To recap: eight outfielders on the 40-man roster, with ten notable names behind them– including seven currently ranked as top prospects in the entire Cardinal system. Of the eighteen players on this list, at least four can play centerfield, while four others are comfortable as corner infielders.
All those outfielders, and Jordan Walker is the only member of the Springfield Cardinals I mentioned! Mike Antico, Chase Pinder, Matt Koperniak, and others could still make the leap and become valuable major league ballplayers, plus countless other young prospects like Tre Fletcher and Justin Toerner. Oh, and Tommy Edman is a solid outfielder, too. Truly, it’s remarkable what the Cardinals have done developing the position.
The depth is especially remarkable considering the amount of outfielders the Cardinals have recently traded away or released. Oscar Mercado, Lane Thomas, Jose Adolis Garcia, and Randy Arozarena have all seen success after leaving St. Louis. Even Nick Plummer has made it to the big league level. Despite losing all of these talented hitters, the outfield depth has continued to improve.
Of course, the problem is that you can only start three outfielders at a time. Even with the DH, you can probably only roster five outfielders. There’s only one solution: consolidate the talent in a trade.
Right now, the St. Louis Cardinals need starting pitching. Next year, they’ll probably need something else. But barring catastrophic injuries, they will never need ten outfielders. And the success of Arozarena, Garcia, and the others shouldn’t scare the Cardinals from making future trades. In fact, they need to make deals while their prospects are younger, in order to avoid a logjam of major league talent and reduction in trade value.
Of course, the big story right now is Juan Soto. I don’t know how this piece factors into that equation. Although Soto is also an outfielder, he is such an otherworldly talent that any organization can and should make room for him– at the right price.
The minor league system as a whole has been spectacular this season, but clearly the Cardinals have a special talent for finding outfielders. As the trade deadline approaches, and continuing to the offseason, the Cardinals need to capitalize on their surplus. The outfield depth deserves to be celebrated– more importantly, it needs to be used correctly.