On January 22nd of 2018, Baseball America released their list for the Top 100 prospects in all of baseball.
Four Cardinals featured in Baseball America Top 100
Of that list, the Atlanta Braves hold the most with 8 prospects in the Top 100, while the St. Louis Cardinals are tied for 10th with 4 prospects respectfully (listed below). All four of these players should get some significant playing time at the Major League level in the coming season.
17. Alex Reyes – RHP – Reyes looks to be a bullpen candidate early in 2018 coming off of Tommy John surgery, but could earn a spot in the rotation later in the year. He will mostly likely have an innings limit, but can still be used as an effective piece. He has a plus fastball that consistenly hits 97-98, hitting triple-digits on occasion. He made his MLB debut in 2016 and had a 4-1 record over 12 games (5 starts) to the tune of a 1.57 ERA over 46.0 innings pitched. He is only 23 and has plenty of time to develop and become a front of the rotation starter.
53. Jack Flaherty – RHP – After dominating both AA and AAA ball, Jack was called up late in last season and made his debut on September 1, 2017. In 21.1 innings in the Major Leagues, Flaherty struggled with a 6.33 ERA. His struggles are reminiscent to Luke Weavers first opportunity in the Bigs back in 2016. Luke made adjustments and had a strong comeback last year and I assume Jack will do the same next season. Most likely he will begin 2018 in AAA, with an opportunity to join the big club later in the year in the bullpen or as a spot starter.
55. Carson Kelly – C – Widely considered to be one of the best catching prospects in the game, Kelly has yet to put up great numbers in the Majors. Over 2 seasons in AAA, he holds a .286/.368/.434 slash line, but in limited time with the Cardinals it’s only a .171/.236/.220 slash line. We all know how gifted he is defensively, but we also hope to see an offensive improvement over the upcoming season, as he will most likely be the primary backup to Molina.
86. Tyler O’Neill – OF – Tyler O’Neill was acquired by the Cardinals early in 2017 in exchange for pitcher Marco Gonzales. He is a good power threat but O’Neill’s biggest flaw is his strikeout numbers. In AAA, he struck out 151 times in 495 ABs (30.5%). He compares to a guy like Randal Grichuk who the Cardinals recently traded. Last season Grichuk had 133 whiffs over 412 AB’s (32.2%). O’Neill does draw more walks than Grichuk, which helps his OBP, but he needs to limit his strikeouts. If he can do that, he will earn more AB’s at the Major League Level.
I’m surprised that a guy like Harrison Bader didn’t make this list. I personally like him more than O’Neill in terms of being a complete player, but I can see that they like O’Neill’s power output. It was also interesting to see Sandy Alcantra listed at #70 overall. Had he not been traded to Miami for Marcell Ozuna, it would have been another top 100 prospect for the Cards. Overall, I’m fine with this list. The Cardinals have good depth at both the OF and Pitching positions and are poised to stay contenders in the coming seasons.
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