1. Oscar Taveras (1) – .311, 4 HR, 20 RBI, 5 SB
Even thought Taveras was out a significant amount of time, there is no need to drop him. He is still, by far, the best Cardinals prospect. For me, there is some injury concern. I don’t think it was ineptitude that cause the Cards to not DL him for 3 weeks. I think they were sending him a message that he needed to get out there and fight through it. I believe Taveras has a lot of maturing to do, but he is still only 20.
2. Carlos Martinez (2) – 1-0, 1.57 ERA, 21 K, 23 IP
Martinez made 8 appearances for the big club before being sent down to be stretched out to start. I hope the Cardinals don’t regret not having him in the bullpen down the road as I think the rotation will stabilize. Why not keep Martinez in the pen for the remainder of this year and stretch him out next spring?
3. Michael Wacha (3) – 4-0, 2.05 ERA, 34 K. 52 IP
Wacha’s MLB debut was nothing short of spectacular, albeit against the Royals. I do believe the hype surrounding Wacha is out of control and probably needs to be brought down some. I believe at Wacha’s peak he will be a #2 or #3 starter. I think he fits in great behind Wainwright and Miller.
4. Kolten Wong (4) – .319, 5 HR, 21 RBI, 9 SB
So how does one win Minor League Player of the Month in May but move farther away from the major leagues? I believe that has happened to Wong with the all-star play of Matt Carpenter and the turn-around from David Freese. What happens to Wong? This is a very interesting situation for me.
5. Tyrell Jenkins (6) – 4-4, 4.74 ERA, 34 K, 49 IP
Jenkins appeared to have turned a corner in 2013 as he had a low 2 ERA for May. Jenkins has been up and down this year and needed some consistency. I think he found it in May, where he pitched a shutout and a 7 inning complete game. Jenkins is up a spot. June has not been as kind for Jenkins. On 6/11 he was placed on the disabled list with shoulder soreness.
6. Carson Kelly (5) – .219, 2 HR, 13 RBI
Kelly falls a spot mostly because of the play of Tyrell Jenkins. Kelly, just 19, is one of the youngest players in the Midwest League. The power that we saw last year from Kelly has not arrived and that is OK. The competition is a lot harder this year. I expect things to start turning in his favor. Kelly was sent to State College on 6/11 to get regular playing time. This demotion does not affect his ranking.
7. Stephen Piscotty (7) – .269, 7 HR, 26 RBI
Piscotty got out of the gates quickly by hitting .348 and hitting 5 home runs in April. In May, he came back to earth hitting just .245. I believe Piscotty is ready for the next level even though his stats aren’t there as of late.
8. James Ramsey (8) – .275, 3 HR, 11 RBI
A successful move to Double-A kept Ramsey within the top 10. Ramsey is now playing in a more age appropriate league and has had success. Double-A is typically the hardest jump for a minor leaguer, and Ramsey has made a adjustment. Ramsey’s role in the future is a question.
9. Seth Maness (9) 2-2, 4.32, 18 K, 25 IP
Maness is a couple of days away from losing his prospect status but with the uncertainty of what will happen when Jake Westbrook returns, we will keep him on this list. Maness has been effective out of the major league bullpen, but I would like to see him go back to Triple-A and start again.
10. Patrick Wisdom (11) .210, 9 HR, 35 RBI
Like Piscotty, I think Wisdom is close to a level change. A concern I have with Wisdom is his strikeout rate. Wisdom has struck out 66 times in 60 innings. On the other side, the power is up. He only had 6 HR last year in 65 games, and already has 9 this year in 60 games.
11. Breyvic Valera (15) .326, 0 HR, 26 RBI, .374 RBI
Valera has continued to hit at the next level. Like Piscotty and Wisdom, I think Valera’s days in Peoria are limited. I would like him to get that on base percent higher if he is going to hit at the top of the order.
12. Anthony Garcia (10) .211, 9 HR, 31 RBI
Talk about a down and then up season. Garcia struggled for most of April and May. Since June 3rd, Garcia is hitting .393 with 5 HR, 10 RBI. Garcia was named Florida State League Player of the Week last week. This is great news for the Cardinals. Garcia has been the one prospect that has been struggling the most.
13. Charlie Tilson (13) .294, 2 HR, 17 RBI, .337 OBP
Tilson has turned things around as well. While he wasn’t struggling as much as Garcia, Tilson was just mediocre. Tilson hit .343 in May and has established himself as a top 20 prospect.
14. Ryan Jackson (14) .319, 3 HR, 20 RBI
While Jackson has cooled off a little, he still remains a top prospect. Jackson has the same issue as Wong, there is not a spot for him. While Pete Kozma hasn’t excelled as much as Matt Carpenter, I don’t see the Cardinals replacing him. Jackson is stuck for now.
15. Tim Cooney (16) 6-6 3.02 ERA, 60 K, 71 IP
Cooney has come on the top 20 map this year with his fast start at High-A Palm Beach. After 6 starts, Cooney was promoted to Double-A where he continued his solid pitching. Being a lefty does not hurt either, also the fact that he has walked 10 in 71 innings.
16. Lee Stoppelman (17) 2-1, 1.38 ERA, 38 K, 32 IP
Stoppelman has been on the exact same path as Tim Cooney. Stoppelman, also a lefty, is not the hardest thrower but can get guys out. I was high on Stoppelman last year when his ERA was miniscule at Batavia. He is someone to watch, no doubt.
17. Starlin Rodriguez (18) .239, 5 HR, 22 RBI
Rodriguez has had somewhat of a tough time transitioning to the Double-A level. Rodriguez hit .300 at Palm Beach last year and is down to .239 at Double-A. The strikeouts haven’t been a problem as he has struck out 38 times in 43 innings.
18. Jacob Wilson (NR) .278, 8 HR, 49 RBI
Wilson has been a pleasant surprise for the Cardinals in 2013. a 10th round pick in 2012 out of the University of Memphis, Wilson is close to getting a promotion to Palm Beach. The move to second base hasn’t hurt either.
19. Colin Walsh (20) .253, 3 HR, 26 RBI
Since being inserted into the lead-off spot, Walsh has started hitting again. Walsh is a little old for High-A and needs a promotion to Double-A soon to stay on the top 20.
20a. Tyler Lyons (NR) 2-2, 3.51 ERA, 14 K, 25 IP
Depending on the Westbrook move, Lyons will not be on this list in July due to pitching too many innings. I think expectations are a little high for Lyons right now and could see a rough patch soon
20b. Kevin Siegrist (NR) 3 IP, 8 K, 0.00 ERA
I could copy and paste the Lyons description under Siegrist. I like what I have seen from Siegrist out of the pen, and I believe he has staying power.
I did not include any 2013 draft picks in the top 20 yet. If I had to, I think the only one that would appear would be Marco Gonzales, and he could appear in the top 10. If Oscar Mercado shows he can hit, he could appear in the top 20.
In July, we could see some big changes as Wacha, Lyons, Maness, and possibly Siegrist could lose their eligibility and graduate from the top 20 list.
Until next time…