St. Louis Cardinals’ 2016 Top Prospects: #14 Jake Woodford
Could the St. Louis Cardinals have another “workhorse” starting pitcher in the making?
Ah yes we are back to another pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals‘ Top Prospects series. After all, you can never have too much pitching right? This past draft was the Cardinals way of saying “no you can’t, but we almost do”, as they rightly so went very position player heavy. This was something that was very much needed as the top levels of the farm system are extremely bare in terms of position players.
Jake Woodford is a guy who not many had being drafted as high as he was, and was a bit of a shocker when the Cardinals drafted him. I like many others, figured they would have either gone the safer route of a college arm or continued to grab high potential position players like they did after Woodford.
However, Woodford was selected and has the potential to become another stud pitcher that the St. Louis Cardinals’ develop. There are a lot of things to like about him and the potential he brings to the team, so let’s get to it.
#14 Jake Woodford SP
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Scout Grade: Fastball: 60 | Slider: 50 | Changeup: 45 | Control: 50 | Overall: 45
Analysis: Here we another 2015 draft pick making the top 15, as the Cardinals grabbed him with their competitive balance pick and signed him over slot. He is a big kid with a hard sinking fastball, who reminds me of Lance Lynn for some reason. I am not alone on that as Brian Walton of Scout.com believes that in the same sense that everyone touted Lynn as a “workhorse” in 2008, Woodford has the same label.
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The surprise with Woodford is that he was taken out of high school, something that the Cardinals have shied away from in the past with exception to a couple high talent guys like Jack Flaherty and Shelby Miller. I believe that this says something about what the Cardinals saw in him.
While Woodford doesn’t have the great stuff at this point in his career (beyond his 60 grade fastball), he has a big body that will project well for the kid. He will only get better as he progresses through the Cardinals’ system, and he will not be a fast mover like a Luke Weaver. He will get a chance to grow in this system and the Cardinals will be patient with him as the rotation is going to be full for years.
I would be very conservative on Woodford, MLB.com had him ranked 86th overall in their pre draft rankings, although this could have been due to his Florida commitment. He could shock us all by becoming a stud 2-3 starter, or he could be relegated to being a strong reliever for the Cardinals in the future.
There’s not much out there on his prognosis, but I think he has good potential, and has the chance to be more than most expect him to be. Already having the size and a strong fastball shows that Woodford will just need to work on controlling his pitches and developing some better off speed offerings.
For more on what Woodford brings to the table, you can check out the piece I wrote on him after the draft, as well as the follow up to his first season as a pro that I wrote a few weeks back.
Next: Cardinals 2016 Top Prospects: #15 Bryce Denton
Roster Prediction: Short Season Single A Johnson City
Like I talked about with Bryce Denton yesterday, the Cardinals’ patience with Woodford will be key. I would expect Woodford to go one level at a time, and don’t expect him to make the jump to full season until next season.