Sorry it’s been a while, and I’ve been a bit removed from St. Louis baseball because of my moving to Kansas City. But as we head toward the postseason and all that fun, why don’t we take a look at some guys you’ll be hearing about come next Spring and Summer. Here are my Top 7 prospects in the Cardinals’ organization.
This is the obvious one. He would have been in a St. Louis uniform if not for an untimely ankle injury that really never recovered during the year. Considering Carlos Beltran may not be patrolling right field next year that spot may be Taveras’ to lose. Taveras was supposed to be the Yasiel Puig before Yasiel Puig became Yasiel Puig (hopefully without the crappy personality), and I’m sure Cardinals fans and the rest of baseball will see that very soon.
Kolten became the top prospect by default when Taveras was sidelined. Not too much later, he was up in St. Louis bolstering much needed infield depth. He provided good defense and speed on the basepaths, but still could use some consistent at-bats to see how well he will adjust to MLB pitching. He hit well at every affiliate, and he will hit well in the pros, it’s just a matter of how much time he gets to play, what with Matt Carpenter being super awesome at 2B and no plans to make Wong a SS.
Little Pedro has certainly lived up to that nickname, with a great moving fastball, a kinda slinging delivery, and yes, the last name Martinez. I know I’ve been impressed with his spot starts and work out of the bullpen, and so long as his elbow stays healthy (and I really hope it does), he’ll have a very long, productive career. He’ll be in the battle for the fifth starter next season should Garcia have a delayed return, but for now, his 100 MPH fastball is pretty deadly out of the bullpen.
I choose Gast over Lyons for two reasons: Lyons has exhausted his rookie status this season, and Gast was the first choice to replace Garcia after his injury and pitched very well before his season ended with shoulder surgery. He’s still at the top of the list, but what is worrisome is he already went through Tommy John surgery in High School, and now with two surgeries, who knows how that will affect his return.
James gets a nod for starting off right away in Palm Beach and absolutely tearing it up, hitting .361, and earning promotions to Springfield and Memphis. It isn’t easy to move up one class of baseball in a year, let alone two, so this guy has a bright future. He didn’t hit as well as we hoped in Springfield (.251), but the Cardinals still thought he should advance to Memphis so I’m going to give Mo and company the benefit of the doubt on this one. I believe the outfield situation in St. Louis could get very interesting with whatever happens to Beltran, Holliday, Craig, Jay, Sugar Shane, and Taveras next season.
This one was my surprise we-didn’t-see-this-one-coming pick for the list. Here’s another guy who impressed so much he started in Palm Beach and ended up in Memphis. As the top reliever in Palm Beach and Springfield, he struck out 78 hitters and only walked 26. And until a couple rough outings in Memphis, he was keeping hitters hitting under .185. He isn’t mentioned on many lists, and not even on the Top 20 MLB keeps for the Cardinals, but I think he’s earned it and we’ll see him succeed in Memphis and in St. Louis soon enough.
Piscotty is intriguing because he played well in Palm Beach to start the year and got promoted to Springfield. And instead of the usual prospect who takes some time to adjust to better competition, Piscotty was even better in AA than in A+. The 3B-turned-OF has a big league bat, so once he learns a bit more power and a feel for the outfield, he’ll probably rise quickly at least to Memphis next season.
But let’s not get too far ahead, we still have quite the team in St. Louis now and they will be the ones heading off to the postseason very soon. Time to get (stay) excited, Cardinals fans, for the present and future is very bright.