Reflecting on the 2013 Cardinals’ top 30 prospects

jbuchheit
ST. LOUIS, MO - JULY 4: Oscar Taveras #18 of the St. Louis Cardinals hits the game-winning RBI double against the Miami Marlins in the sixth inning at Busch Stadium on July 4, 2014 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Cardinals beat the Marlins 3-2. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - JULY 4: Oscar Taveras #18 of the St. Louis Cardinals hits the game-winning RBI double against the Miami Marlins in the sixth inning at Busch Stadium on July 4, 2014 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Cardinals beat the Marlins 3-2. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
4 of 7
Next
JUPITER, FL – MARCH 5: Charlie Tilson #80 of the St. Louis Cardinals at bat during the spring training game against the Miami Marlins on March 5, 2016 in Jupiter, Florida. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)
JUPITER, FL – MARCH 5: Charlie Tilson #80 of the St. Louis Cardinals at bat during the spring training game against the Miami Marlins on March 5, 2016 in Jupiter, Florida. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images) /

20. Steve Bean (C)

The Cardinals’ supplemental first-round pick in 2012, Steve Bean was an apt defensive catcher but was never able to hit enough to rise above High-A. In his first two minor league seasons, Bean threw out 41% of runners attempting to steal and had soft hands behind the plate, but from Rookie league to High-A, he hit a paltry .216 in 1,087 at-bats.

The Cardinals released Bean before the 2017 season, and the San Diego Padres promptly scooped him up. But he only played in three minor league games with them before being released.

Bean has remained in the baseball business after his career, working as an agent for young players and an adviser to those who are expected to be drafted in the future.

19. Charlie Tilson (OF)

Charlie Tilson was a speedy center fielder taken in the second round of the 2011 draft. A separated shoulder and torn labrum while attempting a diving catch in Spring Training caused him   to miss the 2012 minor league season, but he showed no ill effects upon returning in 2013, hitting .303 with Low-A Peoria and improving to .308 in High-A. Power was never a part of his game, as he hit only four home runs in Peoria in 2013 and five in Palm Beach in 2014.

A foot fracture caused Tilson to miss the 2014 Arizona Fall League, but once healthy, he continued to prosper with Double-A Springfield, and Triple-A Memphis didn’t prove to be much of a challenge either. The Cardinals traded Tilson to the Chicago White Sox for Zach Duke at the 2016 trade deadline, but another injury in the same foot he hurt in 2014 wiped out his 2017 season.

Tilson became a free agent in 2019 after playing in parts of three major league seasons with the White Sox and hitting .246 during that time. He has since played in the Mexican Baseball League and the Atlantic League, and he now plays for the Chicago Dogs of the American Association.

18. Jordan Swagerty (RHP)

Jordan Swagerty appeared to be on the fast track to making it to St. Louis and snagging the closer’s role, but injuries kept him from ascending past Double-A. Swagerty was taken in the second round out of Arizona State in 2010, and it was clear that his future was in the bullpen. The Cardinals gave him some starting experience in Low-A Quad Cities to let him develop his pitches in longer stints, but he was moved to the bullpen shortly after his promotion to High-A. At Palm Beach, Swagerty had a 1.82 ERA and 52 strikeouts in 54.1 innings.

Swagerty missed the 2012 season after bone spurs eventually led to Tommy John surgery. He also missed most of 2013 because of a pinched nerve, and another surgery to remove bone spurs kept him out of 2014. After missing nearly three full years, Swagerty returned to Double-A in 2015 and surrendered 22 earned runs in 16 innings. The Cardinals released him in July, and his promising career was over at age 25.

17. C.J. McElroy (OF)

C.J. McElroy was a star on the gridiron as well as on the diamond at Clear Creek High School in League City, Texas. He had committed to play wide receiver at Houston, but he backtracked on that decision and instead signed with the Cardinals as a third-rounder in 2011.

Speed was the name of the game for McElroy, but his hitting tool was raw because of his multisport history. He had almost no power, so his game was predicated on reaching base and doing damage from there. In 2013, McElroy began switch-hitting, learning to bat from the left side so he would be one step closer to first base. A foot injury five games into the season waylaid those plans, as he missed the next two months and was sent to instructional league after he recovered.

In 2014, McElroy led the organization with 41 stolen bases at Low-A Peoria, but upon his promotion to High-A the next year, he hit only .247. He missed 2017 with an injury, and the Cardinals released him after that season. He signed with the Cincinnati Reds, but after failing to reach the Mendoza Line in Triple-A, he signed with Sugar Land in the Atlantic League, where he played through 2019.

16. Victor De Leon (RHP)

Victor De Leon was able to hit 98 mph with his fastball in his U.S. debut in 2011, but like many flamethrowers, control was an issue, as he walked 24 batters in 50.1 innings in 2011. His command and control gradually improved in 2012, and he was promoted from Rookie ball to High-A State College in 2013, where he was moved to the bullpen nearly full time and had a 2.87 ERA.

Despite his decent numbers, De Leon was demoted to Johnson City in June 2014, and the Cardinals released him a few days later. He never signed with another team, and he concluded his career at age 21.

facebooktwitterreddit