Stock Up, Stock Down for Cardinals' Top 10 Prospects for Week 17
It's no secret that the St. Louis Cardinals boast one of, if not the best, farm systems in all of baseball. Year in and year out, the Cardinals take in young prospects and develop them into superstars. (See: Trevor Rosenthal, Michael Wacha, Matt Adams, Kolten Wong, etc...)
This season is no different. The Cardinals' top 10 prospects are enjoying a fruitful 2014 season. Some are exceeding expectations, while others are even-keeled. A few of these young players are struggling to adapt and find a consistent rhythm in the minor leagues.
Reaching the majors is a long, grueling process. Sometimes, it takes years to accomplish. Some players never do, while others are fast-tracked and have stellar careers.
A number of the Cardinals' top 10 prospects are on their way to the show.
Here's how they fared during Week 17 (July 13-20) of the 2014 season.
Oscar Taveras, Outfielder
Stats: 0-4, BB, K
The long-awaited arrival of phenom Oscar Taveras is finally over. However, the left-handed slugger has yet to live up to the hype.
The sample size is small for the rookie outfielder. He's only played in 25 games and has all but 79 at-bats under his major league belt. That said, Taveras is struggling, and that shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who has followed him throughout his currently short (but hopefully long) big league career.
Taveras is hitting just .190, with a home run and five RBI this season. He's been called up to the parent club twice, most recently on July 1. Since being recalled, the rookie is 8-for-42, with a pair of doubles, three RBI and seven strikeouts.
His stock is down for now, but Taveras will eventually heat up and feel more comfortable at the plate in time. After all, he has to provide the Cardinals with the kind of numbers that accompanied all of the attention surrounding him. With Yadier Molina out of the lineup for an extended amount of time because of ligament surgery on his right thumb, the timing for Taveras to start stroking the ball couldn't be better.
Stephen Piscotty, Outfielder
Stats: 1-14, 3 R, 2 RBI, 3 BB, 3 K
Stephen Piscotty would easily be starting in the big leagues if he was in any organization other than St. Louis. That goes to show how much depth the Cardinals have.
The right-handed hitter is having a noteworthy season for Triple-A Memphis. He's hitting .295, with six home runs and 53 RBI. He leads the Redbirds with 27 doubles and 104 hits and is second on the club in RBI.
Last week, Piscotty hit a road bump, but he was still able to come away with three runs scored and two RBI despite going 1-for-14.
Piscotty went 1-for-3 with three runs and an RBI in Memphis' 12-1 thumping over Colorado Springs on July 18.
Rob Kaminsky, Pitcher
Stats: 2 GS, 0-1, 9.2 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 5 BB, 3 SO
Rob Kaminsky was selected in the first round (No. 28 overall) of the 2013 draft by the Cardinals for a reason: He's an insanely talented left-handed pitcher.
He is making a mockery of the Midwest League (halfway joking)...but his numbers don't give me a reason to believe otherwise.
In 12 starts for the Peoria Chiefs, Kaminsky is 4-2 and has held opponents to a microscopic .177 batting average against. His 1.64 ERA leads all Chiefs starters, and the 12 earned runs he's allowed are the fewest of any pitcher on the staff.
However, Kaminsky had a shaky couple of outings last week. He made two starts, earning a no-decision in the first, which saw the Chiefs come away with a 4-3 win against the Burlington Bees on July 13. The 19-year-old wasn't able to rebound in his next start, where he lasted just 3.2 innings, walked three and gave up a two-run homer to Marty Herum.
Marco Gonzales, Pitcher
Stats: No stats available from last week.
The 2014 season has been a whirlwind for Marco Gonzales, whom the Cardinals selected 19th overall in last season's draft. The lefty has spent time in four leagues, including the big leagues when he was promoted from Double-A Springfield and made three starts for the Cardinals before being optioned to Triple-A Memphis.
Gonzales coasted his way through the minor leagues before being promoted to the big league club. However, since being inserted into the Memphis rotation, Gonzales has struggled. In his only start, he lasted just three innings, allowed four earned runs off seven hits, walked two and struck out three.
Overall, he is a talented youngster with a lot of raw potential. He has the capability to be a staple in the middle of a big league rotation when his time comes. He just needs to tune up his pitches and get more innings under his belt.
Alex Reyes, Pitcher
Stats: 1 GS, 0-1, 3.2 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 SO
A non-drafted free agent, right-hander Alex Reyes signed with the Cardinals in December 2012.
Two years later, he's having a quality season for the Peoria Chiefs of the Class-A Midwest League. The 19-year-old hurler is 6-6 with a 4.24 ERA this season. He tossed a complete game against Kansas City in June and has racked up 89 strikeouts thus far.
Though Reyes was dealt the loss in a 4-2 defeat to Western Michigan on July 16, he's held his ground this season. However, there's still plenty of room for improvement for the young pitcher.
James Ramsey, Outfielder
Stats: 3-15, R, HR, RBI, 2 BB, 7 SO, SB
Outfielder James Ramsey is have a stellar season for Double-A Springfield. His .296 average is third on the club, while he leads the team in home runs (13), slugging percentage (.528) and OPS (.908).
The left-handed hitter launched a leadoff homer—his 13th of the season—in the bottom of the sixth against Northwest Arkansas on July 17. However, Springfield fell 7-4.
If Ramsey continues to put up impressive statistics at the plate, he'll be on his way to the big leagues sooner rather than later.
Carson Kelly, Catcher
Stats: 3-10, BB
Carson Kelly won't intimidate pitchers with home run power, but he has a knack for getting on base. Over his last 10 games, he is hitting .313. He's been an important asset for Peoria this season.
Look for Kelly to continue producing at the plate the rest of the season.
Patrick Wisdom, Third Base
Stats: 2-22, R, 3 RBI, 5 BB, 9 SO
Patrick Wisdom, a third baseman for Double-A Springfield, is hitting just .220 on the year. However, he has a home run to his credit and has driven in 42 runs.
Wisdom has seen better days at the plate. Over his last 10 games, he's hitting just .100 with four RBI and 11 strikeouts.
He will need to find his groove at the plate to raise his stock.
Tim Cooney, Pitcher
Stats: No stats available from last week.
Lefty Tim Cooney didn't make a start last week, but he's having an outstanding season for Triple-A Memphis. He is 9-5 with a 3.55 ERA in 18 starts. He's thrown a complete game shutout to boot.
The left-handed hurler leads the Memphis pitching staff in innings pitched (116.2), strikeouts (85) and wins. He has also allowed the fewest home runs of any starter (15).
Cooney will certainly compete for a spot in the Cardinals rotation in the foreseeable future.
Charlie Tilson, Outfielder
Stats: 7-26, 4 R, 3 3B, 4 RBI, SB, 4 SO
Perhaps the most intriguing of the Cardinals top 10 prospects last week was none other than Charlie Tilson, outfielder for Palm Beach. He flashed his speed on the bases by racking up three triples. He leads the Florida State League with eight on the season.
For the year, Tilson is hitting .309 with five homers, 36 RBI and 10 stolen bases. More impressive is his outstanding .319 average against right-handed pitchers.
If Tilson keeps this up, he'll fly through the minors and into the big leagues.