Cardinals stack up interesting assets

Cardinals stack up interesting assets Live

The Hot Stove League is underway and the Cardinals can deal from a position of strength while exploring trade options and free agency choices.

Not everything went the organization’s way in 2013. Pitchers Mitchell Boggs and Marc Rzepczynski depreciated rapidly as assets and departed in low-return trades. Once-promising Eduardo Sanchez exited to the Cubs on waivers and the Maikel Cleto Experiment finally ended.

Top hitting prospect Oscar Taveras suffered an ankle sprain that never healed, forcing him to undergo surgical repairs. He is a career .332 minor league hitter with a .928 on-base slugging percentage, so, yes, he could have come in handy this fall.

Elite pitching prospect
Tyrell Jenkins suffered additional shoulder trouble that retarded his development.
He has won just 12 minor league games since signing for $1.3 million in 2010.

Pitching prospects Seth Blair and Jordan Swagerty remained stuck in the middle of the developmental ladder while rebounding from injuries. Shortstop prospect Jake Lemmerman, acquired from the Dodgers, failed to progress in Springfield.

But the successes far outweighed the failures this season. The Cardinals leaned heavily in rookies this season and promoted myriad prospects up the ladder behind them.

These prospects bring GM John Mozeliak much comfort has mulls near-term and long-term moves:

Marco Gonzales, SP

As a top draft pick out of college (19th overall in 2013) he will earn Michael Wacha comparisons.
That is unfair, but Gonzales did just fine at High-A Palm Beach (1.62 ERA in 16 2.3 innings) while getting acclimated to pro baseball. Barring injury, the lefty from Gonzaga could move up to Springfield at some point next season and get on the big league radar screen.
Marco Gonzales, LHP St. Louis Cardinals
by Baseball Instinct via YouTube on August 11 at 12:15 PM

Tim Cooney, SP

Just a year removed from Wake Forest, the left-handed Cooney stepped up to Double-A Springfield to replace promoted pitchers.
He didn’t dominate – going 7-10 with a 3.80 ERA -- but he twice earned Texas League Pitcher of the Week honors and was selected for the midseason All-Star Game. He fits in behind John Gast and Tyler Lyons as a depth pitcher with some upside.

Tim Cooney (Wake Forest)
by Northeast Baseball Pro... via YouTube on July 31, 2011 at 12:20 PM

Stephen Piscotty, OF

The former Stanford star was part of the big 2012 draft haul, picked 36th overall.
In 637 at bats at three minor league levels, he hit .295 with 41 doubles, 19 homers and 86 RBIs. He played third base in college but has settled in as a right fielder in the pros. In 17 games in the Arizona Fall League he is batting .328. He must develop a better power stroke to earn a regular major league role.

Stephen Piscotty, OF St. Louis Cardinals
by Baseball Instinct via YouTube on May 19 at 11:31 AM

Lee Stoppelman, RP

This 24th-round pick in 2011 from Central Missouri looks like another late-round find.
1.35 ERA, 0.85 WHIP, and .150 opponent batting average. He moved up from Palm Beach to Springfield during the season and dominated Texas League hitters (1.35 ERA, 0.85 WHIP, and .150 opponent batting average.) That earned him a brief look at Memphis as well as an invitation to the Arizona Fall League, where he had a 2.86 ERA in his first six appearances.

Lee Stoppelman (STL) - LHP - NYP National League All-Stars (2012-08-14)
by Jeff Reese via YouTube on August 17, 2012 at 2:10 PM

James Ramsey, OF

The former Florida State star was the 23rd overall pick in the 2012 draft.
After hitting .361 early this season for Palm Beach, move moved up to Springfield and hit 15 homers with 44 RBIs in 347 at bats. He also hit .300 with seven doubles, a homer and 10 RBIs in his first 14 games in the Arizona Fall League. He will need to cut down on his strikeouts.

ESPN’s Keith Law filed this report on Ramsey from the AFL: “Cardinals outfielder James Ramsey surprised me with the power he showed in BP and followed it up with a bomb on Wednesday night while also showing good ability to take the outside pitch to left field. He's struggled a little to lay off velocity up in the zone, but if he's a grade 50 or 55 power guy he's got a good shot to be an average (or better) regular in an outfield corner.

James Ramsey, OF St. Louis Cardinals
by Baseball Instinct via YouTube on May 8 at 12:22 PM

Alex Reyes, SP

He grew up in New Jersey but moved back to the Dominican Republic to cash in as an international free agent.
The Cardinals signed him last winter for $950,000. Reyes, 18, finished well last season while winning four of his five starts for Johnson City in August. He finished 6-4 with a 3.39 ERA and struck out 68 batters in 58 ½ innings . . . while walking 28. He needs lots and lots of polish, but he brings heat.

Alexander Reyes Highlights
by Baseball America via YouTube on August 23 at 9:30 PM

Charlie Tilson, OF

He lost the 2012 season to injury, but the 2011 second-round pick from New Trier High School in suburban Chicago made the jump to full season ball this season and hit .
303 at Peoria. He didn’t hit for power (eight doubles, six triples, four homers, 30 RBIs), but he stole 15 bases and did a solid defensive job in center field before his late-season promotion to Palm Beach.

Charlie Tilson, OF St. Louis Cardinals
by Baseball Instinct via YouTube on September 6 at 5:41 PM

Patrick Wisdom, 3B

As David Freese struggled with sustained hitting slumps this season, fans wondered if the Cardinals had another third baseman on the front burner. They do not, but Wisdom, the 52nd overall pick in 2012 from St. Mary's, demonstrated some power in his first full pro season. He hit just .231 at Peoria but delivered 20 doubles, four triples, 13 homers and 62 RBIs before moving up to Palm Beach.
Patrick Wisdom, 3B St. Louis Cardinals
by Baseball Instinct via YouTube on September 2 at 11:40 AM

Mike O’Neill, OF

Move over, Adron Chambers.
O’Neil hit .320 at Springfield this season and .295 at Memphis. He stole 19 bases in 23 attempts. The former USC star is a .328 career minor league batter with a career .435 on-base percentage. He is strictly a singles hitter, so he seems destined for the extra outfielder role at the big league level.

O'Neill-St. Louis Cardinals Player of Month 2012
by RogerDeanStadiumTV via YouTube on August 9, 2012 at 10:41 PM


This second baseman/outfielder has advanced steadily since arriving from the Venezuelan program. He hit .316 with 18 doubles at Batavia and .309 with 18 doubles at Peoria the last two seasons. If he can add some power as he fills out, he might contend for utility work some day.

Breyvic Valera (STL) - 2B - NYP National League All-Stars (2012-08-14)
by Jeff Reese via YouTube on August 17, 2012 at 5:40 PM


Cory Jones, SP: Injuries (including a hip flexor strain) limited him to 11 starts at Peoria last season, but he starred with an 8-2 record and a 2.04 ERA in the Class A Midwest League. He arrived with big expectations as a fifth-round pick from the College of the Canyons in 2012.

Rob Kaminsky, SP: Armed with a grown man’s curveball, he started down the long road from high school ball to the big leagues. The Cardinals can take their time developing the 28th overall pick in the 2013 draft, given the army of college-bred hurlers crowing the upper-level minor league rosters.

Mitch Harris, RP: The Cardinals drafted the former Navy star in 2008 and waited for him to fulfill his military commitment. He was 4-1 with a 0.81 ERA at State College this season. Now that he can dedicate himself to baseball training, it will be fun to see what he does.

Zach Petrick, SP: Undrafted out of the University of Northwestern Ohio University in 2012, he passed through Johnson City, Peoria and Palm Beach to reach Springfield this season. Such progression is highly unusual – especially for a pitcher signed to add organizational depth. His polish makes him a near-term depth option.


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