The good, the bad, and the ugly for Cardinals prospects in the Arizona Fall League

The Cardinals had 7 prospects participate in the 2023 edition of the Arizona Fall League. Today, we'll dive into their performances and see what they mean for their futures!
Surprise Saguaros v Scottsdale Scorpions
Surprise Saguaros v Scottsdale Scorpions / Jennifer Stewart/GettyImages
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The Ugly

SS Jeremy Rivas

Jeremy Rivas is probably the lowest-profile name of the bunch. He's only 20, but he's trending away from relevance. In 2021, Rivas posted an OPS of .667 in the Florida Complex League. Unfortunately, his numbers regressed in each of the two subsequent seasons. His time in the fall league was much of the same. Rivas posted a .612 OPS with an alarmingly high strikeout rate and virtually no power.

Perhaps his best path back to prospect status is his defensive abilities. However, the normally sure-handed shortstop did not have his best showing defensively in the AZFL. His .932 fielding percentage was significantly worse than the .957 mark he posted with Peoria. The organization is likely still high on his defensive abilities, and if his bat takes a step forward, he could easily find himself on the Cardinals' top 30 prospect list.

SP Tekoah Roby

Tekoah Roby, acquired in last summer's Jordan Montgomery trade, had a disastrous run through the Arizona Fall League. In just 13.2 innings, he gave up 12 runs (9 earned runs). Those numbers work out to a 7.90 ERA. Roby did flash high-octane strikeout stuff but allowed two home runs and far too many hits. This disappointing performance followed up a strong debut season in the Cardinals' system. Roby struck out 19 in 12 innings with Springfield, allowing just four earned runs in that time.

Roby remains one of the Cardinals' top pitching prospects and should reach the majors by the end of the 2025 season at the very latest. This tough stretch should not be held against the young righty. He could potentially pitch at AAA next season, though the Cardinals may exercise caution with Roby considering his recent injury history.

C Jimmy Crooks III

Jimmy Crooks III had a disappointing showing in the AZFL. After an excellent offensive season, Cardinals fans were excited to watch him mash with Scottsdale. He did the opposite. Crooks came to the plate only 49 times in 14 games. He recorded just eight hits (two doubles, zero home runs) and struck out a whopping ten times. Thankfully, Crooks did come through with a couple of clutch hits for the Scottsdale Scorpions, including this go-ahead RBI single.

This is not representative of who Crooks is as a prospect. He's a vital piece of the impressive catching depth the Cardinals have cultivated over the last several years. Crooks is absolutely still on the club's radar. This stretch is best viewed as a speed bump for a prospect with plenty of upside. Crooks technically appeared with Memphis during their stretch run, although he's likely to start 2024 in Springfield.