St. Louis Cardinals 2020 Midseason Top 30 Prospects Update
STATE OF THE SYSTEM
The Cardinals have one of baseball’s best collections of prospect talent at Triple-A and in the majors, which will help them defend their National League Central crown. The lower levels of the system are significantly lighter, but received a boost from seven picks in this year’s five-round draft.
1. Dylan Carlson, OF
The reigning Double-A Texas League MVP has continued to get bigger and stronger without losing any of his athleticism. He is set to start the season at the alternate site camp, but he is in position to make his big league debut if the need arises in the Cardinals’ outfield.
2. Matthew Liberatore, LHP
Acquired from the Rays in the trade for Jose Martinez and Randy Arozarena, Liberatore immediately became the Cardinals’ top pitching prospect and earned rave reviews in spring training. He was assigned to the Cardinals’ alternate site camp and will see how his polished four-pitch arsenal plays against older hitters.
3. Nolan Gorman, 3B
Gorman stood out to observers for how much he improved before spring training shut down. He has some of the best power in the minors and has improved his defense markedly at third base. He will spend the season at the Cardinals’ alternate site camp.
4. Genesis Cabrera, LHP
Cabrera tested positive for COVID-19 at the beginning of summer camp and did not join the team until July 18. The club planned to stretch him out as a potential starter, but the delay, combined with team need, has him slated for the bullpen, where he made his debut last year.
5. Ryan Helsley, RHP
Helsley showcased his triple-digit velocity and devastating cutter in his major league debut last year as a reliever. The Cardinals haven’t given up on him as a starter long- term, but he’ll return to the bullpen this year and has a chance to pitch in high-leverage relief.
6. Ivan Herrera, C
The precocious young catcher has hit everywhere he’s been and was added to the Cardinals’ player pool as a 20-year-old. He is in the pool strictly for developmental purposes and will focus on improving his defense at the alternate training site.
7. Zach Thompson, LHP
Thompson thoroughly impressed scouts in spring training before the Grapefruit League shut down. He will spend the year at the Cardinals’ alternate site group at Springfield, and his mid-90s fastball and trio of competitive secondaries have him in line for a future rotation spot.
8. Jordan Walker, 3B
The Cardinals drafted the Georgia high school slugger with the 21st overall pick and signed him for $2.9 million. A heady, cerebral player who was committed to Duke, the 6-foot-5 Walker has both the physical and mental skills to develop into a middle-of-the-order masher.
9. Andrew Knizner, C
Knizner’s bat is major league ready, but his blocking and receiving behind the plate remain works in progress. He worked hard on his defense and flexibility in the offseason and will see time in the majors this year as the third catcher behind Yadier Molina and Matt Wieters.
10. Kwang-Hyun Kim, LHP
The Korean signee had a dominant spring training and flashed a slider that was closer to plus than its previously reported average grade. The Cardinals named him their closer to open the season even though he has almost no experience in the role.
- Lane Thomas, OF
- Elehuris Montero, 3B
- Johan Oviedo, RHP
- Masyn Winn, SS/RHP
- Junior Fernandez, RHP
- Jake Woodford, RHP
- Jhon Torres, OF
- Julio Rodriguez, C
- Angel Rondon, RHP
- Malcom Nunez, 3B
- Kodi Whitley, RHP
- Justin Williams, OF
- Mateo Gil, SS
- Edmundo Sosa, SS
- Edwin Nunez, RHP
- Trejyn Fletcher, OF
- Tink Hence, RHP
- Tony Locey, RHP
- Alec Burleson, 1B/LHP
- Seth Elledge, RHP
The Cardinals are deep at catcher and third base and suddenly have a collection of hard-throwing lefthanders. Liberatore and Cabrera, acquired in trades, and Thompson, last year’s first-rounder, have turned a longstanding weakness of the Cardinals’ system into a strength.
The Cardinals have few notable middle infielders in their system, although that’s not a problem given the presence of Paul DeJong, Kolten Wong and Tommy Edman in the majors. SS Mateo Gil is their highest-ranked middle infield prospect at No. 23, although two-way SS/RHP Masyn Winn could develop into an intriguing option if he focuses on playing shortstop only.
PLAYER POOL TIDBITS
The Cardinals loaded up on older, upper-level players who could help them now in their initial player pool, including unheralded but productive minor league veterans like C Jose Godoy and 1B John Nogowski. Liberatore, Gorman, Thompson and other later additions will spend the season at the alternate site in Springfield.
Cabrera, Montero and LHP Ricardo Sanchez all tested positive for COVID-19 when they reported to summer camp.
LHP Steven Gingery had a second Tommy John surgery last August and is in the process of rehabbing. He should be ready for the start of the 2021 season.