I’ve said on numerous occasions that I’m predisposed against most Latin prospects when it comes to making some kind of a “top prospect” list. I won’t argue that the Cardinals have made great strides in their presence in that area over the last few years. They nearly even netted a huge prize in Wagner Mateo before health concerns arose. (As an aside, anyone who was railing against the Cardinals at the time of voiding that contract should be eating a heaping pile of crow right now. The concerns about his eyes were not limited to the Cardinals and Mateo remains unsigned by the other 29 teams.)
Those caveats and improvements admitted, I’m still not certain that the Cardinals have demonstrated a consistent or even pronounced ability to find/develop Latin American players. It’s telling that in a very down year for the system as a whole, Baseball America still shows just 5 prospects among their top 30 coming out of that region. The Cardinals rank above a measly 6 teams in top 30 Latin prospects.
This is a big part of why I’m very skeptical of “names” the Cardinals have signed in that area. Eventually, this point of view is going to become outdated assuming the Cardinals find a way to improve their talent acquisition from the area but, right now, there should still be valid concerns about the Cardinals’ Latin American prospect pipeline.