The St. Louis Cardinals and MLB’s Top 100 Prospects list /

Just recently the St. Louis Cardinals’ organization was tapped for just two of MLB’s “Top 100 Prospects” list. Many see this as a concern for the organization.

Having just recently covered the St. Louis Cardinals’ prospects, it is a little disappointing to find that the team only had two prospects make the “Top 100 Prospects” list. However, it is not a “damning” report on the Cardinals system or on the team’s outlook as some believe.

This has been a hot topic amongst many people this week. Bernie Miklasz discussed it with’s Jonathan Mayo, Derrick Goold discussed it on Bird Land, Benjamin Hochman discussed it for the St. Louis Post Dispatch and the two PD writers also discussed it on their new radio show “The Writers’ Block”.

It is natural for most to think that the Cardinals should have four or five players in the top 100 because of their recent history. However, Derrick Goold tells us on “The Writers’ Block” the Cardinals have had more minor league players come up and make an impact at the major league level than any team in the past few years.

Goold mentioned that four out of the organization’s top five prospects from 2013 have already reached the major leagues, with a fifth likely on his way this season. The Cardinals have had the likes of Michael Wacha, Marco Gonzales, Kolten Wong, Shelby Miller, Oscar Taveras, Stephen Piscotty, Matt Adams, Carlos Martinez, and many more all graduate from the system and the “Top 100 Prospects” list and make an impact at the major league level. That normally would cripple an organization’s farm system.

However, the Cardinals have a top tier talent in Alex Reyes on his way, and another in Jack Flaherty who for all intents and purposes could be much higher than #80, and should be. On the position player side, the Cardinals have guys who have a lot of potential and very well could have made this list, as I talked about earlier with Magneuris Sierra, Edmundo Sosa, and others.

When you consider where the Cardinals have been drafting for the last five-six seasons, it is impressive to see the talent they have been churning out. The Cardinals have also started to ramp up their impact in the international markets. It really started with Carlos Martinez and Oscar Taveras, but now there are guys like Sierra, Sosa, Anthony Garcia, Aledmys Diaz, Sandy Alcantara, and Junior Fernandez who are working their way through the Cardinals system. 

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It is also important to note that in these lists a lot of popularity included, instead of actual real value. Two ways this is evident to me is the inclusion of Vanderbilt’s star players Dansby Swanson and Carson Fulmer  who were drafted in the first round.

Fulmer stands in at #38 on the list a whopping 42 spots over Flaherty who is more polished and has less concern about his potential and future. Many believe Fulmer doesn’t even become a starter in the big leagues and is relegated to being a reliever, so seeing him that far ahead of Flaherty (who was drafted a year ahead of him and is ahead of him in development) is puzzling.

Swanson, who is a very good player no doubt comes in at #8 on’s list. Him being ranked as a top ten prospect a year after being drafted #1 seems a bit of a stretch to me, especially considering Alex Reyes is five spots behind him at #13. So, these two examples and many others show me that this “Top 1oo Prospect” list is not as much of a “sacred” list at all.

The Cardinals have two under the radar prospects in Harrison Bader and Paul DeJong who could play their way up the ladder this season in terms of the prospect rankings. These two are actually quite closer to the majors than a lot of the guys we have mentioned here. 

So, to say that this system is on the decline is just a lazy excuse for not reading into the system. There is a gap between the levels of the system, as guys like Sosa, Sierra, Fernandez, Alcantara, Flaherty are at the lower levels of the system, while the AA and AAA teams have graduated a lot of the top prospects. I truly believe that the team has engaged in a bit of a philosophy change in terms of prospect development in the past few years.

For years we have seen the safe picks and safe signings, however the last few international signing classes as well as the 2015 draft, saw the Cardinals sign more high profile/high risk guys than they have in the past. This will give the system the impact talent it lacks, and I expect this philosophy to continue. Just because the popular Cubs tanked their way into a lot of talent, doesn’t mean the Cardinals are without it.

Next: Cardinals' 2016 Top Prospects: #1 Alex Reyes

What do you think of the Cardinals’ system? Let us know in the comments section and have a great day Cardinals fans!