Baseball America's Top 10 Prospects lists are based on projections of a player's long-term worth after discussions with scouting and player-development personnel. All players who haven't exceeded the major league rookie standards of 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched (without regard to service time) are eligible.
Derrick Goold will answer your Cardinals questions beginning at 11 a.m. ET.
Good morning. Everybody got a cup of
coffee and is done reading the morning paper? Excellent. Let's start.
Thanks for joining me here for an hour so to talk about the Cardinals'
top 10 prospects list that appeared this morning at BaseballAmerica.com
and is out in the current issue of BA (on newsstands now!). My name is
Derrick Goold and I cover the Cardinals for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
You can see all of our coverage of the big-league club and minor-league
system at StlToday.com. Each year I help editors at BA put together the
top 30 and accompanying scouting reports for Baseball America and its
annual Prospect Handbook (on bookshelves soon!). This my chance to field
questions about that list, about the top 10, and about the system as a
whole. Here's hoping I can keep up and finish with a high fielding
percentage. Off we go.
Ben (Leland Grove): Was it a close call between Martinez and Rosenthal when picking the system's best fastball, and what was the deciding factor?
Absolutely. It was also a close call on
who ranked No. 3 and who ranked No. 4. For me, that was a pick 'em.
Rosenthal was easily worthy of being ranked as high as No. 2 based on
what he did in the majors last season. At least, in my opinion. Why did
Rosenthal get the nod as having the best fastball? Well, look no further
than how major-league hitters in October responded to it. He was able
to throw it at 101 with command, routinely hit 98 with command, and the
hitters showed that it got there with some explosiveness. During a rain
delay in the playoffs, I went back and mapped every pitch than Rosenthal
threw. Of the first 81 pitches he threw in the playoffs, 43 were 99 mph
or faster — with command. That is the best fastball in the
@Jaypers413 (IL): Thanks for the chat, Derrick.
I bet you've never looked more forward to talking Cards prospects than
this year. I'd like your opinions of Mike O'Neill and his uncanny
eyesight. Is there any place for him at Busch in the foreseeable future,
and how close was he to your top 10?
I just look forward to talking about
baseball. Back when the Cardinals system was thin and lacking on talent,
we still had some good discussions. A bad team or a bad system can be
just an interesting to talk about as a good one. Mike O'Neill was not —
as they say — on the cusp of the top 10. He did get consideration for
the top 30. Lots of it. O'Neill has a good feel for the strike zone. He
does profile as a fourth outfielder-type. I've had some people describe
how if he had above-average speed it would be very easy to see how he'd
fit at Busch. As it is now, he will have to ride that OBP to the majors.
In talking with him last fall, it's clear that he understands the
improvements he's going to have to make in other realms of his game —
and that he is working to do that. If he can show versatility in the
outfield and continued performance at the plate, there's a place for
him. OBP matters.
Ben (Leland Grove): Could we get your insight on young pitcher Silfredo Garcia? His numbers were great this past season. Was he in your 30?
Garcia has pushed his way into the
conversation with a strong showing in winter ball. He's one of the
pitchers who gets mentioned often as an arm folks are eager to see this
spring. He did not crack the 30 based on winter ball alone. He's got
some deception as a result of his delivery. His fastball has improved.
He needs to round out his pitches, become more consistent with his
breaking ball, and — you've heard all this before about other pitchers
— as he gains strength he'll gain the velocity that goes with his
aggressive approach. That's when he'll not only be in the conversation,
but also in the rankings.
Frank (Chicago): Even knowing you don't get a vote for BA's top 100 list, how many of the top 10 are worthy to you?
True, I do not get a vote. It's also
true that I have no inside intel on who will be in the top 100. I also
don't want to misrepresent myself as capable of keeping in-depth track
of every other organization in baseball. My feel from reading up on the
organizations and talking with scouts and other writers ... There is
room, easily, for three of the Cardinals' prospects on that top 100, and
it wouldn't be a stretch to see four, especially when you consider that
fourth would be Rosenthal. So, let's say four. Wong and Wacha and
worthy of consideration.
@Jaypers413 (IL): What did MWL scouts have to
say about outfielder Anthony Garcia? Does he have any standout tools,
and did he climb into the top 30 this year?
Garcia had a standout power year. He has
been described as a true slugger. That's his tool. He was described by
one scout as a 60-65 on the scout scale when it comes to power. The
question I had to answer — rather, the question I had to seek out an
answer for — was whether that one tool was enough to put him in the top
30. He has to improve on defense. He has arm strength, but needs to
improve his fundamentals. He can get power-mad with his swing and
there's some concern whether that will continue to work for him as he
climbs. I think it's a real interesting spring for Anthony because
whatever happens will be a good litmus test of his potential/future.
He'll either a) go to the pitcher-friendly Florida State League and call
that spacious ballpark in Palm Beach home where his other disciplines
at the plate will have to sharpen or b) skip High-A and go to
Springfield where the park will be comfy but the pitching will be a
solid test of his ability.
Ben (Leland Grove): Did the Cards see anything special in James Ramsey, or was he simply a safer sign? 11-20 range for you?
Yes. That is where he fits for this
season, in that 11 to 20 range. I'll be honest, as I did my reporting
and interviewing for the prospect rankings Ramsey was the player who
received the widest spectrum of opinions. I heard arguments for him to
crack the top 10. I heard arguments that he should be in the 20s. There
are members of the Cardinals who do see something special in Ramsey
because of his makeup, because of his performance at Florida State,
because of his tools and what they think they can develop from them. He
has a lot of fans because of his tools that some would consider
intangibles. A safer sign? Well, when you consider the bonus he received
and how the Cardinals went over their spending-cap as a result of his
bonus and a few others, I'm not sure the safer sign some thought he was
the moment he was drafted proved to be the case. He received a bonus
fitting for where he was drafted — and then he received an assignment
(to High-A Palm Beach) that was an indication of the Cardinals' opinion
on what he could handle, talent-wise and mentally.
Grant (NYC): How convinced are you that Carlos Martinez's eventual role won't be that of a reliever?
I'm not convinced of that at all.
Relieving could very well be his future. He continues to progress as a
starter and he shouldn't be pigeonholed as just a fastball-chucker. He's
got good secondary stuff, and sometimes he even becomes too fond of it.
How he's used in the future will depend on how deft he becomes
utilizing all of his pitchers and where the Cardinals need him when he's
ready for the majors.
Kelly (Saint Cloud, MN): Assuming Maikel Cleto acquires some command, does he have closer stuff?
That's a big assumption. He's got power
stuff. He's got a hard, boring fastball. He needs to get command of it
and his delivery. But if I were to list the pitchers who have a chance
at being a closer-type for the Cardinals, I'm not sure he would be in
the top five.
Wendy (Dallas, TX): Jordan Swagerty — prospect or suspect?
Frank (Chicago): Does Charlie Tilson still reside in your top 30 after his lost year? Where is he likely to start his season at?
He does. Yeah, the injury did mean he
dropped in the rankings, but he came back in time to participate in
instructs and didn't do anything to change the opinion of where he fits
in the organization. He just delayed it a year. It appears like he'll
get a chance to play his way into a full-season assignment during spring
training. That would have been a guarantee if he had been healthy in
2012. Now it appears the goal is to get him to a full-season squad as a
regular at some point in 2013.
Jason (Dallas): I've heard some analysts
speculate that with a good spring Taveras could break camp with a spot
in the majors. Assuming Holliday, Jay, & Beltran are all healthy,
what are the odds of this happening?
It's not as outlandish as you make it
seem in your question. Taveras could very well leave spring training
with the big-league club. It will be based heavily on two events —-
one, he hits so well and produces so much that the Cardinals just cannot
ignore him and, two, he shows he can play comfortably at times in
center. With Beltran and Holliday in the corners, the playing time that
would make carrying Taveras in the majors make sense is going to have to
come in center field the way the roster is set up now. An injury would
change the equation. Remember the Cardinals would have likely brought up
Taveras in October had Beltran been sidelined by an injury ... That's
Jason (Dallas): I noticed that Wacha is missing
from your 2016 rotation - is this just a function of pitching depth in
the system or are you unsure of his ability to stick as a starter?
Good question. It's a function of depth,
number of pitchers under control (assuming Wainwright is still around)
until then, and where Wacha was ranked. He's No. 6 on the top 10, but
he's behind Miller, Martinez, and Rosenthal as starters. Heck, Rosenthal
isn't named in there and he would fit ahead of Wacha just because BA
style is slide the players/pitchers into that lineup according to
Keith (Manchester, CT): Thanks Derrick. Do you think Oscar Taveras takes enough walks to have a strong OBP in the majors, something over .350 ?
I think when Taveras gets to the majors,
he's there to do damage. A nice OBP will be a bonus, and yes he does
have a better eye for the strike zone then maybe his bad-ball-hitter rep
allows. He'll walk enough. But let's be honest. He's there for SLG.
Jason (Dallas): Hi Derrick. On behalf of all
the Cardinals fans spread across the country, thanks for your hard work
covering the team.
Do you think Lynn has a leg up on the 5th starter spot? With a good
spring from a couple of the younger guys, could Westbrook get bumped
from the rotation?
Yes, Lynn has the edge. Imagine the
Cardinals having to go to Lynn and say, "Hey, look, Lance, you just had a
really good spring, and you won 18 games for us, and well, that
All-Star thing was cool, but we're going to go with Shelby Miller here."
That would be a fascinating conversation to cover from a beat writers
point of view. Lynn has earned that edge, and pitchers like Miller,
Rosenthal and Kelly are going to have to overcome it to win the spot.
All three are capable of doing that. And any of the four could be an
impact reliever from the bullpen. This will be worth watching in spring.
There could also be room for two of the four to be in the rotation.
Lynn would be a given then. And no it won't come at the expense of Jake
Westbrook, unless he's injured or comes unraveled. The Cardinals signed
him to an extension as a commitment to having him in the rotation. If
they didn't think he would be a given for 2013 in the rotation they
wouldn't have done that deal.
Jason (Muskegon, MI): Who is more likely to end up a reliever...Rosenthal, Kelly or Martinez?
For some, there is a temptation right now to see what Rosenthal does in that role.
Jason (Muskegon, MI): Is the strength of this system the starting pitching depth? It seems even after those top 5 there is plenty of depth.
Absolutely. Several years ago, at spring
training the question was who would emerge as the Cardinals' "No. 6
starter," that pitcher who is throwing away in Class AAA and would be
the first arm up when the rotation was in need. The answer was ... a
shrug. The Cardinals enter this year not only with a clear answer on who
the No. 6 starter is, but they also know 7, 8, 9, and could make a case
for a few beyond that, like Wacha. Now the question is what are they
going to do with all of that depth? Are they going to deal it to address
an area of need (ahem, shortstop) or hold on to it and find room for it
somewhere in the majors.
Kramer (CT): A year from now it is possible
that players like Rosenthal, Tavares, Miller and possibly even Wong
could become ineligible for the top 10....How different do you think
this list will be 1 year from now? Any thoughts on who you could see
taking the place of some of the potential "graduates"?
Yes, that's all possible. At that point
Carlos Martinez and Michael Wacha would figure to be the top players in
the rankings, with Carson Kelly and perhaps Piscotty and Wisdom also
moving up considerable. And I guess that's the point. If you tell me who
the Cardinals are going to draft, I'll tell you who is going to replace
those graduates. This year, I was rather surprised with the top 10 —
that three 2012 draft picks made the top 10 and as many as five could be
in the top 15. That's a rather high infusion of draft picks, but it
comes from having so many so early in last year's draft. The Cardinals
can thank Albert Pujols.
Allen's Imposter (Wisconsin): What does Carson Kelly possess that Patrick Wisdom doesn't, tool for tool?
Carson Kelly is younger, hints at more
power, and seems to have the bat that will carry him at a variety of
positions. I say all that and you should know that I made a case for
Wisdom to be in the top 10. Wisdom is the best defensive third baseman
in the system. It will be interesting to watch how his offense develops
this season and where he ends the year. There's potential there, but at
this point Kelly has the edge at the plate.
@Jaypers413 (IL): Assuming Wacha picks up where he left off and dominates as a starter this year, could he possibly see Busch in September?
That would be leapfrogging quite a few
pitchers ahead of him. I can't imagine why the Cardinals would start his
clock in September 2013 if they didn't think he was going to be in the
rotation for April 2014. Let's ease off the throttle a bit and see how
the righty does as a starter in the pros. Getting through a full season
and perhaps seeing Class AAA Memphis this coming season would be
tremendous strides and still put him ahead of schedule ...
chase (chicago): can you tell me about seth blair and where do the cardinals see him
Seth Blair has traction, now. He did
well in fall ball and repositioned himself in the organization after a
couple tough years, one of which was due to injury. Blair has slipped on
the depth chart because of the starters who have soared around him.
He's going to get a chance to earn a spot in the rotation at Class AA
Springfield. There will be a lot of competition for those spots. The
Cardinals are encouraged enough that they think he'll win one if he
continues the momentum he gathered late in 2012.
David (Taipei): How many of the top 10 do you think are worthy of being on BA's top 100 list? Thanks!
Scroll back through the chat. The answer is there. I promise.
Michael Stern (Rochester NY): I am very high on
Michael Wacha, as I'm sure many in the Cards org. are. But my question
is - with the incredible depth of exceptional pitching talent the Cards
have at the major and minor league levels, how soon can you see Wacha
forcing himself in to the Stl. rotation? Or will he eventually be
relegated to the pen do you think? Thanks again for the chat!
I don't think Wacha will be "relegated"
anywhere. He's going to be prepared and groomed and developed as a
starter and if he continues on this same track — and, really, it's
early early in his pro career, so I tread carefully — he could be the
kind of starter that the team makes room for. Think Shelby Miller. When
Wacha is ready, he'll get a shot at a spot in the rotation.
Not Jaypers (Wisconsin): Who is more likely to get the first shot at a rotation spot Rosenthal or Miller? Thanks
They are going to tie. Both Rosenthal
and Miller will arrive in Jupiter, Fla., a month from now and have a
shot at a spot in the rotation. The opportunity is there for either of
them to take — but Lance Lynn and Joe Kelly will also be competing for
the current opening.
Jackson (St. Charles): How close was Patrick
Wisdom to making this list, and how much better a prospect is Piscotty?
I know Piscotty was drafted higher and paid more, but Wisdom seems to
have a much better profile.
Very close. Wisdom is an intriguing
prospect and to me he's a 10a, in a lot of ways. The final ranking has
Piscotty ranked ahead of him in the top 10, and there are several people
I spoke to who believe that Piscotty is poised to move swiftly through
the system and is primed for a strong 2013. Wisdom is viewed as a player
who might move steadily, but in many ways does have a strong profile
for the prospect he'll be as he climbs ...
Steve (St. Louis): I attended a Springfield
game this last May, and Rosenthal sat at 97-99, routinely hit 100 deep
into the game, and topped out at 101. Hammons' gun runs hot, but even
if you dock a couple MPH, isn't it safe to say he sits in the high,
rather than mid 90s? Was this game an anomaly? Why is the prevailing
sentiment that his mostly plays up because he was pitching out of the
pen, a la Boggs?
As a starter, he has operated in the
mid-90s with command. That's the meaning of the sentence you're quoting
from the scouting report. When he unloaded as a reliever, that's when
you saw the 100s, 101s, consistently on a big-league gun and — more
importantly — on the pitch f/x stats that I used to do the
pitch-by-pitch count mentioned previously in the chat. He has that
horsepower available to him, but when he's been used as a starter and
attempted to go deep into games, scouts and coaches have seen him
routinely average in that mid-90s. That's still enough to classify him
as a true power starter.
Steve (St. Louis): I was glad to see Kelly in
the top 10. Evidently the Cardinals are conscious of studies
illustrating the impact of age differences on drafted prep players. Do
you agree? Was his especial youth weighted into his ranking?
Absolutely it did. You have to take into
account what the player's age is and what level he is at because it
helps frame an idea of their development curve. Look at what Oscar
Taveras did as a teen in the Midwest League. That was an obvious
indicator of the kind of player he would be because of the age he
already showing strong production. Kelly's age did benefit him when it
came to the ranking because it hints at a) how advanced he was at that
lower level and b) the pace at which he'll develop compared to, say, a
fifth-year college senior who arrives with an egg timer lashed to his
Karl of Delaware (Georgetown, Delaware): Compare the player development strategies
of general manager Jocketty with the post Jocketty regime.
What is this? A final exam? Cardinals
Baseball 412GH? Do you have a few hours? I'll try to boil this down to
the essence, and that starts with the priority the organization — not
just the GM, but the ownership and overall organization — has placed on
development. I had an interesting conversation with chairman Bill
DeWitt Jr. in Nashville about the flood of TV rights revenue about to
hit the majors — already hitting the majors, really, when you look at
the LA Dodgers. What he said was to remain competitive in a market that
will again tilt the spending toward the larger TV markets, the Cardinals
have to be self-sufficient. For years, they've developed complementary
players from the system and done so really as well as anyone. But now
they're going to need homegrown impact players. Taveras. Miller. Wong.
These prospects are going to have to arrive and perform as everyday,
top-shelf regulars. Mozeliak has been charged with building a system
that can feed that need, and he's done so with the help of Jeff Luhnow,
Matt Slater, John Vuch, Moises Rodriguez, Sig Mejdal, new addition Dan
Kantrovitz, and many others who I probably should list here ... Some of
the key players in building his system are now in Houston running that
show. Jocketty used the system to produce and then trade, not unlike
what Mozeliak did to get Holliday from Oakland. The emphasis has changed
because the importance of it has as well. Mozeliak has also expanded
the use of analytics and worked to synthesize how scouts and numbers
mesh. That was part of his initial mandate from ownership and he's done
that. How'd I do professor?
Jon (San Mateo): Did you get any feedback on
Sam Tuivailala? I heard he was throwing in the high 90s after the
Cardinals moved him off third base. Is that true, and does he have a
chance to be a legit pitching prospect?
That is true, and yes he does. He just
needs to get more experience from the mound. The initial reports on his
transition were encouraging, according to the Cardinals.
Matt Adams' Clone (Limbo): I just can't seem to
catch a break, Derrick! First I'm blocked by Pujols, then after he gets
dealt and I get my first shot in the bigs, my elbow goes out and next
thing I know, according to everyone I'm blocked from the 1B job by
Craig. Is my role strictly as a backup, or can I get more regular
playing time at Busch this year?
Look, being blocked by Albert Pujols is
not such a bad thing to have on your resume, eh? And there were a few
bodies between you and Pujols even after he signed as a free agent with
the Angels. Berkman was signed to hold down first base in 2012, and
Allen Craig has long been positioned as the first baseman who would take
over at first base long-term if Pujols left. That gained further
clarity when the Cardinals signed Carlos Beltran. That said, there is
still a place for you. If Taveras plays center, then Craig is in RF, and
you're at 1B — or at least, Matt, you'll have the chance to win
playing time at 1B. Right now, you present intriguing lefty power off
the bench. It is also possible that you could become a player who is
attractive to another team around July.
Patrick (Sandpoint, Idaho): Carson Kelly showed
some pop...some low average too but he also kept the k's way down.
What is your gut on him? Will his bat develop and is he the future 3B
of the Cards down the line? Will he hit for average with his pop?
Kelly had an impressive debut, in my
opinion, by any measure. He's young. You mentioned a couple of things
that hint at the offensive player he could be become. Future 3B? He
could transition to 1B, and that would be fine, too. His bat will play.
Nick (Boston): Hey, Derrick. Thanks for the
chat. Both Trevor Rosenthal and Alex Meyer are fireballer. Who has the
higher ceiling? Is Trevor Rosenthal a top 50 prospect overall for you?
You have to go with Rosenthal here
because he's been in the majors, he's had success there, and it's not a
stretch to see how he could do more of the same in the immediate future.
More than a prospect, Rosenthal is a big-league pitcher.
Steve (St. Louis): Do you have any intel on the
Cardinals view of Matt Adams' future with the club? His batting
profile is very encouraging, and I'm somewhat concerned he'll be traded
below his true value.
Steve, that's an interesting way to put
the question. Right now, Adams is coming back from elbow surgery that
should give him better comfort at the plate without costing him any time
this year. His value hasn't changed as a result. I think you hint at an
interesting situation though — is his value to the club as a member of
the bench or is it playing 1B everyday in Class AAA as a showcase for a
trade? The answer isn't clear right now. The Cardinals don't have to go
into roster contortions to find a place for him in the future. It's
there. But the first few months of 2013 I think will be telling when it
comes to how Adams best fits the Cardinals ...
Steve (St. Louis): Breyvic Valera has been
riding a fair share of batting average induced hype. Do you believe
that his hit tool and glove are truly strong enough to make him a
legitimate second base prospect?
You make that sound like it's a bad
thing — batting average-induced hype. I've seen players who have
batting average-induced titles and batting average-induced contracts. I
think I see where you're coming from here, though. And there are several
scouts who believe Valera will advance as a true prospect at 2B or in a
utility role, yes.
Grant (NYC): Who are the system's best sleepers, in your opinion?
Valera is one. Colin Walsh is another.
Starlin Rodriguez probably should get more attention as a prospect. And
here's one that probably doesn't get enough ink spilled on his ability
— I'm guilty, too — but Greg Garcia, who could be the starting
shortstop at Class AAA Memphis this April.
Jason (Muskegon, MI): With the exception of shortstop...could the major league team stock the roster from the farm for the most part?
Shortstop is definitely the soft spot in
the depth chart. There is not an obvious understudy for Matt Holliday
in LF. And if Yadier Molina sustains an injury that would take him out
for an extended amount of time, the Cardinals have Tony Cruz but not
another homegrown alternative who is ready for the majors.
Steve (St. Louis): Does Patrick Wisdom project as an above average or plus defensive third baseman?
Almost every person I talked to described him as a plus defensive player.
Jason (Dallas): Who is boy wonder's favorite player?
I assume you're referencing the nickname
for my son and not the actual boy wonder, Robin of Batman fame. If
pressed, my 6-year-old might say his favorite player is Mickey Mantle or
Stan Musial, or Invader Zim, a righty who apparently has a 65-70
fastball with 60-65 control on some Nintendo baseball game he plays.
G4 (Milwaukee): Is this a top 5 system? Top 3?
Yes. And, likely, yes.
Astros Fan (Houston): As an Astros fan, my hope
for the future rests on the shoulders of Mr. Jeff Luhnow. Out of the
top prospects in the Cardinals organization, how much of a role did
Luhnow have with these acquisitions? How much will the Cards miss him,
and do you see any similarities with his approach thus far in Houston
(can I expect a deep and talented system in 2-3 years)?
Luhnow had a huge influence on the
players the Cardinals have now in the system and the players who have
elevated the Cardinals as a system. He not only guided the draft that
netted most of these players, he also re-established the Cardinals as a
player in Latin America after the team pulled out of the region all
together in 2003. He also oversaw a group that was able use advanced
metrics to guide them to players later in the draft. Look at the
contributors the Cardinals have from late rounds: Rosenthal (21st
round), Adams (23rd round), Jaime Garcia (22nd round)... even Allen
Craig was the last pick in the eighth round. A lot of the mechanisms
that Luhnow helped the Cardinals utilize, invent, and improve are still
in place. In the past couple years, they have only added to and
strengthened the framework that Luhnow and Mozeliak constructed
together. Are their similarities? Sure. There are some of the same
people and the approach has similar elements, but the two organizations
are in far different situations ...
Matt (St louis): How does kantrovitz's first draft rank compared to Luhnows first? Did baseball america rank the 2012 draft number 3 overall?
Ask me again in 2017. Drafts are best
judged down the road, and we now have so, so much information about
Luhnow's draft in 2005: Rasmus flipped for pitchers that won a title;
Greene sent to Luhnow in Houston; Mitchell Boggs sets club record for
holds; Bryan Anderson ejected; a series of high-pick pitchers who never
arrived; Jaime Garcia who did. It would be a foolish endeavor to polish
up the Crystal Ball and ask whether a group drafted just a few months
ago can match or improve upon that group. The ingredients are there
because the number of picks was so overwhelming. In the next few years
we'll see if the 2012 draft is the same fixed point that the 2005 draft
became for the Cardinals.
Derrick (Torrington, CT): I'd like to hear your thoughts on Seth Maness. Is he a sleeper or a future 6th inning reliever?
Those are the only options? Maness
brings more to his ranking than other pitchers who have done well at
that same level. He's been compared to P.J. Walters and Brad Thompson.
Both of them reached the majors as spot-starters, middle relievers. I
heard from some scouts that Maness has more at his stage of development
than those pitchers. I heard that he may not have the right mix to get
as high as either of those pitchers. What scouts and coaches said,
universally, was that Maness will be tested in Class AAA. He has the
command, the movement, the stuff, and the poise to make it all work for
him at that level, and what he does with it when give that opportunity
in the coming year will define whether he's a sleeper, a sixth-inning
reliever, or something else entirely ...
Jasen (Orlando): Love your work with the Post.
Where's the love for Patrick Wisdom? I thought he would get the nod over
Piscotty since he should stick at 3b and has power/patience
Thanks, Jasen. Scroll back through the
chat. I dropped some, ahem, wisdom on where Wisdom fit for me a while
back. I think you could go either way with Piscotty or Wisdom at 10.
Reggie (Holland): How much credit does the PD
system deserve for helping mold some of the hard throwers into reliable
pitchers...ie Rosenthal, J. Kelly, Miller and others etc. Are they doing
anything different developmentally to help them turn these guys into
solid starting pitching prospects?
This is a good question, and I hope that
the powers that be at Baseball America don't mind me doing this, but
it's one that we spent some time addressing throughout the summer at the
Post-Dispatch. The increase in power arms within the system has been,
well, exponential in recent years, and it does trace back to a) an
overall increase in power arms in baseball and b) some instructions
handed down from the front office and within the player development
offices. Allow me to link to a story that does give more details than I
could pack into a chat here:
I hope that the BA folks don't mind me doing that. It does go deeper
into the answer to your question.
Indiana Cardinal (Lowell, IN): Is Breyvic
Valera's hit tool viewed at this stage of his career as similar to where
Taveras was at that level, without the same power potential? Is Valera
viewed as a secondbaseman only, or does his defense, range and arm let
us dream that he could be the Cards' shortstop of the future? Do you
know what number is Valera's ranking on this list?
Besides Breyvic Valera, who do you feel to be sleepers in the system,
i.e. someone currently without much attention, who can be the "hot" on
the 2014 Top 30 list?
The two do not compare offensively.
Valera has the 2B profile or utility role. I have him listed on the
depth chart at second base, a notch or two below Wong. He is a sleeper,
and by definition provided here that means he did not crack the 30.
Count me among the folks who wouldn't be surprised if he's in the 30 a
year from now. That was the vibe from folks I spoke to who have watched
Dan (Augusta, ME): What can you tell us about SP Alexander Reyes? Did he crack the top 30?
BA's Ben Badler has the best scouting
report I've seen on Reyes, the righty the Cardinals are close to
finalizing a deal with:
deal is not official, and that means he didn't get a chance to be
ranked in the Top 30. The Cardinals are expected to announce the
contract once Major League Baseball validates Reyes' paperwork. Badler's
story gives a good idea of his background.
Karl of Delaware (Georgetown, Delaware): Of the
five 1st round draft choices the Cards had (Wacha, Ramsey,Piscotty,
Wisdom, and Bean) who is the most likely to exceed present expectations
in your opinion?
All of them appear in the top 30. All of
them have pretty high expectations attached to them as a result. I
think readers will be surprised that Bean debuts as the best defensive
catcher in the system, and as we've spent a lot of time talking about
already this morning Wisdom is a player to watch in 2013.
James Arnott (Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, Canada):
Thanks for the chat Mr. Goold !!! Regarding the ceiling for Kolten
Wong: I say he could be a lefty hitting Dustin Pedroia or would that be
too high? Also could you please provide me with a resonable comp for his
You are talking about an MVP, a Face of
the Franchise, a middle-order hitter who is considered one of the best
at his position in the majors. Call me conservative, but I think it's
always too high to compare a prospect to one of the best in the game who
has been at his best in the game for several seasons. Wong could be an
everyday player at second base. The Cardinals expect him to be their
everyday answer at a position that has been in flux since the days of
Fernando Vina. Yep, that's right ... A kid who was in kindergarten when
Vina last played 100 games for the Cardinals at second base would now be
finishing his/her junior year in high school without having seen a
recurring regular at second base for the Cardinals. Wong is that
recurring regular. A lefthanded-hittng Jose Altuve would be a regular
for the Cardinals, no?
Alright, we've got two hours in the
books here and still several dozen questions remaining. I'll try to do
some rapid fire here before closing out for the day. Here goes ..
ttnorm (Connecticut): With Carpenter and
Wainwright hitting free agency this fall, can you see the Cardinals
gambling that Carlos Martinez can take the ball every 5th day in 2014?
You're assuming that both Carpenter and
Wainwright hit free agency before the Cardinals work out an extension
with them. That's a big assumption. If they both hit free agency it
won't be because the Cardinals are gambling on Carlos Martinez being in
the rotation for 2014, it will be because Carpenter and/or Wainwright
are convinced they can do better in the open market. Lacking those two
cornerstones would be a blow to the Cardinals' plans for the future.
Jason (Muskegon, MI): Ryan Jackson...does he have enough bat to be the everyday shortstop? Does he get a chance?
The second question is the better one
right now. Jackson has the glove, and the bat has shown steady signs of
being enough to pair with the glove. Does he get the chance? Does he
earn that chance? What happened late in the season was remarkable as
Pete Kozma rose to accept a challenge and an opportunity and Jackson was
marginalized, when six months earlier it appeared like the exact
opposite was true. This is a big spring for both of them as what they do
now will determine where they fit for the Cardinals.
ttnorm (Connecticut): Did the performances of Starlin Rodriguez and Mariano Dixon Llorens catch the eye of scouts last summer?
Absolutely. Both did. Rodriguez is better known. Llorens is on the rise.
Mick (Chicago): I noticed in the 2016 lineup
projection that Pete Kozma was at short. How likely is that, versus a
free agent, Ryan Jackson, or another shortstop w/in the org?
Kozma is the in-house candidate for that
spot. The Cardinals will be looking for an answer outside of their
system — check that. The Cardinals have been looking at the options
they'll have from outside the system.
ttnorm (Connecticut): Derrick, thanks for the
chat. Some were critical of the James Ramsey selection last summer.
Now that he has had some professional experience, what do the Cards
think they have in him?
The Cardinals are high on Ramsey and
think that his struggles in his pro debut have a lot to do with how far
they pushed him with the initial assignment. The Cardinals are eager to
see what he does given a break and another crack at that level.
Joe LeCates (Easton, MD): Mr. Goold, thank you
for the chat today. What were the reports on James Ramsey? Were
evaluators concerned over such a poor showing in HiA from a 4-year
college guy, or can it just be chalked up to fatigue and initial taste
of pro ball?
As just mentioned, some of his struggles
were pegged at being assigned immediately to High-A Palm Beach, the
highest of any position player drafted.
Wait, drafted that is by the Cardinals. Had to add that to the above answer.
Not Jaypers (Wi): Who do you see as having the highest ceiling between Miller Rosenthal, and Martinez?(Jenkins or Wacha?)
Today, within their current roles, Miller and Rosenthal are the answers.
Brian (Mass.): What happened to Tyrell Jenkins
last year and if healthy, can he make strides this year to be near the
top of this list next year? How far away do you think he is?
Jenkins worked to get more consistent
with his delivery and, thus, his command. He's also developing several
pitches on the job. He's set for an important year in his development —
the year where athleticism, mechanics, and experience all mesh to
determine the production necessary to remain a prospect. He's several
years away. The Cardinals knew that when they drafted him. He was the
only teen in major-league camp last year, and it's way too early for
prospect fatigue to set in just because he's been around for a few
years. He's advancing on a steady schedule ...
Ken (Lakewood CA): Feel bad for Adams. Doubtful
Craig is going to get moved from 1B. What would you do with Adams if
you were the Cardinals? Doesn't seem like another year of AAA is going
to do him any good - kind of a waste?
The Cardinals have said that Adams has
done all he needs to at the Triple-A level. They think he's ready for
the majors. He could be the power off the bench, or if the deal presents
itself he could be important to what the Cardinals attempt to do to
improve their roster at some point during the coming season.
nb (PA): Hey Derrick - thanks for the
chat...Much appreciated! What do you see Rosenthall's role in both the
short term and long term? Seems like with all the depth in the
roatation in 2013, he could be headed back to the pen short term. For
the long term though, seems like he could be a #3-4 starter or closer.
What do you see? thanks.
You outlined it pretty well. I wonder
what happens if they put him in the bullpen and he and Mitchell Boggs
emerge as the two setup men. Once Rosenthal begins that evolution toward
a ninth-inning option, does he go back to starting?
Dan (Idaho Falls): Thanks for the chat,
Derrick. Is there much traction to the "Carpenter to 2B" experiment,
and if so, does it all but ensure Wong will begin 2013 in AAA? Or does a
strong spring from Wong put him in STL with Carp taking on a super-sub
All of that is on the table as the
Cardinals report to camp next month. Carpenter is working this winter to
get familiar at second base and also condition himself for the demands
of that position. He wants to make it work. The Cardinals want to get
his bat in the lineup and that's the position to do it. Wong will get a
chance to compete for the job. Carpenter has experience in the majors.
Wong has experience at the position. Daniel Descalso is the incumbent.
It's going to be quite the derby.
Ken (Lakewood CA): I think Baseball America is
missing the boat by not having you as a full time player for them. Why
don't they hire you? You do a great job every year with the Cardinals.
Ken, That's kind of you to say. BA has
me on retainer, so to speak. I cover the Cardinals' system for them as a
correspondent and I'm thrilled for that opportunity. I read BA as a
kid. I know some of the people who helped found BA. It's an essential
part of the fabric of the game. I feel the same way about newspapers and
the position I have with the Post-Dispatch is the one that I've spent
the better part of my career trying to earn. I'm quite honored to have
the day job I do and I appreciate the compliment. It's a challenge to
only cover things better ...
Speaking of which ... It's time to get
back to the other duties I have today. Thanks for taking the time to
stop by, drop a question, or just check out the answers. I was able to
get to most of them. I apologize to the people whose questions I didn't
get to. Trust me that some of them were answered earlier in the chat. If
not, you can always reach me on Twitter (@dgoold), at The
Post-Dispatch's StlToday.com blog "Bird Land", or at
email@example.com. I leave for spring training in less than three
weeks. Happy new year, indeed.