St. Louis Cardinals: MLB Pipeline Names Organizations Prospects of the Year
On Tuesday, October 11th, MLB Pipeline named the best prospects in each organization. The St. Louis Cardinals recipients were starting pitcher Luke Weaver and outfielder Harrison Bader.
Both came into the season ranked within the “Top 30 Prospects” of the St. Louis Cardinals franchise at the beginning of the 2016 season. They also both started out in AA Springfield, although Luke Weaver did not make his season debut until the middle of June.
From right out of the gates, Weaver and Harrison Bader tore up the AA level, both seeing promotions to the next level in no time.
Weaver made his major league against the 2016 best team in baseball, Chicago Cubs, in August. In his debut, he threw 99 pitches in four innings, allowing only two runs on four hits, and struck out three Cubs batters.
The Florida State product went on to start seven more games for a depleted pitching rotation. For a guy who only had one start at the AAA level, Weaver performed exceptionally well. The dominance he exhibited in AA Springfield warranted a quick rise to the major leagues.
Weaver finished the season with a 1-4 record, 5.70 ERA, and 45 K’s. He did allow seven home runs in only 36 innings, which is equals to be1.7 HR/9 innings pitched. That is not good at all.
There’s definitely room for improvement as Weaver enters the off-season. It is likely that Weaver will start out in AAA Memphis next season due to a crowded starting pitching staff in St. Louis. This will be beneficial to his career as he will get to showcase his talents right off the bat in April, rather than waiting until the middle months of the season.
St. Louis Cardinals fans were raving about Bader from the start this year. Unlike Weaver, Bader did not see promotion to St. Louis, but did excel in spurts at Memphis before being sent back down to Springfield near the end of the season.
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Splitting his time 82 games in Springfield and 49 in Memphis in the 2016 season, Bader hit .267/.335/.452. He almost hit the 20 home run mark, ending at 19, and showed capabilities of being a run producer with 58 RBI. The 13 stolen bases is also a nice sight to see as speed and aggressiveness is one of the primary tools Bader possesses.
The former Florida Gator did hit above .280 at AA, while falling to just above .230 in AAA at Memphis. This is slightly discouraging, but should not make Cardinals fans worry. Drafted in 2015, this was his first full season as a professional.
Harrison Bader should start next season in Memphis, which will help him develop nicely. His potential is obviously there and could make a few appearances in St. Louis next season. However, I would not expect him to become a mainstay on the St. Louis Cardinals roster until 2018. A future outfield of Grichuk, Bader, and Piscotty is fun to think about.
Next: St. Louis Cardinals: Trade Jhonny Peralta and Luke Weaver?
The Cardinals future is bright with a bunch of talent, but were Weaver and Bader the right choices for prospects of the year?