2020-21 MLB International Reviews: St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals added a deep mix of players in the low-to-mid six-figure range in this class, topped by two players outside the usual hotbed talent countries who project to play in the middle of the diamond.
Top Of The Class
The Cardinals signed Leonardo Bernal, the top prospect from Panama in the 2020 class and one of the top catchers in Latin America. Bernal was the catcher for Panama at the 2016 Little League World Series. Two years later, he represented Panama again at the U-15 World Cup in his home country, winning a silver medal at 14, the youngest hitter on the team. Bernal has a strong, Wilson Ramos-type build at 6 feet, 200 pounds and projects to stick behind the plate with a chance to be an above-average defender. His catch-and-throw skills are advanced for his age, with good agility, blocking and receiving skills to go with a plus arm. He also earns high marks for his leadership skills and overall baseball smarts. Bernal is a patient hitter who manages his at-bats well to get on base with the strength to drive the ball for damage from both sides of the plate.
Shortstop Adari Grant was the top player in the Bahamas who signed in the 2020 class. He's 5-foot-8, 170 pounds at 18, standing out for his speed and athleticism to play somewhere in the middle of the diamond. He packs a lot of explosiveness into his compact frame, with plus to plus-plus speed and a line-drive approach from the right side with gap power. He doesn't project as a power threat, but he has gotten stronger over the past couple of years and does have more room to add strength to his broad-shouldered frame. Grant has a chance to play shortstop, though some scouts think he will fit better at second base or center field, with a near average arm now from an overhand slot. Grant trained at the International Elite Sports Academy.
The Cardinals also have an agreement in place with Cuban outfielder Luis Mario Pino. Once that's official, we will add his scouting report here.
Names To Know
Elias Reynoso, SS, Dominican Republic: Reynoso projects to stay in the middle infield, with plus hands and a near average arm that could tick up once he gets stronger. Those hands translate well at the plate too, where he generally plays under control, spraying the ball around the field with an accurate barrel, a line-drive approach and gap power. Reynoso trained with Banana.
Carlos Carmona, OF, Venezuela: Carmona's future leans on how his tools develop once he adds strength to his slender 6-foot-2 frame. He's a tick below-average runner but with long strides and a chance to get faster when he's stronger, which could give him a chance to stay in center field, where he moves around well with good athleticism.
Christian Avendaño, OF, Venezuela: An instinctive center fielder, Avendaño is a fringe-average runner with a plus arm and an inside-out, contact-oriented swing geared for line drives from the right side. He trained with Carlos Guillen.
Samil de la Rosa, INF, Dominican Republic: At 5-foot-8, 175 pounds, de la Rosa has a smaller frame but stands out for his compact, fluid swing from the right side. He has an aggressive approach and stings the ball with surprising juice for his size, hitting balls over the fence to his pull side. De la Rosa is an offensive-minded prospect who worked out as a shortstop in the Mejia Top 10 program but will likely see most of his time at either second base or possibly at third. Some scouts wondered how de la Rosa might handle a catching conversion project, though the Cardinals plan to develop him as an infielder.
Robelin Lopez, OF, Dominican Republic: Lopez is a 6-foot-4, righthanded slugger with plus raw power and the ability to demolish fastballs, with a power-over-hit profile as he learns to recognize breaking pitches and keep his long arms synced up and on time. He projects as as a corner outfielder who could go to first base. Lopez trained at the Zorrilla Baseball Academy.
Romtres Cabrera, OF, Dominican Republic: Cabrera is an athletic center fielder with a compact 6-foot, 185-pound frame and plus-plus speed. He's a defensive-minded player right now, but he makes hard contact when he connects from the right side. Cabrera trained with Alfredo Arias.
Anyelo Encarnacion, SS, Dominican Republic: Encarnacion is a 6-foot shortstop with a quick bat who makes hard contact from the right side, showing some swing-and-miss to his game but with good power for a middle infielder. His offensive tools stand out the most right now, showing the ability to play somewhere in the infield with an average arm. Encarnacion trained with Pori.
Yancel Guerrero, SS, Dominican Republic: Guerrero has high physical upside with plenty of room to add strength to his 6-foot-1, 170-pound frame. His best tool is an arm that already grades out well above-average, with a possible future at third base, and the physical projection to hit for power down the road once he packs on more weight.
Marcelo Perez, SS, Dominican Republic: Perez was one of the better defensive shortstops in the Dominican Republic, showing sweet hands, easy actions and an efficient transfer. He's a defensive-oriented player with a chance to be a plus fielder.
Center fielder Miguel Vargas played for Venezuela at the U-15 World Cup Americas Qualifier in Sept. 2019 in Mexico. He has improved his speed to become a plus runner, giving him a chance to stay in center field, and he has a short swing with a chance to hit well from the left side with gap power. Vargas trained with Luis Blasini.