Top 10 Prospects (2017): St. Louis Cardinals: The System Is More Than Just Alex Reyes

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

When you think of the St. Louis Cardinals’ farm system all eyes fall on Alex Reyes, who is the premier prospect in the system.  However he’s not alone, as there are a few other potentially impact prospects (like Delvin Perez, who may be a few years away but immediately showed signs).  Who else should be getting attention?  Let’s take a look:

 

1) Alex Reyes – Right-Handed Pitcher
Grade – A
ETA – Already Arrived

Reyes arrived in the Majors in 2016 with much fanfare, and while he did spend some time pitching out of the bullpen (12 appearances, 5 starts) he showed off his electric stuff en route to a 10.17 K/9.  That doesn’t mean that there aren’t questions, as he continually has struggled to find his control:

  • High-A (2015) – 4.38
  • Double-A (2015) – 4.67
  • Triple-A (2016) – 4.41
  • Majors (2016) – 4.50

Just 22-years old (he’ll turn 23 in August), there’s obviously still time for him to figure things out.  However we’d like to see some sort of growth, otherwise a move to the bullpen where he could emerge as an elite closer isn’t out of the question.  There was also the 50-game suspension to open the season for testing positive for marijuana, just adding another thing to keep an eye on.

 

2) Delvin Perez – Shortstop
Grade – B+
ETA – 2019

He’s just 18-years old, so we’ll have to be patient with his development.  That said, the 2016 first round draft pick hit the ground running as he hit .294 with 12 SB over 163 AB in his first taste of professional baseball.  Even more impressive may have been his 15.6% strikeout rate, considering he played the entire season as a 17-year old.  It shows that he has a good understanding of the strike zone.  At 6’3” he should be able to add some power as he matures, which would pair well with his speed.  In other words, the potential is there for him to develop into one of the elite at his position.

 


 

3) Luke Weaver – Right-Handed Pitcher
Grade – B+
ETA – Already Arrived

A 2014 first round pick, Weaver got 36.1 innings of MLB experience in 2016 after posting a highly impressive line over 77.0 innings at Double-A (1.40 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, 88 K, 10 BB).  Listed at 6’2” and 170 lbs. there is room for him to continue to grow and mature, though at 22-years old it’s fair to wonder if he will fill out.  He’ll need to if he wants to maintain his strikeout rate (9.8% SwStr% in the Majors, 91.9 mph on his fastball) and the lack of groundballs could make him extremely home run prone (0.87 GO/AO in his minor league career).  While he brings potentially elite control, he may ultimately turn out to be more of a mid-rotation starter.

 

4) Dakota Hudson – Right-Handed Pitcher
Grade – B
ETA – 2018

It’s easy to overlook Hudson among the other pitching prospects in St. Louis, but the 2016 first round draft pick showed tremendous ability in his first 13.1 innings of professional baseball:

  • 19 strikeouts
  • 7 walks
  • 50 GO/AO

Obviously it’s a miniscule sample size, but he has the size we look for (6’5”, 215 lbs.) and at 22-years old could move extremely quickly.  There are concerns that he ultimately needs to be transitioned to the bullpen (it’s possible he’s moved there in ’17 as a way to get him to the Majors if there’s a need), though St. Louis should give him an opportunity to develop in the rotation.  The hard-thrower with a strong secondary arsenal, there’s reason to be optimistic.

 

5) Magneuris Sierra – Outfielder
Grade – B
ETA – 2019

Sierra spent the season at Single-A, hitting .307 with 31 SB.  Listed at 5’11” and 160 lbs., obviously he’s never going to profile as a power hitter.  Instead he could develop as your prototypical top of the order bat, utilizing his top-end speed to make things happen.  He does need to make some adjustments at the plate, as he needs to draw more walks (3.9%) to fit the profile.  At 20-years old (he’ll turn 21 in April), he does have time to get there.

 


 

The Rest:

6) Jack Flaherty – Right-Handed Pitcher (Grade – B)
7) Sandy Alcantara – Right-Handed Pitcher (Grade – B-)
8) Harrison Bader – Outfielder (Grade – B-)
9) Edmundo Sosa – Shortstop (Grade – B-)
10) Paul DeJong – Third Baseman (Grade – B-)

Sources – MILB.com, MLB.com, Fangraphs

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Grading System:
Grade A – Elite Prospects (aka potential future perennial All-Stars)
Grade B – Above Average Prospects (aka above average Major Leaguers, could develop into a potential All-Star)
Grade C – Average Prospects (aka solid, though unspectacular)
Grade D – Nothing More Than Roster Filler
Grade F – Move On

Make sure to check out all of our 2017 Prospect Rankings:

AL EastAL CentralAL West
Baltimore OriolesChicago White SoxHouston Astros
Boston Red SoxCleveland IndiansLos Angeles Angels
New York YankeesDetroit TigersOakland A's
Tampa Bay RaysKansas City RoyalsSeattle Mariners
Toronto Blue JaysMinnesota TwinsTexas Rangers
NL EastNL CentralNL West
Atlanta BravesChicago CubsArizona Diamondbacks
Miami MarlinsCincinnati RedsColorado Rockies
New York MetsMilwaukee BrewersLos Angeles Dodgers
Philadelphia PhilliesPittsburgh PiratesSan Diego Padres
Washington NationalsSt. Louis CardinalsSan Francisco Giants

2 comments

  1. Jack says:

    No mention of Carson Kelly? I feel like he factors as a bit of a catch-22 (pun intended). Is he a better real life prospect than a fantasy prospect and therefore the no mention? But on the other hand, it is because his defense is so good, he seems to be the heir apparent in St. Louis. That clear of a path seems to be worth something from the fantasy side of things; does it not?

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      I like Kelly and actually just projected him out in the 2017 draft guide. That said he’s more of a C+ type prospect, as there are questions about his offense (not his defense). If we pushed this out to Top 15 he’d be a lock to make the cut.

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