2019 ORGANIZATIONAL REVIEW: St. Louis Cardinals


The Cardinals’ farm system is known as one of baseball’s most reliable producers of talent, even if it rarely ranks among the best. St. Louis is consistently excellent at finding players that fit their organizational mold, and they’ve had an unusual amount of success turning high-floor college players into useful big league pieces. This is a fairly standard Cardinals list, littered with prospects that are safe bets to contribute in FV 40 or 45 roles. What’s exciting about this year’s version is the amount of upside prospects sprinkled in, giving St. Louis a healthy mix of floor and ceiling in their pipeline.




St. Louis is as deep as usual in high-floor, upper-minors prospects. For the second straight season, the team’s Triple-A affiliate in Memphis both won their division and the Pacific Coast League title. 10 of our 15 ranked players in this system have ETAs of 2019-2020 or have already debuted.


It’s hard to talk about this system without focusing on (#1) Nolan Gorman and his historic pro debut last summer. (#4) Elehuris Montero really broke out in 2018 and is now pushing his way into Top 125 consideration. The best may be to come for the switch-hitting (#6) Dylan Carlson, and dealing for (#7) Jhon Torres last summer added another potential FV 55+ position prospect to the system. All four of these bats have impact potential and ETAs later than 2020.




(#2) Alex Reyes has the stuff to be one of baseball’s top pitching prospects—and he was as recently as two years ago—though a serious run of injuries has clouded his future outlook. He’s talented enough to still be a seriously impactful big league arm but has fallen out of our top-30 simply given the time missed. Junior Fernandez (On the Horizon) is in a somewhat similar position, having ranked among the organization’s top arms a few years ago before injuries took him off a quick development timeline.



Rank Name Position Ceiling Risk ETA
1 Nolan Gorman 3B 60 Extreme 2022
2 Alex Reyes RHP 60 Extreme 2018
3 Andrew Knizner C 50 Moderate 2019
4 Elehuris Montero 3B 55 Extreme 2021
5 Dakota Hudson RHP 50 High 2018
6 Dylan Carlson OF 55 Extreme 2021
7 Jhon Torres OF 55 Extreme 2023
8 Ryan Helsley RHP 50 High 2020
9 Edmundo Sosa SS 45 Moderate 2018
10 Lane Thomas OF 45 Moderate 2019
11 Daniel Poncedeleon RHP 45 Moderate 2018
12 Genesis Cabrera LHP 45 High 2020
13 Conner Capel OF 45 High 2021
14 Connor Jones RHP 45 High 2019
15 Evan Kruczynski LHP 45 High 2020



(#1) Nolan Gorman, 3B

Ceiling: 60       Risk: Extreme    ETA: 2022      Role Description: Potential All-Star
Ht/Wt: 6’1” / 210 lbs.          B/T: R/R         Highest Level: A         Age (as of April 1, 2019): 18y, 10m
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Gorman had one of the more notable pro debuts in recent memory, slashing .350/.443/.664 in the Appy League a few weeks removed from graduating high school. The organization’s first-round pick last June, it was notable enough that Gorman skipped over the GCL entirely, let alone finished 2018 in the Midwest League. Power is the calling card here, and his ability to get to it in games at such a young age is rare. He already shows 60-grade raw in BP, projecting to double-plus at maturity. Gorman has very advanced plate discipline, able to ID breaking stuff and demonstrating a developed sense of the zone. There’s length to the swing that will always cause some strikeouts, but the power associated with the whiffs makes the trade off worthwhile. There were concerns about his ability to remain at 3B leading up to the draft, but scouts that saw him late in the season felt he had the tools to stick there. A future (at least) average hit tool with the chance for 30+ home runs gives the ceiling of a potential all-star in peak seasons.


(#2) Alex Reyes, RHP

Ceiling: 60    Risk: Extreme   ETA: 2018   Role Description: Frontline Starter (#2/#3 SP)
Ht/Wt: 6’3” / 175 lbs.          B/T: R/R         Highest Level: MLB         Age (as of April 1, 2019): 24y, 7m

Reyes is one of the most polarizing prospects in the minors, showing tantalizing potential every time he’s healthy but struggling to stay on the field. Once considered among baseball’s best prospects, injuries and a suspension have derailed his development. He has thrown exactly 50 innings in the Major Leagues, meaning he will exceed rookie eligibility the next time he pitches in a big league game. Reyes’ fastball touches triple-digits and sits in the high-90s with plus life. He has a four-pitch mix (changeup, slider, curveball) with all the secondary offerings flashing bat-missing potential. The 24-year-old has the raw stuff of a frontline starter but will need to demonstrate any sort of durability to reach that ceiling. It’s easy to see Reyes immediately fitting an impactful late-innings role if the Cardinals see fit to utilize him that way. Despite the bumps in the road to date, Reyes’ ceiling is still high enough to place him in our Top 125 entering 2019.



(#3) Andrew Knizner, C

Ceiling: 50      Risk: Moderate    ETA: 2019      Role Description: Everyday Player
Ht/Wt: 6’1” / 200 lbs.          B/T: R/R         Highest Level: AAA         Age (as of April 1, 2019): 24y, 1m

A seventh-round pick from NC State in 2016, Knizner broke out in his first full pro season in 2017. He kept up the hot hitting last year and has developed into one of baseball’s better catching prospects now that he’s knocking on the door of the big leagues. Knizner slashed .313/.368/.430 combined between Double-A and Triple-A, posting similar lines and strikeout/walk totals at both levels. He’s a potential above-average hitter with fair power, though it’s a hit-first offensive profile that will produce more average than home runs. Defensively, Knizner is still (fairly) new to catching after moving behind the plate as a college sophomore. The glove and arm grade out behind the bat but shouldn’t keep him from profiling at the position long-term. Knizner will have time to keep developing defensively with Yadier Molina under contract for another season in St. Louis, though we expect him to debut in the big leagues at some point in 2019. His hitting ability and playable defense at a premium position give the upside of a fairly safe 2-3 WAR contributor in peak seasons.


(#5) Dakota Hudson, RHP

Ceiling: 50   Risk: High  ETA: 2018   Role Description: League Average Starter (#4/#5 SP)
Ht/Wt: 6’5” / 215 lbs.          B/T: R/R         Highest Level: MLB         Age (as of April 1, 2019): 24y, 6m

Hudson’s raw stuff was on par with some of the top arms in the 2016 draft class as a junior as Mississippi State. Concerns about his ability to remain a starter dropped him to the 34th overall pick, though he has made that look like a steal by reaching the big leagues quickly. Hudson worked from the rotation in Triple-A last year, pitching exclusively in relief upon cracking the Major League roster. He doesn’t miss as many bats as his stuff suggests as a starter, though a heavy mid-90s fastball manages contact well and keeps the ball on the ground. The primary off-speed pitches are a cutter and slider, and he’ll mix a curveball and changeup to add wrinkles when working from the rotation. Hudson has the ingredients for a back-rotation ceiling with continued focus on deepening his repertoire, though the Cardinals seem to be penciling him in for a bullpen role in 2019. His fastball reached the high-90s in short-stints last year, and the stuff is here to close games if he takes to the late innings.


(#8) Ryan Helsley, RHP

Ceiling: 50   Risk: High  ETA: 2018   Role Description: League Average Starter (#4/#5 SP)
Ht/Wt: 6’1” / 195 lbs.          B/T: R/R         Highest Level: AAA         Age (as of April 1, 2019): 24y, 8m

The Cardinals’ fifth-round pick in 2015 from a smaller college, Helsley might have cracked the big league roster last year had he not gone down with a late-season injury. He has risen through the system steadily, if not a bit quietly, recording time in Triple-A each of the last two seasons. Helsley is undersized for a starter and doesn’t have ideal in-zone command, but double-plus velocity on his fastball bails him out to some degree. The heater sits 94-to-97 late into games, topping out around triple-digits. Both his curve and changeup flash sharp movement but aren’t always consistent, backed up by a cutter he’ll mix for another look. St. Louis has a good track record with hard-throwing starters, and Helsley could be a back-rotation piece if he maintains his velocity while cutting down the walks. The tools are here for a potential late-game ‘pen arm if durability becomes a long-term issue.


(#9) Edmundo Sosa, SS

Ceiling: 45       Risk: Moderate    ETA: 2018     Role Description: Role Player
Ht/Wt: 5’11” / 170 lbs.          B/T: R/R         Highest Level: MLB        Age (as of April 1, 2019): 23y, 0m

Once seen as a glove-first specialist early in his career, Sosa upped his prospect stock last year by adding more power at the plate. He got stronger and started lifting the ball more, moving quickly through the upper-minors and making a brief big league cameo in September. There still might not be enough of a carry tool for an everyday profile, but Sosa’s developing bat—plus strong glovework at shortstop with the versatility to move around the infield—gives the ceiling of a solid role player. He might not start 2019 with the big league club but should crack the roster at some point next season.


(#10) Lane Thomas, OF

Ceiling: 45       Risk: Moderate    ETA: 2019      Role Description: Role Player
Ht/Wt: 6’1” / 210 lbs.          B/T: R/R         Highest Level: AAA         Age (as of April 1, 2019): 23y, 7m

A fifth-round pick by the Jays from a Tennessee high school in 2014, Thomas fell off the prospect map before a breakout 2018 season put him back on the radar. St. Louis acquired him relatively cheaply in 2017, only parting with international slot money in exchange for the outfielder. Thomas has struggled to stay healthy throughout his time as a pro, playing in a career-high 132 games last year between Double-A and Triple-A. He slashed .264/.333/.489 with 27 home runs and 17 steals, holding his own upon being assigned to Fall League after the end of the regular season. Thomas is a bit of a tweener, lacking the defensive impact for a surefire CF defensive profile. Despite his power output last year, he’ll need to prove the bat is enough for regular playing time on a corner. We see him having a good chance to fit as a solid fourth outfielder, having the extra value of being able to step into a big league role quickly.


(#11) Daniel Poncedeleon, RHP

Ceiling: 45       Risk: Moderate    ETA: 2018      Role Description: Swingman
Ht/Wt: 6’4” / 185 lbs.          B/T: R/R         Highest Level: MLB         Age (as of April 1, 2019): 27y, 2m

A senior sign in 2014, the 27-year-old Poncedeleon moved steadily through the system before making his big league debut last year. A lanky 6-foot-4 and 185 pounds, his extra-long levers create natural deception in his delivery. The fastball works between 90-to-94 mph as a starter, unlocking a few extra ticks of velocity pitching in relief. Poncedeleon backs up his heater with a cutter, curve, and changeup. He leaned on his curveball more heavily pitching from the rotation in Triple-A, going to it less upon cracking the Cardinals’ Major League roster in 2018. Poncedeleon has some extra value because he can contribute right away, able to move between a rotation and bullpen role in 2019.


(#12) Genesis Cabrera, LHP

Ceiling: 45       Risk: High    ETA: 2020     Role Description: Swingman
Ht/Wt: 6’1” / 170 lbs.          B/T: L/L         Highest Level: AA         Age (as of April 1, 2019): 22y, 5m
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Cabrera was one of three prospects the Cardinals received from Tampa Bay in exchange for Tommy Pham at last year’s deadline. Cabrera is coming off an impressive season, pitching all of 2018 in Double-A as a 21-year-old. His fastball works 94-to-96 mph as a starter—touching higher in relief outings—but limited secondary and below-average walk numbers suggest he’s likely to wind up in the ‘pen. His mid-80s slider plays more like a cut fastball at the high end of its velocity range, showing more depth at 82-to-84 mph. Cabrera works with four pitches starting games, mixing a fringy changeup and curve to add depth to his arsenal. He’ll be able to focus more on his best two offerings in relief, where the Cardinals could fast-track him if there’s a need. Cabrera’s experience starting games gives some potential to pitch multiple innings.


(#14) Connor Jones, RHP

Ceiling: 45      Risk: High    ETA: 2019      Role Description: Setup Relief
Ht/Wt: 6’3” / 200 lbs.          B/T: R/R         Highest Level: AA         Age (as of April 1, 2019): 24y, 5m

The 70th overall pick in 2016 from the University of Virginia, Jones has moved quickly through the system and reached Triple-A by the end of last year. He has produced so-so numbers from the rotation as a pro, struggling to develop a third pitch and miss bats. The Cardinals sent him to Fall League to work out of the ‘pen, where Jones’ fastball ticked up to touch 97-to-98 mph at best and his curve played more like a swing-and-miss pitch. There’s less pressure on his changeup and control pitching outside of a traditional starting role. Jones flashed the two-pitch mix to potentially fit a setup profile, and his experience in the rotation makes him an interesting multi-inning relief candidate.


(#15) Evan Kruczynski, LHP

Ceiling: 45      Risk: High    ETA: 2020     Role Description: Swingman
Ht/Wt: 6’5” / 215 lbs.          B/T: L/L         Highest Level: AA        Age (as of April 1, 2019): 24y, 0m

Kruczynski has been an incredibly valuable considering his bonus and amateur pedigree, a senior money-saver who signed for just $3,000 out of East Carolina. The lefty moved quickly through the system in his first full pro season and was successful at every stop, finishing in Double-A. The Cardinals challenged him with an assignment to Fall League, and despite being tired and losing a few ticks of velocity, Kruczynski still pitched well there. At his best, the 6-foot-5 southpaw works in the 89-to-92 mph range on his fastball, pounding the zone and frequently getting ahead. He changes speeds well and throws a curve, changeup, and slider for strikes. Kruczynski might lack the carry pitch for a true back-rotation profile, but his left-handed pitchability gives low-end #5 starter or swingman upside.


Junior Fernandez, RHP

Ceiling: 45      Risk: High     ETA: 2020      Role Description: Setup Relief
Ht/Wt: 6’1” / 180 lbs.          B/T: R/R         Highest Level: AA        Age (as of April 1, 2019): 22y, 1m

The fireballing Fernandez was among the club’s better pitching prospects before injury issues stalled his development the last two seasons. He only managed 30 innings in 2018 and was left off the 40-Man Roster in November. Fernandez’ fastball still works in the high-90s, backed up by a changeup that can play like a swing/miss pitch at times. His slider lacks bat-missing depth but could get to average. The chances of Fernandez winding up a starter are dwindling, but his stuff could allow a fairly easy bullpen conversion.


Tommy Edman, 2B/SS

Ceiling: 40      Risk: Moderate     ETA: 2019     Role Description: Bench Player
Ht/Wt: 5’10” / 180 lbs.          B/T: S/R         Highest Level: AAA         Age (as of April 1, 2019): 23y, 10m
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Edman is the epitome of a St. Louis Cardinals prospect, an accomplished college performer that defied expectations in pro ball by rising quickly through the system. His polish and fundamental style of play are more notable than the tools, though Edman’s switch-hitting bat, speed, and infield defense lay the groundwork for a big league role in some capacity. He has split time between SS and 2B as a pro, profiling better at the keystone due to a below-average throwing arm. Edman spent most of his 2018 season in Double-A, moving up to Triple-A by season’s end and playing a prominent role in Memphis’ championship run in the Pacific Coast League. He’s basically big league ready and could reach St. Louis at some point next year.


Adolis Garcia, OF

Ceiling: 45      Risk: High     ETA: 2018      Role Description: Role Player
Ht/Wt: 6’1” / 180 lbs.          B/T: R/R         Highest Level: MLB         Age (as of April 1, 2019): 26y, 1m

Garcia signed from Cuba before the 2017 season. He immediately was sent to Double-A and has played the entirety of his pro career in the upper-minors, cracking the big leagues for a brief debut in 2018. The wiry-strong outfielder is a plus athlete with quick-twitch batspeed that produces surprising raw power. He runs well and can swipe a bag, cracking double-digit home run and stolen base totals each of the last two seasons. Garcia’s approach limits his value, and Major League competition exploited his limited zone awareness in his debut (.118/.118/.176) over a small sample size. He could contribute in some capacity right now and has the upside of a versatile  fourth outfielder. 


Ramon Urias, 2B/INF

Ceiling: 40      Risk: Moderate    ETA: 2019      Role Description: Bench Player
Ht/Wt: 5’10” / 150 lbs.          B/T: R/R         Highest Level: AAA         Age (as of April 1, 2019): 24y, 9m

Urias is an interesting story, having signed with the Rangers from Mexico as an amateur in 2010, later spending 2013 through 2017 playing in the Mexican League. St. Louis signed the infielder to a minor league deal prior to last season, and he rocketed to Triple-A by year’s end. Urias is a short, compact 5-foot-10 and 150 pounds, able to spray line drives to both fields. He has played all over the infield and could fit a bench role quickly for the Cardinals. 


Giovanny Gallegos, RHP

Ceiling: 40      Risk: Moderate     ETA: 2017     Role Description: Middle Relief
Ht/Wt: 6’2” / 210 lbs.          B/T: R/R         Highest Level: MLB         Age (as of April 1, 2019): 27y, 7m

Gallegos made his big league debut in 2017 with the Yankees, coming to St. Louis in the trade that sent Luke Voit to the Bronx. He has shuttled between Triple-A and the big leagues each of the last two years, performing well but never really getting a chance to carve out a full-time role due to New York’s bullpen depth. Gallegos should be in the Cardinals’ Major League mix in 2019 and could compete for a 6th or 7th inning job. His fastball works at 94-to-96 mph, backed primarily by a hard slurve he varies the shape of. He mixes a firm changeup as a show-me pitch, mostly to lefties.


Justin Williams, OF

Ceiling: 40       Risk: High    ETA: 2019      Role Description: Bench Player
Ht/Wt: 6’2” / 215 lbs.          B/T: L/R         Highest Level: AAA        Age (as of April 1, 2019): 23y, 7m

Williams was one of three players acquired from the Rays in exchange for big league outfielder Tommy PhamInitially a second-round pick by Arizona in 2013, Williams spent last season in Triple-A both before and after the trade. He’s a corner outfielder with the strength and batspeed for raw power, but issues with approach limit the degree it projects to translate to games. He could fit as a role player or bench bat, needing to bring value at the plate to avoid winding up a 4A/upper-minors depth type. 


Randy Arozarena, OF

Ceiling: 40       Risk: High     ETA: 2019      Role Description: Bench Player
Ht/Wt: 5’11” / 170 lbs.          B/T: R/R         Highest Level: AAA         Age (as of April 1, 2019): 24y, 1m

Signed for $1.25 million from Cuba in July of 2016, Arozarena struggled in Triple-A to start last year and was sent back to Double-A. He bounced between the two levels until coming back to Triple-A for good in August. Arozarena is a plus athlete with above-average batspeed, though a free-swinging approach plays down his on-base ability. He shows some pullside power in BP that manifests mostly as doubles sting in games. He runs well and can swipe a base, though those wheels don’t fully carry over defensively to CF. He can handle the position but plays it closer to average than above, with routes and awareness that occasionally give him trouble. He profiles as a bench outfielder who can slide between all three spots. 


Max Schrock, 2B

Ceiling: 40       Risk: High     ETA: 2019     Role Description: Bench Player
Ht/Wt: 5’8” / 180 lbs.          B/T: L/R         Highest Level: AAA         Age (as of April 1, 2019): 24y, 5m

Schrock’s hitting ability gives him some prospect value, but his upside is limited otherwise. He doesn’t walk much, causing his on-base ability to be very reliant on favorable BABIPs. Schrock raked his way to Triple-A his first few years of pro ball, but hit a wall there in 2018 (.249/.296/.331). He spent minimal time at 3B and the outfield to work on his versatility, but the keystone is his best long-term defensive destination. The ceiling is a hit-first bench player, but Schrock’s lack of a plus tool could make him a 4A type if he can’t carve out a big league role.



(#4) Elehuris Montero, 3B

Ceiling: 55       Risk: Extreme     ETA: 2021     Role Description: Above-Average Player
Ht/Wt: 6’3” / 195 lbs.          B/T: R/R         Highest Level: A+          Age (as of April 1, 2019): 20y, 7m

The Cardinals were very high on Montero internally, though he wasn’t a particularly known commodity until exploding onto the national prospect scene in his full-season debut last year. Montero was named Midwest League MVP despite not even finishing the season there, slashing .322/.381/.529 with 15 home runs and nearly 30 doubles before moving up to High-A. Though his youth still shows through offensively—occasionally over-eager and apt to expand the zone—his high offensive ceiling puts him near the top of this list. Montero has the tools of an above-average hit and power producer, with room to grow into more raw as he fills out a physical 6-foot-3 frame. Defensively, he’s currently at 3B and has at least some chance to stay there as his body matures. It’s possible he tries a corner outfield spot or moves to 1B, though a strong arm will help his case to remain at the hot corner for now.


(#6) Dylan Carlson, OF

Ceiling: 55      Risk: Extreme      ETA: 2021     Role Description: Above-Average Player
Ht/Wt: 6’3” / 195 lbs.          B/T: S/L         Highest Level: A+          Age (as of April 1, 2019): 20y, 5m
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The 33rd overall pick in 2016 from a California high school, Carlson held his own last year in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League. It’s worth noting he played the entire season as a 19-year-old against more experienced competition, showing an adjustment to the level by slashing .253/.352/.411 in the second half. An athletic 6-foot-3, the switch-hitting Carlson has intriguing power potential from both sides of the plate. He’s a very selective hitter that consistently works at-bats and draws walks, something he will only do more of with age. Despite some length to the swing—especially hitting left-handed—Carlson doesn’t strike out much and projects to hit for more average as he keeps developing his stroke from both sides of the plate. While he has played all three outfield positions as a pro, Carlson profiles best in LF or RF long-term. His age, chance for both-sides power, and high-walk/low-strikeout profile hint at a potential breakout candidate in 2019. 


(#7) Jhon Torres, OF

Ceiling: 55       Risk: Extreme      ETA: 2023     Role Description: Above-Average Player
Ht/Wt: 6’4” / 200 lbs.          B/T: R/R         Highest Level: R          Age (as of April 1, 2019): 19y, 0m

Torres is one of baseball’s more dynamic prospects yet to play above the complex level. The Cardinals acquired him alongside Conner Capel(Pure Projection) in a rare prospect-for-prospect swap that sent Oscar Mercado to Cleveland last July. Torres has prototype RF tools, starting with an athletic 6-foot-4 frame and plus throwing arm. He’s already fairly muscular with plenty of room to add strength as he finishes filling out. The ball explodes off his bat, giving him advanced raw power for his age and the chance to grow into a home run threat. Rookie-ball stats don’t mean a ton, but Torres’ strikeout and walk totals last year hint at encouraging zone awareness and barrel-control on top of his power potential. There’s always risk with teenage prospects this far away, but the ingredients are here for an above-average corner outfielder with the power to hit in the heart of a lineup.


(#13) Conner Capel, OF

Ceiling: 45       Risk: High      ETA: 2021     Role Description: Role Player
Ht/Wt: 6’1” / 185 lbs.          B/T: L/L         Highest Level: A+          Age (as of April 1, 2019): 21y, 10m

Capel was one of two prospects the Cardinals returned from Cleveland in exchange for Oscar Mercado. Capel had been chugging along in High-A before the trade, switching leagues (moving from the Carolina League to the Florida State League) but remaining at the level after the trade. He’s a 60-grade runner that doesn’t grade out as well defensively in CF because of indirect routes. Capel is a tweener with a ceiling closer to that of a fourth outfielder than true regular. He projects to remain in CF but won’t be an asset with the glove, lacking prototype power for a corner spot. He’s athletic and plays with a competitive edge, possessing the makeup to get the most out of his tools.


Griffin Roberts, RHP

Ceiling: 45      Risk: High     ETA: 2021      Role Description: Setup Relief
Ht/Wt: 6’3” / 215 lbs.          B/T: R/R         Highest Level: A+          Age (as of April 1, 2019): 22y, 9m

Owner of perhaps the best slider in the 2017 Draft, the Wake Forest product came off the board to the Cardinals in the first Competitive Balance Round as the 43rd overall selection. As a starter, Roberts works primarily in the low 90s with a heavy fastball — an offering that sees a full grade jump when he amps up in short relief stints, touching 97 mph and sitting 93-to-95. He’s presently control over command and will even struggle with the zone quite frequently over longer outings, and his changeup is more of an average change-of-pace offering than a legit weapon, limiting his ability to consistently turn over more advanced lineups. Griffin has work to do in order to continue down the developmental track leading to a future rotation spot in St. Louis, but it’s conceivable he could rip through the minors with the quickness should the Cards elect to let him loose in the pen. Either way, his progress will be slowed in 2019 due to a 50-game suspension for testing positive for a drug of abuse.


Malcom Nunez, 3B/1B

Ceiling: 50      Risk: Extreme      ETA: 2023      Role Description: Everyday Player
Ht/Wt: 5’11” / 205 lbs.          B/T: R/R         Highest Level: R         Age (as of April 1, 2019): 18y, 0m

Nunez was on the radar of international scouts early, starring for Cuba’s youth teams before being old enough to sign. The Cardinals inked him for 300K this past July, and he went on to post video game numbers in his pro debut. As a 17-year-old, Nunez slashed .415/.497/.774 with 13 home runs and nearly as many walks as strikeouts in the DSL. His power potential and signs of plate discipline are encouraging, making Nunez the rare FV 50+ prospect that has yet to play in a game stateside. At 5-foot-11 and 205 pounds, he’s already thick throughout and likely moves to 1B at some point. This is a very interesting lottery ticket, albeit one with some warts and all the pressure on the bat.


Luken Baker, 1B

Ceiling: 45      Risk: High      ETA: 2021      Role Description: Role Player
Ht/Wt: 6’4” / 265 lbs.          B/T: R/R         Highest Level: A         Age (as of April 1, 2019): 22y, 0m

Baker’s calling card is easy raw power that consistently plays plus or better pre-game but is more likely to grade out a half-tick or so lower in-game due to some holes in his coverage and inconsistencies in the quality of his contact. He shows a solid understanding of the zone and can work his share of walks — a skill that should translate to the upper levels thanks to his ability to make pitchers pay for catching too much of the white. The biggest questions surround his hit tool, which may not reach more than fringe-average at maturity, and limited value with the glove and on the bases. There’s impact potential at the plate, but as a plodding first-base-only talent the stick is going to have to carry the water for the rest of the profile. 


Ivan Herrera, C

Ceiling: 45      Risk: Extreme      ETA: 2022      Role Description: Role Player
Ht/Wt: 6’0” / 180 lbs.          B/T: R/R         Highest Level: R          Age (as of April 1, 2019): 18y, 10m

Herrera has been a strong early-career performer, slashing .336/.421/.458 combined the last two summers in the DSL and GCL. He won’t turn 19 until the middle of next season, with offensive upside that’s intriguing behind the plate. Herrera has a stocky, compact build that fits well at catcher and gives the strength for projectable raw power. He could take a big jump up this list if he shows defensive developments and a similar bat at the full-season level.


Johan Oviedo, RHP

Ceiling: 45       Risk: Extreme     ETA: 2022      Role Description: Swingman
Ht/Wt: 6’6” / 210 lbs.          B/T: R/R         Highest Level: A        Age (as of April 1, 2019): 21y, 1m

The Cuban righty signed for a $1.9M bonus in 2016. He struggled mightily with his control early last season in the Midwest League, adjusting to the level and pitching to a 3.06 ERA over his last 13 appearances. Oviedo is a physical specimen at 6-foot-6 and 210 pounds, an imposing frame with well-proportioned features. The fastball has touched as high as 97 mph in the past and still reaches the mid-90s at times, but his velocity wavered last year as he pressed to throw strikes. Oviedo’s mechanics are clean but he isn’t very athletic, leading to issues repeating and commanding the lower-third of the zone. His secondary pitches are similarly inconsistent, flashing sharp action on a curve and changeup at times but completely losing feel for both offerings at others. Just 21-years-old, Oviedo is all projection but has interesting tools and time on his side. He’s a high-variance prospect, one that could make a big jump up or fall off the map depending on how much he can turn tools into performance.  


Juan Yepez, 1B

Ceiling: 45      Risk: Extreme      ETA: 2021     Role Description: Role Player
Ht/Wt: 6’1” / 200 lbs.          B/T: R/R         Highest Level: A+          Age (as of April 1, 2019): 21y, 1m

Yepez torched the Midwest League as a 20-year-old last year, slashing .415/.462/.596 in 25 games before forcing a promotion to High-A. He struggled the rest of the way in the pitcher-friendly Florida State Leauge against older competition. Yepez has the tools to hit and intriguing power potential, though what he shows in BP hasn’t yet fully translated to game action. He has improved his conditioning but still projects as a 1B-only on defense. It’s a long road to the big leagues for this type of prospect—especially ones that hit right-handed—but Yepez’ age and flashes of offensive potential merit a spot on this list.


Steven Gingery, LHP

Ceiling: 45      Risk: Extreme      ETA: 2022     Role Description: Swingman
Ht/Wt: 6’1” / 210 lbs.          B/T: R/L         Highest Level: DNP          Age (as of April 1, 2019): 21y, 6m

Gingery draws regular soft contact and empty swings primarily off of the quality of his 89-to-92 mph fastball and a double-plus changeup that runs on the same plane as the heater with identical hard fade. He works both offerings well off of each other and is comfortable sequencing across counts and situations. His breaking ball — a fringe-average curve with solid shape and depth — is effective as a drop-in strike and is effectively utilized to reset tracking and change eye level so that a batter can’t sit on-plane with the fastball and change piece. Gingery is working back from Tommy John surgery and should move relatively quickly to the upper-levels once healthy, where his command and execution will be put to the test. He looks the part of a back-end rotation piece or swingman, though he’s capable of taking over a game when he’s hitting his spots and all three of his offerings are clicking. There are similarities with former Cardinals first rounder, and current Mariner, Marco Gonzales.


Evan Mendoza, 3B

Ceiling: 40       Risk: High      ETA: 2021      Role Description: Bench Player
Ht/Wt: 6’2” / 200 lbs.          B/T: R/R         Highest Level: A+          Age (as of April 1, 2019): 22y, 9m
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Mendoza had a decorated amateur career at North Carolina State, going to St. Louis in 2017’s 11th round. He rocketed through the low-minors since signing, rolling over Florida State League competition to begin his first full pro season in 2018 (.349/.394/.456) before cooling a bit upon reaching Double-A. It’s still impressive Mendoza was polished and pro-ready enough to reach the upper-minors so quickly, though how impactful he will be against better competition is the question. He played SS in college and has spent sparse time there as a pro, moving mostly to 3B. He brings less value manning the hot corner, but he plays the position well and shows a plus arm across the infield. 


Nick Dunn, 2B

Ceiling: 40       Risk: High      ETA: 2022      Role Description: Bench Player
Ht/Wt: 5’10” / 175 lbs.          B/T: L/R         Highest Level: A+          Age (as of April 1, 2019): 22y, 2m
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Dunn isn’t going to impact the game with his legs, glove or power, but the University of Maryland product has an excellent feel for the barrel and a strong command of the strike zone, giving him a chance to hit his way to St. Louis eventually. Developmentally, it would behoove the lefty bat to prove himself capable at a couple positions, opening the door for a bat-first utility role where his ability to spell multiple everyday players game-to-game while adding some hit and on-base production could earn him 300-400 at bats per year.


Wadye Ynfante, OF

Ceiling: 40       Risk: Extreme      ETA: 2022      Role Description: Bench Player
Ht/Wt: 6’0” / 160 lbs.          B/T: R/R         Highest Level: SS-A          Age (as of April 1, 2019): 21y, 7m

Ynfante’s 2018 season was uninspiring—a .213/.301/.328 line at 20-21 years old in the New York-Penn League—but his athleticism and tools merit a spot on this list. He isn’t overly physical at 6-foot and 160 pounds, but Ynfante’s twitchy frame still can generate power from a quick bat and good hip torque in the swing. He runs well, a potential double-digit stolen base threat who projects to remain in CF. All this won’t mean much if his approach doesn’t improve, as Ynfante’s strikeout rates have hovered around 30-percent against low-minors competition.


Delvin Perez, SS

Ceiling: 40      Risk: Extreme      ETA: 2022      Role Description: Bench Player
Ht/Wt: 6’3” / 175 lbs.          B/T: R/R         Highest Level: SS-A         Age (as of April 1, 2019): 20y, 4m

The 23rd overall pick as a high schooler in 2016, Perez slid in the draft due to a failed PED test. He hasn’t hit as a pro and is at risk of falling off the prospect radar altogether. The 6-foot-3, 175-pound shortstop has an extremely athletic and twitchy build that could still get stronger. He’s best on defense and projects to remain at SS no matter how the body develops. There are a lot of questions surrounding Perez entering his fourth professional season, and him turning a corner at the plate would be the best way to answer them.