Just a year ago the St. Louis Cardinals added Derian Gonzalez to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft. Now he along with Conner Greene were designated for assignment, each with different fates.
Derian Gonzalez remains in the St. Louis Cardinals organization after clearing waivers, and Conner Greene was claimed by the Royals. The pair were DFA’d in order to protect other top prospects from the Rule 5, those players being Ryan Helsley, Genesis Cabrera and Ramon Urias. That still leaves top prospects Max Schrock, Junior Fernandez, and Wadye Ynfante susceptible to selection.
The 40 man roster was very cluttered, and in order to keep and add and key players for the upcoming season some people needed to be removed.
The hard throwing righty has a plus fastball that hits triple digits, which helped him to be ranked number 27 in the organization after being acquired the Randal Grichuk trade. Outside of his fastball, he does not have much else.
Both of his secondary pitches carry below average grades, and his control is even worse, with a grade of 40. His walk rate and strikeout rate in 2018 were just about the same across the Double and Triple A levels.
He is only 23 years old so there is still plenty of time to develop those parts of his game, but he was not close to helping the St. Louis Cardinals bullpen.
Much like Greene, Gonzalez spent the year between Double and Triple A. He also saw time in the Gulf Coast League on rehab from an injury that kept him off the field for most of May and June, making one appearance in each month. Unlike Greene, Gonzalez was able to keep his walk rate under four.
In a touch over 10 innings out of the bullpen with Memphis, Gonzalez struck out 12 batters, but he also surrendered seven runs. He has a great frame and a live arm and he could turn into a productive reliever.
At 23, there are still things to work on. But, since he is still with the St. Louis Cardinals organization, there is a chance he figures something out and finds himself back on the 40 man roster.
There is a real chance the Cardinals lose someone in this years Rule 5 Draft. They did protect Helsley, Cabrera, and Urias who are among the Top 30 prospects, along with Lane Thomas who is not.
That leaves three of MLB Pipelines top prospects eligible. Ynfante, number 23, is likely safe after hitting .213 with State College. Schrock and Fernandez are both interesting cases.
Schrock ranks at number 11 to end 2018 after being a part of the Stephen Piscotty deal. He hit .249 with Memphis during his first season in the organization. Part of this is learning a new level. He has a good contact tool, and the ceiling of an everyday second baseman.
The more interesting name is Fernandez, who checks in at 14 to end the season. He has a live fastball and a decent changeup, but does tend to lack control. The 21 year old is coming off an injury shortened season, where he walked only one less batter than he struck out in 21 innings with Springfield.
The St. Louis Cardinals will have more decisions to make coming up, especially if they add through free agency. Greene and Gonzalez are just the start.