2013 St. Louis Cardinals Top 10 Prospects Chat With Derrick Goold





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.

Moderator: Derrick Goold will answer your Cardinals questions beginning at 11 a.m. ET.

Derrick Goold: 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?

Derrick Goold: 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 organization.

    @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?

Derrick Goold: 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?

Derrick Goold: 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?

Derrick Goold: 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?

Derrick Goold: 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?

Derrick Goold: 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?

Derrick Goold: 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?

Derrick Goold: 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?

Derrick Goold: Prospect.

    Frank (Chicago): Does Charlie Tilson still reside in your top 30 after his lost year? Where is he likely to start his season at?

Derrick Goold: 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?

Derrick Goold: 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 pretty telling.

    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?

Derrick Goold: 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 ranking.

    Keith (Manchester, CT): Thanks Derrick. Do you think Oscar Taveras takes enough walks to have a strong OBP in the majors, something over .350 ?

Derrick Goold: 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?

Derrick Goold: 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?

Derrick Goold: 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.

Derrick Goold: 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"?

Derrick Goold: 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?

Derrick Goold: 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?

Derrick Goold: 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

Derrick Goold: 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!

Derrick Goold: 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!

Derrick Goold: 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

Derrick Goold: 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.

Derrick Goold: 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?

Derrick Goold: 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?

Derrick Goold: 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 back.

    Karl of Delaware (Georgetown, Delaware): Compare the player development strategies of general manager Jocketty with the post Jocketty regime.

Derrick Goold: 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?

Derrick Goold: 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?

Derrick Goold: 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?

Derrick Goold: 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? Thanks!

Derrick Goold: 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.

Derrick Goold: 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?

Derrick Goold: 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?

Derrick Goold: 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?

Derrick Goold: 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?

Derrick Goold: Almost every person I talked to described him as a plus defensive player.

    Jason (Dallas): Who is boy wonder's favorite player?

Derrick Goold: 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?

Derrick Goold: 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)?

Derrick Goold: 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?

Derrick Goold: 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?

Derrick Goold: 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

Derrick Goold: 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?

Derrick Goold: 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: http://www.stltoday.com/sports/baseball/professional/cards-focus-on-power-arms-to-build-up-farm-system/article_9f667161-4906-547b-9734-f2f8a6f1057e.html 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?

Derrick Goold: 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 his development.

    Dan (Augusta, ME): What can you tell us about SP Alexander Reyes? Did he crack the top 30? Thank you.

Derrick Goold: 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: http://www.baseballamerica.com/blog/prospects/2012/12/cardinals-sign-dominican-righthander-alex-reyes-for-950000/ His 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?

Derrick Goold: 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 floor.

Derrick Goold: 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?

Derrick Goold: 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?

Derrick Goold: 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?

Derrick Goold: 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?

Derrick Goold: 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?

Derrick Goold: 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?

Derrick Goold: 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?

Derrick Goold: 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.

Derrick Goold: 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?)

Derrick Goold: 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?

Derrick Goold: 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?

Derrick Goold: 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.

Derrick Goold: 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 role?

Derrick Goold: 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.

Derrick Goold: 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 ...

Derrick Goold: 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 dgoold@post-dispatch.com. I leave for spring training in less than three weeks. Happy new year, indeed.