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Track Record: Jeff Carlson built a prep baseball powerhouse in 29 years as the coach of Elk Grove (Calif.) High, producing big leaguers David Hernandez, J.D. Davis and Rowdy Tellez. Carlson's son Dylan became the program's highest player drafted when the Cardinals picked him 33rd overall in 2016, and he signed for $1.35 million. Scouting Report: Carlson has yet to post big numbers, but he's been steady as one of the youngest players at every level he's played. Carlson posted a .731 OPS in the Florida State League, that was 40 points higher than the league average as a 19-year-old, three years younger than the league average. The switch-hitting Carlson has a better swing from the right side and is loopier from the left, but he manages the strike zone from both sides and shows bat speed, hand-eye coordination and average power. Carlson is an above-average right fielder who flashes a plus arm, and he can handle center field in a pinch. He's a smart, steady player who stays on an even keel. The Future: Carlson's on-base skills and growing power fit in an outfield corner, especially if he can refine his lefthanded swing. He'll head to Double-A Springfield as a 20-year-old in 2019.
Track Record: Gorman emerged early as the top power prospect in the 2018 draft. He won the high school home run derby during All-Star weekend at Marlins Park in 2017 and then won the Under Armour All-America home run derby at Wrigley Field a few weeks later. He continued to crush his senior year, headlined by a 400-plus foot shot in the Arizona 6A state playoffs. The Cardinals drafted Gorman 19th overall and signed him for $3,231,700 to forgo an Arizona commitment. He immediately delivered on his power promise, hitting 17 homers in his first 63 games while reaching low Class A Peoria. Scouting Report: Gorman is as strong as any player his age. He displays easy, plus-plus power against mid-90s velocity, making balls disappear to right field. Gorman doesn't see lefthanders well and breaking balls give him trouble, but he adjusts quickly, shows power to all fields and makes enough contact to project for a .250-.260 average with 30-plus home runs per season. Gorman is a touch stiff at third base, leaving evaluators split whether he will stick there. His range plays up with a quick first step and reactions, but he'll have to maintain his body and agility to be an average defender. His arm strength is above-average, though a questionable arm action hurts his accuracy. The Future: Gorman has the bat to be future middle-of-the-order mainstay regardless of position. He finished his debut at low Class A Peoria and will start back there in 2019.
Track Record: The Cardinals signed Montero for $300,000 out of the Dominican Republic shortly after he turned 16 in 2014 and pushed him quickly. After playing in the Dominican Summer League at 16 and making his U.S. debut at age 18, Montero made his full-season debut in 2018 and won MVP of the low Class A Midwest League. He led the MWL in batting average (.322), slugging percentage (.504) and OPS (.910) before a late-season late promotion to high Class A Palm Beach. Scouting Report: Montero is a physical, strong-bodied hitter whose bat has a chance to be "special"in one evaluator's words. He possesses supreme hand-eye coordination, drives the ball to all fields with plus raw power and has enough bat speed to overcome his holes. He makes quick in-game adjustments and got better at understanding pitchers' plans as the year went on. Montero is still learning to pull the ball, and once he does evaluators project him for 25-30 home runs while maintaining a steady average. Montero has average hands and a plus arm at third base, but his big frame limits his mobility and overall he is fringe-average defender. He particularly needs to improve his footwork, rhythm and coordination in order to maintain his accuracy on his throws. The Future: Whether Montero stays at third base or moves to first or the outfield, he has the bat to make an impact. He'll begin 2019 at high Class A Palm Beach.
Track Record: Cabrera signed with the Rays for $34,000 in 2013 and quickly surpassed his peers who signed for more. He skipped over the Gulf Coast League at 18 and reached Double-A by age 20 while touching 97 mph with his fastball. The Cardinals, facing an organizational need for lefthanders with velocity, acquired Cabrera with fellow prospects Justin Williams and Roel Ramirez in exchange for outfielder Tommy Pham at the 2018 trade deadline. Scouting Report: Cabrera is an athletic lefty with power stuff but below-average control due to a violent delivery. His plus-plus fastball sits 94-96 mph, touching 98 mph, and he holds his velocity deep into starts. His short, upper-80s slider has above-average potential, and his third pitch is a firm, upper-80s changeup with solid depth and late fade that plays well off his fastball. He also has a curveball he shows feel to spin, though it's inconsistent because he cuts it off. Because of his delivery, Cabrera struggles to repeat his arm slot and locate consistently, especially with his secondary pitches. He also gets too cocky at times, resulting in poor pitch selection and overthrowing. The Future: Cabrera reminds many of Pirates closer Felipe Vasquez with his power stuff but questionable control from the left side. The Cardinals plan to keep Cabrera as a starting pitcher at Tripe-A Memphis, but they won't hesitate to call him up in relief, if needed.
Track Record: Edman has consistently outperformed initial impressions since his days as Stanford's No. 3 hitter at all of 5-foot-10, 180 pounds. A sixth-round pick in 2016, Edman climbed three levels to Double-A his first full season and ascended to Triple-A in his second, batting .301 with 30 steals and finishing as the starting second baseman and leadoff hitter on Memphis' Triple-A championship team. Scouting Report: Edman's bat speed is modest, but the switch-hitter takes a disciplined approach, recognizes pitches and has a level swing that stays in the zone for a long time. He's not much of a home run threat, but he picks out the right pitches to drive for extra-bases. Edman's above-average speed plays up with his superb instincts. He makes all the plays at both shortstop and second base with good positioning and soft hands, and his fringe-average arm plays up with an advanced internal clock. The Future: The Cardinals envision Edman filling the utility infield role previously held by Greg Garcia and Daniel Descalso. Edman has more tools than both of them, however, and may ascend to more.
Track Record: Knizner played third base his freshman year at North Carolina State before moving to catcher as a sophomore. His offense scuffled with the position change, causing him to slip to the seventh round of the 2016 draft. Knizner signed for just $185,300 but rebounded quickly in pro ball. He hit .302 while reaching Double-A in his first full season and hit .313 with Triple-A Memphis in 2018, when he was also selected to the Futures Game. Scouting Report: Knizner is an offensive catcher with all the tools to hit. He turns around good velocity with a quick bat, recognizes offspeed pitches and uses the whole field. His swing is more geared for line drives to the gaps, but he can turn on inside fastballs and drive them out to left field for home runs. Knizner is aggressive and doesn't walk much, but he doesn't strike out either with good hand-eye coordination and natural timing. While Knizner is a consensus above-average hitter, his defensive reviews are more mixed. His arm ranges from fringy to average, and his blocking, hands and footwork are still a bit rough. He's a smart leader who calls a good game and works hard behind the plate, showing all the intangibles to catch. The Future: Knizner has improved defensively, but he still has work to do. He'll try to take the next step at Triple-A Memphis in 2019.
Track Record: The Cardinals made Helsley one of the few active Cherokee Nation members ever drafted when they picked him in the fifth round out of Division II Northeastern State in 2015. Helsley shot up the minors with a 27-9, 2.58 career record and was in position for his MLB debut in 2018, but he was shut down with shoulder fatigue at Triple-A on June 10 and made only one appearance the rest of the year. Scouting Report: Though a tad undersized at 6-foot-1, Helsley is a pure power pitcher with a strong frame and thick, sturdy legs. His fastball sits 94-95 mph and touches 98 mph, and he uses his heater liberally with an aggressive, strike-throwing mentality. Helsley backs his fastball up with an 80-81 mph power curveball with hard, late drop that draws average-or-better grades, and his upper-80s cutter is another hard offering that projects above-average to plus. His 84-86 mph changeup is his "soft"offering, and is fringe-average but usable. Helsley struggles at times to harness all his power, resulting in inconsistent command and fringe-average control. He struck out 10.5 batters per nine innings in 2018, but also walked 4.1 per nine. The Future: Helsley has the stuff to start, but with control concerns and now a shoulder issue, the Cardinals prefer him as a reliever. Barring an injury setback, he should make his big league debut in 2019.
Thompson ranked No. 308 on the 2016 BA 500, but his draft ranking was dinged by a sore shoulder that limited him as a high school junior. He turned down a significant signing bonus when the Rays drafted him in the 11th round, instead opting to head to Kentucky. He made an immediate impact for the Wildcats, starting during the midweek and relieving on the weekends. He beat Indiana in an NCAA regional and ranked 26th in the country with 11.6 strikeouts per nine innings as a freshman, but his sophomore season was not as smooth. He was working as Kentucky’s Saturday starter when he had to sit out seven starts while nursing a sore elbow. Thompson returned to pitch in early May and also pitched during the summer in both the Cape Cod League and for USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team. This spring, he’s been one of the best pitchers in the Southeastern Conference. He struck out nine or more hitters in nine of his first 11 starts this season, including 13 strikeouts in a complete-game shutout against Georgia. Thompson has one of the best swing-and-miss rates among this year’s college pitchers in part due to a 91-92 mph fastball that can reach 94 mph when he needs it. Thompson’s fastball earns 55 grades, with a few scouts willing to call it a true plus pitch. His 84-85 mph slider is a high-spin rate, above-average pitch and has some power to it, although it sometimes gets loopier and slower as well. His significantly slower mid-70s curveball is less consistent, ranging anywhere from fringe-average to above-average depending on the pitch. He doesn’t throw his changeup all that often, but when he does, it is an average pitch as well. Thompson’s delivery is solid and he has made significant strides with his control this year, improving it to average even if his command still wavers. As a four-pitch lefty with success in the SEC pitching on Friday nights, Thompson is one of the most talented starting pitchers in a thin class. Scouts typically project him as a future No. 4 starter, but he may fall slightly below his talent level because of his injury history.
Track Record: Herrera signed for $200,000 out of Panama in 2016. He hit .335 in the Dominican Summer League in his pro debut, and in 2018 he hit .348/.423/.500 in the Gulf Coast League. Scouting Report: Herrera is an offensive catcher with one of the purest swings in the system. He has a quick, compact stroke that is direct to the ball, and his efficient swing path helps him both turn around velocity and square up breaking pitches. His power is mostly to the gaps with his flat-line drive stroke, but evaluators expect him to grow into 10-15 home runs as he fills out physically. Herrera is built to catch with a broad back, thick legs and a blue-collar mindset, but his skills are behind. He has fringe-average arm strength and his overall game awareness is lacking, particularly in controlling the run game. His blocking and receiving were problematic, resulting in seven passed balls in 20 games. The Future: Herrera has work to do behind the plate, but the Cardinals are optimistic he'll get there. He has a chance to see full-season ball as a 19-year-old.
Track Record: Thomas signed with the Blue Jays for $750,000 as a fifth-round pick in 2014 but stalled in the low minors. Needing money for an international class headlined by Eric Pardinho, the Blue Jays sent Thomas to the Cardinals for $500,000 in bonus pool space on the first day of the 2017 international signing period. Thomas suffered a broken wrist in 2016 and a broken foot in 2017, but full health in 2018 led to a breakout year. He led the Cardinals' system with 27 home runs--he'd hit 18 in the previous four seasons combined--and advanced from Double-A to Triple-A. Scouting Report: Thomas combines solid tools with a natural feel for the game. Strong and athletic in his 6-foot-1, 210-pound frame, he takes consistent, competitive at-bats and drives home runs out on a line with a sound swing. Thomas has some plate coverage issues and will swing and miss, but he works counts and makes hard contact when he connects. Defensively, he's an above-average center fielder with plus instincts. He positions himself well, gets good jumps and is a plus runner underway, nabbing anything hit in his zone. His above-average arm is another weapon. The Future: The Cardinals envision Thomas as a sort of Harrison Bader-lite, albeit with more power. He is in line to make his major league debut in 2019.
Track Record: Oviedo signed with the Cardinals for $1.9 million in 2016. After three years in short-season ball, Oviedo made the jump to low Class A Peoria in 2018 and had a learning year. He went 2-6, 5.02 in the first half but adjusted to go 8-4, 3.06 in the second half. Scouting Report: Physically huge at 6-foot-6, 210 pounds, Oviedo is a mix of big stuff and poor control often seen in young, long-limbed starters. Oviedo takes time to warm up, often pitching in the low 90s in the early innings before jumping to 93-96 mph in the middle innings. His curveball flashes plus, but he's very inconsistent and will throw multiple poor ones before snapping off a plus one. He's more consistent with his above-average, potentially plus changeup. Oviedo's three above-average or better pitches led to 118 strikeouts in the Midwest League, but he also led the league with 78 walks. The Future: Like many tall pitchers, Oviedo will take time to develop control. His size and stuff intrigue enough for evaluators to consider him a potential back-end starter.
Track Record: The Cardinals took note of Torres playing for Colombia's 15U national team at the Pan-American Championships in Mexico in 2015, but had limited interest in the very tall, very skinny, very raw outfielder. Torres signed with the Indians for $150,000 a year later and suddenly filled out, becoming bigger, stronger and faster. He made his U.S. debut in 2018 and quickly became a favorite of scouts in the Rookie-level Arizona League, and the Cardinals acquired him and outfielder Conner Capel for Oscar Mercado at the trade deadline. Scouting Report: The 6-foot-4, 199-pound Torres has blossomed into a prototypical power-hitting right fielder. He is patient with a mature approach, and when he gets his pitch he unloads with plus raw power to all fields. Torres is more slugger than hitter, but he has the feel for the barrel to make his power play and projects to hit for a solid average. Torres is a decent athlete for his size as an average runner who is light on his feet and gets good jumps. His biggest weapon is his arm, a 70-grade hose from right field. The Future: Torres projects to a corner, so there will always be pressure on his bat. He's handled it so far and will aim to continue at low Class A Peoria in 2019.
Track Record: Woodford served as the ace of Tampa's Plant High in 2015 while BA High School Player of the Year Kyle Tucker anchored the lineup. Tucker went fifth overall to the Astros in the draft and Woodford went 39th to the Cardinals. Woodford moved from Double-A to Triple-A as a 21-year-old in 2018 and finished second in the Cardinals' organization in innings pitched (145), but he struggled to a 4.90 ERA. Scouting Report: Woodford's fastball sits 93 mph and touches 95 mph. It's above-average velocity, but Woodford is still learning how to use his heater effectively. He shies away from pitching inside and doesn't demonstrate much confidence in his fastball, resulting in a lot of deep counts and a rising walk rate. Woodford's best secondary is an average cutter with good velocity, but he falls in love with it too much. He has an average changeup and breaking ball, but he doesn't use either pitch regularly enough. The Future: Woodford is young and durable, and the hope is he'll learn to use his arsenal better with time and experience. He'll start back at Triple-A in 2019.
Track Record: Garcia played five seasons in Cuba's Serie Nacional and won the league's MVP award in 2016. The Cardinals gave him $2.5 million after he defected, capping a push to sign talent from the island nation. A tooled-up athlete with an uber-aggressive approach, Garcia spent just under two seasons in the upper minors before the Cardinals called him up last August. Scouting Report: Few position players in the Cardinals' system can match Garcia's tools. He has plus raw power, is a plus runner, has a cannon arm from right field that is a borderline 80 tool and is a plus defender in right field. What hampers Garcia is a poor approach. He's a wild swinger with little plate discipline, resulting in gobs of strikeouts. He has stretches where he puts an approach together, waits for a fastball and stays behind the ball, but he has yet to show he can maintain it for any extended period of time. The Future: Garcia's speed, defense and power have already gotten him to the big leagues. Whether he can improve his approach will determine if he becomes more than a reserve.
Track Record: The Cardinals signed Arozarena for $1.25 million in 2016, banking on his record as a speedy catalyst in Cuba's Serie Nacional and international competition. After reaching Double-A in his first year in the U.S. in 2017, Arozarena made the Futures Game and reached Triple-A in 2018. Scouting Report: Arozarena is a plus runner who plays fast and hard, sometimes to his detriment. At his best, Arozarena shoots balls gap-to-gap, lays down bunts and takes his walks to get on base. As he neared the majors at Triple-A, however, Arozarena veered from playing hard into playing reckless. He showed a propensity for wild swings, poor pitch selection and running when he shouldn't, resulting in unnecessary outs on the bases. Arozarena has the ingredients to hit with quick-twitch athleticism, bat speed and surprising pop, but his lack of adjustments create hesitation about how much he'll actually produce. Arozarena can handle center field but others in the system are better, so he primarily projects to left field with his average arm. The Future: Arozarena has tools, but he has to improve his approach and decision-making to be more than a backup. He'll be 24 on Opening Day and needs to show progress soon.
Track Record: A second-round pick by the D-backs in 2013, Williams was traded to the Rays in the Jeremy Hellickson deal in 2014. He made his major league debut with Tampa Bay last year before the Rays traded him and two others to the Cardinals for Tommy Pham at the trade deadline. Scouting Report: Williams' lefthanded power and athleticism intrigue, but he's still very raw. He takes defensive, segmented swings, and the Cardinals see him as a swing-change candidate. He flashes plus raw power, and the hope is a swing change can unlock that in games. Williams' jumps and instincts come and go in right field, but he works hard and has the plus arm for the position. He's a fringe-average runner so he's mostly limited to the corners, although he can cover center in a pinch. The Future: The Cardinals feel they got a fourth outfielder at worst with Williams' lefthanded power and ability to move around the outfield. If he can successfully implement a swing change, he may be more.
Track Record: A standout slugger in Cuba's youth national leagues, Nunez hit a tournament-best .667 (18-for-27) at the 2016 15U World Cup in Japan to lead Cuba to the gold medal. The Cardinals couldn't sign any international free agents for more than $300,000 in 2018, and they didn't think that would be enough to sign Nunez, but rotating agents and unclear signability chased away the competition. The Cardinals stayed on Nunez and, once his price came down, inked him for $300,000. He promptly went out and won the Dominican Summer League triple crown, batting .415 with 13 homers and 59 RBIs in 44 games as an age-appropriate 17-year-old. Scouting Report: Nunez is a strong, thick-bodied teenager who is more masher than pure hitter. His physically mature tool set contains plus power, plus arm strength and plenty of bat speed, and he has a sound idea of the strike zone. He especially punishes anything on the outer half of the plate, where he can get his arms extended. Nunez is deceptively athletic in his heavy, 5-foot-11, 205-pound frame, but he's still a below-average runner and fringy defender at third base, with the possibility for worse if he doesn't maintain his physique. The Future: Nunez will move to the U.S. in 2019, and his bat is prodigious enough he could low Class A Peoria. His ceiling is high, but he is many years away and will have to watch his fitness.
Originally a member of the 2020 draft class, Fletcher reclassified this spring to reach campus at Vanderbilt a year sooner. This complicated the scouting process for teams, simply because of how late it was announced that Fletcher would instead be eligible for the 2019 draft. As a prep player in Maine, it is difficult enough to scout Fletcher, whose season didn’t start until mid-April. But the process has been made even more complicated by the fact that teams have less background information on Fletcher than they have with other 2019 prospects, despite the fact that he played at several well-scouted showcase events as an underclassman. Once he officially reclassified, however, Fletcher immediately became one of the better athletes in the 2019 class. He’s a plus runner who was seen doing backflips at last summer’s Area Code Games, and he makes quick-twitch movements in the outfield and at the plate with impressive bat speed. A 6-foot-2, 190-pound righthanded hitter, Fletcher has plus raw power from an agressive, pull-oriented swing. That same swing leads to some contact concerns, and he’s unlikely to face enough quality pitching this spring to give scouts much confidence in his hit tool. Defensively, Fletcher has the tools to become a plus defender in center field, including plus arm strength that would allow him to play in either outfield corner. But like his hitting ability, he’ll need to refine this part of his game to reach his full potential. Fletcher has shown some ability on the mound, with a fastball in the 91-95 mph range, but most teams like his upside as a position player more than as a pitching prospect. He is expected to be a tough sign away from Vanderbilt, and his late reclassification will surely make things more complicated. On talent alone, it wouldn’t be surprising if Fletcher snuck onto the first day of the draft.
Track Record: Elledge's 26 career saves at Dallas Baptist set a school record before the Mariners drafted him in the fourth round in 2017. Thirteen months later, the Mariners traded Elledge to the Cardinals for Sam Tuivailala at the trade deadline. Scouting Report: Elledge is a classic, big-bodied reliever with a fastball and slider. He pitches exclusively from the stretch and has a slightly cross-body delivery, adding a tick of deception to his potent stuff. Elledge's fastball sits 93-94 mph and plays up with late life and carry, and he backs it up with an 83-84 mph slider that flashes average with sharp vertical break. Elledge has a lot of effort in his delivery and loses his command and control, particularly on his fastball. The Future: Elledge has a chance to be a middle-to-late inning reliever if he can tighten his fastball command and overall control. He is slated to begin 2019 at Double-A Springfield.
Track Record: Baker became a folk hero at Texas Christian as a 265-pound, two-way freshman who led the Horned Frogs to the College World Series in 2016. The big-bodied Texan gave up pitching as a sophomore to focus on hitting and batted .347 with 28 home runs and 129 RBIs over three collegiate seasons. The Cardinals drafted Baker in the supplemental second round and signed him for $800,000. Scouting Report: Baker has plus raw power and doesn't have to swing hard to get to it, allowing him the bat control to be an average-or-better hitter. Baker can hit, but he's a tough fit defensively. He mostly DH'd in college and is a below-average first baseman with limited range, although he catches what he gets to and picks balls out of the dirt fine. He doesn't move well enough to play anywhere else and has a concerning injury history, including elbow surgery in 2017 and a broken left fibula in 2018. The Future: Baker is going to have to hit to rise. His bat will be tested at high Class A Palm Beach in 2019.
Track Record: Roberts pitched out of the bullpen his first two seasons at Wake Forest before moving to the starting rotation as a junior. He began the transition in the Cape Cod League and pitched to a 1.96 ERA while earning all-star honors, and followed up in the spring by leading the Atlantic Coast Conference with 130 strikeouts in just 96.2 innings. The Cardinals drafted Roberts 43rd overall and signed him for $1,664,200. Scouting Report: Roberts starts his arsenal with an above-average fastball in the low to mid-90s that touches 97 mph and plays up with running life. His real weapon is a slider that was one of the best breaking balls in the 2018 draft class. It's a plus pitch with exceptional movement and depth, and it locks up both lefthanded and righthanded hitters while drawing swings and misses both in and out of the zone. He flashes an average changeup with fade for his third pitch. Roberts has some reliever risk with a high-effort delivery and low, three-quarter arm slot that borders on sidearm. Control issues in his history further lead many to believe he'll be best pitching out of the bullpen. The Future: The Cardinals will start Roberts for now, knowing his fastball/slider combination will play well in relief as a fallback. He will likely begin his first full season at high Class A Palm Beach, but not until after he serves a 50-game suspension after twice testing positive for cannabis.
Track Record: Sosa signed for $425,000 out of Panama in 2012 as a headliner in a loaded Cardinals international class that included Alex Reyes and Magneuris Sierra. A series of injuries, including left wrist tendinitis in 2016 and a broken hamate bone in 2017, delayed his progress, but he stayed healthy in 2018 and moved quickly, jumping from Double-A to Triple-A and earning his first major league callup. Scouting Report: Sosa has the defensive tools to profile up the middle. He's an above-average defender at shortstop with sneaky speed and above-average hands, and his above-average arm makes all the throws. While Sosa's instincts are subpar, he began positioning himself better at Triple-A and started getting to more balls without having to range as far, a much-needed development. He also improved his effort and focus, which had lacked in the past. Sosa made an adjustment to use his hands more in his swing and surprised with 30 doubles and 13 home runs. He doesn't make enough contact or walk enough to project as more than a fringe-average hitter, but the newfound power helps his cause. The Future: Sosa projects as a glove-first utility infielder, but his offense and defense are trending up.
Track Record: Warner went undrafted after four years at Division II Bellarmine (Ky.) and pitched parts of two seasons with River City in the independent Frontier League before the Cardinals signed him midway through 2017. Meant to be organizational filler, Warner instead shot up three levels to Triple-A in his first full season. Scouting Report: Warner is an undersized lefthander who competes with an outstanding mound presence. His fastball sits 91-94 mph on his best days and 88-92 mph on others, but no matter his velocity he attacks the strike zone and seizes the tempo to put hitters on the defensive. He holds his stuff deep into his starts and seems to find another gear in pressure situations. Warner's main secondary is an average curveball with depth, and he mixes in a changeup that flashes average. Warner gets too much of the plate sometimes and doesn't have much deception, so he proved more hittable once he got to Triple-A. He still managed to limit runs by stepping up in big spots. The Future: Warner's stuff is a little short to project more than a swingman or lefty reliever in the majors, but with his competitive edge and ability to pitch, he may get there.