with record-setting performances, as the Cardinals became the first Major League team in history to go from worst to first in errors in back-to-back seasons.  The Cardinals are 132-99 (.571 winning pct.) under Shildt since he was named interim manager on July 15, 2018.  His new three-year contract extends thru the 2022 season.

The Cardinals also announced today that the entire Major League coaching staff will return in 2020; Hitting Coach Jeff Albert, First Base Coach Stubby Clapp, Bullpen Coach Bryan Eversgerd, Assistant Hitting Coach Jobel Jimenez, Pitching Coach Mike Maddux, Bench Coach Oliver Marmol, Coach Willie McGee and Third Base Coach Ron “Pop” Warner.

The team also announced a number of promotions within their Baseball Operations staff today:

  • Jeremy Cohen – Senior Director, Baseball Development;
  • Kevin Seats – Baseball Analytics Director;
  • Patrick Casanta – Systems Director;
  • Matt Bayer – Project Director;
  • Javier Duran – Coordinator, Technology & Innovation;
  • Tyler Hadzinsky – Assistant Director of Scouting

In their words


Updates

Mozeliak is under contract through 2023, with Girsch and Shildt to be paid through 2022. The team tore up the final year of Shildt’s old contract with the new one covering the next three years.

In a November 25 chat, Derrick Goold also disclosed that the contract of scouting director Randy Flores has been extended through at least 2021 and other front office members have received extensions, as well.


For more

Join the contract extension discussion (and other Cardinals-related topics) at The Cardinal Nation’s free forum.


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

TCN’s 2019 Cardinals Emerging Pitcher of the Year


Not yet a member?

Join The Cardinal Nation for the most comprehensive coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals from the majors through the entire minor league system.

© 2019 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Simmons Gets Another Chance at Hall of Fame

photo: Ted Simmons (Getty Images)

Baseball Hall of Fame press release

Nine former big league players and one executive comprise the 10-name Modern Baseball Era ballot to be reviewed and voted upon Dec. 8 at the Baseball Winter Meetings in San Diego, the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum announced today.

Ted Simmons, 1972 (Getty Images)

Dwight Evans, Steve Garvey, Tommy John, Don Mattingly, Marvin Miller, Thurman Munson, Dale Murphy, Dave Parker, Ted Simmons and Lou Whitaker are the candidates the Modern Baseball Era Committee will consider for Hall of Fame election for the Class of 2020. All candidates are former players except for Miller, who was the head of the Major League Baseball Players Association from 1966-82. All candidates except for Miller and Munson are living.

The results of the Modern Baseball Era Committee vote will be announced live on MLB Network’s “MLB Tonight” at 8 p.m. ET on Sunday, Dec. 8.

Any candidate who receives votes on 75 percent of the ballots cast by the 16-member Modern Baseball Era Committee will earn election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and will be inducted in Cooperstown on July 26, 2020, along with any electees who emerge from the 2020 Baseball Writers’ Association of America election, to be announced on Jan. 21, 2020.

The Modern Baseball Era is one of four Era Committees, each of which provide an avenue for Hall of Fame consideration to managers, umpires and executives, as well as players retired for more than 15 seasons.

The 10 Modern Baseball Era finalists were selected by the BBWAA-appointed Historical Overview Committee from all eligible candidates among managers, umpires, executives and players whose most significant career impact was realized during the time period from 1970 through 1987. Eligible candidates include: Players who played in at least 10 major league seasons and have been retired for 15 or more seasons; and managers, umpires and executives with 10 or more years in baseball. All active executives age 70 or older may have their careers reviewed as part of the Era Committee balloting process, regardless of the position they hold in an organization, and regardless of whether their body of work has been completed. All candidates must not be on Baseball’s Ineligible List.

The Modern Baseball Era ballot was determined this fall by the Historical Overview Committee, comprised of 11 veteran historians: Bob Elliott (formerly Toronto Sun); Jim Henneman (formerly Baltimore Sun); Rick Hummel (St. Louis Post-Dispatch); Steve Hirdt (formerly Elias Sports Bureau); Bill Madden (formerly New York Daily News); Jack O’Connell (BBWAA); Jim Reeves (formerly Fort Worth Star-Telegram); Tracy Ringolsby (MLB.com); Glenn Schwarz (formerly San Francisco Chronicle); Dave van Dyck (formerly Chicago Tribune); and Mark Whicker (Los Angeles News Group).

The 16-member Hall of Fame Board-appointed electorate charged with the review of the Modern Baseball Era ballot will be announced later this fall. The Modern Baseball Era electorate will meet to discuss and review the candidacies of the 10 finalists as part of Baseball’s Winter Meetings on Dec. 8 in San Diego.

The Modern Baseball Era Committee meets twice in any five-year period, with the next meeting scheduled for the fall of 2022.

The 10 candidates for Modern Baseball Era consideration for the Class of 2020:

  • Dwight Evans played 19 seasons with the Red Sox and one with the Orioles, totaling 385 home runs and 1,384 RBI at the plate while winning eight Gold Glove Awards in right field. A three-time All-Star and two-time Silver Slugger Award winner, Evans posted a .370 career on-base percentage and is one of only 34 players all-time with at least 1,300 runs scored, 1,300 RBI and 1,300 walks.
  • Steve Garvey compiled a .294 career average over 19 major league seasons with the Dodgers and Padres, amassing 2,599 hits, 272 home runs, 1,308 RBI and 10 All-Star Game selections. He hit .338 with 11 home runs and 31 RBI in 11 postseason series, was named the 1978 and 1984 NLCS MVP and won the 1981 Roberto Clemente Award.  The 1974 NL Most Valuable Player, Garvey won four Gold Glove Awards and played in an NL record 1,207 straight games at first base.
  • Tommy John pitched 26 seasons for the Indians, White Sox, Dodgers, Yankees, Angels and A’s, finishing his career after the 1989 season with a record of 288-231 and 3.34 ERA. His 700 career starts rank eighth on the all-time list and his 4,710.1 innings rank 20th all-time. A four-time All-Star Game selection – three of which came following his groundbreaking elbow surgery in 1974 – John won the 1976 Hutch Award and 1981 Lou Gehrig Memorial Award.
  • Don Mattingly played 14 seasons for the Yankees, batting .307 with 222 home runs and 2,153 hits. A six-time All-Star and nine-time Gold Glove Award winner at first base, Mattingly led the American League in total bases in both 1985 and 1986, won the 1984 AL batting title, captured three Silver Slugger Awards and was named the 1985 AL Most Valuable Player.
  • Marvin Miller was elected as the head of the Major League Baseball Players Association in 1966 and quickly turned the union into a powerhouse. Within a decade of being named head of the union, Miller had secured free agency for the players. By the time he retired in 1982, the average player salary was approximately 10 times what it was when he took over.
  • Thurman Munson played for 11 seasons with the Yankees, winning the American League Rookie of the Year Award in 1970 and the American League Most Valuable Player Award in 1976. A seven-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glove Award winner, Munson is one of only two catchers in history with three consecutive seasons with at least a .300 batting average, 180 hits and 100 RBI.
  • Dale Murphy played 18 seasons with the Braves, Phillies and Rockies, winning back-to-back National League Most Valuable Player Awards in 1982 and 1983. A seven-time All-Star, Murphy won five Gold Glove Awards and four Silver Slugger Awards in center field. Murphy finished his career with 398 home runs and 1,266 RBI.
  • Dave Parker compiled a .290 career average over 19 major league seasons with six teams, including 11 years in Pittsburgh and four years in Cincinnati, and amassed 339 home runs, 1,493 RBI and two batting titles (1977-78). The 1978 NL Most Valuable Player was named to seven All-Star games and won three Gold Glove Awards in right field.
  • Ted Simmons played for 21 seasons, totaling a .285 batting average, 2,472 hits, 483 doubles, 248 home runs and 1,389 RBI primarily as a catcher for the Cardinals, Brewers and Braves. An eight-time All-Star, he garnered MVP votes seven times in his career and finished among his league’s top 10 players in batting average six times.
  • Lou Whitaker played 19 seasons, all with the Tigers, compiling 2,369 hits, 244 home runs and 1,197 walks. A five-time All-Star and four-time Silver Slugger Award winner, Whitaker won three Gold Glove Awards for his play at second base. The 1978 American League Rookie of the Year, Whitaker never played a game in the field at any position other than second base.

More information on each candidate is available by visiting baseballhall.org/modern-baseball-era-ballot-2020.

About the Era Committees

The Era Committees consist of four different electorates: Today’s Game (for candidates whose greatest contributions to baseball were realized from 1988 to the present); Modern Baseball (for candidates whose greatest contributions to baseball were realized from 1970 to 1987); Golden Days (for candidates whose greatest contributions to baseball were realized from 1950 to 1969); and Early Baseball (for candidates whose greatest contributions to baseball were realized prior to 1950).

The Today’s Game and Modern Baseball eras are considered twice each in a five-year period, with the Golden Days era considered once every five years and the Early Baseball era considered once every 10 years. The Today’s Game era was considered in the fall of 2018, with Harold Baines and Lee Smith earning Hall of Fame election.

Eras considered for yearly induction over the next decade are as follows: 2021 – Both Golden Days and Early Baseball; 2022 – Today’s Game; 2023 – Modern Baseball; 2024 – Today’s Game; 2025 – Modern Baseball; 2026 – Golden Days. The Early Baseball era returns for induction consideration in 2031.

Both the ballot and electorate are created anew with each cycle for consideration. The four separate electorates consider by era a single composite ballot of managers, umpires, executives and long-retired players.


For more

Join the Hall of Fame discussion (and other Cardinals-related topics) at The Cardinal Nation’s free forum.


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

TCN’s 2019 Cardinals Comeback Pitcher of the Year


Not yet a member?

Join The Cardinal Nation for the most comprehensive coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals from the majors through the entire minor league system.

© 2019 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Flaherty Repeats as National League Pitcher of the Month

photo: Jack Flaherty (Jeff Curry/Imagn)

St. Louis Cardinals release

Jack Flaherty named the National League Pitcher of the Month for the second consecutive month

Jack Flaherty (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

How did he do it?

  • Registered a 3-1 record with 53 strikeouts and a 0.82 ERA across six starts, while limiting the opposition to 17 hits and eight walks. Permitted just a pair of home runs.
  • Concluded the regular season with 7.0 scoreless innings and six strikeouts against the Chicago Cubs in his start yesterday. Logged four scoreless starts with at least 7.0 innings pitched over the course of his dominant month.
  • In the second half of the season, compiled a 7-2 record with 124 strikeouts, 23 walks and a 0.91 ERA over 99.1 innings pitched and 15 starts. Became the first Major League pitcher since 1915 to record at least 120 strikeouts while posting an ERA of 1.00-or-better in the second half of a season.
  • Finished his breakout campaign with an 11-8 record to go along with 231 strikeouts, 55 walks and a 2.75 ERA. Since 1885, became the third pitcher younger than 24 years old to post a season in which he tallied at least 230 punchouts while permitting 55-or-fewer walks to go along with an ERA of 2.75-or-better, joining Clayton Kershaw (2011) and Mark Prior (2003).

Vote Now for Your 2020 St. Louis Cardinals Top Prospects

With the close of the minor league season, it is time for fans to get off the sidelines and participate in selecting The Cardinal Nation’s St. Louis Cardinals Top 50 Prospect List for 2020.

Our message board community has begun its 14th-annual selection process of the top prospects in the Cardinals minor league system as voted upon by you, our readers.

The process is easy and anyone can participate. Join the discussion on a special thread on The Cardinal Nation’s free message board.

It begins with a community vote for prospect no. 1, which is currently open. Just make a post specifying your choice. After about 36 hours of voting, the player with the simple majority of votes cast will be proclaimed the winner. Balloting for the next prospect follows and so on. To respect everyone’s time, the process keeps moving.

In addition to being the first Cardinals prospect list of its kind, the community voting will again be included in the blended tabulation of the official The Cardinal Nation Top 50 Prospect List for 2020. Its annual roll-out will begin shortly before Thanksgiving and continue into the New Year.

Our top prospect lists back to 2006 can be viewed via links located off The Cardinal Nation’s home page. Underneath the site logo in the left, red menu bar, click on “PROSPECT RANKINGS”.

To current TCN members, thank you very much for your business, but you do not need to be a subscriber to participate in the top prospect voting.


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

Memphis Redbirds Notebook – 2019 Week 22


Not yet a member?

Join The Cardinal Nation for the most comprehensive coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals from the majors through the entire minor league system.

© 2019 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Cardinals Name Garcia, Ponce de Leon System’s Best in August

photo: Daniel Ponce de Leon (Frank Ramirez/The Cardinal Nation)

St. Louis Cardinals press release

The St. Louis Cardinals announced today (Wednesday, September 4) their selections for Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Month for August, with Memphis Redbirds (AAA) outfielder Adolis Garcia and Memphis right-hander Daniel Ponce de Leon taking the honors.

García, 26, clubbed seven of his team-leading 32 home runs in August, while batting .342 (25-for-73)  with 24 runs scored and 19 RBI in 24 games.  The right-handed hitting Garcia finished the 2019 season with a .253 batting mark, ranked 8th in the Pacific Coast League in home runs, 10th in RBI (96) and 8th in runs scored (96).

García, a Cuba native, who was signed by the Cardinals as an international free-agent in February of 2017, led the league in games played with 132.  His 32 round-trippers tied Rick Ankiel (2007) for the 4th most in Memphis franchise single-season history.

Adolis Garcia

Ponce de Leon, 27, fashioned a perfect 4-0 mark with a 0.93 ERA across his five starts during the month of August, striking out 39 in his 29.0 innings pitched.  Ponce de Leon had a pair of 7.0 inning scoreless starts in August and fanned 11 in a 15-0 win at Sacramento on August 9.

Ponce de Leon made a total of 16 starts for Memphis in 2019, going 8-4 with a 2.88 ERA.   A 9th round draft selection by the Cardinals in 2014, Ponce de Leon has also appeared in 11 games (8 starts) for St. Louis this season (1-2, 4.03 ERA).

Daniel Ponce de Leon

García and Ponce de Leon helped fuel an impressive turn around by Memphis over their season’s final six weeks, as the Redbirds went 31-12 (.721 win pct.) following a loss on July 17 that had left them with a 38-59 mark.  The back-to-back (2017-18) Pacific Coast League Champions went into their final series of the season with a chance to advance to the postseason, before finishing the year at 69-71 and in 2nd place in the PCL American Northern Division.


TCN’s take

The pair already received The Cardinal Nation’s top honors for the month, so of course, we agree!

Ponce de Leon is The Cardinal Nation August Pitcher of the Month

Adolis Garcia Named TCN’s Cardinals Minors August Player of the Month


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

Connor Jones Builds on a Strong Second Half as a Reliever


For more

To track the 25- and 40-man rosters as well as all players in the system by position and level, check out the Roster Matrix, always free and updated here at The Cardinal Nation. Also included is every player transaction across the full organization all year long.


Not yet a member?

Join The Cardinal Nation for the most comprehensive coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals from the majors through the entire minor league system. Annual members may purchase the new 2019 Prospect Guide PDF for less than half price. In addition, our limited edition printed and bound Guides are $5 off, so get yours today!

© 2019 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Cardinals with Two NL Award Winners and another Outfielder

photo: Jack Flaherty and Yadier Molina (Jeff Curry/Imagn)

The St. Louis Cardinals have the National League Player of the Week, Yadier Molina, the Pitcher of the Month, Jack Flaherty, and added outfielder Randy Arozarena from Triple-A Memphis.


St. Louis Cardinals Media Notes (Tuesday September 3)

MOLINA IS NL PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Yadier Molina was recognized today as National League Player of the Week for the Aug. 26-Sept. 1 period. The 37-year-old catcher slashed .579/.636/1.368 (11-19) with four homers, three doubles, eight RBI, and a 2.005 OPS in six games played.

This is Molina’s first Player of the Week award of his 16-year career and first by a Cardinal since Paul Goldschmidt (July 22-28, 2019).

Yadier Molina

FLAHERTY IS NL PITCHER OF THE MONTH

Jack Flaherty was recognized today as National League Pitcher of the Month of August after going 4-1 with a 0.71 ERA and 47 strikeouts in six starts, while limiting the opposition to 19 hits and nine walks. The 23-year-old right-hander ranked among August NL leaders in wins (4, T1st), ERA (0.71, 1st), innings (38.0, T3rd), strikeouts (47, T3rd), opp. AVG (.145, 2nd), and WHIP (0.74, 1st).

Flaherty is the first Cardinal to win Pitcher of the Month since Adam Wainwright in September 2014.

Jack Flaherty

AROZARENA JOINS ST. LOUIS

Prior to tonight’s game, outfielder Randy Arozarena was recalled from Memphis (AAA) to become the 35th player on the Cardinals active roster. Arozarena, 24, made his Major League debut this season, previously appearing in three games for St. Louis in August.

Randy Arozarena


For more

To track the 25- and 40-man rosters as well as all players in the system by position and level, check out the Roster Matrix, always free and updated here at The Cardinal Nation. Also included is every player transaction across the full organization all year long.


For Members of The Cardinal Nation

State College Spikes Notebook – 2019 Week 11


Not yet a member?

Join The Cardinal Nation for the most comprehensive coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals from the majors through the entire minor league system. Annual members may purchase the new 2019 Prospect Guide PDF for less than half price. In addition, our limited edition printed and bound Guides are $5 off, so get yours today!

© 2019 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

St. Louis Cardinals Announce 2020 Schedule

St. Louis Cardinals press release

The St. Louis Cardinals, in conjunction with Major League Baseball’s league-wide release, today (Monday, August 12) announced their 2020 regular season schedule.  The home opener for the Redbirds is set for Thursday, April 2 against the Baltimore Orioles as part of a seven-game home stand with Baltimore (April 2, 4-5) and the Los Angeles Dodgers (April 6-9).

The Cardinals will open their 2020 season on the road with a three-game series at Cincinnati against the division rival Reds beginning on Thursday, March 26, followed by a three-game series at Milwaukee (March 30-April 1).

Among the key home dates for 2020 are a weekend series visit July 17-19 by the New York Yankees, who will be visiting Busch Stadium for the first time since 2014, a July series with the Brewers over the Independence Day holiday weekend (July 3-5) and a four-game weekend series with the Cubs (July 23-26).   The Cubs will also visit St. Louis for a four-game weekend series September 10-13.

The Cardinals will host the Cubs in London, England for a two-game series June 13-14, the team’s first ever regular season “Home” games outside of St. Louis.  Because of the two-game international London Series, the Cardinals will play 79 games in St. Louis in 2020 with their final home games September 21-23 vs. Milwaukee.

The 2020 season will feature 26 home series and 26 road series, including 13 weekend series at Busch Stadium: April 2, 4-5 vs. Baltimore,  April 24-26 vs. Miami,  May 8-10 vs New York Mets, May 22-24 vs. Arizona, May 29-31 vs. Pittsburgh, June 19-21 vs. Cincinnati, July 3-5 vs. Milwaukee, July 17-19 vs. New York Yankees, July 23-26 vs. Chicago Cubs, August 7-9 vs. Cincinnati, August 14-16 vs. Milwaukee,  August 28-30 vs. Pittsburgh and September 10-13 vs. Chicago Cubs.

The Cardinals 20-game interleague schedule will feature a pair of two-game home-and-home series with in-state rival Kansas City (August 4-5 at Kansas City & September 15-16 at Busch Stadium) and with the Toronto Blue Jays (June 1-2 at Busch Stadium & August 18-19 at Toronto).  In addition, the Cardinals will host three-game home interleague series against the Orioles (April 2, 4-5) and Yankees (July 17-19), and will play three-game road series at Boston (June 26-28) and at Tampa Bay (July 10-12).

The Cardinals are scheduled to play 46 of their 81 home games before the July 13-16 All-Star Break, playing 13 home games in April, 16 in May, 12 in June, 15 in July, 13 in August and 12 in September.  The Cardinals are scheduled to play holiday weekend home games Memorial Day weekend (May 22-24 vs. Arizona) and Independence Day weekend (July 3-5 vs. Milwaukee).

The Cardinals longest home stand of the 2020 season consists of 10 games (July 17-26) with the Yankees (three games), San Francisco Giants (three games) and Chicago Cubs (four games).  Their longest road trips consist of two 10-game trips April 10-19 and July 27-August 5.  Following their return from London, the Cardinals will play 20 consecutive games without a day off from June 16-July 5 (13 home games & seven road games).

The March 26 season opener will be the earliest in franchise history and the April 2 home opener will be the first ever against Baltimore and the first ever for the Cardinals against an American League opponent.

The Cardinals will make future announcements regarding game times, ticket pricing and ticket availability for the 2020 season.  To view the full 2020 regular season schedule, visit cardinals.com.

Link to downloadable one-page schedule

https://content.mlb.com/documents/5/5/4/309912554/2020_schedule.pdf

Goldschmidt Named July National League Player of the Month

photo: Paul Goldschmidt (Billy Hurst/Imagn)

MLB Press Release (extracted)

Paul Goldschmidt (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

First baseman Paul Goldschmidt of the St. Louis Cardinals has been voted the National League Player of the Month for July, and first baseman Yuli Gurriel of the Houston Astros has been named the American League Player of the Month.

Goldschmidt earned his second career monthly award, previously winning in June 2018 while a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Paul is the first Cardinals player to claim the NL Player of the Month Award since his teammate Matt Carpenter in July 2018. It marks the first time since Miguel Cabrera and Freddie Freeman in September 2016 that a pair of first basemen won Players of the Month.

Paul Goldschmidt, St. Louis Cardinals

    • Posted a slash line of .308/.360/.725 with 20 runs scored, 28 hits, five doubles, 11 home runs, 27 RBI and eight walks across 25 games played.
    • Was named NL Player of the Week for the period ending July 28th after matching the franchise record shared by Carpenter and Mark McGwire with a home run in six straight games from July 22nd-27th. The streak was tied for the second-longest by a right-handed hitter in MLB history, trailing only Kevin Mench, who logged a seven-game streak from April 21-28, 2006.
    • During his historic streak, homered in each game of St. Louis’ four-game series against the Pirates.
    • Became the first Cardinals player to homer in every game of a four-game set since Ripper Collins in 1935.
    • Became the second player in franchise history to tally at least 11 home runs and 27 RBI while batting .300-or-better in the month of July, joining Jim Edmonds (2004).

     

  • Others receiving votes for NL Player of the Month included July’s NL Rookie of the Month Keston Hiura (.355, 33 H, 10 2B, 6 HR) and All-Star outfielder Christian Yelich (.352, 5 2B, 7 HR, 18 RBI) of the Milwaukee Brewers; third baseman Eugenio Suárez (.289, 19 R, 12 HR, 23 RBI) of the Cincinnati Reds; and third baseman Josh Donaldson (.264, 10 HR, 27 RBI, .655 SLG) of the Atlanta Braves.

Goldschmidt Named National League Player of the Week

photo: Paul Goldschmidt (Billy Hurst/Imagn)

Paul Goldschmidt (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

Major League Baseball press release (extracted)

First baseman Paul Goldschmidt of the St. Louis Cardinals has been named the W.B. Mason National League Player of the Week (for the period of July 22-28). (Minnesota’s Nelson Cruz is the American League honoree.) The announcements were made earlier today on MLB Network.

Goldschmidt claimed his third career NL Player of the Week Award, most recently doing so last year for the period ending June 19th. Paul is the first Cardinals player this season to accomplish the feat and the first since his teammate Matt Carpenter in 2018 (August 6th).

Goldschmidt highlights:

  • Across seven games played, batted .345 (10-for-29) with nine runs scored, six home runs, 13 RBI, two walks and a .966 slugging percentage.
  • Posted a career-best six-game home run streak from July 22nd-27th, matching the franchise record shared by Carpenter and Mark McGwire. The streak was tied for the second-longest by a right-handed hitter in MLB history, trailing only Kevin Mench, who logged a seven-game streak from April 21-28, 2006.
  • During his historic streak, homered in each game of St. Louis’ four-game series against the Pirates. Became the first Cardinals player to homer in every game of a four-game set since Ripper Collins in 1935.
  • Enters play today with 10 round-trippers thus far in July, which trails only Eugenio Suárez of the Cincinnati Reds for the NL lead. Overall, Goldschmidt is slashing .289/.348/.687 with 19 runs scored, 13 extra-base hits and 26 RBI since the calendar flipped to July.

 

Cardinals Complete 2019 Draft with Final 30 Picks

photo: Connor Lunn (University of Southern California)

By Blake Newberry and Brian Walton

On Wednesday, June 5, the St. Louis Cardinals are making their final 30 selections in the third day of the 2019 First-Year Player Draft, covering rounds 11-40.

Though uninformed observers pay little attention to Day 3 selections, the reality is that many good major leaguers are sourced from these picks. In fact, the Cardinals have been especially successful over the years finding talent in round 11 or later, including former all-star Matt Carpenter, St. Louis’ 13th rounder in 2009.

The Cardinals are required to use a portion of their $6,903,500 pool allocation from rounds 1-10 to cover any Day 3 selections who receive more than $125,000 in signing bonus. This approach was not used in 2018, but had in the five years prior.

For More

Click on each player’s photo to be taken to their player profile page here at The Cardinal Nation, with additional biographical information.

To reference the Cardinals’ new draft class on an ongoing basis, each player will have a profile located on a holding team called “2019 DRAFT UNSIGNED PLAYERS”. This can be accessed at the bottom of the drop-down menu in the red column in the left menu called “ROSTERS/PLAYERS/MOVES” or click here.

St. Louis Cardinals Pick Eight on 2019 Draft Day 2

Cardinals Take Kentucky LHP Zack Thompson in 2019 First Round

As Wednesday progresses from afternoon into evening, this article will be updated as picks are made and information added, so please check back often.


St. Louis’ 2019 Day 3 selections

11th round, 335th overall

RHP Connor Lunn
USC, Junior
6’3”, 215 pounds
Bats; Right
Throws: Right

Connor Lunn

The Cardinals once again dipped into the college pitching pool to begin the third day of the draft.

Lunn began the spring as the closer for the Trojans, but he eventually moved into the starting rotation and became the ace of the staff. He won five of his first six starts and went 7-4 on the year with a 3.69 ERA. He also struck out 79 hitters and walked 23 in his 83 innings of work.

His fastball sits at 89-92 mph as a starter and ticks up to 91-94 as a reliever. The pitch has good natural cut and it plays well at the top of the zone. It stays off of barrels pretty well due to its late cut and played as a plus pitch for Lunn.

Lunn’s breaking ball is tunneled very well which allows it to play better than the quality of the pitch might suggest. Most scouts give his breaking ball an average grade. His control was inconsistent at times last year, which means that he will probably end up in the bullpen.

However, if he can add a little more velocity to his fastball, he could use his two-pitch mix and find success in the professional ranks.


12th round, 365th overall

OF Patrick Romeri
IMG Academy
6’3”, 207 pounds
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Commitment: Villanova

Patrick Romeri

The Cardinals take their second high schooler in the draft, after taking Tre Fletcher in the second round.

Romeri has shown some pop in his bat with an exit velocity of 95 mph off a tee. He is also a good athlete with decent running speed as he recorded a 6.81 second 60-yard dash. He has been clocked throwing as hard as 92 mph from the outfield with a consistent velocity of 88 mph. This kind of arm strength should give him the ability to stick in right field in the future.

Romeri is still very young as he will turn 18 years old next month. Clearly, this was an upside pick by the Cardinals and they will hope to use his natural size to help him develop his power potential and plus arm.

The Florida native also pitched throughout high school. Even though he will not pitch as a professional it demonstrates that he has a strong enough arm to play in the outfield.

In his senior season of high school, Romeri batted .432 with a .467 on-base percentage. He still needs to grow into more power as he only hit 2 home runs, 3 triples, and 6 doubles on the season. Like many high schoolers, he also needs to improve his plate discipline and batter’s eye to be able to improve his on base skills.


13th round, 395th overall

OF Tommy Jew
UC Santa Barbara, Junior
6’1”, 180 pounds
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

Tommy Jew

The Cardinals took an outfielder for the second straight pick, with this one coming from the college ranks.

Jew had a lot of success in summer leagues throughout his collegiate career. He won MVP of the New England Collegiate Baseball League in 2017 and played in the Cape Cod League in 2018.

In the spring he led the Gauchos in home runs with 11, showing a nice uptick in power from the nine combined home runs he hit in his previous two years. He projects to stick in center field as a professional due to his plus speed. He swiped 20 bases in 23 attempts showing a penchant for stealing and using his speed efficiently.

Jew also shows off average arm strength in the outfield, as well as good instincts, leaving hope that he will become a plus defender in center field.

At the beginning of his college career he was more a slap hitter who racked up singles but could not hit for extra bases. However, in his junior year he began to hit the ball with authority. Unfortunately, as his power increased, so did his strikeout rate.

He needs to figure out how to hit for some power without striking out at a high rate to succeed as a hitter. However, if his bat can come around, he shows enough defensive promise to provide value at this pick.


14th round, 425th overall

RHP Tyler Statler
Hononegah High School in Roscoe, Illinois
6’6”, 230 pounds
Bats; Right
Throws: Right
Commitment: Southeast Missouri State

Tyler Statler

The Cardinals dipped into the prep ranks to take a young, projectable high school arm with their 14th round pick.

Statler is big, physical pitcher with some projectability remaining in his frame. He throws from a high ¾ arm slot that creates a nice angle to the plate. He has very good arm strength as his fastball sits around 93-95 mph. However, the pitch comes out very straight and needs to add some movement in order to stay off the barrels of bats.

His go-to secondary offering is a slider. He needs to develop this pitch more as he has a tendency to slow his body and arm down which can cause the pitch to lose most of its movement and deception. He has also shown nice feel for a changeup and that could become a plus pitch for him.

Statler can also struggle with command and that causes him to be more comfortable pitching to his arm side, and not as much to his glove side. This is because he gets very strong hip rotation, but sometimes it is too strong, and he cannot control it. This can cause him to have stretches where he is very wild.

This will be a development project for the Cardinals. He needs to clean up his delivery to throw strikes more consistently, and also needs to develop his off-speed pitches more. However, he does have the potential for three plus. With his strong frame this gives him the potential to be a starting pitcher long term.


15th round, 455th overall

OF David Vinsky
Northwood University, Junior
6’0”, 198 pounds
Bats: Right
Throws: Left

David Vinsky

The Cardinals took another outfielder to replenish their minor league stock by selecting David Vinsky, Northwood University’s first-ever MLB draftee.

Vinsky starred at Northwood from the moment he set foot on campus. Through his first two and a half years, he set school records for hits, batting average, doubles, RBI, and runs. He was a division two all-American and has shown a great hitting ability, although it was against much lesser competition.

Vinsky powered up as a junior, hitting 12 home runs. He had previously hit 12 home runs in his freshman and sophomore years combined. In his collegiate career, the outfielder struck out just 74 times in 675 at bats while taking 80 walks. He needs to work on his plate discipline in order to draw more walks, but he has shown enough hitting ability to avoid large quantities of strikeouts.

This spring was the first time that Vinsky batted below .400, as he hit “only” .367. He also posted a career OBP of .476 and a career slugging of .637.

Vinsky seems to be the kind of productive college player that the Cardinals take in the later rounds of the draft and turn into a productive big leaguer. He just needs to show that he can make the jump from division II baseball to the professional ranks, but he put up all of the numbers that an organization could want to see.


16th round, 485th overall

RHP Thomas Hart
Wakeland High School in Frisco, Texas
6’2”, 180 pounds
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Commitment: Howard Junior College

Thomas Hart

Another prep pitcher fell to the Cardinals with their 16th pick.

Hart has some projection left on his 6’2” frame, as he could stand to add some strength in order to improve his velocity and durability. He has shown feel for two pitches. The first being his fastball which sits at 89-91 and can reach as high as 92 mph. The second is a 70-76 mph curveball.

In his high school career Hart posted an 8-2 record in 30 appearances (21 starts). He struck out 112 batters in 90 innings.

Hart has an athletic frame and works from a ¾ arm slot. His fastball has shown some late life with sink. His main secondary offering also showed some good spin with some sharp, late bite. However, it is shaped more like a slurve than a curveball and he needs to clean up that pitch and show better feel for it. He has shown an ability to throw his fastball anywhere in the zone and uses it well to set up his curve.

He is a very projectable high school arm that the Cardinals minor league coaching staffs will have to work with significantly. He is still very raw and a bit of an unknown. If he adds weight, he could have the potential for two good pitches. However, he will probably need to learn a third pitch just to keep hitters guessing.


17th round, 515th overall

RHP Michael YaSenka
Eastern Illinois University, Junior
6’2”, 205 pounds
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

Michael YaSenka

The Cardinals have continued to heavily target pitching as they took another college arm in the 17th round.

Yasenka made 15 starts for the EIU Panthers this spring, recording a record of 4 wins and 7 losses. He collected 100 strikeouts in 90 2/3 innings as he flashed some swing and miss ability. He needs to refine his command of the strike zone, however, as he finished the season with a 5.56 ERA and 33 walks allowed.

The right-hander began his career at Chesapeake Junior College where he posted below average ERA numbers but struck out hitter to the tune of 14 K/9.

Yasenka also spent two summers with the Rockville Express of the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League. He has a rough season in 2017, posting a 6.62 ERA. However, he fared much better in 2018, posting an ERA of 3.41. He struck out 41 hitters and walked 19 in his 31 2/3 innings of work in 2018.

Clearly, a Cardinals scout saw something that he believes the Cards can work with and is banking on the Cardinals player development system to straighten him out. Hopefully, Yasenka can refine his command and continue to show good swing and miss stuff. If he can do this, he could have the makings of a solid reliever.


18th round, 545th overall

C Aaron Antonini
Middle Tennessee State University, Junior
6’0”, 210 pounds
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

Aaron Antonini

The Cardinals selected their second catcher of the draft in the 18th round.

Antonini showed great durability by starting every game of the season for Middle Tennessee, and all but one behind the plate. He started out the year strong and led the team in almost every major offensive category through the first 30 games of the spring. However, as the season progressed, he began to slump, and his numbers cooled off. He finished the season batting .262 with 8 home runs. This doubled the amount of home runs that he hit in his first two seasons. The native of Venezuela also posted a .443 slugging percentage and tallied 29 walks against 28 strikeouts.

He did fare much better defensively, however. He led the C-USA in baserunners caught stealing with 24. He also received high marks for his leadership from behind the plate.

Antonini seems to be a Cardinals type of catcher – solid defensively, with great leadership and a developing bat. If Antonini could improve his contact abilities and cut down on the strikeouts he could turn into a pretty good glove-first catcher.


19th round, 575th overall

LHP Zarion Sharp
UNC Wilmington, Junior
6’5”, 205 pounds
Bats: Left
Throws: Left

Zarion Sharpe

Once again, the Cardinals followed the college pitching route in hopes of bolstering their minor league depth.

Sharpe showed the ability to pitch out of the bullpen and out of the rotation in his collegiate career. This spring he made 16 appearances and 13 of those were starts. He threw 57.2 innings and compiled a 4.21 ERA, slightly worse than his 3.74 ERA as a sophomore. However, his strikeout rate ticked up as he fanned 61 batters this season, almost matching his total from the previous two years combined when he threw 78 2/3 innings (66 Ks).

This is likely what drew the Cardinals to Sharpe. He still has some room to develop as he could add some more weight to his tall frame. If he is able to do this, he will likely improve his stuff enough to have legitimate swing and miss potential.

He will like to begin his career as a starter but will likely move to the bullpen due to shaky control (3.6 BB/9 as a junior).

Sharpe came on strong late in the season, as he had a stretch where he allowed just one run and struck out 25 hitters over 17 2/3 innings. This stretch showed that he has an unusually high amount of promise for a late round college selection.


20th round, 605th overall

RHP Adrian Mardueno
San Diego State, Junior
5’10”, 170 pounds
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

Adrian Mardueno

Unsurprisingly, the Cardinals stuck with their pitching heavy approach to finish out the first half of the draft.

Similar to the Cardinals fifth round pick Connor Thomas, Mardueno is a pitcher with a slight frame, but impressive production. Mardueno posted a fantastic 1.93 ERA out of the bullpen for the Aztecs. Most of his appearances lasted more than one inning as he threw 65 1/3 innings. He struck out an impressive 75 batters and walked 28. He also held opposing hitters to a .196 batting average.

The California native also impressed in the Alaska Baseball League in the summer. He pitched to a perfect 0.00 ERA over 15 appearances and 19 2/3 innings. He fanned 26 and issues just 5 free passes.

Despite his small stature, Mardueno has shown impressive strikeout numbers, and has been very good at limiting opposing hitters. This is a very good pick this late in the draft.


21st round, 635th overall

LHP Jack Owen
Auburn University, Sophomore
6’2”, 174 pounds
Bats: Left
Throws: Left

Jack Owen

The Cardinals stuck with pitching, selecting a southpaw who has been successful in the Southeastern Conference.

After a rocky freshman season that saw Owen post a 5.97 ERA, the left-hander figured things out as a sophomore. He started eight games and came out of the bullpen in four others pitching himself to a 2.45 ERA in 58 2/3 innings. He also struck out 55 and demonstrated excellent control by walking just 10 batters.

A pitcher with this kind of success in such a major conference is usually not available this late in the draft. The Cardinals did a good job snapping him up in the 21st round. This could turn into an excellent value pick if Owen’ college success translates over to the professional game.

The Cardinals will likely give Owen the chance to become a starter as he has showed excellent control and had success as a starter in college. The Cardinals also need more left-handed starting pitching depth, so this should work in Owen’s favor.

Owen did have to miss some games this season with shoulder pain, so he does come with some injury concern. However, his talent combined with being this late in the draft made this selection too good of an opportunity to pass up.


22nd round, 665th overall

C Zade Richardson
Wabash Valley College, Freshman
6’1”, 205 pounds
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

Zade Richardson

The Cardinals selected their third catcher of the draft, as it is clearly a position that they are focusing on.

Richardson has a similar profile to the other previously selected catchers. His two strongest tools appear to be his power at the plate and his arm strength. He also showed a strong hit tool and decent plate discipline in his one year of junior college ball by hitting .385/.498/.586. He clubbed six home runs on the season, but also connected on 16 doubles. He struck out 28 times in 169 at bats and walked 32 times.

On the defensive side of the game, he threw out 22 of 32 attempted base stealers for a solid 69% caught stealing rate.

Richardson is very much a project for the Cardinals as he has only played one year of college ball at a junior college and is still just 19 years old. As such it will be difficult to grade this pick until we see a couple years of Richardson’s development.


23rd round, 695th overall

3B Brylie Ware
University of Oklahoma, Senior
6’0”, 220 pounds
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

Brylie Ware

The Cardinals waited until the 23rd round to draft their first infielder at a position other than catcher and ended up with a productive Big 12 college player.

The third baseman began his career at Neosho County Community College where he finished as the nation’s leader in home runs (29), RBI (122), and batting average (.589). He also won the first NJCAA triple crown since 1985.

After this success in junior college, he transferred the Oklahoma before his junior year. Wear was a three-year starter for the Sooners and put up good numbers every year. He batted .298 as a sophomore, .331 as a junior, and .300 as a senior. His hit tool looks to be the most advanced part of his offensive game, as he does not hit for much power and only drew a modest number of walks.

The senior hit 6 home runs in his final year on campus, and 12 in his entire career. He also posted more strikeouts than walks in every season, including his senior year when he drew 29 walks and struck out 32 times.

Ware was named Big 12 newcomer of the year in 2017, and Big 12 first team designated hitter. He was also named to the Big 12 second team as a junior.


24th round, 725th overall

RHP Will Guay
Concord University, Senior
6’4”, 220 pounds
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

Will Guay

Guay began his career at Snead State Junior College where he compiled a 5.54 ERA in his two years at the school. He struck out 64 batters and walked 70 in his 79 2/3 career innings.

After this rough stint in the Junior College ranks, Guay transferred to Concord where he struggled as a junior but broke out in his senior year. Guay spent the spring in the starting rotation where he compiled a 3.07 ERA over the span of 70 1/3 innings. He showed good swing and miss potential by striking out 82 batters. The right hander also walked 29 batters which is a little bit high and probably signals that he will be a reliever in the future.

He was significantly improved in 2019 as he pitched to the tune of an ugly 6.52 ERA in 2018, his first year at concord.

In the summer of 2018 Guay pitched for two teams in the Valley Baseball Summer League. While there, he struck out. 32 batters in 31 innings and recorded a mosdest 4.35 ERA while walking 19.

In 2019 he received All-Mountain East Conference First Team honors and Division 2 All-Region Second Team honors.

When looking at his history, it is clear that he broke out in 2019 and apparently the Cardinals would like to see if he can continue that breakout in their organization.


25th round, 755th overall

RHP Alexander McFarlane
Habersham Central High School, Mt. Airy, Georgia
6’3”, 173 pounds
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Commitment: University of Miami (FL)

Alexander McFarlane

This is a pick with a major signability question. Most high school players, especially ones committed to top colleges, will not sign this late, so the Cardinals might need to hand over some extra money to convince McFarlane to forego his commitment.

If McFarlane ends up signing with the Cardinals, then they are getting a raw prospect with very good potential. He has yet to turn 18 years old, and there is plenty of projectability left in his 6’3” frame.

He throws from a ¾ arm slot with a fastball that can top out at 94 mph, but usually hovers in the low 90s. The fastball has some occasional cutting action when he throws it well, but other times it has a dangerous tendency to stay straight.

His main secondary pitch is an above-average slider with late break that sits at 77-80 mph. He has also shown decent feel for a big, sweeping curveball with occasional tight spin. However, the pitch still needs plenty of development. He also throws a fringy changeup, but it is not a great pitch as he is unable to repeat his arm action very often.

He can struggle with control at times, but he has a very athletic build that should allow him to repeat his delivery more often as he develops. Once he develops his body and learns to repeat his delivery, he could have 3 or 4 plus pitches and the ability to pitch out of the rotation

It is unlikely that McFarlane will sign, but if he does, the Cardinals made a selection that could pay off in the distant future.


26th round, 785th overall

RHP Jeremy Randolph
University of Alabama, Graduate Student
5’11”, 210 pounds
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

Jeremy Randolph

Yet another college pitcher has been selected by the Cardinals.

Randolph pitched out of the Alabama bullpen in the spring and proved himself to be a valuable asset for the Crimson Tide. He finished the year with a 3.49 ERA and also struck out 50 batters in 38 2/3 innings. Some control issues flared up at times for the right hander, but he clearly has the swing and miss stuff that organizations look for this late in the draft.

Randolph spent the first four years of his college career for Wright State and graduated with a 16-5 record, 5 saves, and a 3.05 ERA. He threw 150 1/3 innings and struck out 129 batters in his time in the Horizon league.

He split his time between the bullpen and the rotation at Wright State and clearly a full time move to the bullpen at Alabama allowed his stuff to play up and led to him striking at hitters at a much higher rate.


27th round, 815th overall

RHP Eric Lex
Santa Clara University, Redshirt Senior
6’2”, 205 pounds
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

Eric Lex

The Cardinals took a flyer on a college pitcher from a small school who broke out in his senior year.

In his final year on campus Lex put up a terrific 1.07 ERA, despite never posting an ERA lower than 4.48. 2019 was his second full year in the bullpen, and clearly that was a move that helped him. He threw 25 1/3 innings this spring and racked up 32 strikeouts and 8 walks.

Something must have clicked in order for Lex to show such a significant turnaround in his senior year. This is a trait that the Cardinals have targeted in high volumes so far in day three and hopefully, some of these guys pan out.

Video (High school)


28th round, 845th overall

RHP Tyler Peck
Chapman University, Senior
6’1”, 215 pounds
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

Tyler Peck

The Cardinals continue to add to their substantial haul of pitchers in this draft.

After two terrible seasons for Chapman, Peck broke out in his junior year to the tune of a 2.63 ERA He struck out 11.71 batters 9 innings, but also struggled with command as he walked 43. Peck got even better in his senior season and he threw over 100 innings for the first time in his college career (113 2/3). This spring he struck out a whopping 12.27 batters per 9 innings. He also took a step forward with his control by allowing six less walks than the previous year despite throwing for over 38 more innings.

Because of the strides that Peck made in his Senior season he might be given the chance to start at the next level. If he can keep improving his control this could be his long-term home. If he cannot improve his control, he could end up in the bullpen with his ceiling being a high strikeout reliever.


29th round, 875th overall

RHP Scott Politz
Yale University, Senior
6’2”, 205 pounds
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

Scott Politz

Politz has been a consistently solid four-year starting pitcher for Yale University. He has compiled a 3.34 career ERA, and a 3.46 ERA as a senior. He does not put up big strikeout numbers as he has career K/9 rate of 6.43. He does show decent control with a 2.01 BB/9 rate and that should give him the chance to be tried out as a starter in the Cardinals system.

He is not spectacular in any one area of pitching, but he is just an all-around solid pitcher. The one statistic that stands out is 15 complete games in four years. This shows that he has an ability to pitch deep into games without losing effectiveness. It also takes a certain amount of grittiness and tenacity to be able to pitch an entire game. These are clearly traits that Politz has and are traits that the Cardinals value. This is more of a production pick than an upside pick, and Politz should have a high floor and be a pretty quick riser in the early levels of the minors.

Politz seems like the kind of productive, but unspectacular pitcher that the Cardinals have gotten very good at developing and moving through their system.


30th round, 905th overall

RHP Cameron Dulle
University of Missouri, Senior
6’3”, 208 pounds
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

Cameron Dulle

The Cardinals selected a pitcher with an intriguing profile out of their own back yard.

Dulle struggled in limited action in his first two years at Missouri but seemed to put it all together this spring as he compiled an ERA of 1.43. The right hander struck out 43 batters in 37 2/3 innings and gave up just 20 hits on the season. However, he walked amount as many batters (18) as he occasionally struggled to control his pitches.

Dulle had occasional moments of absolute dominance, but then would also have moments where everything abandoned him. The Cardinals need to find some consistency with him and help him overcome his control issues in order to turn him into a solid reliever.


31st round, 935th overall

RHP Dylan Pearce
Oregon State University, Senior
5’9”, 175 pounds

Dylan Pearce

Pearce spent two years in the Oregon State bullpen after transferring from Southwestern Oregon Community College. He received 56 2/3 innings of work this spring which is exactly twice what he received last year. He pitched to a 3.34 ERA while striking out 51 and holding opposing hitters to a .222 batting average. Like most of the pitchers being taken this late in the draft he struggled with control as he conceded 27 free passes.

Before arriving at Oregon state, he played two years in the junior college ranks, earning both first and second team honors. He posted a 2.19 ERA in his freshman year, and 2.66 ERA in his sophomore year. He out 83 batters in 71 innings as a sophomore, flashing swing and miss potential. However, once he transferred to Oregon State and played better competition his strikeouts numbers dropped.

While nothing really pops out about Pearce, is that he put up solid numbers overall at one of the best baseball schools in the country, and that alone is worth a chance at the next level.


32nd round, 965th overall

2B Chandler Redmond
Gardner-Webb University, Senior
6’2”, 230 pounds
Bats: Left
Throws: Right

Chandler Redmond

The Cardinals finally took another infielder, and it is one with positional flexibility as he played both the infield and the outfield for the Bulldogs.

Redmond was a full-time starter fir his last three years of college, and also started 19 games in his freshman year. He has a lot of pop in his bat as he hit 16, 14, and 18 home runs in his last three years respectively. At the end of his senior year he had posted a gaudy .660 slugging percentage. His contact abilities, however, have been inconsistent as he batted .275 in his sophomore year, .229 in his junior year, and .309 in his senior year.

He also improved his plate discipline each year as he drew 12 walks in 2017, 28 walks in 2018, and 33 walks in 2019.  He received roughly the same amount of at bats in each of these years. He also dropped his strikeout total from 57 his sophomore year, and 58 in his junior year, to a much better, but still not great 44 during his senior year. His on base percentage also jumped from .327 as a sophomore to .412 as a junior.

As a hitter there projects to be a decent amount of swing and miss to his game, but if he can counter that by reaching his power potential and continuing to draw walks, he will be a productive hitter. His hit tool remains a question, but there is potential for it to become average.

Defensively, Redmond spent most of his sophomore and junior years playing in the outfield, but he moved to the infield for his senior year. It was not a completely smooth transition as he posted a .954 fielding percentage there, but as he moves into pro ball and gets to focus on being a second baseman that should improve.

This is a good pick in the 32nd round as Redmond has enough power, and has shown enough improvement, to potentially be carried to the majors by his bat.


33rd round, 995th overall

RHP Anthony Green
Jefferson College, Senior
6’4’, 210 pounds
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Commitment: University of Illinois-Springfield

Anthony Green

Anthony Green is an intriguing late round pick as he did not become a full-time pitcher until this spring. He will be a project for the Cardinals player development staff, but the scouting department clearly liked what they saw from him in him in his limited sample size as a pitcher.

As an interesting note this is also the same junior college that Mark Buehrle was drafted from in the 38th round of the 1998 draft.


34th round, 1025th overall

SS Ben Baird
University of Washington, Junior
6’3”, 190 pounds
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Previously drafted: 20th round of the 2016 draft (Indians)

Ben Baird

Ben Baird has an interesting profile for a college infielder as a player who was drafted in the 20th round out of high school but decided to go to college instead and then became a 34th round pick. The Cardinals may have to give Baird a little extra money to convince him not to return to school for his senior season in an attempt to raise his draft stock.

However, if he does sign, he will be an interesting player to watch. He hit an abysmal .091 in 44 at bats in his freshman year. After becoming a full-time starter in 2018 he still could not hit (.204 BA). However, he raised his batting average to a more respectable .250 this spring. He has shown no pop in his bat, slugging just .310 as a junior. He also struck out 56 times in 171 at bats this spring.

This gives a picture of a struggling college hitter. However, the Cardinals drafted him in hope of finding the former high school star that he was in 2016.

There is very little risk associated with a 34th round pick, but if Ben Baird can remember how to hit then he could return to being the high ceiling player that scouts saw when he was coming out of high school.


35th round, 1055th overall

RHP Logan Hofmann
Colby Community College, Sophomore
5’10”, 185 pounds
Bats: Left
Throws: Right
Commitment: Northwestern State University

Logan Hofmann

In his two years of junior college baseball, one thing has become clear about Logan Hofmann – he knows how to strike people out. He boasted a K/9 of 10.72 as a freshman despite putting up a 4.94 ERA. However, he improved in his sophomore year by raising his strikeout numbers (12.85 K/9) and giving up less hits (92 as a freshman, 70 as a sophomore).

Hofmann worked as a starter and a reliever on both of his years with Colby but became the ace of the staff in his sophomore year. He walked 2.13 batters per 9 innings, showing spotty control occasionally but solid control overall. The Cardinals could start him in the rotation and see how he does; however, he will likely be a little bit of a project and it is far more likely that he will end up in the bullpen.


36th round, 1085th overall

C Kyle Skeels
Coastal Carolina University, Redshirt Junior
6’2”, 250 pounds
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

Kyle Skeels

The Cardinals selected their fourth catcher of the draft; however, this time they will need to convince Skeels to forego his senior year of college in order to secure his signature.

Skeels is a big-bodied catcher who has improved as a hitter every year as a Chanticleer. He batted .319 with 10 home runs this spring after previously hitting 10 homer runs in his entire college career. This power surge was primarily due to the fact that he took over full time catching duties this year. He has maintained a career slugging percentage of .547, demonstrating that he has legitimate over the fence power and a potential plus power tool.

His hit tool has also come on strong after batting over .300 in back-to-back years. He also drew 32 walks and was beaned 18 times in 191 at bats. This gave him a solid .446 OBP. However, there is some swing and miss to his game as he struck out 44 times.

Skeels does not have a strong arm, as he threw out only 17 of 41 attempted base stealers and allowed seven passed balls on the year.

His bat is what will need to carry him, but he will need to cut down on the strikeouts in order to fully unlock his power potential. If the Cardinals determine that his arm is too weak, or his defense is not good enough, then he could probably handle a move to first base and rely on his bat to give him value.


37th round, 1115th overall

CF Chris Newell
Malvern Prep High School, Malvern, Pennsylvania
6’3”, 187 pounds
Bats: Left
Throws: Left
Commitment: University of Virginia

Chris Newell

There is almost no way that Newell will sign will the Cardinals as he is committed to one of the top baseball schools in the country and will likely raise his value significantly in college. However, I will still provide his scouting report.

Newell is an athletic outfielder with strong defensive potential and an emerging bat. He has above-average raw power with quick bat speed and a flyball-oriented swing. He is also an above-average runner which should allow him to stick in centerfield for now.

His arm strength is inconsistent since Newell has been recovering from Tommy John surgery. However, when he is healthy it is average to above-average. Scouts got a good picture of this when they saw him throw in the low 90s off the mound before surgery, even though he is unlikely to continue his pitching career.

The major question with Newell revolves around his hit tool. He is more of a power over hit kind of player right now and needs to make more consistent contact as he has plenty of swing and miss in his game. Most scouts give his hit tool a 45.

Another concern is that he might need to move to a corner outfield spot if he keeps developing as his 6’3” frame can support a lot more weight.

Newell likely would have been drafted earlier but he was expected to be a tough sign.


38th round, 1145th overall

C Kurtis Byrne
Christian Brothers College High School, St. Louis, Missouri
6’1”, 220 pounds
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Commitment: TCU

Kurtis Byrne

Similar to the previous pick, Byrne is likely not going to sign with the Cardinals. However, I will provide a scouting report anyway.

Byrne has s strong, physical build and is already pretty physically mature for his age. He creates very good raw bat speed and has flashed big power. When his swing comes together, he is able to crush the ball. However, he has a hand driven swing and a big hitch and load when he is preparing to swing. He needs to smooth out these aspects of his swing to make it more repeatable and improve his timing.

He can be prone to swings and misses, however his bat is loud and his best tool right now.

Byrne has good arm strength and makes accurate throws from behind the plate. There have been generally positive reviews on his receiving and blocking behind the plate and he has the potential to stick at catcher long term and be a solid overall defender.

He would have also been drafted earlier if not for a strong commitment to TCU.


39th round, 1175th overall

SS T.J. McKenzie
The Benjamin School (HS), North Palm Beach, Florida
6’1, 160 pounds
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Commitment: Vanderbilt

T.J. McKenzie

This is another prep player who will almost certainly not sign with the Cardinals and would have been drafted higher if not for a strong commitment to a top baseball school.

T.J. (or Tyler) McKenzie is a fantastic athlete who should be able to stick at shortstop as he has plus speed and plus defensive ability. He has been clocked at 6.48 seconds while running the 60. The shortstop also shows great range to both sides and can throw from multiple arm angles. He is still developing arm strength, but it should end up as an asset for him.

He generates good bat speed and has an above-average hit tool with developing power. McKenzie has plenty of room for physical growth and is a very exciting prospect who will be a fun player to follow at Vanderbilt next season.


40th round, 1205th overall

SS Cash Rugely
Navarro College, Freshman
6’0”, 180 pounds
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

Cash Rugely

Rugely had a fantastic year as the primary shortstop for Navarro College this spring. He had a slash line of .413/.502/.641/1.144. This is great production, but it also came at a small junior college and Rugely will need to prove that he can make the massive jump from Navarro to professional baseball.

He struck out just 30 times in 184 at bats while also drawing 29 walks. These numbers show a decent level of plate discipline; however, he will need to show that he can lay off of pitches outside the zone when they have more velocity and sharper break.

Rugely showed some pop is his bat with 8 home runs, 14 doubles, and 2 triples and clearly showed a good hit tool by batting over .400. However, all of this came production came at a small junior college, so these numbers are not necessarily indicative of success at the next level. However, this was as good of a pick as any in the 40th round.


Your authors

As noted above, TCN analysts Blake Newberry is writing the player capsules and Brian Walton is filling in the rest.


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

Palm Beach Cardinals Notebook – 2019 Week 9


Not yet a member?

Join The Cardinal Nation for the most comprehensive coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals from the majors through the entire minor league system.


Get TCN’s New 2019 Prospect Guide

Order The Cardinal Nation’s 190-page 2019 Prospect Guide now – available in PDF with a special 50% off deal for annual members and printed book form, now $5 off.

© 2019 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

St. Louis Cardinals Pick Eight on 2019 Draft Day 2

photo: Tony Locey (University of Georgia)

By Blake Newberry and Brian Walton

The second day of the 2019 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, with the St. Louis Cardinals selections being made by AGM/Scouting Director Randy Flores, consists of eight selections in rounds 3-10 on Tuesday, June 4.

Their initial selection is a hard-throwing right-handed pitcher from the University of Georgia, Tony Locey.

Overall, through Day 2, encompassing these eight picks and the two made on Monday, the Cardinals have been allocated $6,903,500, the 22nd-largest signing bonus allocation.

A year after they took nine collegians and two high schoolers through 10 rounds, the Cardinals selected nine college and one prep player in 2019. The big difference is in the pitching count – flipping the script from just three of 11 in 2018 to seven of 10 this June. This appears to be a direct reflection of current system need.

To reference the Cardinals’ new draft class on an ongoing basis, each player will have a profile located on a holding team called “2019 DRAFT UNSIGNED PLAYERS”. This can be accessed at the bottom of the drop-down menu in the red column in the left menu called “ROSTERS/PLAYERS/MOVES” or click here.

Click on each player’s photo to be taken to their player profile page here at The Cardinal Nation, with additional biographical information.

See 2019 Draft Day 1 details here.

Cardinals Take Kentucky LHP Zack Thompson in 2019 First Round

For more

Return to this article at The Cardinal Nation often on Tuesday as information about all St. Louis’ draft picks will be posted shortly after they are made. Same with rounds 11-40, starting at noon ET on Wednesday.

As Tuesday progresses from afternoon into evening, this article will be updated as selections are made and information added, so please check back often. All player capsules are written by The Cardinal Nation analyst Blake Newberry.


St. Louis’ selections – 2019 Draft Day 2

Third round, 96th overall

RHP Tony Locey
University of Georgia, Junior
6’3”, 239 pounds
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

Tony Locey

With their third pick, the Cardinals dipped into the college pitching pool once again, to help replenish their stock of pitching prospects.

Tony Locey is athletic and a very hard thrower. His fastball consistently sits between 92-97 mph and he can carry that velocity deep into games. He struggled with control early in his Georgia career, but things started to come together for him as a junior. He reached double digit strikeout totals in four starts this year and allowed two earned runs or less in 12 of his first 14 games.

Locey’s go-to secondary offering is his slider. It flashes plus at times, with hard, late break, but he can struggle to control it. Once he gets a consistent feel, it will be a plus pitch. He also throws a curveball, but it lags behind his slider in terms of development. It has some shape to it, but he does not have much feel for it. However, it can work primarily to throw hitters off balance, especially when they are gearing up for his high velocity fastball.

Even though Locey is more of a power pitcher than a finesse pitcher, he improved his control this year, with most scouts giving him an average grade. He has a high ¾ arm slot but needs to repeat his delivery more consistently to improve his command.

The right hander will likely be developed as a starter initially in the Cardinals organization. If he can improve his control of his secondary offerings, and especially show more feel for a curveball, he could become a decent major league starter. However, if he gets moved to the bullpen, he could touch 100 mph with his fastball and lean more on his fastball-slider combination to move quickly through the minor league system.

As an interesting note, he pitched in the same starting rotation in high school as University of Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm, who is a likely first round pick in next year’s NFL draft.

The pool amount for this pick is $604,800.


Fourth round, 125th overall

Andre Pallante
University of California Irvine, Junior
6’1”, 203 pounds
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

Andre Pallante

The Cardinals draft strategy is becoming obvious as they select their third college junior pitcher in their first four picks.

Pallante won third team All-America honors as a sophomore at UC Irvine and played for USA Baseball’s collegiate national team last summer. He was the Friday night starter for UC Irvine and put together a solid season.

His fastball routinely sits 90-92 mph but has been clocked as high as 97 mph out of the bullpen. The pitch shows great late life, which allows Pallante to induce a lot of soft contact, even though he does not get too many swings and misses.

His 82-84 mph slider is his main secondary offering with most scouts considering it an above-average pitch. He also throws a below-average curveball and an 80-84 mph changeup that shows some promise. He has also shown an ability to pitch backwards which allows him to keep hitters guessing with a varied usage of his off-speed pitches.

Pallante has proven himself to be a strike-thrower throughout his collegiate career and has a track record of durability. This combined with his ability to throw four pitches gives him potential to be a back end of the rotation starter. However, some scouts are worried that his funky delivery will cause him to struggle with command. He does repeat his delivery fairly well though, so some of this concern could be overstated.

Many scouts believe that he will end up in the bullpen due to his size and delivery, and this would allow for his fastball and slider to play up. However, the Cardinals will most likely start him in the rotation to see if he can develop his other secondary pitches more and make his way up to the majors that way.

The pool amount for this pick is $455,600.


Fifth round, 155th overall

Connor Thomas
Georgia Tech, Junior
5’11”, 173 pounds
Bats: Left
Throws: Left

Connor Thomas

The Cardinals select another college pitcher with a feel for at least three pitches and the chance to develop into a starting pitcher. This pick also bolsters the Cardinals left-handed pitching depth. In five rounds, the team has taken four college pitchers, including two left-handers.

Thomas had a fantastic sophomore season for Georgia Tech in 2018, striking out 106 batters and only walking 10. He had a 6-1 strikeout to walk ratio this year showing his high pitchability and very good command of his entire repertoire of pitches. He has a low velocity fastball that sits in the 86-89 range. However, despite this being a below average pitch, he commands it very well and is capable of hitting his spots and not leaving it over the plate.

Thomas also has a plus slider and an above-average changeup that generates plenty of swings and misses. His mix of pitches is very good, and even though he can be susceptible to giving up hits due to his low velocity fastball, he is still capable of throwing lots of strikes and getting outs due to his plus secondary offerings and plus command. He is a pitcher that relies heavily on deception, but he is very good at it.

Thomas is not very projectable with his slight frame and most scouts believe that he will end up in the bullpen which would allow his fastball to tick up into the 90’s. However, if he can pitch similar to Adam Wainwright this year and mix his pitches and not throw too many fastballs, there is reason to believe that he could not end up in the big-league rotation.

Despite his low fastball velocity, Thomas had a lot of success at Georgia Tech and was a two-time all-ACC selection.

The pool amount for this pick is $340,000.


Sixth round, 185th overall

Pedro Pages
Florida Atlantic University, Junior
6’1”, 234 pounds
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

Pedro Pages

With this pick the Cardinals selected their first position player of the second day of the draft. However, it is a position (catcher) that has a high impact on a pitching staff.

Pages is a big-bodied, high-energy backstop who should have the ability to stick at catcher. He has very good catch and throw skills and has also received high marks for his receiving ability and his leadership behind the plate. He threw out 17 of 25 runners that attempted to steal for a very good 68% caught stealing rate.

Offensively he has good power potential but needs to improve his hit tool. However, Pages has hit over .300 in back-to-back seasons, albeit against lesser college competition. He has also improved his plate discipline and batter’s eye throughout his college career as his walk rate jumped from 7% in 2018 to 16% in the spring.

Ultimately, how much value this pick will have in the future will come down to how much Pages can hit. If he can tap into his hit tool a bit more, then his power will be able to stand out and raise his value.

Pages is also bilingual (he speaks Spanish and English), which will allow for more comfort and better communication with pitchers.

The pool amount for this pick is $261,600.


Seventh round, 215th overall

RHP Jack Ralston
UCLA, Junior
6’6”, 231 pounds
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

Jack Ralston

The Cardinals continued their trend of drafting college arms with the selection of redshirt junior Jack Ralston of UCLA. However, he has a much larger build than the other pitchers selected.

Ralston struggled most of his collegiate career, and in the Cape Cod League, to throw strikes. However, this spring he figured out how to use his 6’6” frame and found a consistent delivery, which led to him throwing more strikes.

He has an explosive, over-the-top, windmill delivery which is a different look for many hitters and makes them feel uncomfortable due to the unique movements of his pitches. Ralston’s fastball sits 91-94 mph and his size gives him the durability to hold onto that velocity deep into games.

His go-to pitch is an overhand curveball with a very high spin rate that makes analytically driven organizations like the Cardinals very excited. The pitch has good depth and travels at 80-82 mph. It draws a lot of swings and misses and is very hard for hitters to square up. This is likely the pitch that will allow him to rise through the organization.

Ralston also throws a fringy changeup that has been pretty effective in college, but some scouts believe that the changeup will not do nearly as well in professional ball.

If he wants to become a starter, he will have to prove that his improved command is real, and that he has three viable pitches. However, at this point it appears that he will become a reliever and will possibly be a fast riser.

Ralston struck out 107 batters in 95 1/3 innings of work this spring, showing the swing-and-miss potential that scouts crave, especially on the second day of the draft.

The pool amount for this pick is $204,800.


Eighth round, 245th overall

RHP Logan Gragg
Oklahoma State University, Junior
6’5”, 199 pounds
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

Logan Gragg

The Cardinals have continued to focus heavily on college pitchers as this draft has progressed, and this pick is no different. However, Gragg is different from the kind that the Cardinals have previously drafted as he is a bit of an upside play who is considered to be more of a project than some of the other pitchers still on the board.

Gragg began his collegiate career at Connors State Junior College in Oklahoma before transferring to Oklahoma State. He needed Tommy John surgery in 2017 and is still a work in progress since the surgery.

He served as a swingman for Oklahoma State last year as he both started and came out of the bullpen. His fastball is consistently in the low 90s and can get as high at 96 mph. He has an inconsistent breaking ball that can act like a slurve at times, but flashes plus. He also has a solid changeup that he used pretty well last year for OSU.

However, Gragg’s biggest flaw is that he does not throw a lot of strikes. He has a big frame that he still has not figured out how to use and that has led to an inconsistent delivery as well as command issues. He is a project for the Cardinals Player Development staff as they need to help him find that consistent delivery that would help him throw more strikes and turn his breaking ball into a plus pitch. This could be the difference between Gragg being a valuable pick or a miss. If he can get his delivery and command issues figured out, he has the potential to become a solid starter in the Cardinals’ system.

There is some projectability left in his frame that could give him the ability to add some velocity to his fastball and that makes him an intriguing pick.

The pool amount for this pick is $167,800.


Ninth round, 275th overall

OF Todd Lott
University of Louisiana at Lafayette
6’4”, 235 pounds
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

Todd Lott

The Cardinals finally selected their second position player of the day, and similar to the first, Pedro Pages, it is all about the power with Todd Lott.

Lott is full of power potential in his large frame and has even displayed plus-plus raw power in batting practice. However, he has struggled a little bit to turn his BP power into game power as he managed just 18 extra base hits this spring. However, he did hit .332 with a .897 OPS, so he does appear to have an enticing hit tool as well. The right-handed hitter also improved his plate discipline this spring by drawing more walks after he posted a 30-2 strikeout to walk ratio as a sophomore. There is still a decent amount of swing and miss in his game despite these improvements and he needs to cut down on that in order to consistently tap into his considerable raw power.

Lott played first base and some left field in college, and some scouts think he might have to DH because of his below average defensive abilities. However, the Cardinals are a little more optimistic on his defensive abilities and will try to turn him into a professional outfielder. He is also a below average runner so he may be limited to left field duties, while possibly recording some innings at first base.

However, as Jose Martinez has shown, if a player is a good enough hitter then it can be worth it to play him in the outfield even if he is a defensive liability. Lott might need to follow that path.

Ultimately, the success of this pick will come down to how much Lott can hit, and how often he can tap into his plus-plus raw power.

Another interesting tidbit about Lott is that he is the cousin of hall of fame NFL safety Ronnie Lott. One similarity of these two is their propensity to hit either people or baseballs very hard.

The pool amount for this pick is $152,000.


10th round, 305th overall

RHP Jake Sommers
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Senior
6’2”, 190 pounds
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

Jake Sommers

The final pick of the second day followed the established trend followed by the Cardinals – college pitching.

Sommers pitched out of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s rotation in 2018 and struggled to the tune of a 6.53 ERA but following a move to the bullpen in 2019 he was much better. In the spring he compiled a 3.60 ERA in 30 innings. Sommers struck out 37 batters, but also struggled with control as he walked 16. Working in the late innings, he recorded 10 saves.

There might be a little projection left in Sommers 6’2” frame, but for the most part his fastball should be expected to work in the 90-93 mph range, while topping out around 95. His fastball velocity actually improved as the season progressed. This could be due to a number of factors, including a slight mechanical tweak, or simply settling into a bullpen role and becoming more familiar with how much he could let loose.

Sommers has a max effort delivery which means he could continue to struggle with his control, so his delivery might need a little more refinement in order to avoid high amounts of walks in the future. His main secondary pitch is a slider which is inconsistent but could become plus with more refinement. It appears that he may remain a reliever in the professional ranks.

Sommers showed a significant statistical improvement in his four years in college. His 3.60 ERA in his senior year was the first time that his ERA ended below 5.48 and his 11.1 K/9 was the first time he finished the season above 8.5.

The pool amount for this pick is $143,600.


Your authors

As noted above, TCN analyst Blake Newberry is writing the player capsules and Brian Walton is filling in the rest.


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

Peoria Chiefs Notebook – 2019 Week 9


Not yet a member?

Join The Cardinal Nation for the most comprehensive coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals from the majors through the entire minor league system.


Get TCN’s New 2019 Prospect Guide

Order The Cardinal Nation’s 190-page 2019 Prospect Guide now – available in PDF with a special 50% off deal for annual members and printed book form, now $5 off.

© 2019 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Cardinals Take Kentucky LHP Zack Thompson in 2019 First Round

(photo: Zack Thompson/University of Kentucky)

By Blake Newberry and Brian Walton

In Day 1 of the 2019 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, the St. Louis Cardinals can only hope to make a selection as strong as 2018’s no. 19 overall selection, Arizona high school third baseman Nolan Gorman, now the consensus no. 1 prospect in the system.

Under Assistant GM/Scouting Director Randy Flores, the club once again has the 19th pick as well as the 58th selection, in Round 2. The 75th overall pick, from Competitive Balance Round B, was traded to Arizona in the Paul Goldschmidt acquisition.

First up was left-hander pitcher Zack Thompson from the University of Kentucky, taken 19th overall.

Overall in Day 1, encompassing these first two picks, the Cardinals have been allocated $4,573,300 in bonus pool money. Their total through round 10 is $6,903,500, the 22nd-largest allocation.

Rounds 3-10 will occur starting at 1:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday and rounds 11-40 will be completed beginning at noon ET on Wednesday.

To reference the Cardinals’ new draft class on an ongoing basis, each player will have a profile located on a holding team called “2019 DRAFT UNSIGNED PLAYERS”. This can be accessed at the bottom of the drop-down menu in the red column in the left menu called “ROSTERS/PLAYERS/MOVES” or click here.

Click on players’ photos to be taken to their player profile page here at The Cardinal Nation, with additional biographical information.


St. Louis’ selections – 2019 Draft day 1

First round, 19th overall

LHP Zack Thompson
University of Kentucky, Junior
6’2”, 225 pounds
Bats: Left
Throws: Left
Previously Drafted: Tampa Bay Rays 2016 (11th Round)

Zack Thompson

The Cardinals used their first pick to replenish a traditionally strong pitching system which has been depleted in recent years due to trades and promotions.

Thompson features four pitches with a fastball that sits in the 91-92 mph range but can reach as high as 94. Most scouts give this pitch a 55, but will not call it a true plus offering, Where Thompson separates himself is with his secondary offerings. He has shown a 84 mph slider with a high spin rate that gives it plus potential and is a true swing and miss pitch. He occasionally allows it to get loopy which makes it more hittable, but overall it is his go to secondary pitch. He also throws a mid-70s curveball which is still inconsistent. It can range from a fringe pitch to above-average, giving it the potential to be a plus pitch with more refinement. Thompson also throws a changeup, but like most young pitchers, is it not often used. However, when he throws it most scouts grade it out as average.

This four-pitch mix gives the lefty one of the highest upsides among the pitchers in this year’s draft and should allow him to rise quickly through the Cardinals system. He tends to show a lot of emotion on the mound and is as competitive as anyone. Thompson is a fairly athletic pitcher which continues the Cardinals recent trend of drafting and developing athletes on the mound.

Thompson has an injury history which scared some teams off and caused him to fall to the Cardinals at pick 19 despite being either the best or second-best college pitcher, depending on who you ask. He had a sore shoulder that limited him as a high school junior and also nursed a sore elbow that caused him to miss seven starts as a sophomore at Kentucky. This seems to be another case of the Cardinals taking the best player available, and similar to last year (Nolan Gorman) it is one with the talent to be picked higher but dropped.

Despite the injury concerns, Thompson has been dominant on the mound in college. He made an immediate impact as a freshman by striking out 11.6 batters per nine innings. He had a rocky sophomore season because of his elbow problems but returned to pitch in the Cape Cod League and for USA Baseball. He returned with a vengeance in his Junior year by striking out nine or more in nine of his first 11 starts. He also boasted one of the best swing-and-miss rates among this year’s crop of college pitchers, despite pitching in the very talented SEC. Thompson also improved his control with most scouts giving him an average grade, after struggling with walks early in his college career.

Many scouts project him as a back end of the rotation starter, but there could be more potential if he can stay healthy.

The pool amount for this pick is $3,359,000.

Cardinals reaction

“We always enter the draft trying to find someone we feel will have an impact on our Major League team with our first selection,” stated Cardinals’ President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak.  “Zack was someone we identified who could do just that.  We look forward to having him join the St. Louis Cardinals organization.”

“We couldn’t be more thrilled to make the pick,” said Flores. “Zack Thompson is one of those guys when you watch him live, you come away really impressed with his physicality, you come away impressed with his ability to spin the ball, and you truly come away impressed with his guts and grit on the mound.  He’s someone who has improved every year, checks a lot of boxes for us, and we are really happy he was staring at us at (pick) 19.”

Flores discusses his selection of Thompson in further detail.

Thompson’s reaction

The new draftee takes questions from the media Monday night.


Second round, 58th overall

OF Trejyn Fletcher
Deering High School, Portland, Maine
6’2”, 190 pounds
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Commitment: Vanderbilt

Trejyn Fletcher

The Cardinals used their second pick on a toolsy but raw prep outfielder with terrific athleticism.

Fletcher was originally a member of the 2020 draft class, but he reclassified in order to reach Vanderbilt a year earlier, as well as be eligible for the draft a year sooner. This made it very difficult to get a read on exactly how talented Fletcher truly is.

He played high school in Maine, which is not exactly a hotbed for baseball talent. This location made it hard for scouts to see him and to truly gauge his skill as he was playing against lesser competition than other high school prospects. However, what is clear is that he is a plus runner who is capable of explosive, quick-twitch movements, this should provide him the ability to stick in center field, while also giving him good bat speed.

Offensively, Fletcher has plus raw power. This is partially due to his size (6’2”, 200 pounds), but it is also due to his aggressive, pull-happy swing. This can lead to some swing-and-miss and this has led to some scouts concerned that he might not be able to make enough contact. However, he is still very raw and still has some physical maturation left in his body that will give him enough power to justify some contact concerns.

On the defensive side, Fletcher appears to have the ability to become a plus defender in center field. He also has plus arm strength that would allow him to move to a corner outfield spot, especially if his raw power is able to fully develop. In addition, the right-hander showed some potential on the mound with a fastball that can reach 95 mph. However, the Cardinals drafted him as an outfielder and most scouts like his potential as a position player more.

He is committed to play at Vanderbilt, and he is expected to be a tough sign. The Cardinals will likely have to give him an over-slot deal to sign him. This pick also shows a common philosophy to draft a safe, college pitcher followed by a high-upside prep position player that is not as much of a sure thing. It makes sense that the Cardinals would follow this route after Zack Thompson fell to them at 19.

Fletcher is a potential five tool player, but he is still very raw and will need a lot of development before he is ready to face big league pitching. The success of this pick will ultimately come down to the Cardinals player development system, but if everything pans out, Fletcher could have a very impactful big-league career.

The pool amount for this pick is $1,214,300.

Cardinals reaction

Flores talks about the Cardinals’ second-rounder.


Your authors

TCN staff writer Blake Newberry is writing the player capsules with Brian Walton filling in the rest.


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

Fernandez Back on Track Toward St. Louis


Not yet a member?

Join The Cardinal Nation for the most comprehensive coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals from the majors through the entire minor league system.


Get TCN’s New 2019 Prospect Guide

Order The Cardinal Nation’s 190-page 2019 Prospect Guide now – available in PDF with a special 50% off deal for annual members and printed book form, now $5 off.

© 2019 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Rolen, Isringhausen and Cooper to Enter Cardinals Hall of Fame

photo: Scott Rolen, Jason Isringhausen, Mort Cooper (Getty Images)

St. Louis Cardinals press release

In a television special on FOX Sports Midwest this evening (Friday, April 26), the St. Louis Cardinals announced that Scott Rolen, Jason Isringhausen and Mort Cooper will be inducted into the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame presented by Edward Jones on Saturday, August 24, at FOX Sports Midwest Live! in Ballpark Village. This is the sixth induction class since the team dedicated the Cardinals Hall of Fame with an Inaugural Class on Opening Day in 2014. The 2019 Induction Class was selected via a formal voting process, with input from fans and St. Louis baseball experts.

“Selecting the members of the Cardinals Hall of Fame Induction Class has become yet another beloved tradition in our organization,” said Bill DeWitt Jr., Cardinals Chairman and CEO. “We look forward to celebrating the achievements of these remarkable players selected by our fans and our Red Ribbon Committee each August during Induction Weekend.”

Chosen by the fans, Scott Rolen and Jason Isringhausen were the top two vote-getters in the Cardinals Hall of Fame online balloting presented by Edward Jones. The ballot, which also included Cardinals legends Keith Hernandez, Matt Morris, Edgar Renteria and John Tudor, was selected by a Red Ribbon committee of Cardinals baseball experts through a secret ballot process. Cardinals fans cast nearly 75,000 votes over the six-week voting period, the second highest total since the inaugural fan vote in 2014.

In addition to nominating modern players for fan balloting, the Red Ribbon Committee also elected Mort Cooper, a veteran player, for induction using a secret ballot process. Cooper, a right-handed pitcher and MVP award winner, played for the Cardinals from 1938-1945 and anchored the team’s starting rotation during St. Louis’ three consecutive trips to the World Series from 1942 through 1944.

The St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame was established as a way to recognize the exceptional careers and significant achievements of the greatest players in Cardinals history, as well as those who have made exceptional contributions to the organization. To be eligible, players must have played for the Cardinals for at least three seasons and must be retired as a player from Major League Baseball for at least three years. The eligible pool of players is divided into two categories of “modern players” and “veteran players”. If a player retired more than 40 years prior to the induction year, he is classified as a veteran player.

Each member of the Cardinals Hall of Fame is permanently enshrined in the Cardinals Hall of Fame Gallery presented by Edward Jones that is located on the second floor of Cardinals Nation in Ballpark Village, just outside the entrance to the Cardinals Museum. The Hall of Fame Gallery is free and open to the public.

The 2019 Cardinals Induction Class will be formally enshrined at a ceremony on Saturday, August 24, during the 2019 Cardinals Hall of Fame Induction Weekend. Fans can visit cardinals.com/HOF for more information. #CardsHOF

The following is a description of each Inductee’s career as a Cardinal:


Scott Rolen (Getty Images)

Scott Rolen (Modern Era Player — Fan Selection)
Years: 2002 – 2007 .286/.370/.510, 678 H, 421 R, 173 2Bs, 111 HR, 453 RBI (661 Games)

In his five plus seasons with the Cardinals, Scott Rolen dominated the hot corner winning Gold Gloves in 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2006. He was named a National League All-Star in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006, and captured a Silver Slugger award in 2002. In 2004, Rolen slashed .314/.409/.598 with 34 home runs and 124 RBI. His stellar 2004 campaign continued during the postseason with his pennant-clinching, two-run homer off Roger Clemens in the 6th inning of Game 7 of the National League Championship Series vs. Houston. During Busch Stadium II’s final season in 2005, Rolen was voted by Cardinals fans as the third baseman to the All-Busch Stadium team. In 2006, Rolen helped the club to its 10th World Championship, closing out the postseason with a 10-game hitting streak.


Jason Isringhausen (Getty Images)

Jason Isringhausen (Modern Era Player — Fan Selection)
Years: 2002 – 2008 217 Saves, 2.98 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 373 SO, 408.0 IP (401 Games)

Jason Isringhausen spent seven seasons as the Cardinals closer. During his tenure, the Cardinals won the Central Division four times, capturing the pennant in 2004 and 2006 and winning the World Series in 2006. He registered a National League-best 47 saves in 2004, tying Lee Smith’s franchise record, until Trevor Rosenthal saved 48 in 2015. An All-Star in 2005, “Izzy” holds the franchise record for saves with 217 and ranks third among Cardinals relief pitchers with 373 strikeouts. His 401 appearances, all in relief, are the sixth most in club history.


Mort Cooper (Getty Images)

Mort Cooper (Veteran Era Player — Red Ribbon Panel Selection)
Years: 1938 – 1945 105-50, 2.77 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 105 CG, 28 SHO, 1480.1 IP (228 Games)

A big, burly right-hander known for his blazing fastball, Mort Cooper came up through the Cardinals farm system and made his debut at the end of 1938 season with a three-hit, complete game win in Philadelphia. Cooper would go on to anchor the Cardinals pitching staff during the most successful three-year stretch in franchise history (1942-44), winning at least 20 games in each of those years (one of just three players in Cardinals history to achieve such a feat). A two-time All-Star, Mort won the National League Most Valuable Player Award in 1942 after leading the league in wins (22), ERA (1.78) and shutouts (10). A two-time champion, Cooper ranks second in franchise history in World Series games started (6) and innings pitched (45.0).


Cardinals Hall of Fame Members (40)

 Jim Bottomley Jim Edmonds Tony La Russa Stan Musial
Ken Boyer Curt Flood Ray Lankford Branch Rickey
Sam Breadon Bob Forsch Marty Marion Red Schoendienst
Harry Brecheen Frank Frisch Pepper Martin Mike Shannon
Lou Brock Bob Gibson Tim McCarver Ted Simmons
Jack Buck Chick Hafey Willie McGee Enos Slaughter
August A. Busch Jr. Jesse Haines Mark McGwire Ozzie Smith
Chris Carpenter Whitey Herzog Joe Medwick Billy Southworth
Vince Coleman Rogers Hornsby Johnny Mize Bruce Sutter
Dizzy Dean George Kissell Terry Moore Joe Torre
Cardinals Hall of Fame Gallery (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

2019 Cardinals Hall of Fame Red Ribbon Selection Committee (14)

Tom Ackerman, Frank Cusumano, Derrick Goold, Whitey Herzog, Benjamin Hochman, Rick Hummel, Randy Karraker, Martin Kilcoyne, Jenifer Langosch, Tony La Russa, Bernie Miklasz, Joe Ostermeier, Rob Rains and Brian Walton.


Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum

The 8,000-square-foot St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum on the second floor of Cardinals Nation in Ballpark Village celebrates the rich history of baseball in St. Louis and the legacy of one of baseball’s most storied franchises. Since its creation in 2014, the Cardinals Hall of Fame, presented by Edward Jones, has inducted 40 former Cardinal players, coaches and executives. The Cardinals’ museum collection is the largest team-held collection in baseball and is second only to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in terms of size with over 22,000 memorabilia items and hundreds of thousands of archived photos. Fans can learn more about the museum at cardinals.com/museum.


Brian Walton’s take

The Modern Era pair’s scheduled conference call with the media following the announcement Friday evening was eventful. Rolen, who was driving his family to his daughter’s soccer tournament, had to leave the call briefly after being pulled over on the highway for speeding.

Izzy joined the call 13 minutes late amid Rolen’s kidding him for not being able to handle all the numbers needed to get connected.

The two were as gracious as they were jovial as they fielded questions. I include a few of their comments here.

Cardinals 2019 Hall of Fame Class to be announced Friday

photo: St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame Gallery (Brian Walton photo)

FOX Sports Midwest press release

The sixth elected St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame Induction Class will be revealed on FOX Sports Midwest in a 30-minute special on Friday, April 26, at 6 p.m. CT.

FOX Sports Midwest play-by-play announcer Dan McLaughlin hosts the show, joined by Cardinals President Bill DeWitt III.

Fans selected two players for induction from a ballot composed of Keith Hernandez, Jason Isringhausen, Matt Morris, Edgar Renteria, Scott Rolen and John Tudor. In addition, the Red Ribbon Committee elected a veteran player for induction. Independent of this process, the Cardinals organization may also opt to induct an individual who was an important figure in Cardinals history.

The 2019 Cardinals Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony will take place Saturday, Aug. 24, during the Cardinals Hall of Fame Induction Weekend. The enshrinement ceremony will also be televised by FOX Sports Midwest.

2019 Cardinals Hall of Fame Induction Class Announcement
Friday, April 26 on FOX Sports Midwest (times Central)

6 p.m. 2019 Cardinals Hall of Fame Induction Class announcement
6:30 p.m. Cardinals Live pregame show
7:15 p.m. Cincinnati Reds at St. Louis Cardinals
10 p.m. Cardinals Live postgame show

The Cardinal Nation’s Local Minor League Reporters – 2019

With the St. Louis Cardinals four full-season minor league clubs having officially taken the fields for the first time in 2019 this past Thursday evening, April 4, The Cardinal Nation is bringing you along via our local reporting coverage that will continue all season and into the fall.

Every day is Minor League Day here! As we have for well over a decade, TCN remains your one-stop home for St. Louis Cardinals system-wide information – headlined by a team of reporters actually at the games!

Our writers live in the cities where their Cardinals affiliate clubs are located and work as credentialed media at their local ballparks. They share their first-hand insight with members on an immediate basis for breaking news and on a regular schedule for in-depth reports.

No reason to settle for less

Derek Shore

Our 2019 reporters for the Cardinals’ four full-season clubs are experienced reporters and writers – Frank Ramirez for Triple-A Memphis, Derek Shore at Double-A Springfield, Blake Newberry covering A-Advanced Palm Beach and Satchel Perlowski at Class-A Peoria. All except Shore, who also covers prospects with a scouting orientation, are new to the team this year.

Each week, The Cardinal Nation members can read locally-sourced team-centric notebooks. Our reporters will give you the scoop directly from the ballpark on what is happening with their club: player movement, role changes, injuries, who is hot and not and more – far beyond what you can learn from simply reading box scores and following tweets and blog posts.

With the start of full-season ball, weekly eyewitness reports from our minor league correspondents will return on Tuesday, April 9, available exclusively to TCN members on the following schedule.

  • Tuesday: Peoria Chiefs Notebook by Satchel Perlowski
  • Wednesday: Palm Beach Cardinals Notebook by Blake Newberry
  • Thursday: Springfield Cardinals Notebook by Derek Shore
  • Friday: Memphis Redbirds Notebook by Frank Ramirez

There’s more!

Once short-season ball begins in mid-June, our local reporters in State College, Johnson City and in the Gulf Coast League will again kick into gear as well, giving you, the subscriber, unequalled end-to-end first-hand coverage of the Cardinals system here in the US.

Their reports will first appear in late June on this schedule.

  • Saturday: State College Spikes Notebook by Nick Mazone
  • Sunday: Johnson City Cardinals Notebook by Cole Sams
  • Monday: Gulf Coast League Cardinals Notebook by Paul Ivice

Every game recapped each morning

Of course, you don’t have to wait a week to find out what is happening across the organization. Each morning, our minor league notebooks, recapping all the scores and results around the entire Cardinals system, are again being made available to readers.

Written by long-time TCN staffers Leonda Markee and Marilyn Green and joined by respected forum poster Bob Reed, they highlight the previous day’s action and preview the upcoming starting pitchers every morning all season long.

These daily reports are always free.

As player movement and injuries occur, The Cardinal Nation will report on them immediately – not only with the basic information, but also the implications to the players and rosters.

Draft coverage continues

Leading up to and following the June 3-5, 2019 First-Year Player Draft, TCN draft analyst Scott Schook will continue to provide his commentary on the newest Cardinals and those who might be.

Updated prospect rankings

Also back for 2019 will be our popular Monthly Cardinals Prospect List Updates, again exclusively for TCN members. The top risers and fallers in the organization will be analyzed each month during the season, along with the naming of our system-wide Pitchers and Players of the Month.

As always, TCN’s publisher and editor Brian Walton will log extensive travel miles crisscrossing the system this season. It began in January with Instructional League camp and Winter Warm-Up, then spring training and will continue to extended spring training and Palm Beach in a few weeks, to fall ball in the Arizona Fall League and the Cardinals full- and short-season clubs in between!

Get your Cardinals minor league information from the team that sets the standard for end-to-end, first-hand coverage of the entire organization. To read more about The Cardinal Nation’s staff members, click on the box below.

The Cardinal Nation staff

For roster and player information

The team rosters here at The Cardinal Nation are up-to-date. To access them, click on “ROSTERS/PLAYERS/MOVES” located on the red menu bar on the left of the page beneath The Cardinal Nation site logo.

To see the Cardinals’ entire system by level and position on one page along with every player transaction for every club all year long, check out the always-current Roster Matrix at The Cardinal Nation. It has been updated for the regular season and is accessible from the same menu as the team rosters.


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

Cardinals Open 2019 Extended Spring Training with 80 Players


Get TCN’s New 2019 Prospect Guide

Order The Cardinal Nation’s 190-page 2019 Prospect Guide now – available in PDF and printed book form, with a special 50% off deal for annual members.

Not yet a member?

Join The Cardinal Nation for the most comprehensive coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals from the majors through the entire minor league system.

© 2019 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

50 Days, 50 Nights, 50 Cardinals Prospects – 2019

photo: Alex Reyes (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

It is a great pleasure to announce that the unveiling of the 14th annual The Cardinal Nation Top Prospect 50 List will begin on Monday, November 12.

During the period we call “50 Days, 50 Nights, 50 Cardinals Prospects”, a new top St. Louis Cardinals prospect is disclosed each day, starting with number 50 and carrying us to number one on New Year Eve – our top prospect in the St. Louis Cardinals minor league system coming into the 2019 season. We then continue into January with a series of articles analyzing the list from a number of different perspectives.

Who will be number one this year? Will Alex Reyes hold his crown for an unprecedented fourth consecutive year or be unseated by the likes of Dakota Hudson or Tyler O’Neill or perhaps one of the talented newcomers as the new king of the farm system?

As always, following the top 50 countdown will be our annual 10-pack of “best-of”, “just-missed” and in-depth analysis articles. This series will conclude as the arrival of Instructional Camp and Winter Warm-Up signal pitchers and catchers will be reporting in just four more weeks.

As has been the process in recent years, the final ranking representing the site is actually a melding of three individual prospect lists. Our 2018 voters return for another year – TCN owner Brian Walton, reporter Derek Shore and you, the readers.

Since starting just after Labor Day, the members of our free message board community have been conducting voting for their own Cardinals prospect list. This detailed annual ranking involves considerable debate and discussion. The fan voting process has been imitated but never duplicated, as our readers continue to be the some of the most knowledgeable people anywhere when it comes to the players in the Cardinals minor league system.

The Cardinal Nation community ranking is given its customary one-third weighting to yield the countdown order to be unveiled here. The community leader who led the voting process, “PadsFS,” a.k.a. Jeremy Byrd, will also speak for the group in the individual player capsules posted daily. Shore will provide his scouting-oriented commentary on each member of the new top 50 as well as on a handful of others who just missed out.

To follow the countdown, you can either read each new story when posted on our home page every morning or click on the individual players’ names, which will be listed below as they are unveiled. You can also return to this page daily to check the current status of our Top 50 countdown.

As always, readers can join in the debate at The Cardinal Nation’s free message board, where there will be discussion surrounding that day’s entry onto the top prospect list.

To check out the corresponding rankings from each of the past 13 winters, click here, or you can always access them the permanent link in the left column located underneath the site logo called “PROSPECT RANKINGS”.


The Cardinal Nation Top 50 Prospects – 2019

  1. Derian Gonzalez (free)
  2. Chase Pinder 
  3. Casey Meisner 
  4. Jonatan Machado 
  5. Alex Fagalde 
  6. Julio Rodriguez (free)
  7. Jake Walsh 
  8. Dennis Ortega 
  9. Joerlin De Los Santos 
  10. Giovanny Gallegos 
  11. Scott Hurst (free)
  12. Connor Jones 
  13. Conner Greene – claimed off waivers by KC 
  14. Alvaro Seijas 
  15. Junior Fernandez 
  16. Delvin Perez (free)
  17. Patrick Wisdom – traded to Texas 
  18. Ramon Urias 
  19. Leandro Cedeño
  20. Conner Capel 
  21. Seth Elledge (free)
  22. Steven Gingery 
  23. Edmundo Sosa 
  24. Max Schrock 
  25. Evan Mendoza 
  26. Johan Oviedo (free)
  27. Justin Williams 
  28. Ivan Herrera 
  29. (open due to trades)
  30. (open due to trades)
  31. Jhon Torres (free)
  32. Jake Woodford
  33. Tommy Edman 
  34. Evan Kruczynski 
  35. Adolis Garcia 
  36. Luken Baker (free)
  37. Daniel Ponce de Leon 
  38. Griffin Roberts
  39. Randy Arozarena 
  40. Genesis Cabrera
  41. Malcom Nuñez (free)
  42. Lane Thomas 
  43. Dylan Carlson 
  44. Ryan Helsley 
  45. Andrew Knizner 
  46. Tyler O’Neill (free)
  47. Elehuris Montero 
  48. Nolan Gorman 
  49. Dakota Hudson 
  50. Alex Reyes (free)

There’s more!

At the conclusion of the countdown, a 11-part series follows, as we drill down into the details behind the top 50. Most of these articles will be exclusively for TCN members.

We will analyze individual top 50 lists, year-to-year changes and the top additions. The voters highlight their ranked players that did not make the combined top 50 and we unveil our All-Prospect Team – the highest-ranked players at each position. We will take a view behind the numbers, a look back at our best and worst picks from the previous year, the top prospect list cut by level of play, those on the 2018 list who dropped off for 2019 and wrap it up with a potential-only based-list.


Not yet a member of The Cardinal Nation?

Join The Cardinal Nation for the most comprehensive coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals from the majors through the entire minor league system.

That way, you will not miss a word of the most in-depth Cardinals prospect information available anywhere!


The voting process

Here is a bit of insight into the process behind the picks. Earlier this fall, Brian Walton and Derek Shore independently documented their top prospects in the Cardinals minor league system. The Community vote was then folded in.

A weighted score was tabulated, which drove the ranking you will see here. The individual scores will also be shown on the player pages as they are unveiled each day, along with a wealth of additional information on each of the 50 prospects.

To come up with the 50 names, each of us submitted a list of 65 players. This year, there was a high level of general agreement, as 69 prospects were identified by at least one voter, with all members of the top 50 having received at least two votes. Ties were broken by the best individual voter score.

In terms of qualification, all players in the Cardinals minor league system are eligible, including those on the 40-man roster, as long as they have not exhausted their MLB rookie designation of at-bats or innings pitched.

The unparalled depth of coverage of the Cardinals system all year ‘round by The Cardinal Nation means there is much more behind these rankings than just a list of names.

Brian and Derek, who is Springfield-based, ranked based on personal observation as much as possible, and with local reporters in every affiliate city, TCN knows these players well. Brian was out to see the affiliates in person this spring, summer and fall. That included covering instructional camp, spring training, extended spring training, and the Arizona Fall League first-hand. We also received valuable input from coaches, scouts and others in and out of the organization.


Scouting Grades return for 2019

Brian Walton is again grading each prospect on a 2-8 scale, based on their most likely future potential. This mirrors the standard 20-80 scouting scale, while taking a simplified look at ultimate potential, rather than a full detailed, tool-by-tool breakdown. The grades are accompanied by a risk factor, which assesses the likelihood of a player reaching or exceeding his ceiling.

Grades:

8 – Elite talent
7 – All-star
6 – Above average starter, top to mid-rotation starting pitcher, impact reliever
5 – Average starter, #3-5 starting pitcher, closer candidate
4 – Impact bench/bullpen, spot starter
3 – Up and down player
2 – Career minor leaguer

Risk:

Safe – Almost certain to reach ceiling
Low – Strong chance of reaching ceiling
Medium – Some work to become an MLB player
High – More projection than results
Extreme – Highly projectable, small chance of making the majors

Remember that these are point-in-time assessments, which can easily be overachieved (or underachieved) in the future as some players break out and others regress.

© 2019 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

TCN 2019 St. Louis Cardinals Prospect #1 – Alex Reyes

photo: Alex Reyes (Benny Sieu/USA TODAY Sports)

FREE article. The Cardinal Nation’s top 50 prospect countdown for 2019 reaches the top with our first-ever four-year number one prospect, right-handed pitcher Alex Reyes. The questions are similar, but the situation is changing.

2018 rank Pos. DOB Ht. Wt. Bat Thw Signed Round
1 RHS 8 29 94 6-4 230 R R 2012 IFA

Link to Alex Reyes’ player page at The Cardinal Nation, with additional biography and history information.

Alex Reyes

Selected 2018 stats

Tm W L ERA FIP G GS SV IP H R ER BB SO AVG WHIP G/AO BABIP
Peo 1 0 0.00 -0.12 1 1.0 0 5 1 0 0 2 12 0.063 0.60 2.00 0.250
PB 0 0 0.00 0.78 1 1 0 3.1 4 0 0 1 6 0.286 1.50 0.33 0.500
Spr 1 0 0.00 1.23 1 1.0 0 7.2 1 0 0 3 13 0.045 0.52 0.29 0.100
Mem 1 0 0.00 0.46 1 1.0 0 7 1 0 0 1 13 0.048 0.29 0.60 0.111
Total 3 0 0.00 4 4 0 23.0 7 0 0 7 44 0.096 0.61 0.50
STL 0 0 0.00 4.41 1 1 0 4 3 0 0 2 2 0.25 1.25 0.40 0.300

TCN Scouting Grade: 7, Risk: medium (click here to review scales)


Staff comments (individual rankings in parentheses)

Message board community (1): Alex Reyes checked in at #1 during the community vote for the fourth straight year, as he fell exactly one out short of losing his prospect status. He garnered 13 of 16 first-place votes, culminating in a four-year total accumulation of 75% of the first place votes, starting at 50% in 2015.

Last year, Reyes’ injury status was the primary discussion point as many posters were lukewarm on whether he would return from Tommy John surgery to his prior dominant self. Thejager likes Reyes’ upside, which keeps him on top of the prospect list despite the injuries. Bw52 said that he didn’t consider Reyes at all as he can’t stay healthy and you can’t play if you’re always in the training room or doctor’s office. Mudville countered, saying that when Reyes is on, his pitches move in ways that defy the laws of physics. Grenadier1 agreed, noting that Reyes absolutely dominated during his rehab starts to remind everyone of his ceiling, but remains worried about his recovery from the latest injury. – Jeremy Byrd


Derek Shore (1): Even after Tommy John surgery two years ago and season-ending shoulder surgery in 2018, Reyes remains far and away the Cardinals best prospect with the potential to dethrone Carlos Martinez as the organization’s most impactful arm in history who was signed out of Latin America.

Plan and simple, it just comes down to health.

When Reyes is healthy, it is hard to find many pitchers that can match him in terms of pure stuff and upside.

Reyes, who now stands 6-foot-4, 230 pounds, filled out his frame considerably since he signed at 175 pounds, especially in his lower half with tree trunks for legs with a thickish, but athletic looking frame. That gives him the base to become a durable starter who can log 200 or more innings.

Mechanically, he throws from a high three-quarters arm slot, generating electric, plus arm speed. His mechanics are clean overall and he repeats his delivery when he stays under control and doesn’t overthrow.

When he does overthrow, the command profile slips and that causes some effort in his delivery, preventing him from profiling as a true No. 1 starter. The Cardinals coaching staff believes what is needed for him to pitch deeper into games with a more efficient pitch count is to find the right rhythm for his delivery, so that he can repeat it.

Over the course of his 2018 rehab tour, Reyes showed improved efficiency. The 7 ⅔ innings he threw on May 19 was the longest outing of his minor league career.

In fact, Reyes had never pitched into the eighth inning before at any level.

“Just to be able to get that deep in the game was exciting,” Reyes said after that game. “That’s my focus every night. That’s been one of my things throughout my Minor League career, and even in the big leagues, is getting deeper into games.”

At his best, the high-octane right-hander throws very, very, hard with double-plus velocity that makes him an elite prospect. Reyes averages 97 mph on his fastball, working comfortably in the 96-100 mph range with at least one 102 mph reading in the minor leagues.

The heater isn’t straight either, featuring explosive life and he has an ability to sustain the power deep into starts. Perhaps his biggest weakness with the pitch in the past has been his tendency to overthrow it, which can cause his command to waver at times.

Reyes also owns a true power curveball (78-81 mph), a true swing-and-miss hammer breaking pitch that graded out as a 70 offering on the 20-80 scouting scale. It features true 12-6 break with depth, controlled well with his ability to throw it for strikes or bury it down in or below the strike zone to get outs. Reyes can throw it at any point in the count regardless of the handedness of the batter. In the majors, a lot of his strikeouts came off the curve.

To round out his arsenal, Reyes’ changeup (87-88 mph) projects to be a plus pitch, though with less consistency than the other two. The off-speed pitch doesn’t have much movement but is effective due to the absurd velocity separation off his fastball and improved conviction in throwing it.

He also has experimented with a short cutter/slider that will allow him to dominate both sides of the plate and work through a lineup multiple times.

“I got that pitch when I got called up to the big leagues in 2016,” Reyes said. “I have just been able to sharpen it up a little bit.”

With two present plus pitches, one potential plus pitch, and at least average command as a starter, Reyes has the upside of an ace hurler at the top of the rotation – if his stuff comes back and his command improves.

Reyes has gotten noticeably stronger as well, replacing fat with muscle and improving his eating for general fitness.

Looking ahead, Reyes’ next season sets up a lot like this past season: prepped as a starter, ready as a starter entering spring, on a reduced workload during spring, appearing late in the spring and starting the year on the DL or in the minors.


Alex Reyes (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Brian Walton (1): Finally, on the last player in our long countdown, do all three of our voters again come to full agreement on a prospect. It had been a while. Reyes has an unprecedented honor here as our first-ever four-time number one prospect in the Cardinals system. Despite that, there is still a lot to discuss about the New Jersey native who relocated to the Dominican Republic as a teen.

It should go without saying that this a two-edged sword, as the reason many of the top prospects before him did not have a three-peat plus one is that they had established themselves in the major leagues before that point.

On one hand, Reyes is established, but on the other, he is not. He is in the odd position of being just one out short of losing his rookie eligibility despite having made his MLB debut in August 2016. Now 24 years of age, Reyes has actually been among our top seven Cardinals prospects for six years running.

The right-hander was the organization’s co-Pitcher of the Year in 2015 and performed in the Arizona Fall League that year. He was named to the MLB All-Star Futures Game in both 2015 and 2016. In other words, Reyes has been a top prospect for a long time.

Yet because of season-ending injuries in both 2017 (elbow) and 2018 (shoulder), Reyes has accrued over two years of MLB service time. That means he will become arbitration eligible next winter and have just three more seasons after that before becoming eligible for free agency.

But first things first – starting with 2019.

The organization is saying that Reyes is on track to be ready for spring following a season-ending shoulder injury that occurred just four innings into his 2018 St. Louis debut. Reyes was absolutely in the best shape I had ever seen him and had been utterly dominating in his four minor league ramp-up starts, but again had to deal with a major career setback.

His injury was called a “significant strain” to his latissimus dorsi muscle, which attaches to the bone in the back of his right shoulder.

Any time a significant shoulder injury is involved, there is reason for concern.

The most prominent MLB pitcher to have this kind of injury and fully recover is Jake Peavy. The 2007 National League Cy Young Award winner completely tore his lat off the bone in 2010 and underwent a pioneering surgery to reattach it.

After he missed a year, Peavy returned to pitch for six more seasons in the Majors, though not quite at his early-career peak level.

However, Reyes’ injury was not a full tear, as Peavy’s was, creating greater hope that the Cardinal can fully bounce back.

“There was some fraying between the lat, the tendon, and the bone,” general manager Michael Girsch told the Post-Dispatch in early June. “Based on that, he had surgery to reattach the tendon to the bone. The good news is that when they went in, the tendon still was partially frayed, it wasn’t completely torn off, which means there’s good blood flow, which means it’s very optimistic for recovery.”

Even in the best possible scenario, Reyes may not be able to handle a full workload, as was the case in 2018. As a result, the Cardinals could choose to conserve his innings by having him pitch out of the bullpen – though that decision remains in the future. Another factor may be a potentially full rotation backed by a number of other ready candidates pitching without restrictions.

Unless Reyes truly struggles in the spring while remaining healthy, I would not expect him to be optioned out to Memphis. However, a lengthy minor league rehab from St. Louis’ disabled list, again as in 2018, would be a definite possibility at the end of camp if it looks like more time to ramp up is needed.

One thing is for sure, however. Reyes will not be our number one prospect for a fifth time in 2020. His prospect grade falls from “8” or elite talent, to “7”, all-star potential, with his risk of achieving it understandably increasing from “low” to “medium.”

That is the opposite trend of most prospects on the cusp of major league stardom, but Reyes has already shown he is different from the others. Now, he needs to deliver prolonged major league success to finally realize that potential – if his body will cooperate.

Link to Reyes’ career stats


Our 2019 top 50 series continues

To see the entire list of top Cardinals prospects and remaining article schedule, click here. This includes the 11 in-depth, follow-up articles coming up next. Most of them are exclusively for members of The Cardinal Nation. If you are not a member, join today so you do not miss out!

50 Days, 50 Nights, 50 Cardinals Prospects – 2019

Also, join the daily discussion about each prospect at The Cardinal Nation’s free message board.


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

TCN 2019 St. Louis Cardinals Prospect #2 – Dakota Hudson


Not yet a member?

If you enjoyed this article, please consider joining The Cardinal Nation to receive the most comprehensive coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals from the majors through the entire minor league system.

Take advantage of our special 20 percent off holiday offer, which ends tonight at midnight.

Gift Memberships to The Cardinal Nation at 20 Percent Off!

© 2018 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

TCN 2019 St. Louis Cardinals Prospect #5 – Tyler O’Neill

photo: Tyler O’Neill (Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports)

FREE article. The Cardinal Nation’s top 50 prospect countdown for 2019 moves into the top five with the best power prospect in the Cardinals system. Still, Tyler O’Neill has yet to earn an extended shot in the majors and his 2019 picture remains unsettled, as well.

2018 rank Pos. DOB Ht. Wt. Bat Thw Signed Round
5 OF 6 22 95 5-11 210 R R 2013 3rd (Sea)

Link to Tyler O’Neill’s player page at The Cardinal Nation, with additional biography and history information.

Tyler O’Neill

Selected 2018 stats

Tm AVG BABIP G AB R H 2B HR RBI BB SO SB wRC+ OBP SLG OPS
Mem 0.311 0.324 64 238 61 74 9 26 63 29 68 3 170 0.385 0.693 1.078
StL 0.254 0.364 61 130 29 33 5 9 23 7 57 2 114 0.303 0.500 0.803

TCN Scouting Grade: 6, Risk: low (click here to review scales)


Staff comments (individual rankings in parentheses)

Message board community (3): Tyler O’Neill finished at #3 during the community vote after debuting at #4 last year, following his mid-season 2017 trade with Seattle for Marco Gonzales. Oddly, O’Neill received his many votes at #2 during the community vote, as voters debated whether he should count as a prospect at all, due to his major league service time. He ended up just shy of the rookie requirement finishing with exactly 130 at-bats.

During the vote, most of the early discussion centered on O’Neill’s chances of losing his rookie status. Cardinals27 hopes that O’Neill is not a Quad-A ballplayer. Jungmh323 has some concerns about O’Neill’s contact rates, but thinks his power could offset his problem. I posted that O’Neill crushes the ball and that I would support him getting playing time over Marcell Ozuna in left field with Ozuna having shoulder issues. Ratsbuddy disagreed with that, arguing that with O’Neill’s +40% K-rate, he shouldn’t even be on the team.

Robert Reed was disappointed in manager Mike Shildt burying O’Neill on the bench the last few weeks of September. Reed went further, saying that O’Neill doesn’t figure to be similar to former high strikeout, big power player Mark Reynolds, for instance, due to his above-average defense and baserunning. He mentioned another cool stat about O’Neill in that O’Neill has now played 162 games in the Cardinal organization and has hit 47 home runs in just 514 at-bats, believing O’Neill to have played at an all-star level across his entire time in the minors despite being young for his league at every stop. – Jeremy Byrd


Derek Shore (5): O’Neill has made a mockery of minor league pitchers since entering professional ball with his mammoth power.

He set full-season career-highs in all three slash line categories at Triple-A Memphis while cutting his strikeout rate to a career-low 24.9 percent, which led to his major-league debut in 2018.

In only 64 games at Memphis this past season, O’Neill crushed Triple-A pitching to the tune of a .311/.385/.693 line with a whopping 26 homers and 63 RBI.

“I worked a lot with my hitting coach and we really focused on keeping things simple (at Triple-A),” O’Neill said. “I cut down a few things in my load and preparation. I stayed up the middle and tried not to do too much. I didn’t try to hit home runs. Just tried to hit the ball hard somewhere and stay up the middle.

“That’s what I did well in Triple-A this year is trusting my hands and trusting my eyes.”

O’Neill made his big-league debut on April 19 and was hitting in the middle of the Cardinals order by the summer. He slugged nine homers in 61 games for St. Louis.

From a scouting perspective, evaluators said O’Neill began to mature in his approach by adjusting to the situation and pitcher within the at-bat, rather than swinging at one spot this past season.

As a result, he started striking out less, walking more and picking out better offerings to swing at, depositing hittable pitches a mile away with his tremendous bat speed and strength.

“He’s from another planet,” one opposing Triple-A manager said. “I’ve seen him hit balls normal beings can’t hit it to. That’s pretty special power. His balls go further than anybody else I’ve seen.”

While his power will ultimately play in the big-leagues, scouts are still concerned that O’Neill’s steep uphill swing path will get exposed against quality pitching, and he did strike out 57 times in 142 plate appearances.

O’Neill also showed himself to be a near plus-plus runner as well and improved drastically in right field.

He remains aggressive in his approach and prone to strikeouts, which likely inhibits him from hitting for average, but now he gets to his power enough to profile as an everyday regular.

Even though the Cardinals appear committed to Dexter Fowler as their everyday right fielder for now, O’Neill is waiting in the wings as he will likely vie for that starting job next year as well.

“We also have Tyler O’Neill and he is someone that if he is given 700 plate appearances – he could very easily post 40 home runs,” Cardinals President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak recently told KMOX.


Tyler O’Neill (Memphis Redbirds)

Brian Walton (5): I was really torn on where to place O’Neill. This may sound odd, but I don’t recall ever being so unsure about such a successful minor leaguer who is so close to graduating from this list.

Due to the realities of the roster and his remaining open questions, I put O’Neill fifth, but I could make as articulate of an argument to place him first. While Lane Thomas led the Cardinals system with 27 home runs to O’Neill’s 26 this past season, the latter did it in less than half the plate appearances – 273 to 575. O’Neill’s isolated power was an other-worldly .382.

The only players in the organization with a higher OPS than O’Neill’s 1.078 at Memphis were two short-season stars in Malcom Nunez (in 44 games) and Jhon Torres (in 17 contests).

It seemed that O’Neill was definitely focused on hitting the ball out of the park, as he had just nine doubles and two triples. At Memphis, it worked, as he struck out at a 24.9 percent rate that was tolerable to go with a 10.7 percent walk rate.

In his worst month of 2018 with the Redbirds, O’Neill’s OPS was still .963, a mark that would have been fourth-best in the system for the entire season. In his most dominating period, in July, his OPS was an amazing 1.408, reflecting seven long balls and 13 driven in over 12 games.

To say he has nothing to prove at Triple-A seems unnecessary to state. Yet, that doesn’t mean he is yet proven at the next level.

As most know, O’Neill has been unable to translate that minor league dominance into MLB performance to date. His injury-wrecked spring training put him in Memphis to open 2018, aiding Harrison Bader’s ascension, but O’Neill soon earned a shot. When he launched home runs in three consecutive games in May for St. Louis, O’Neill teased us with his potential. But soon, he was struggling and found himself back in Triple-A.

If O’Neill cannot significantly improve his overall rate of 40.1 percent, he will have a very hard time in the majors. In today’s era of higher strikeouts, some scoff at my assertion. The problem is that O’Neill is beyond the highest extreme.

To put this into context, the two MLB regulars with the absolute highest strikeout percentage last season were Chris Davis at 36.8 percent and Joey Gallo at 35.9 percent. Davis has one of the worst contracts in the game right now and that is the only reason he is still playing every day. Gallo is very unique in that he can also maintain a high walk rate, a mark that was 2.6 times higher than O’Neill’s last season.

Other than Davis and Gallo, no one across MLB who reached qualifying levels of plate appearances struck out more often than one-third of the time – likely because they were benched before they could accrue that much playing time.

It is clear that the Cardinals are not yet ready to give O’Neill a starting job, and likely his inconsistency is a major reason why. As we saw late last season, even though both Opening Day center fielder Tommy Pham and right fielder Dexter Fowler were out of the picture, new manager Mike Shildt had Jose Martinez playing the majority of the time in right, not O’Neill.

Now, we see the odds of Martinez remaining with the Cardinals for 2019 increasing and Fowler having received assurance he will be given the chance to start in right. Harrison Bader is young, healthy and hungry in center and Marcell Ozuna is reportedly healed and ready to go in left. In fact, the bench competition is so tight, there is no guarantee that O’Neill will even be with St. Louis on Opening Day.

Considering everything, it is difficult to project how O’Neill is going to get his extended chance to show improvement in 2019, without injury, poor performance or further roster movement. If worse comes to worst, O’Neill does have minor league option years remaining, but again, he has nothing to prove down in Memphis. Yet it may be necessary at some point for him to secure every day at-bats rather than rust on the Cardinals bench.

Once new St. Louis hitting coach Jeff Albert gets a chance to work with his new charges, O’Neill will be the first player I will ask him about. Albert would earn his keep with this one player alone if he can help him make the final step.

Link to O’Neill’s career stats


Our 2019 top 50 series continues

To see the entire list of top Cardinals prospects and remaining article schedule, click here. This includes the top 50 countdown and 10 in-depth, follow-up articles coming up next. Most of them are exclusively for members of The Cardinal Nation. If you are not a member, join today so you do not miss out!

50 Days, 50 Nights, 50 Cardinals Prospects – 2019

Also, join the daily discussion about each prospect at The Cardinal Nation’s free message board.


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

The Cardinal Nation Prospect Interview – Mateo Gil


Not yet a member?

If you enjoyed this article, please consider joining The Cardinal Nation to receive the most comprehensive coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals from the majors through the entire minor league system.

Take advantage of our special 20 percent off holiday offer ending soon.

© 2018 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.