The St. Louis Cardinals have chosen not to protect two power hitting prospects.
With the news of Charlie Tilson, Aledmys Diaz, and Dean Kiekhefer making the 40-Man roster yesterday, the team has interestingly chosen not to protect power hitting 3B Patrick Wisdom and power hitting IF Jacob Wilson from the Rule 5 Draft, which takes place here in a few weeks. This move is intriguing regarding the Cardinals’ need for infield help and need for power. However, the move makes quite a bit of sense when you think about it.
In order for a team to pick up a player like Wisdom or Wilson, that player must remain on the 25-Man active roster of that MLB club, otherwise the team has to risk the player being claimed on waivers before they can be sent down to the minors. Looking at the two players, not many teams would likely be comfortable in taking such a risk on them.
You may be wondering why any team in their right mind wouldn’t take a flyer on a power potential prospect through the Rule 5 Draft, and I don’t blame you.
I have talked about Wisdom quite a bit lately, with the Arizona Fall League coverage I have been bringing each week. So, you probably know a little bit about him, but let’s take a look at what he brings to the table anyways. Wisdom had 28 homers in his last two seasons with AA Springfield, where hitters typically rake because of the league and ballpark.
Wisdom has also had averages of .217 and .237 the past two seasons, with a strikeout percentage of 17.5% and 23.5%. The strikeout numbers aren’t that bad, but the average’s are abysmal. At one point early in this past season, Wisdom was sent down to extended spring to work on his swing.
It worked for a while, as he slashed .296/.346/.518 with 23 extra-base hits (11 doubles, nine homers, there triples) from May 18th to July 18th, with a 139 wRC+ according to Fangraphs. However, things went down hill quickly for Wisdom, as he slashed .165/.231/.268, with just four homers the rest of the season. These are some not so pretty numbers, and Wisdom is going to need more time in the minors if he is ever going to amount to much in the big leagues.
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Wilson, on the other hand was coming off an injury this season and had an interesting season. In 427 AB between AA and AAA this season Wilson slashed .230/.302/.407, with 39 extra-base hits (20 doubles, 18 homers, 1 triples). This is not including his .290 average and two homers in the Pan Am games this summer.
Wilson has shown promise at points in his career as he has impressed in the AFL twice (2013 and 2014) and hit .302 through 66 games last season. Going into the season, I thought Wilson could be a factor for the Cardinals, and here we are where another team could potentially select him via the Rule 5 Draft. However, Wilson has not shown that he can be much a factor at the major league level, given his issues with consistent contact.
Again, a major league team is going to have to be comfortable with having these guys on their 25-man roster all season long, or be comfortable risking losing the player on waivers. Which, given what we see here, is not likely. If it happens, so be it. The Cardinals will not be losing too much and there are other prospects to fill the holes, as we will discuss later on next week.