John Sickels has his take here.
This entry was posted on Wednesday, October 19th, 2011 at 11:36 pm and is filed under Prospect rankings. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
This really is a huge improvement over last year. Sickels grades are even much better this year.
Nice to see this very good system get some props! Not only is this system good because of Miller,Martinez,Jenkins, Wong etc, but think of all the potential we have down in short season and low-A that hasn’t even really emerged yet like Tilson, McElroy, Garcia, etc etc etc! We are very strong now, and looks like we can have a nice run of strong systems in the coming years, what a great time to be a Cardinals fan!
For once, somebody tells it like it is.
Yeah Sickels is my favorite prognosticator.
“todd walker with a better glove” i love that comparison for kolten wong
WE ARE STACKED!
Stacked probably isn’t the best word to use. I’d go with deeper when talking about our farm system. Even just a few years ago, our farm system is leaps and bounds better now. Taking a look back at the top five prospects from 2007 (using Baseball America for ’08 and my rankings for ’11) and see how they compare to now.
1.) Colby Rasmus vs. Shelby Miller – On one hand, you’ve got a legitimate five tool centerfield prospect who could be a middle of the order hitter. Has all the tools imaginable to succeed. But on the other hand, you’ve got a legitimate front of the rotation starter. Normally would be a toss up, but Shelby Miller gets the nod do to the premium on good, young pitching.
2.) Chris Perez vs. Carlos Martinez – Both are hard throwing righties, but their long term prognosis is what gives Carlos Martinez the nod. Chris Perez was destined for the closer role before clashing with Tony La Russa and ultimately winding up in Cleveland. Carlos Martinez has a feel for multiple pitches at a young age, and if he can improve his control could be a front of the rotation starter with Shelby Miller. Otherwise, he could be a late inning opion.
3.) Bryan Anderson vs. Zack Cox – After hitting extremely well in his first three seasons in the farm system, Bryan Anderson, a sweet swinging left handed catcher, appeared on his way to make a name for himself. His defense was a bit rough around the edges, but his bat seemed to overcome that. Zack Cox on the other hand started slow, but finished up extremely strong this year. I’ll give the edge to Anderson due to position.
4.) Jaime Garcia vs. Oscar Taveras – Pretty tough one here. There was a lot of talk as to where Garcia’s ultimate role was, be as a LOOGY or in the rotation. No one would have predicted Garcia would be as good as he is today. Oscar Taveras is more of projection at this point. After a breakout year in 2010, he was even better this year. It honestly is a flip of a coin.
5.) Adam Ottavino vs. Kolten Wong – Ottavino appeared to be a middle of the rotation starter at best, but more probably towards the back end. Kolten Wong looks like a no weakness, good hitting second baseman. I’d give the nod to Wong based on position.
And the real difference is the depth behind that.
Remember, though, that neither Anderson nor Garcia profiled in 2008 as being A-level prospects. With Anderson there was always the question of whether he had the defensive chops, and whether his bat would play in the majors. The answer to both questions, unfortunately, appears to be “no.” With Garcia, health concerns were already rearing their heads, to explode into TJ surgery in 2009. Furthermore, as you point out, even the pundits who were OK with the health issues didn’t necessarily see an ace in the making. Kevin Goldstein, whose evaluations I respect greatly, saw him as having a ceiling of #3 starter, and that only if his arm didn’t fall off. It’s fair to say he’s reached that ceiling, and probably then some. Yes, there were people watching the Cardinals farm system (myself among them) who had hopes for more. The professional scouts generally didn’t.
The farm is in a LOT better shape now than it was then.
Yeah I agree the system is substantially better not than then. Not just Sickels, but pretty much all of the legit mavens that I know of have Martinez and Jenkins as potential front-of-the-rotation starters. Besides Bauer/Parker/Skaggs, Moore/Torres/Cobb, Hultzen/Paxton/Walker, and maaaayyybe Peacock/Cole/Purke, not many systems can boast that kind of triumvirate.
I’d really say we only have to “A” prospects right now, Miller and Martinez. With the latter being a bigger question. Zack Cox doesn’t exactly profiles as a healthy David Wright or Ryan Zimmerman at third, more like an above-average third baseman with limited power in his swing. Value is there, but not tremendous value. More of a “B” prospect. Taveras has way more potential than Garcia, but the premium on pitching especially left handed pitching pushes Garcia back up. Based on upside, you’d go with Taveras.
“A” Prospects – Shelby Miller, Carlos Martinez
“B” Prospects – Tyrell Jenkins (Who I accidently omitted from the earlier post), Zack Cox, Oscar Taveras, Kolten Wong, Jordan Swaggerty
“High C” Prospects – Matt Adams, Trever Rosenthal, Ryan Jackson, Charlie Tilson, John Gast
What a nice analysis. He seems to think that the guys we identify as the studs are for real and is higher on some others than I have been. I had no idea that Gast has a lively enough arm to be a #3 starter or “dominant reliever”. He seems to know these guys pretty well. As much as I’ve respected BA over the years I got the feeling that they didn’t really have a good grasp of our prospects this year.
Biggest quibbles with Sickels is that I’m higher on Jackson, Garcia and Reifer and lower on Kelly and Dickson.
That’s a very interesting article, well thought out in the best Sickels tradition. One thing that catches my eye is that like most prospect mavens, he positively drools over Tyrell Jenkins. I wonder about that. Yes, the kid is young, super-athletic, and possessed of an electric arm. Yes, all that’s necessary is that he develop his obviously tremendous potential. However, maybe I’m impatient, but I would have expected more development out of him than appears to have happened during 2011. If he’d moved to QC and continued to look good, I’d be fully on board the Jenkins band wagon, but is ANY pitcher who spends an entire season in rookie-league ball really that exciting? Some of you folks have seen him pitch; what do you think?
I watched him pitch. He has electric stuff, and you can tell he is athletic. What caught me, and sickels mentioned it, is that he isn’t has raw as what I thought he was supposed to be. He is far from polished, but he has a lot better idea of what he is doing than what i read in all the reports, he’s got a good delivery, and seems to know how to pitch rather than just throwing as hard as he can all the time.
QC had a very good staff all year and contended and won the Midwest League. Jenkins still has alot of developing to do so there was absolutely no reason for him to pitch in Quad Cities this year at all. It has nothign to do with his development just him being so young him spending the whole year in Rookie Ball isn’t an indication of anything.
I agree with this. Not to mention Rosenthal spent all last year in the Appy League as well and there are plenty of folks excited about him……..well, at least I am!
I like his list. One quibble, Tommy Pham at #20 over Adron Chambers. Scratching my head over that one. Does Pham have to be put on the 40 roster to avoid being Rule V eligible? Pham has been in the organization for six years, has yet to play above AA, and was injured much of 2011. Pham is trending into DJ territory. It’s the #20 prospect so I’m quibbling. Really like that he is high on Jenkins as I want to believe in the kid’s promise.
Sorry not even close. Pham has been successful the last two years but has had his season cut short by freak injuries. Spring 2010 he was the hottest Cardinal Minor Leaguer in Spring Training. You do realize that his injury last year was by robbing an opposing player of a homerun. What else could Pham do for you other than stay on the field more?
Therein lies the issue. Tommy Pham has very little show on his resume. He hasn’t played above in AA in six years in the system (and only 78 games in AA). Is the ranking based on expect major league impact or raw tools? I think Pham is trending toward Daryl Jones. It might be that injuries have held him back but it really doesn’t matter. His chances of being a productive major leaguer for the Cardinals are going down. No way around that point. Adron Chambers’ stock is rising. I see the argument that Pham has more power than Chambers with equal speed therefore he has the higher upside … but the window is starting to close. Your assertion that the comparison between Pham and Chambers “isn’t close” is absurd.
I agree that it is close between Chambers and Pham but I’m more intrigued with Pham’s upside. Each of the last two years he’s been hot at Springfield and then been hurt before we could determine if it’s real. I really didn’t think much of Chambers until this year as he had a good year at Memphis and then did well in his cup of coffee with the big club.
I’ve got them both in the high teens on my list. If Pham is healthy and doesn’t do well then I’ll start thinking about the Daryl Jones junk pile for him but his skill set, right handed hitter, speed, arm, and some power could do a lot more for the Cards than Adron.
Daryl Jones hit the junk pile because his peripherals have sucked. Tommy Pham was playing very well before his injury. That’s a pretty big difference.
Jones stopped performing. Pham has performed the last 2 years but they have been ended by injuries. Jones has a rep for not working hard or taking directions well. Pham has the reputation of working hard and being coachable. Very different players. But yes Chambers stock is rising.
Jenkins, at just 18 this year, was actually young for the Appy League…so I can’t say I’m disappointed one bit by his lack of promotion in-season.
Sickels is the prospecting Gold Standard for me, too, as he’s the best by far at incorporating actual performance and educated perception (scouting) into his ratings.
I still think he’s too cautious about Oscar T. (who gunned down a runner today for the 2nd game in a row), but I suppose that the B+ grade will at least translate to a top 30 or 40 position prospect. No one seems to know what to do about a teenager who hits .386 with power in full-season ball, since, of course, it pretty much never happens.
I agree, I’m a homer but I’m totally bullish on OT. For me he and Martinez are pretty close for #2.
Yep OT is my #2. I also think that Sanchez is being ranked lower than he should because of the injury worries. I assume the shoulder is okay and ranked him #4. A guy his age who has demonstrated closer capability against major league hitters is a very valuable commodity.
If this isn’t a top ten farm system, I’ll quit trying.
What I love about the top 3 is not just that they can be bonafide #1′s but also that they vary in arrival over the next 3 -4 years. Then you have Rosenthal who isn’t very far behind in projection. If these guys snap in with Waino and Jaime, we’ve got this rotation thing all sewn up for the next decade. So, looks like we have some starter potential with Lynn, Scrabble and Gast who could be forced to the bullpen.
If Cleto shows as much improvement in 2012 as he did in 2011, he too could be making a case for the rotation.
The suggestion that our position players aren’t quite as strong as our starters lies merely in the degree of relativity. It would be hard to top our rotation status. Hope they can somehow remain healthy.
I’m not surprised by Jenkins stature. The scouts were not unanimous that the kid was totally raw. The best descriptions suggested that his command was pretty good for a multiple sport HS’er. He’s an athlete and seemingly has good instincts and ability to learn. Even if the Cards take their time with him, which they should, I won’t be surprised if we aren’t looking at 2014 arrival.
Best guess is that Miller snaps in later next year…late enough to avoid super 2. Martinez late in 2013. Jenkins and Rosenthal some time in 2014…. with Rosenthal sooner than Jenkins.
Trying to project what the Cardinals rotation looks like, I’m coming up with the following:
2012: Waino, Carp, Garcia, Lohse, Westbrook/Lynn/alternate
2013: Waino, Carp, Garcia, Lynn, Scrabble/Dickson/Cleto/Miller
2014: Waino, Garcia, Miller, Lynn, Cleto/Gast/Rosenthal (with Jenkins arriving in Sep)
2015: Waino, Miller, Garcia, Rosenthal, Lynn/Jenkins
Hard to project the impact on injuries. Perhaps somewhere in there Jaime will be out.
Maybe not top ten, but we’re definitely on the brink. I’d say somewhere in that 11-14 range is where BA ends up ranking us. We’ve got loads of talent, but the problem is that the majority of that talent is in the lower levels. I know BA puts more stock into players doing at AA, or even High A.
And Cleto really doesn’t fit into the rotation, he looks destined to be in the bullpen unless he develops another pitch or two. Not to mention his control is still shaky. I see a power reliever in his future.
Agreed about the whole pitching vs. hitting thinking. Right now, the pitching in our rotation is ten times better than the hitting prospects. We’ve taken quite a few toolsy OFer prospects in the last few years (Tilson, McElroy, Peterson, etc.), but the return hasn’t been quite as good as expected. And the MI depth in our farm system is pretty much barren besides Kolten Wong and Ryan Jackson. We really could use some legitimate talent. I’m hoping Kenny Peoples-Walls can turn into a decent shortstop, but I’m not holding my breath. As for Jenkins, I’m going to say 2015 for him in our rotation. The Cardinals are extremely cautious when it comes to their young pitchers.
Your Miller projection appears to be a bit optimistic. The Cardinals rotation already appears to be filled, and even with an injury you’ve got guys like Lance Lynn who will be given the first chance. Not to mention there will be some sixth starter Mo will sign and possibly end up in the bullpen. Projection probably looks more like assuming everything goes smoothly:
2012: Wainwright, Carpenter, Garcia, Lohse, Westbrook
2013: Wainwright, Carpenter, Garcia, Lohse, Miller
2014: Wainwright, Carpenter (one year extension)*, Garcia, Miller, Martinez
2015: Wainwright, Miller, Garcia, Martinez, Jenkins
*And if Carpenter doesn’t get the extension (which I do think he will), then Lance Lynn will likely take his rotation spot.
For what it’s worth, the farm system a few years ago was probably underrated some and we have no idea yet if this farm system is overrated or not. Yes, no one knew that Jaime was going to be as good as he was, but in hindsight we can say he was the gem of that class. In other words, you can have a #20 rank farm that eventually turns out more than value for a team than a #10 ranked farm system (though probably can’t say the same about #1 and #30).
Just think of all the talent on our World Series team right now that is due to the farm system of the last few years.
Most of our lineup and bench:
Holliday (Wallace, then resigned)
Freese (did not draft but got him coming out of A ball)
Theriot (Hawksworth, and yeah he’s a negative value)
The entire bullpen minus Rhodes:
Boggs, Salas, Motte, Lynn,
Scrabble and Dotel (Colby)
Plus 2/4 of the rotation
Garcia and Jackson(Colby)
And that’s excluding the fact that Albert / Yadi / Skip were draftees a long time ago.
In other words, the only true FA type acquisitions on this team are Carpenter, Lohse, Rhodes, Berkman, Laird, Punto. If you can put together a world series caliber team without many big FA acquistions, your farm system did something right, and has for a long time.
Scouts have been slow to jump on board the Taveras train. Until last year, his numbers were good but not spectacular. That all changed in rookie ball and then at QC he put on a clinic. Still the scouts refuse to fully buy into those incredible numbers. Why?
Well, certainly his injury this year cost him at bats. His HR numbers were good but not awesome…at least not until you get it in your head that this was an 18 year old until Mid June. He’s raw. How can you be a teenager and not raw…especially if you grew up playing street ball in the Dominican Republic? His fielding shows promise but room for improvement.
Taveras might make some converts in the AFL but he’s going to have to do better than he has so far. His .289 BA is OK but that’s his OBP too. Zero walks. His OPS is .684. OK sample size. Still, a good showing in AFL will likely soften the hardened hearts of scouts everywhere.
Who are these “scouts” you care about? Taveras is ours. We do not care what scouts for other teams think.
Taveras is a low A kid in the AFL, whereas other hitters have already complete AA. Its no surprise if Oscar does not dominate the AFL. He skipped some grades to get there.
I’m talking about BA, BP etc. They will be determining where OT fits in the top 100 prospect list and his success in AFL may well convince the stubborn ones that he’s for real. To this point, I think they continue find reasons to low ball Oscar. Maybe I’m wrong, but I think they are.
I’m much higher on Bryant than Sickels’ is. Solid tools across the board, and actualization of those tools to this point, gets you into our top-20.
Otherwise, no major quibbles with the list. Taveras doesn’t have superior tools, so I’m pleasantly surprised to see him even as high as a B+ grade. That’s perfect for him in my opinion. Plus hit tool, and pretty much average across the board otherwise.
That’s a very good player, but probably not a superstar, and he’s ranked accordingly. Sometimes, I do think this board puts too much stock into the stats of a player, and not even into the scouting reports and the tools projection.
The projection is much more important than the stats at A ball, believe me.
Taveras has a superior hit tool.
Then I guess I’m not sure what it takes for a 19 year old to be judged to have superior hitting tools at A level. I think he was the second youngest in the league.
Since we’re sharing opinions, mine is that it’s the scouts who have yet to do enough homework on Taveras and not bogus statistics.
One of the opposing managers said that Taveras was the best athlete in the league in rookie ball. He then proceeds to win the batting title in low A ball…. with a 1.028 OPS, at 19, but we shouldn’t trust his stats?
I don’t think B+ is a surprise at all.
Bryant? He of the 40% K rate in the lowest of levels?
I guess Boone Whiting isn’t much of a prospect. Great numbers, but his stuff just doesn’t translate to the next levels. I saw him 86-89, touching 90….that will get hammered at the next levels.
You might be right, but, it’s hard to ignore 122 K’s in 119 innings or a 5.1 K/BB ratio…or his .191 BAA. I’d send him to the next level and let the opposing bats decide.
I would sure like for him to get to the big club while Duncan is still there to see what happens with his stuff.
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