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We are close to the end of August and a new potential list. After no one commented or challenged my long list above, I thought I’d keep my thoughts a lot simpler this time around.
1) I’m disappointed in our draft for position players. Maybe Crooks will be solid. Maybe Rotondo is a diamond in the rough for a late pick. Maybe our one non drafted free agent signing in RJ Yeager is at least interesting. But overall, it’s hard to envision many if any future big leaguers in this group outside of maybe Crooks. I’m going to bet on zero right now. I know it’s still early and there’s lots of development time so there’s still hope.
2) We haven’t seen much of the pitchers yet, but overall I’m very excited about them as a group.
3) There are a few guys I think should be considered at the back end of the top 50 who haven’t gotten much recognition in the past. I have 4 names in mind. Scott Hurst has really improved from vastly disappointing offensively to someone who might end up being slightly above average offensively with good defensive. Honestly, I’m ok dropping Capel from the 40 man and putting Hurst in his spot as the emergency every position outfielder next year. Next, Samil de la Rosa really continues to put up impressive offensive numbers at the FCL. And, he’s a shortstop so that should mean positional flexibility down the road. I think he’s got to be top 50 at this point. Next up is Chase Pinder. I’m still incredibly on the fence about him given his age and injury history but I think he may now warrant a top 50 spot considering his excellent season (when he’s been healthy). I’m fine if he doesn’t make it, but I think he’s barely there. And finally, we have a 17 year old named Nelfy Ynfante who has pretty much been our best pitcher at the DSL this year. I don’t know anything more about him than that, but that sounds like top 50 material.
FYI – the article mentions Chris Girard signing as an undrafted free agent in 2021 but he was actually drafted in the 12th round.
Edman platoons better with Gorman whereas Donovan doesn’t truly fit anywhere better than Edman. Therefore, I think Donovan may be our most redundant piece and should have some solid trade value for a catcher or maybe packaged for a starting pitcher. I like Donovan a lot. But someone else may like him better for their needs than what we need him for.
Blingboy, I think your thoughts are close to spot on. I do think they strongly considered trading him and he probably was in the Soto offer and perhaps some other offers. But now that we’ve kept him, I think you’re right on the likely plan and how it will be implemented. I do think they would prefer to keep developing him this year and not put him on the 40-man roster yet so they have more options at year’s end on who to protect and who they could potentially take in the rule 5 or sign in free agency. And, I think that’s a good plan. He probably wouldn’t be better at hitting and certainly wouldn’t be better at defense than anyone we have now on the MLB team. So why not continue to try to upskill him a bit and have him be ready next year.
I don’t get the angst with Woodford. The Cardinals are right. He struggles a lot. He typically runs a 2:1 strikeouts to walks ratio and is doing that again at Memphis. His WHIP at Memphis is almost 1.4, which is not good at all. Too many base runners and lots of hard contact against him at the MLB level. Sure, his ERA looks good. But that just means he was lucky. He’s certainly not a better option than any of our 5 starters now. You could argue that he deserves a bullpen spot over Naughton, but the Cardinals would much rather have him improve as a starter long-term than languish in fringe usage territory in our bullpen. I think that’s a smart move. Better for the Cardinals and better for Jake long-term (or at least hopefully if he can get sharper).August 1, 2022 at 9:11 pm in reply to: Trade Ideas/Acquisition Ideas/Non-Cards Rumors – 2021-2022 #193421
I figured Nunez had to go. He made more sense to trade than anyone given that he had value and was completely blocked. Oviedo is probably the overpay portion for a deadline deal. But not a bad deal. Quintana has been good this year and Oviedo is replaceable.
I thought we might have gotten Victor Scott at a little discount compared to slot but I guess not. I still think there’s a good shot at VanKempen. Just at a little less $ than I thought we might have. But I trust they did their homework and that they believe they can sign him for what we have left. It’s not the same as drafting Casserilla in the 20th round last year when he was just a hedge bet just in case.
I know that we won’t see a new Top 50 list until after the draft. But since I literally know next to nothing about college talent, I wanted to throw out where I think our talent is now. I’ve ranked them all in order and then separated that order into 3 tiers of talent. I’d love to hear challenges to anything anyone doesn’t agree with.
I think these guys are the real prospects here – the guys with a good chance of being average to plus MLB players. I moved Graceffo up further just because at this point I value his future potential even higher than Libby. I’ve also included Nunez here. He’s kind of fringe between this tier and the next one because of of his defense. But he’s still very young and now beginning to show that he can be a very good hitter at AA.
The Middle 17
I separated this tier from the last one because I think all of these guys definitely have prospect value because they are all likely to at least make the major leagues at some point with significant at bats or innings pitched. Pino and Cho may be the exceptions to that here because they are still so young. Also, I wasn’t sure what to do with Julio Rodriguez. I think he’s make a fine backup MLB catcher, but he may retire this year and become a Cardinal coach rather than go elsewhere in MiLB free agency. The last 2 of this tier (Antico and Granillo) are the 2 that I think are going to really surprise people and be solid performers in the MLB before the end of 2023.
Samil de la Rosa
There are certainly at least 10 others that I’d love to include here. But as it stands today, this is where I’m at. This tier is a lot more of a long shot to ever make the big show with more than 50 ABs or 10 innings pitched but there’s still a chance! Hurst has really had a nice boost with finally showing some power and hitting ability. Pinder has a different story, but he’s kind of in the same boat. Two months ago we looked to have no outfielders with much promise at the upper levels and then suddenly these 2 started hitting and Antico really went on a tear. They are all a little old (Antico a little less so) but there at least is some depth now. The other guy I want to mention is Yordalin Peña. He just looks like such a beast. He’s hit well so far at a very young age in the Dominican so I wanted to at least get his name in this list as being a hope and a prayer. Maybe Malcolm Nunez 2.0.July 14, 2022 at 1:27 pm in reply to: Trade Ideas/Acquisition Ideas/Non-Cards Rumors – 2021-2022 #191267
The most likely traded prospect is Malcolm Nunez. He is young and can hit with some power but he really offers no value to the Cardinals because of his redundancies at the major league level. Plus, he will be rule 5 eligible. I think of all prospects, he seems most likely to be traded as he will definitely be more valuable to someone else than he is to the Cardinals. That’s really what you look for in trades. The next most likely are guys like Burleson or Woodford. They also have a skill set that while valuable to the Cards, is probably more valuable to another team. Woodford may have equal value either way, but he seems like one of those guys that just needs a fresh start somewhere else. I think we otherwise will at least try to hang on to the rest of our pitching talent because we know we are going to need them all in the near future. The other place we are somewhat abundant in is decent catching prospects so one of them other than Herrera may be traded as a throw-in part of a deal. But I guess anyone could be for sale if the return is worth it.
As for Nootbaar or Capel, I just don’t see either of them really having much value to another team. Nootbaar probably has a little, but it’s just not going to be much.
Nice job on the Burleson article. I think it’s a very good point that Alec may be more valuable as a non 40-man player plus the other reasons you cite about potentially struggling.
The one other advantage that Capel has over Burleson is flexibility in that he can definitely play center field solidly. And if we were to DFA Dickerson (which I believe was what the organization was about to do before he suddenly got some key hits), then our CF depth is really short. Bader is injury prone. So if he goes down (and frequently does), then it’s Carlson first and then probably Nootbaar next despite him having not played much CF in his career and then likely O’Neil. And what if Carlson gets hurt at the same time as Bader? I think that’s where Capel offers some peace of mind. Still, he’s a Quad A guy. But it’s nice to have that guy around for the outfield and another for the infield to call up in an emergency without having to kick someone else off the 40 man (like what just happened to Rondon).
I hadn’t thought about it that way. But yes, not being on the 40 man and not being rule 5 eligible has to add value to his stock as it offers the receiving team more flexibility. I don’t really want to lose Burleson at all. He can really hit and would make a great fourth outfielder and/or DH. But, his skill set is fairly redundant to what we already have so he probably would have more value to another team than to the Cardinals. Perhaps he could be a center piece in a trade for a number 3 starter. I’d still rather keep him and trade Nootbaar. But no one is giving us a number 3 starter for Nootbaar. Good point.
I think I may have been wrong about Romeri not being a prospect anymore. I knew he was a High Schooler when we drafted him. I’m now seeing that he is still just 21 and at PB. While he’s never really put up above average numbers, I guess he’s really always been pretty young where he was at. So keeping him on your list is probably a good call. He’s looked good since he returned from injury including 4 hits today so maybe there is still hope.
Although I do still think that Peirera should have made it on the list and not just as an honorable mention. Right now I’m excited about any pitcher with any kind of promise and Pereira definitely has MLB bullpen upside in his future.July 5, 2022 at 2:12 pm in reply to: Trade Ideas/Acquisition Ideas/Non-Cards Rumors – 2021-2022 #190169
We don’t really have a replacement for Bader. Carlson and O’Neil can play CF, but I don’t think the Cardinals prefer either to do so long-term. I think the trade candidates are DeJong and Luken Baker (both of which have almost no value unless we pay most of Dejong’s salary), Malcolm Nunez, or maybe Alec Burleson. So therefore, I think we are looking at getting a solid relief pitcher for Nunez with maybe another year of control. That seems light and probably not really worth it. But it’s the reality that the Cards are in.
Great for Cornwell! It’s exciting to have a new pitching prospect who has come from off the radar. I didn’t know anything about him when he was drafted. Hopefully, the Cardinals can keep improving him.
I agree. Nunez has been shaky this year (but better lately) and I really think the Cardinals have to trade him if they can find someone who will give equal value for him because he just will not fit at all with the combo we have in St Louis because of his lack of versatility, poor defense, right handedness – all which make any skill he brings redundant to what is already there unless he improves a ton from the power standpoint. Luken Baker is probably in the same boat with slightly more value to the Cardinals because at least he could be a solid late inning down by 1 or 2 pinch hit option to turn the game around with one swing. But honestly, he’s also probably more valuable to someone else than he will be to St Louis so I’d try to trade him too if I could find equal value in a pitcher or outfielder. Of the big bats, I’d keep Burleson and of course Walker and Winn and trade the other 2 above if I could like they did with Elehuris Montero.
Good point on Cho vs Pina. I guess Cho is just the newer shiny penny so he has more luster. And you’re right, after Graceffo, Winn, and Gomez, we haven’t had a lot of breakout seasons this year. I would argue Burleson and Paniagua are well outplaying expectations too, but you’ve shown that with their rapid accession in ranking. And maybe Hence. But such limited sample size from him so far. Everyone else has been around what was expected or maybe a little behind that.
Thanks Brian! I’m always excited to see your thoughts on a new list.
I see we are aligned with Graceffo being #6. And, we pretty well aligned on all the new additions- Antico, Tovalin, Beller, and Loutos. You also added Diorys Guerrero whom I should have mentioned above because he has also been on my watch list as a guy who has gotten great results, but I just haven’t actually seen him so I wasn’t sure exactly what to think of him. I also have no issue with adding Maycol Justo. He’s doing well. It’s just hard to judge Dominican players. I also fully agreed with the jump of Pachecho.
In addition, I also agree with the downward movement of Pages given his last month of really poor performance, but I do think he will right the ship eventually. And although I still really like Austin Love, I understand downgrading him given his poor results. He seems to start games off poorly, get much better, and then fall off a cliff around the fifth inning. I’d love for someone to give an in depth explanation on what is really happening with him to cause his massive inconsistency. I also love how aggressive you are being with your ranking of Granillo. I think he has future MLB closer written all over him and deserves the high ranking. He doesn’t seem to be on anyone else’s list and really should be.
As for disagreement, I’m surprised by where you have both Zane Mills and Trent Baker. To me, both of them are very likely to look like Logan Gragg by next year. They are fine against low level talent, but they will likely top off at average against higher level talent and maybe one day might be a middle reliever in St Louis. We will see. I know very little about Jose Davila, but I was a little surprised by his jump. And I can probably say the same about Luis Pino – I was really surprised about how far up he jumped and who he passed on the list. And finally, I was really surprised to see Patrick Romeri move up. He’s been hurt so often and even when he’s healthy he runs an OPS typically below .700 against competition that he is starting to age past.
And one last challenge- I do think Jack Ralston is a good pitcher with a lot of promise and he’s definitely a top 50 guy if he can get past whatever arm issues he’s having this year. If Bedell can continue to hold his spot, then Ralston should get the same consideration.
Ok! Enough words from me. Would love to hear comments from others as well. Thanks!
I’m curious if Graceffo has been good enough to be top 5 now. With Yepez and Donovan gone, I think he may be. Walker then Gorman then still Liberatore then you almost have to stay with Herrera. Then, who would you value more if it was your organization? Graceffo or Wynn or McGreevey or Burleson or maybe Baez. I think I’d still take Wynn if it were my organization given the volatility of pitchers, but it’s close. But I think Graceffo should be #6 at this point. Should the fact that he was drafted at 5 keep him behind McGreevey at 1? He’s been better so far in every way by quite a bit. Anyone have any different opinions?
I’m always excited about the prospect lists. Cardinal Nation gets an A+ for both keeping up with these and really doing a good job of evaluating and projecting players. I know we are getting close to the June prospect list so I just want to share my thoughts and challenges prior to seeing it come out.
First, we will see some changes because some players are definitely coming off. Yepez and Donovan will be at the required 130 ABs. Pallante will be close on innings so that will be a judgment call. Kramer Robertson is gone. And Ali Sanchez now likely will be too. So that’s 4 or 5 openings as it is. Plus, I’m ready to remove Romeri. But I think he’s the only one from previous lists. I could be swayed either way on him as being right at 48-52 range.
So whose coming on? I think Wilfredo Peirera is a definite and I think he comes on in the upper 30’s. My number 2 would be Tovalin. He takes so many good at bats and seems kind of clutch. He’s probably mid 40’s. Right after him is now Antico. Maybe he’s even ahead of Tovalin. I liked him initially as a draft pick – especially as one that cost them almost nothing. He’s so fast and really constitutes our only true center field prospect. And next would be Loutos. His track record is now pretty good as a shut down reliever. I really didn’t see that coming from him so I’m pleasantly surprised for this undrafted player. After that I’m not sure. You either keep Romeri on or add someone like John Beller or maybe one of the young guys like Francis Reynoso or Samil de la Rosa. Or maybe Carlos Guarate.
As far as movers, there really isn’t much. Guys are still in roughly the order you had them in IMHO. The only 2 I think that really move are Jhon Torres continuing to move south and Freddie Pachecho moving up the list with all his strikeouts and now better control. He’s been really good lately.
Those are my thoughts anyway. As always, I’m excited about the new list forthcoming.
You mentioned in your article that this is the 5th time Naughton has been optioned to Memphis. Does that mean he’s now out of options due to the new rules not allowing him to be recalled more than 5 times? I know he was the 27th man at least one time so that option wouldn’t count towards his 5. Not sure if that time is one of the 5 you referenced here or not. If he truly is at 5, then I’m guessing he might be next for a DFA if it isn’t Dickerson. I figured Sanchez would be gone this time. He was the only real expendable choice left.
On a positive note today, Tre Fletcher finally had an at bat where he didn’t strike out (fly out to left). I think that was 20 straight strikeouts to start his Year. After that fly out, he proceeded to start another strikeout streak. Unbelievable.
Another note – Our Minor League pitching feels like it’s been getting worse lately- at least above Palm Beach anyway. But our hitting all around seems to be getting better, which is surprising given that Donavan, Yepez, and Gorman were all promoted. I’m thinking we are still going to go pitching heavy in the draft because of this. I would not be surprised if 5 or maybe even 6 of the first 8 drafted are pitchers.
McGreevy got really roughed up last night. In his defense, it was his first experience in AA and he was up against a good team. It will be really interesting to see how Graceffo fairs against the same opponent tonight. Thus far he’s definitely been better than McGreevy both in the brief preview last year and their time at Peoria this year. We are probably likely to see some hits/runs against him. But if he continues to dominate like he did at Peoria, he may be in the St Louis bullpen by September.
The top 12 are definitely the guys I’m excited about who are more proven entities in MiLB. The 2 others that are above the Complex level (and have more that 10 AB’s or innings pitched above that level) that I’m also excited about are Austin Love and Andre Granillo. I know Love has had a tough introduction but his stuff looks really good and he’s had some amount of bad luck. I also certainly like Connor Thomas and think he could be an average player at MLB. And Pages is going to make a really good backup catcher or maybe even an average starting catcher. Everyone else feels like they are packed all together as potentially fringe to average-ish someday MLB talent. That’s still a good place to be in. Especially since we still have those Rookies like Baez or Cho or Mejia or Hence or Willis that very well could be stars someday if things go well for them.
Whether Nootbaar is eligible or not doesn’t really matter since he’s not going to be eligible by week’s end. Donavan and Yepez will be out very soon too at the rate they are batting. This is a prospect list, intended on learning more about who is up and coming so I think Brian has the right intentions with leaving guys like Nootbaar off even if by a technicality he still qualifies.
This is a very good group of 50 players. Throw in the honorable mentions and maybe a few other relief-only guys that are pretty good and this essentially represents everyone we have in the minors with really a chance to make MLB. And the good news is that quite a few of these guys really does have a chance to make it. The Cardinals are just so good at churning out at least mediocre MLB fill-ins.
I love the new list. Thanks for including Granillo! I am so impressed with how he handles certain situations. I think he’ll be a fast moving guy. I can’t argue with the list at all. Maybe Trent Baker seems about 8-10 places too high. And, I’d have moved Graceffo up even a little further (even though that’s hard to do given who he is up against).
Also one note. It was mentioned in the article that Beller is at Low A but he is at High A.
Thanks for the great insight on these guys. I appreciate these lists, the daily articles, and the constant roster matrix updates.