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St. Louis Cardinals Top 36 Prospects

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Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Below is an analysis of the prospects in the farm system of the St. Louis Cardinals. Scouting reports were compiled with information provided by industry sources as well as our own observations. This is the fourth year we’re delineating between two anticipated relief roles, the abbreviations for which you’ll see in the “position” column below: MIRP for multi-inning relief pitchers, and SIRP for single-inning relief pitchers. The ETAs listed generally correspond to the year a player has to be added to the 40-man roster to avoid being made eligible for the Rule 5 draft. Manual adjustments are made where they seem appropriate, but we use that as a rule of thumb.

A quick overview of what FV (Future Value) means can be found here. A much deeper overview can be found here.

All of the ranked prospects below also appear on The Board, a resource the site offers featuring sortable scouting information for every organization. It has more details (and updated TrackMan data from various sources) than this article and integrates every team’s list so readers can compare prospects across farm systems. It can be found here.

Other Prospects of Note

Grouped by type and listed in order of preference within each category.

Developmental Relievers
Ettore Giulianelli, RHP
Jovi Galvez, RHP
Jose Suriel, RHP
Augusto Calderon, RHP

Giulianelli is a 21-year-old Italian righty whose extreme overhand slot is akin to Oliver Drake’s. He is so over the top of the ball that he can create arm-side action on his curveball. He could have enough of a fastball/curveball combo to make the big leagues if he can hone his control. Galvez, Suriel, and Calderon were 2023 DSL or A-ball pitchers with mid-90s or better arm strength and poor feel for location.

High-Variance Youngsters
Ronny Oliver, RHP
Sammy Hernandez, C
Jonathan Mejia, SS

Oliver is a projectable pitcher on the Jupiter complex with a very athletic drop-and-drive delivery. His rise/run, low-90s fastball and natural sweeping breaker give him a pitch mix similar to a junior college prospect who goes in the fourth round of the draft or so. Hernandez is a raw, athletic catcher who came back from Toronto in the Génesis Cabrera trade last year. He needs to develop as a defender (his crouch is still comically high) and improve his plate discipline, but he has rare bat speed for a catcher. Mejia was once a prominent amateur prospect, but his 2023 was so bad that he needs a rebound year to have trade value (he’s off to a good start).

Double-A Depth
Nathan Church, OF
Jeremy Rivas, SS
Max Rajcic, RHP
Adam Kloffenstein, RHP

Church is a light-hitting outfielder with great feel for contact who could be a platoon guy if his hit tool really maxes out. Rivas, 21, is a slow-twitch Double-A infielder with smooth actions who early in 2024 is putting up an average line for the first time in his career. Rajcic (sitting 93, has a pretty good curveball) and Kloffenstein (sinkerballer) are depth starter types.

Big Power, Limited Profile
William Sullivan, 1B
Chandler Redmond, DH

Both players here have substantial power but are bottom-of-the-spectrum defenders with below-average hit tools. Sullivan’s TrackMan data from 2023 was pretty nutty, but his low-ball swing has been exposed early in 2024. Redmond, 27, has a career .481 SLG, but he’s back at Double-A, where he first played in 2021.

Injured
Travis Honeyman, OF
Drew Rom LHP
Wilking Rodríguez, RHP

Honeyman, St. Louis’ 2023 third rounder, has yet to play a pro game due to multiple injuries. There were already some reasons to be skeptical of his offensive performance (he was easily tied up inside in college), and he hasn’t had a chance to alleviate that skepticism yet. Rom has been written up as a backend/depth starter for a while and finally made his big league debut in 2023, but shoulder surgery has him shelved in 2024. Rodríguez, 34 (not a typo), is recovering from a shoulder surgery of his own. He’s old enough to have signed with the Devil Rays back when they were still called that, a time so distant that the transactions on Rodríguez’s MiLB player page don’t go back far enough to include his signing date. Prior to signing with St. Louis, Rodríguez last pitched in affiliated ball in 2015 with the Yankees before he began touring foreign pro leagues. His velocity exploded across about a 10 month window and he was sitting 97-plus when he was last healthy.

System Overview

This is a below-average system that is light on high-upside players. It has slightly below-average overall depth and is very imbalanced, with many more pitching prospects than position players. Outside of Hence and Roby at the top end of this list, the Cardinals have an abundance of arms who fit the “high-floor/low-ceiling” archetype. A common theme among a lot of the pitchers in this system is that they have deeper than usual arsenals along with a mix of feel and/or deception, and St. Louis also has a lot of soft-tossers who haven’t been able to find more velocity in pro ball.

Despite the relative lack of hitters here, the Cardinals system is fairly strong up the middle, with four of their five highest-rated position players playing either catcher, shortstop, or center field. Both Masyn Winn and Victor Scott II have already gotten their first taste of the majors, and while that has obviously come with varying degrees of success so far, both of them are safe bets to stay at premium positions long-term and have exciting offensive profiles in their own distinct ways. There are some exciting hitters at the lower levels of the minors, like Leonardo Bernal and Won-Bin Cho, who have really taken developmental steps forward with their bats recently, as well as players with defense-driven profiles, like Jimmy Crooks and Lizandro Espinoza, who will undoubtedly provide run-prevention value at the highest level.

While it’s still too soon to write off Chase Davis, the Cardinals’ 2023 first round pick, their last three top picks (Davis, Cooper Hjerpe, and Michael McGreevy) are all tracking to be sub-50 FV players. Much of the depth in this system can be attributed to recent trade returns, solid finds in the middle-to-late rounds by their amateur scouting staff, and relatively low-cost signings in the international market. The Cardinals have tended to gravitate toward amateur pitchers who throw strikes rather than ones who are hard throwers, and many of their arms have fastball shapes that cause their heaters to play down. There are other teams (like the Mariners) that take athletic young strike-throwers and then get them to throw harder, but that hasn’t happened in St. Louis.

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