The biggest riser in the St. Louis Cardinals minor league system this season has been Gordon Graceffo. A fifth round pick last season out of Villanova, Graceffo has blown completely past all expectations. Just take a look at this tweet from Cardinals Player Development.
On top of those eye-popping numbers, Baseball America’s updated top-100 prospect list has Graceffo at 76, a huge jump for a previously unranked fifth rounder. The key to Graceffo’s rapid rise has been increased velocity. He hit 100 mph this offseason for the first time in his life.
Why would the Cardinals trade Graceffo? Well, there is a question on how much better he can be. Still only at the Double-A level, Graceffo hasn’t proven that he can keep up this incredible pace. It’s a long journey to St. Louis, and while I have no doubts that Graceffo can make it happen, he’s still a few levels away. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Cardinals try to capitalize on his soaring value before the season is over.
And of the players the Cardinals drafted last season, Graceffo is definitely the most likely to be dealt. First round pick Michael McGreevy has been steady if unspectacular, second round pick Joshua Baez is still a few years away from the big leagues, and none of the other newest Cardinal prospects have had a comparable increase in value during the short time they’ve been professionals. It’s simply too early for a rival ballclub to take a gamble on the rest of the bunch.
I don’t think the Cardinals want to trade a talented arm like Gordon Graceffo. The organization is proud of their late-round steals. They’re especially proud of their ability to develop college arms. However, if the opportunity presents itself, expect Gordon Graceffo to be wearing a new uniform in the coming weeks.