Ken Rosenthal discusses Cardinals' shortcomings with prospects

The Cardinals are off to another rocky start, this time thanks to their offense. Ken Rosenthal discussed how the Cardinals player development system may need an overhaul.
St. Louis Cardinals v Oakland Athletics
St. Louis Cardinals v Oakland Athletics / Thearon W. Henderson/GettyImages

For the second consecutive year, the Cardinals have sent Jordan Walker down to Triple-A Memphis.

Last year, it made no sense to do this. This year, there's a good reason behind it. Walker is hitting .155 to start the season.

Contrary to predictions, the Cardinals' pitching staff has held up just fine. It's the offense that has let them down so far. Walker is a key part of that, and he was not producing.

Over the years, we've seen the Cardinals mishandle the development of young players such as Dylan Carlson and possibly Walker, as well as a trend of former Cardinals finding their groove with new teams. Examples include Randy Arozarena, Adolis Garcia, and Tyler O'Neill.

Ken Rosenthal pointed out on Foul Territory that it's fair to assume there might be a flaw in player development.

"Who of these great Cardinals offensive prospects has really developed in recent years?" said Rosenthal. "Dylan Carlson was supposed to be a star. Good player, not a star. Lars Nootbaar, that's a feather in their cap in my opinion, he is a really good player, and we can go right down the line. They have had issues along these lines there's no question about it."

Rosenthal praises Nootbaar, but questions Cardinals' player development

Rosenthal's statements are certainly true. The Cardinals have struggled to develop prospects into stars. Even O'Neill is an example of this. He's putting it together with the Red Sox, but he never quite reached his potential with the Cardinals.

Lane Thomas is another example of a prospect who flamed out with the Cardinals and is now a star with the Nationals. It's no secret that the Cardinals have had trouble in this regard.

However, it is important to note Rosenthal's praise of Lars Nootbaar. While other players haven't worked out, Nootbaar has been a solid piece for the Cardinals and does provide a little hope for the future.

When Paul Goldschmidt departs, likely after this season, Nootbaar will become a building block and a centerpiece in the lineup. And to be fair, it's not like the Cardinals haven't had any success in developing young players. Nootbaar is a perfect example, as are Brendan Donovan and Tommy Edman.

But the proof is in the pudding when you look at Arozarena, Garcia, and now O'Neill. Two of the three players mentioned have gone on to become the ALCS MVP. Arozarena even set a single-season record for home runs in the postseason.

It is clear that the Cardinals have had far too many cases of betting on the wrong horses. Carlson is nothing more than a fourth outfielder at this point, and the Cardinals really don't have much of a place for Alec Burleson. Walker has also struggled. So again, it's fair to question if it's time for a shakeup in the player development department.

Rosenthal did note that there is still hope for the Cardinals, but that if they're going to turn things around, they need to start hitting. The offense was a bigger problem than people realized last year, and the issues are showing their face this year.