St. Louis Cardinals’ 2016 Top Prospects: #12 Junior Fernandez


The St. Louis Cardinals have established a bit of a reputation in the Dominican Republic, and this next prospect is apart of the reason.

The next St. Louis CardinalsTop Prospect is yet another hard throwing Dominican right-handed pitcher. As with Sandy Alcantara, Alex Reyes, and Carlos Martinez; Junior Fernandez was signed out of the Dominican Republic and has established himself as one of the best young arms in the system.

There is a lot to like about Fernandez and his potential, we could be awaiting another superstar pitcher in the Cardinals’ system. Fernandez will without a doubt be a pitcher we want to keep our eye on this season.

What makes Fernandez a top 15 prospect so early in his career?

#12 Junior Fernandez SP

Season Stats: 


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Scout Grade:

Analysis: He is very raw right now, but he is a projectable power arm that the Cardinals snagged out of the Dominican Republic during the 2014 international signing period. Fernandez has the potential to be a front of the line starter, and has a fastball that projects out to be about 60-65 grade pitch right now, he has also been known to be able to touch over 100 MPH with this fastball, like his teammate Alcantara. 

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At the end of the season Fernandez was ranked right along with some of the best picks from the 2015 draft in Baseball America’s top 20 prospects in the GCL.Not only that, but Junior Fernandez was also ranked among the Cardinals’ top 10 prospects by Baseball America back in October.

Fernandez’s ability is right up there with Alex Reyes and Carlos Martinez in my opinion, although whether or not he can harness that ability is a bit up in the air right now, as he has yet to pitch a full season of pro ball yet.

Give him a full season  to figure out how his stuff translates and the ability to mix up his offerings a bit, and we could be looking at another stud in the making, which probably frustrates all of these clubs who do not have the full cupboard of pitching that the Cardinals have. As guys like Fernandez are system changers and give the organization flexibility to make trades lie they made in July to acquire Brandon Moss.

John Manuel says that along with his fastball, “Fernandez has flashed a plus change, flashed a plus breaker”, saying that he has the highest upside among any of the Cardinals’ pitchers not to make it to full season ball yet.

Then there’s what “the red baron” of Viva El Birdos has to say about Fernandez, “the pure arm speed Fernandez shows is extraordinary; he’s consistently in the upper 90s with his fastball, and there’s enough riding life to the pitch I’d feel comfortable with a 70 grade, if not higher.” This is really good for a guy who has just had one season in America so far, especially since he’s yet to play a full season.

Roster Prediction: A Peoria

This is an interesting prediction for me, because Fernandez may not be completely ready for Advanced A ball yet, which means that he will go to Peoria. Most believe that the reason for the two appearances in Palm Beach, was simply due to him already being there in Florida. This makes sense because not even Reyes/Jack Flaherty got to skip Peoria, and Fernandez is a tick below their talent level.

Next: Cardinals' 2016 Top Prospects: #13 Harrison Bader

This makes Peoria even more of a super prospect team, and a team that I am going to have to make my way up to watch this coming summer.