When the St. Louis Cardinals play an opponent, fans are often familiar with those players or, at the least, have an idea of who the stars on the opposition are. Throughout this season, we’ll attempt to give you a better idea of whom the Cardinals prospects are facing and who you may want to pay attention to in today’s games.
Today, I’m using Kevin Goldstein’s top prospect lists as a loose guide to highlight one player that’s considered a top prospect for the opposing teams organization.
New Orleans Zephyrs
Affiliate: Miami Marlins
Keep An Eye On: Matt Dominguez, 3B
The Past: Dominguez may actually be a familiar name given that he had a brief MLB stint of 17 games. Most of Dominguez’s 2011 was spent with the Zephyrs where he hit poorly considering position and league. Over 87 games, he accumulated a .312 OBP and a .743 OPS. Dominguez was a first round draft pick by the Marlins and had an excellent first full season in professional baseball. That, however, was 2008.
The Future: Things seem questionable at this point. Dominguez is well regarded as a defender but the bat has stalled since 2008. Like many players who stall out in the high minors, off-speed stuff is particularly troubling to Dominguez. His future seems to be heading towards bench player rather than starter.
Affiliate: Colorado Rockies
Keep An Eye On: Edwar Cabrera, LHP
The Past: Cabrera put up some crazy numbers last year striking out 217 batters last year across low-A and high-A. He did that as a starter in 167 IP, so yeah, that’s some crazy numbers. Goldstein attributes this to an “outstanding changeup” and indicates that he’s something of a one-trick pony.
The Future: Texas League batters still haven’t figured that trick out this year as Cabrera has struck out 16 in 20 IP and walked just 2 batters. The obvious path for the majors for a LHP with one outstanding pitch is as a reliever but it seems premature to label Cabrera in that fashion when he’s yet to have a season in which he doesn’t strike out more than a batter an inning. If he’s a “trick-pitcher”, it’s one hell of a trick.
St. Lucie Mets
Affiliate: New York Mets
Keep An Eye On: Cesar Puello, OF
The Past: There’s not much to get excited about yet. Puello’s a projection prospect, a toolsy Dominican with impressive power and speed. He hasn’t put it together yet though. The one bright spot to date had been his ability to draw a walk and get on base, which was decidedly absent his first time through high-A in 2011.
The Future: These types of prospects always inspire lofty levels of stardom. All star. Core player. Right now, he’s looking to get his OBP over .300 in the Florida State League.
Affiliate: Cincinnati Reds
Keep An Eye On: Kyle Waldrop, OF
The Past: Waldrop doesn’t have much of a professional history. He was a 12th round pick in 2010 plucked from a Florida High School. At 20, he’s not particularly young for low-A having spent last year in the Pioneer League where he hit for a modest .776 OPS. If he can stick in centerfield — and he should — then he’s got a future.
The Future: But that future is a long way off. Even the most optimistic of current projections talk more about his makeup and work ethic rather than his raw skills. File him under the Jon Jay career path rather than the Colby Rasmus one.
Note: I’m interested in some feedback on this kind of piece. Love it, hate it, wish you got it more often? Let me know in the comments.