Once we get to this part of our season preview, many assumptions have to be made right out of the gate. Palm Beach and next week Peoria are in the spotlight, and it will come right down to the wire before any of the higher clubs announce final rosters. That gives this offering more of a prediction feel over the others, but I’m excited for the upcoming possibilities just the same.
The Florida State League will have impressive competition this season (as well as some new affiliates) which bodes well for the Cardinals on two fronts. No matter who secures a spot in the Palm Beach rotation, it is pitching that wins the championship on those monster spring training fields. A couple of top prospects as well as two recent draft picks look to anchor the staff all the way to playoffs and have one other advantage up their sleeves. I’m projecting the organization’s best defense to be playing in Florida this season and not for the Gulf Coast squad!
Starting pitching will be getting plenty of attention in the FSL and look no further than Palm Beach for some of the best arms. Alexander Reyes and Rob Kaminsky rocketed into becoming the best duo in recent memory after providing that one-two punch for Peoria. They should be joined by either Luke Weaver or Andrew Morales out of the gate, forming a very powerful rotation in April. Pairing that staff with the best shortstop in the St. Louis system definitely helps as does speedster C.J. McElroy patrolling the outfield.
Juan Herrera rocketed up the prospect charts the past year as the slick-fielding shortstop who put it all together at the plate as well as the bath paths. This is an important campaign for him to show that he’s ready to become a true top 10 prospect for the Cardinals.
As good as the pitching staff looks to be, they will still be throwing to an unknown with plenty of pressure in 2015. Carson Kelly made the transition behind the plate and by all accounts really took to it, setting up for what is sure to be an eventful campaign. The FSL can be difficult on hitters in general, and I’ll be paying quite a bit of attention to Kelly’s progress in the near future.
While there are plenty of St. Louis prospects to watch, one name stands out over all the others after the past summer. Rowan Wick displayed massive power in 2014 and hoping he makes the jump up in competition as well for Palm Beach. It is setting up to be an exciting summer and only time will tell how this story ends!