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Tuesday, August 9, 2022
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St. Louis Cardinals Top 34 Prospects


© Andrew Jansen / News-Leader / USA TODAY NETWORK

Below is an analysis of the prospects in the farm system of the St. Louis Cardinals. Scouting reports were compiled with information provided by industry sources as well as my own observations. This is the second year we’re delineating between two anticipated relief roles, the abbreviations for which you’ll see in the “position” column below: MIRP for multi-inning relief pitchers, and SIRP for single-inning relief pitchers.

A quick overview of what FV (Future Value) means can be found here. A much deeper overview can be found here.

All of the numbered prospects below also appear on The Board, a resource the site offers featuring sortable scouting information for every organization. It has more details than this article and integrates every team’s list so readers can compare prospects across farm systems. It can be found here.

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Other Prospects of Note

Grouped by type and listed in order of preference within each category.

Depth Starters
Connor ThomasLHP
Logan GraggRHP
Thomas ParsonsRHP

Thomas is a small, pitchability lefty with four offerings that live off his command, though some pitch metrics like his slider. Gragg, 23, is a 6-foot-5 kitchen sink righty who throws a ton of strikes with five vanilla pitches. He’s still in A-ball, but he could be a two-seam / cutter bulk reliever, if not a spot starter. Parsons, 26, is similar except he’s already at Triple-A.

Bench Role Ceilings
Conner CapelOF
Nick Dunn2B
Osvaldo Tovalin3B
Delvin PérezSS
Jeremy RivasSS
Ryan HolgateLF
Luken Baker1B

Capel is a well-rounded 25-year-old outfielder with above-average bat control and a weird swing. He’s a great upper-level injury replacement type. Dunn, 25, is like a free-swinging Brendan Donovan – same hair and everything. He has good feel for contact but not as good of an approach, and that’s enough to put him on the fringe rather than firmly in the big league mix. Tovalin, 22, is a physical, lefty-hitting infielder with a short swing and doubles power. He’s now at Peoria after clubbing Low-A. Pérez is a capable shortstop defender and a well-rounded defensive infielder who can not really hit. Rivas, 19, is another light-hitting, glove-first type who is currently in A-ball. Holgate had a good college career at Arizona but has struggled to hit and dealt with injury in pro ball. Baker has stopped hitting after pelting 26 bombs last year, both as a 24-year-old in Double-A.

Deep Projection
Yordalin PenaRF
Carlos LinarezC

Pena, who signed in January, has arguably the most overt physical projection of that entire group and might come into big power. Linarez, 20, is an advanced defensive catcher with an above-average arm and good timing at the plate.

Relief Depth
Andre GranilloRHP
Griffin RobertsRHP
Johan QuezadaRHP

Granillo, a husky closer from UC Riverside, sits 93-95 mph with an above-average slider and 30-degree control. Roberts is rehabbing in the lower levels right now, sitting 90-92 and throwing his trademark breaking ball most of the time. He once looked like a slider monster reliever, but he needs to prove it at this point. Quezada has hopped around to a few orgs now and is still impossible to miss because he’s 6-foot-9 and throws 98 mph with little idea where it’s going.

System Overview

The Cardinals do not mess around. They push the prospects they think are good up the minor league ladder quickly, testing them and integrating them into the big league roster without worrying about service time optimization and manipulation. As such, we have a better idea of ​​who’s a dude and who’s pretty quickly, which is part of why this system has little in the way of amorphous profiles or Schrödinger’s Prospects in a “maybe” area. The boom-or-bust high schoolers the Cardinals have found a way to get a little later in the draft have a mixed track record, but it feels like it’s worth it to have used a pick on Tre Fletcher (the only sign I saw of Fletcher on the complex in Jupiter was his sweet matte black car) if the process that landed him is the same one that leads you to Jordan Walker and Masyn Winn, who look like impact players.

I mention in some of the blurbs that St. Louis has a penchant for taking pitchers who have ugly deliveries, but who throw hard (and if not, the org tends to make them throw harder), often work with sink and tail more than rise, and command their breaking balls. That type of guy is all over their big league roster, with Dakota Hudson, Ryan Helsley, Jordan Hicksand Pallante all applicable examples.

Internationally, St. Louis tends to have a balanced approach. They commit some money at around the same time other teams do, then hold a portion of their pool in reserve for later in the process, which they use to come to agreements with slightly older pitchers who have had a velocity spike (Edwin Nunez and Randel Clemente are examples here), or players who are hitting the market late for whatever reason (as was the case with Cho).

With Graceffo moving into the 50 FV tier, the Cardinals are now tied with several teams for the third-most Top 100-caliber prospects in a single system, with six; their cohort trails only the Guardians and Rays, who each have seven. It’s a top-heavy system with slightly below-average depth due more to graduations than anything else. Elehuris Montero is the only prospect on The Board who originally signed with St. Louis but is now a prospect for another team.



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