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2019 Organization Report: St. Louis Cardinals

by Rob Gordon

Organization Grades

Hitting: B- ... Pitching: C+ ... Top-end Talent: B- ... Depth: B ... Overall: B-



Minor League Affiliates

Triple-A: Memphis (Pacific Coast League)
Double-A: Springfield (Texas League)
High-A: Palm Beach (Florida State League)
Low-A: Peoria (Midwest League)
Short-season: State College (New York Penn League)
Rookie: GCL Cardinals (Gulf Coast League)
Rookie: Johnson City (Appalachian League)



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1. Alex Reyes (RHP) ... 6-3, 185 ... 24 ... 2012 FA (DR)
YearTeam (LG)IPERAWHIPCtlDomCmdOppBA
2018Peoria (Midw)5.00.000.6003.621.66.0.063
2018Palm Beach (FSL)3.10.001.5002.716.26.0.286
2019Palm Beach (FSL)9.11.931.2902.910.63.7.243
2019Memphis (PCL)28.07.391.8207.712.21.6.243
2019St. Louis (NL)3.015.002.67018.03.00.2.182
Comments: When healthy has some of the best raw stuff in the minors. Out in 2017 with Tommy John; a torn lat tendon limited him in 2018. Double plus FB sits at 95-97 topping out at 102 mph. Plus 12-6 power CB and improved CU give him the tools to dominate. Mechanics are not consistent leading to below-average command and a move to RP seems possible.

Development Path: Reyes should be back in action by February and go for Spring Training. The Cardinals will likely be careful with him, but a strong, healthy spring could land him in the starting rotation or in a setup role in the pen.

Fantasy Impact: Reyes still has tremendous fantasy potential and could come at a bargain if he suffers from prospect fatigue, but he has to be on the mound consistently, in the rotation, or in a closer role to have significant value. Target, but tread carefully.

Upside Grade: 9C


2. Nolan Gorman (3B) ... 6-1, 210 ... L/R ... 18 ... 2018 (1) HS (AZ)
YearTeam (LG)ABBA/OBP/Slgbb%ct% EyeHR/SB
2018Johnson City (App)143.350/.443/.66414740.6511/1
2018Peoria (Midw)94.202/.280/.42610590.266/0
2019Peoria (Midw)241.241/.344/.44812670.4110/2
2019Palm Beach (FSL)215.256/.304/.4286660.185/0
Comments: Advanced prep hitter had the best combination of hit and power tools in the draft. Plus bat speed with a good understanding of the strike zone. Does have some swing-and-miss as he hunts to balls he can crush. Played SS in HS but moved to 3B as a pro where he shows good instincts and an average arm. Below-average speed is only negative.

Development Path: Gorman dominated in Rookie ball, but struggled when moved up to Low-A. He's likely to return to the Midwest League to begin his first full professional season.

Fantasy Impact: Gorman has plus-plus power and is a long-term keeper league target. If he can make enough contact he has the tools to hit .280 with 35+ HR and play solid defense at 3B. A .664 SLG% in Rookie Ball is very impressive.

Upside Grade: 9C


3. Dakota Hudson (RHP) ... 6-4, 185 ... 24 ... 2016 (1) Mississippi State University
YearTeam (LG)IPERAWHIPCtlDomCmdOppBA
2017Springfield (Tex)114.02.531.2702.76.12.3.245
2017Memphis (PCL)38.24.421.3203.54.41.3.237
2018Memphis (PCL)111.22.501.3003.17.02.3.242
2018St. Louis (NL)27.12.631.3505.96.31.1.188
2019St. Louis (NL)174.23.351.4104.47.01.6.234
Comments: Strong-armed hurler had another dominant season and impressed in MLB debut. Doesn't blow hitters away despite a plus mid-90s heater and instead relies on late sink to induce weak contact. SL is second plus offering and CU continues to improve and average CB round out the arsenal. Could see a spike in Dom as he settles in.

Development Path: With staff openings likely in STL, Hudson should get a chance to nail down a rotation spot at some point in 2019, but he could start the season in the pen. Either way he will pitch meaningful innings in St. Louis in 2019.

Fantasy Impact: Early Rick Porcello is a good comp, especially in terms of stuff, GB rate, and Dom. Like Porcello, he has pitchability and could see a spike in K% if CU continues to improve. Lots to like here, just don't look for a fantasy stud right out of the gate.

Upside Grade: 8B



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4. Randy Arozarena (2B,OF) ... 5-11, 170 ... R/R ... 24 ... 2016 FA (CU)
YearTeam (LG)ABBA/OBP/Slgbb%ct% EyeHR/SB
2018Springfield (Tex)91.396/.455/.6816730.247/9
2018Memphis (PCL)267.232/.328/.3489780.475/17
2019Springfield (Tex)97.309/.422/.51512760.573/8
2019Memphis (PCL)246.358/.435/.5939800.5012/9
2019St. Louis (NL)20.300/.391/.5009800.501/2
Comments: Athletic OF put together a solid season and can do a bit of everything. Can be overly aggressive at the plate, but was more selective as the season progressed. The jump to AAA proved challenging but his base skills remained intact. Above-average defender in LF with a good arm and plus speed.

Development Path: Arozarena will start the year at Triple-A and should make his MLB debut later in the summer. For now he's behind Tyler O'Neill. but the Cardinals have a track-record of working their young players in when ready.

Fantasy Impact: Arozarena has plus speed and enough power to make an impact. He needs to solidify the gains he made at the plate—if so, he can has the tools to hit 12-15 HR with 20+ SB.

Upside Grade: 8D


5. Elehuris Montero (3B) ... 6-3, 195 ... R/R ... 20 ... 2014 FA (DR)
YearTeam (LG)ABBA/OBP/Slgbb%ct% EyeHR/SB
2017GCL Cardinals (GCL)173.277/.370/.46811810.675/0
2018Peoria (Midw)382.322/.381/.5298790.4115/2
2018Palm Beach (FSL)98.286/.330/.4085780.231/1
2019GCL Cardinals (GCL)13.308/.400/.3087850.500/0
2019Springfield (Tex)224.187/.235/.3176670.197/0
Comments: Polished hitter posted his best season as a pro, slashing .315/.371/.504. Physically strong, with a quick bat and short stroke. Was more aggressive as he hunted for pitchers he could punish, which led to a career-high 16 HR, but BB% and CT% headed in the wrong direction. Below-average speed and defense at 3B raise concerns about future position.

Development Path: Montero logged just 24 games in the FSL and will likely head back to start the season. He will need to work hard to stick at 3B, but as long he continues to hit he'll move quickly at should be at Double-A by mid-season.

Fantasy Impact: Assuming that Montero can maintain his plate discipline, he has shown above-average to plus raw power at an early age and has the tools to hit .280 with 25+ HR.

Upside Grade: 8D


6. Ryan Helsley (RHP) ... 6-2, 205 ... 24 ... 2015 (5) Northeastern State University
YearTeam (LG)IPERAWHIPCtlDomCmdOppBA
2018GCL Cardinals (GCL)2.20.001.50010.113.51.3.111
2018Springfield (Tex)41.04.391.2204.49.72.2.196
2018Memphis (PCL)26.23.711.0103.011.53.8.184
2019Memphis (PCL)37.14.581.3104.89.92.1.206
2019St. Louis (NL)36.22.951.2502.97.92.7.236
Comments: Continues steady climb toward the majors, but was shut down in June with shoulder fatigue. FB sits at 93-96 and tops out at 98 mph. Power CB has good late bite. CU and CT also flash plus and were more consistent in '18, giving him four above-average offerings. Control and command are the last hurdles and will determine his long-term upside.

Development Path: Assuming he is fully healthy, Helsley will start the year back at Triple-A Memphis. The Cardinals have several options ahead of Helsley, but you can never have enough pitching depth and he should make his MLB at some point in 2019.

Fantasy Impact: If Helsley remains a starter, he should have solid value in NL-only formats and profiles as a #3 or #4 starter and his career 9.7 Dom adds to his value.

Upside Grade: 8D


7. Andrew Knizner (C) ... 6-1, 190 ... R/R ... 24 ... 2016 (7) North Carolina State Universit
YearTeam (LG)ABBA/OBP/Slgbb%ct% EyeHR/SB
2017Peoria (Midw)179.279/.325/.4805880.418/1
2018Springfield (Tex)281.313/.365/.4348860.587/0
2018Memphis (PCL)54.315/.383/.4077850.500/0
2019Memphis (PCL)246.276/.357/.4639850.6512/2
2019St. Louis (NL)53.226/.293/.3777740.292/2
Comments: Above-average bat speed and strike zone awareness allow him to make consistent, hard contact as he continued to rake in 2018. Has just average power and below average speed. Behind the dish, has shown solid improvement and a strong, accurate arm. Has replaced C. Kelly as the top C prospect in the system.

Development Path: Knizner will start 2019 back at Triple-A Memphis and will hope to eventually get his shot in the majors. With Yadier Molina now 36, it would not be a surprise to see Knizner see limited action in St. Louis in 2019.

Fantasy Impact: Knizner is a professional hitter who now owns a career slash line of .309/.372/.459. Fantasy owners looking for an offensive-minded 2nd catcher could do worse, but defense still matters and for now that is a work in progress.

Upside Grade: 8D


8. Dylan Carlson (OF) ... 6-3, 195 ... B/L ... 20 ... 2016 (1) HS (CA)
YearTeam (LG)ABBA/OBP/Slgbb%ct% EyeHR/SB
2017Peoria (Midw)383.240/.342/.34712700.457/6
2018Peoria (Midw)47.234/.368/.42618791.002/2
2018Palm Beach (FSL)376.247/.345/.38612790.679/6
2019Springfield (Tex)417.281/.364/.51811760.5321/18
2019Memphis (PCL)72.361/.418/.6818750.335/2
Comments: Switch-hitting OF has above-average raw power, but is just starting to get to it in game action. Pushed aggressively, he logged a full season of AB as an 18-year-old in the FSL. Showed an improved understanding of the strike zone and made more contact. Smart, hard worker with solid across-the-board tools.

Development Path: Carlson will move up to Double-A Springfield in 2019 where he will be one of the youngest players in the league. At some point the Cardinals need to give him time to make adjustments and show he can dominate so he should stay at this level all season.

Fantasy Impact: While none of his tools profile as plus, Carlson is the kind of savvy, hard-working player the Cardinals love and he should provide solid offensive production for owners in NL-only formats.

Upside Grade: 8D


9. Justin Williams (OF) ... 6-2, 215 ... L/R ... 23 ... 2013 (2) HS (LA)
YearTeam (LG)ABBA/OBP/Slgbb%ct% EyeHR/SB
2018Memphis (PCL)69.217/.276/.3917750.293/0
2018Durham (IL)356.258/.313/.3767770.318/4
2018Tampa Bay (AL)1.000/.000/.000010000/0
2019Springfield (Tex)57.193/.246/.2637700.241/1
2019Memphis (PCL)102.353/.437/.60814710.537/0
Comments: Solid, all-around player came over as part of the Tommy Pham deal. Uses a short, compact stroke and is starting to tap into his above-average to plus raw power. Struggled after being traded, hitting just .217 with a more aggressive approach at the plate, but long-term the skills remain intriguing. Solid defender with enough arm to stick in RF.

Development Path: Williams scuffled in 2018 and will get a redo of Triple-A Memphis. The Cardinals don't have any OF openings heading into 2019, but both M. Ozuna and D. Fowler spent time on the DL in 2018 and Williams could work his way into a 4th OF role.

Fantasy Impact: Williams isn't a burner so his fantasy value is tied up entirely with his bat. If he can be more selective at the plate, he has the raw tools to hit .280 with 20+ HR and the Cardinals have a solid track-record with these kinds of players.

Upside Grade: 7B


10. Griffin Roberts (RHP) ... 6-3, 190 ... 22 ... 2018 (1) Wake Forest University
YearTeam (LG)IPERAWHIPCtlDomCmdOppBA
2018Wake Forest (ACC)96.23.821.2003.512.13.5.212
2018GCL Cardinals (GCL)8.26.231.1504.211.42.7.187
2018Palm Beach (FSL)1.00.000.0000.018.00.000
2019Palm Beach (FSL)65.26.441.7404.84.91.0.286
Comments: Plus 82-85 power slider has late two-plane break was one of the best breaking balls in the 2018 draft. His FB sits at 90-94 as a starter and 94-97 in relief. Strong, athletic frame gives him options in either role. CU lags behind, but FB/SL mix results in lots of swing-and-miss and max-effort mechanics suggest a role in relief.

Development Path: The Cardinals needs to see what they have in Roberts and will likely start him at High-A. He needs to refine his mechanics and develop a more deceptive change-up. If he stays in a starting role, his development will be one step at a time, but a move to relief could have him in the majors by 2020.

Fantasy Impact: Roberts has two potential paths to fantasy relevance. If he can make the necessary adjustments, he has the raw stuff to be a solid #3 starter. If not, the FB/SL mix is good enough to set up or close games.

Upside Grade: 7C


11. Genesis Cabrera (LHP) ... 6-0, 155 ... 22 ... 2014 FA (DR)
YearTeam (LG)IPERAWHIPCtlDomCmdOppBA
2018Montgomery (Sou)113.24.121.2904.59.82.2.209
2018Springfield (Tex)24.24.741.5004.77.71.6.245
2018Memphis (PCL)2.00.000.5004.513.53.0.000
2019Memphis (PCL)99.05.911.4703.59.62.7.265
2019St. Louis (NL)20.14.871.6704.98.41.7.274
Comments: Strong-armed hurler came over in the Tommy Pham deal and has seen an uptick in velocity. FB now sits at 92-95, topping out at 97 mph. Above-average power SL gives him a solid 1-2 punch and mixes in a occasional below-average CU. Control can be an issue, but .218 BAA and 9.5 Dom on the year show the potential.

Development Path: Cabrera showed enough in 2018 to get an invite to spring training in 2019, but realistically he will head back to Triple-A Memphis and wait for an opening. His FB/SL combo might actually work better in relief so don't be surprised to see him debut in that role.

Fantasy Impact: Cabrera has intriguing stuff, but he needs a quality 3rd offering to stick as a starter. If he can develop a CU he could be a nice fantasy sleeper, otherwise his upside is as a setup reliever.

Upside Grade: 8D


12. Luken Baker (1B) ... 6-4, 240 ... R/R ... 22 ... 2018 (2) Texas Christian University
YearTeam (LG)ABBA/OBP/Slgbb%ct% EyeHR/SB
2018Texas Christian (Big12)113.319/.443/.57518841.339/1
2018GCL Cardinals (GCL)24.500/.536/.70811830.751/0
2018Peoria (Midw)139.288/.359/.41710780.523/0
2019Palm Beach (FSL)439.244/.327/.39011740.4610/1
Comments: Massive player had some of the best raw power in the draft and pro debut was impressive. Solid understanding of the strike zone and above-average bat speed, but at his size there is length to his swing and he will have to work hard for the power to remain game usable. Plus arm and decent glove, but bottom of the scale speed limits him to 1B.

Development Path: Baker will head to High-A in the FSL where he will get a better test of his game power and plate discipline. Proving he can hold his own on defense will be an important priority.

Fantasy Impact: Baker will need to work hard and continue to mash to get to the majors. Fortunately his hit tool and plus power give him a chance. If he does stick at 1B he could hit 30+ HR with a solid OB%.

Upside Grade: 7C


13. Adolis Garcia (OF) ... 6-1, 180 ... R/R ... 26 ... 2017 FA (CU)
YearTeam (LG)ABBA/OBP/Slgbb%ct% EyeHR/SB
2017Springfield (Tex)309.285/.339/.4768750.3412/12
2017Memphis (PCL)136.301/.342/.4785770.233/3
2018Memphis (PCL)406.256/.281/.5003760.1422/10
2018St. Louis (NL)17.118/.118/.1760590.000/0
2019Memphis (PCL)491.253/.301/.5174680.1432/14
Comments: Finally made his MLB debut after a solid season at AAA. Flashes above-average tools, including power and speed, but approach at the plate leaves much to be desired. Did launch a career-high 22 HR but his walk and strikeout rates limit his upside. Tools are still exciting, but the maturation and polish have been slow to materialize.

Development Path: Despite making his MLB debut, Garcia still has considerable work to do and needs to refine his game and become more consistent. He will head back to Triple-A Memphis to refine his approach. At 25 the clock is ticking and 2019 could be a make or break season.

Fantasy Impact: If everything comes together Garcia, has the raw tools to make a significant impact. He posted a career-best .500 SLG% in 2018.

Upside Grade: 8D


14. Conner Capel (OF) ... 6-1, 185 ... L/L ... 21 ... 2016 (5) HS (TX)
YearTeam (LG)ABBA/OBP/Slgbb%ct% EyeHR/SB
2017Lake County (Midw)439.246/.316/.4789750.4022/15
2018Palm Beach (FSL)117.248/.296/.3426740.231/0
2018Lynchburg (Caro)322.261/.355/.38813780.686/15
2019Springfield (Tex)341.232/.283/.3526750.279/9
2019Memphis (PCL)30.433/.452/.8003800.172/1
Comments: Athletic player was part of the Oscar Mercado deal. Quick lefty stroke shows solid average power, but results regressed after breakout in 2017. Pull-side approach limits opposite field pop. Above-average runner covers ground well in CF with a strong arm, but needs to take more efficient routes.

Development Path: Because of the depth the Cardinals have in the OF—both in the majors and ahead of him in the minors—the Cardinals will be in no rush with Capel and he'll have to earn his way onto the AA roster. Otherwise he'll be back in the FSL to start.

Fantasy Impact: Capel has above-average power and speed, but needs to be more disciplined and make more contact at the plate to reach that potential. If not, he profiles as a 4th OF.

Upside Grade: 7D


15. Edmundo Sosa (SS) ... 5-11, 170 ... R/R ... 23 ... 2012 FA (PN)
YearTeam (LG)ABBA/OBP/Slgbb%ct% EyeHR/SB
2018Springfield (Tex)261.276/.308/.4293800.177/1
2018Memphis (PCL)191.262/.321/.4086780.315/5
2018St. Louis (NL)2.000/.333/.00033501.000/0
2019Memphis (PCL)453.291/.335/.4664790.1817/2
2019St. Louis (NL)8.250/.400/.25011750.500/1
Comments: Slick fielding SS missed two months of action with a broken hamate bone. Quick bat and good contact skills but an aggressive approach and very little power limit his offensive upside as shown by his career .361 SLG%. Moves well at short, but average arm saw him splitting time at 2B when he returned to action.

Development Path: Sosa finally made his MLB in 2018, getting into 3 games with the Cardinals. He should get an invite to spring training with a realistic shot at a bench/UT role in 2019.

Fantasy Impact: Sosa hit a career-high 12 HR in 2018, but has below-average power. He has good speed, but isn't a burner and never had a double-digit season in SB. The upshot is that Sosa has marginal fantasy value unless he can carve out full-time AB.

Upside Grade: 6B


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