There are always things to be excited about when it comes to prospects. The hope is that they will turn out to be special as an overall player, but some have one special tool that can help the St. Louis Cardinals in the future.
Fireworks come with power, so while some players have a special tool that might not make this list, it doesn’t mean they aren’t special. Here, I want to focus on the St. Louis Cardinals prospects who provide fireworks with the power of their game. That could be power at the plate, a dominant fastball, speed, or a cannon of an arm.
To be considered a ‘plus’ tool, the grade needs to be 60 on the prospects grading scale. If it is 70, it is considered a ‘plus plus’ tool, and 80 would be the maximum a grade can go. The Cardinals have several players who boast plus skills in one way or another.
Power At The Plate
This is the only category that will not boast multiple players. There is only one player who fits the category of fireworks with the bat. He is one of the best prospects in the organization.
Tyler O’Neill boasts the only plus power grade among St. Louis prospects. His power is 60, and he is the number two overall prospect in the organization. The outfielder has shown that by hitting 120 homers in his minor league career, and three during limited time in the majors.
There are three players who fit this bill. And there are a a few guys who come in just under the limit with grades of 55. Among those names is O’Neill.
The highest rated prospect with a plus arm is outfielder Oscar Mercado, who boasts a 60. He is the only outfielder with an arm that truly grades as plus. Mercado is also a converted shortstop, but that arm translates into the outfield as well.
Going back to the infield, there are a pair of players with big arms. The first is shortstop Delvin Perez. At only 19 years old, the St. Louis Cardinals 20th ranked prospect is showing big things from his arm. Perez is accompanied by a third baseman, Elehuris Montero, who is a candidate to join with power at the plate too.
This category is very plentiful with six players, including five outfielders. Explosive speed can help on both sides of the ball.
Starting on the infield, Delvin Perez makes another appearance. This is his second plus tool, and this one is close to being a plus plus tool. Perez is a weapon on the defensive side of the ball and on the basepaths thanks to his 65 grade speed.
The fifth outfielder is Jonatan Machado, who was signed during the international signing period in 2016. This prospect stands apart from the pack because his speed is plus plus.
There a lot of pitchers with a plus fastball. So for this part, I am focused on only those with a plus plus pitch. A pitcher like Dakota Hudson, with a 65 grade fastball just misses the cut. Three pitchers make this cut.
Two of them are Junior Fernandez and Connor Greene both have a fastball that grades out at 70. Both guys are up near, if not at, triple digits at their top speed. That kind of fastball can be very effective when used correctly.
Now, this wouldn’t be a prospect post without mentioning Alex Reyes. Despite his injuries, Reyes is a big prospect with big tools. His fastball stands out from the pack with a grade of 75. That is near top end, which would be an 80 grade.
If every prospect could turn into an all around player, but that does not happen. These kinds of powerful tools are just part of the chess match. Each player can help the St. Louis Cardinals in their own way, and these are the tools that players can contribute.