17 of the top 30 prospects in the St. Louis Cardinals organization are pitchers.
Every year around the beginning of Spring Training, MLB Pipeline releases updated rankings for all 30 major-league organizations’ top 30 prospects. Entering 2017, the St. Louis Cardinals rank 12th in baseball as a whole in farm system rankings, better than the Chicago Cubs, who come in at 16th.
Many of the Cardinals’ top-30 are still quite young and don’t project to break in at the major-league level for a couple more years at least. Nevertheless, thanks in part to the international signings the organization has been able to make, the farm system is in a good spot.
Half of the top-30 prospects are currently participating in St. Louis Cardinals’ Spring Training, with a handful more participating in the STEP (Spring Training Early Program) for minor leaguers.
The complete list can be viewed here.
The Cardinals boast the league’s top right-handed pitching prospect (Alex Reyes) as well as the league’s top catching prospect (Carson Kelly). Reyes is out for the year after undergoing Tommy John surgery earlier this month, and Kelly likely will begin the year in triple-A. Reyes and Kelly are listed as the top two prospects in the organization.
2016 first-round pick Delvin Perez is ranked fourth. The teenage shortstop had a good start to his professional career in rookie ball last year. He’ll be a name to watch closely during the 2017 season.
The team’s top outfield prospect is Harrison Bader. He was drafted in 2015, but made it to triple-A late last season. He’s in big league camp this Spring, and hit a home run in his first Spring at-bat. If he continues to progress as expected this year, we could see Bader in St. Louis before too long.
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The team’s sixth ranked prospect is Sandy Alcantara. He’s a young, sinewy flamethrower who also made his Spring debut last weekend. He hasn’t pitched above single-A yet, but he’s a candidate for quick upward mobility this season.
The team’s top-30 features a plethora of pitchers who were drafted in recent years, so for many of them, their potential major-league debuts are still a couple of seasons away. Nevertheless, the depth of talent the Cardinals have to develop in their system has buoyed their farm system.
It will be fun to watch the young guns progress in the minor leagues this season. Pitching depth is something the organization lacked last year, and the team had to dip into its farm system for the likes of Reyes and Luke Weaver.
Weaver, ranked third, is likely to begin the year at triple-A, although he’ll inevitably get his shot with St. Louis at some point this season.
Spring Training is a great opportunity to get a look at many of these prospects. While nearly all of them will begin the year in the minors, some of them will be called upon throughout the season to fill in needs due to injuries or other unexpected situations.