A lack of top-100 prospects weakens the Cardinals' bargaining power

MLB Pipeline only gave the St. Louis Cardinals three top-100 prospects in their preseason rankings. This weakens the team's buying power in trades.
St. Louis Cardinals v Milwaukee Brewers
St. Louis Cardinals v Milwaukee Brewers / John Fisher/GettyImages

When a trade occurs between two teams that includes prospects, one of the first things mentioned in conjunction with the prospect's name is his ranking on prospect lists. Typically, MLB's top-100 ranking is the de facto resource for prospects, for better or for worse. While other national outlets like Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus release rankings themselves, MLB's is the default list for fans, reporters, and teams to use.

MLB Pipeline released their top-100 prospects in baseball on January 26th, and surprisingly, the St. Louis Cardinals only had three representatives on the illustrious ranking. SS Masyn Winn (#43), RHP Tink Hence (#64), and RHP Tekoah Roby (#99) were the only three players in the Cardinals' system that made the list.

Masyn Winn will be taken off the list with the mid-season update once he logs more innings at the major league level. He will lose his prospect status at that point. Winn's eventual removal means that the Cardinals only have two real prospects according to MLB Pipeline.

Notable names such as infielder Thomas Saggese, center fielder Victor Scott II, and even outfielder Chase Davis were not on the list. Those three were on Baseball Prospectus's list, and both Scott and Saggese were ranked higher than Roby by the analysts at Prospectus. The snubs of these three players is disappointing to a system that received an overhaul when the Cardinals sold at last year's trade deadline.

Having only three top prospects in all of baseball weakens the Cardinals' buying power as they vie for pitchers like Shane Bieber, Dylan Cease, Bryan Woo, and Jesus Luzardo. While opposing teams will have scouts looking at other players in the Cardinals' system, a lack of name and prospect pedigree on national top lists will require the team to give up more prospects for a top-end starting pitcher.

The Cardinals are likely to wait until the trade deadline to acquire one more high-end pitcher to pair with Sonny Gray. MLB Pipeline will update its prospect rankings by then, so it's possible there is some shifting in the power rankings, but for the time being, the Cardinals having only three top-100 prospects doesn't help their pursuit of a starting pitcher.