2014 top Cardinals prospects: The final tally

Trade acquisition Randal Grichuk made our top 10

Pulling together all the votes on the St. Louis Cardinals' top minor league prospects for 2014.

As our yearly 40 Days, 40 Nights, 40 Prospects series nears its close, this article brings together the voting of the participants from The Cardinal Nation, me - Brian Walton (BW) and the members of our Scout.com St. Louis Cardinals message board community (Cm)*.

The far left column of the table below is the aggregate ranking. To the right of the players' names are our individual votes. (Note that we each ranked well over 40 players to ensure the group's top 40 would be as representative as possible.) Next are the prior years' rankings of the players in the new 2014 Top 40 from 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008 and 2007, where applicable.

* (Cm) represents the collaborative effort among a group of very knowledgeable Cardinals fans from our Message Board. That group actually went on to rank 60 players. Click here to see the entire community list and their reasoning behind each selection.

Rk Group Cm BW   13 12 11 10 09 08 07
1 Oscar Taveras 1 1   1 3 11 NR      
2 Carlos Martinez 2 2   5 2 5        
3 Kolten Wong 3 3   6 4          
4 Stephen Piscotty 4 4   12            
5 Rob Kaminsky 7 5                
6 Marco Gonzales 6 6                
7 Alex Reyes 5 7                
8 James Ramsey 11 8   13            
9 Carson Kelly 8 11   10            
10 Randal Grichuk 10 10   NA NA NA NA NA    
11 Tyrell Jenkins 9 12   8 8 9        
12 Tim Cooney 17 9   39            
13 Charlie Tilson 12 13   21 15          
14 Cory Jones 18 14   NR            
15 Patrick Wisdom 16 17   18            
16 Zach Petrick 21 15   NR            
17 Sam Freeman 20 16   24 34 NR NR NR    
18 Lee Stoppelman 14 20   NR            
19 John Gast 15 21   20 21 28        
20 Greg Garcia 13 23   16 NR NR NR      
21 Mike Mayers 33 18                
22 Oscar Mercado 29 22                
23 Tommy Pham 22 26   NR 23 19 40 NR NR 39
24 Mike O'Neill 19 30   32 NR NR NR      
25 Ian McKinney 30 25                
26 Sam Gaviglio NR 19   NR NR          
27 Juan Herrera 40 24   NA NA          
28 Jacob Wilson 36 27   NR            
29 Jordan Swagerty 28 33   11 10 24        
30 Boone Whiting 31 29   25 28 NR        
31 Breyvic Valera 26 37   19 39 NR        
32 Edmundo Sosa 25 38                
33 Kenny Peoples-Walls 24 39   NR NR          
34 Nick Petree NR 28                
35 Keith Butler 44 32   40 38 NR NR      
36 Sam Tuivailala 27 41   NR NR NR        
37 Seth Blair NR 31   30 33 10        
38 Fernando Baez NR 34   NR NR NR        
39 Eric Fornataro NR 35   27 NR NR NR NR    
40 Audry Perez NR 36   38 NR NR NR NR NR  
    Cm BW   13 12 11 10 09 08 07
  NA=not in Cards org                    
  NR=not ranked                    
  red = YTY decline                    
  yellow = YTY flat                    
  grn = YTY improve                    

I will finish this segment with a look at some of the most notable player changes in 2014 from the 2013 list.

Kaminsky
Movers and shakers

Top debut – 2013 draftee: Rob Kaminsky - #5
(next: Marco Gonzales - #6)

The Cardinals' top two drafted players, both left-handed pitchers, are the highest of the newly-ranked players. In each of the last two years, the Cards' top draft pick entered the top 40 at number four. I have already written about why I placed Kaminsky slightly ahead of Gonzales, but to net it out, there is the potential of a higher ceiling (as well as a better chance of flaming out).

Top debut – returnee: Cory Jones – non-ranked to #14
(next: Zach Petrick – NR to #16)

Last year, it was Seth Maness who made the best debut of any player previously in the system, leaping from not-ranked to number 14. The year before, it was Trevor Rosenthal at 12.

This time, it is another right-hander, Cory Jones, who makes his entry at 14. It would not be fair to expect Jones to replicate Maness' and Rosenthal's MLB success this soon. After all, Jones is still in A-ball. Organization Pitcher of the Year Zach Petrick stormed into the picture to capture of the number 16 spot after being passed over last winter.

Cooney
Fastest riser: Tim Cooney – #39 to #19
(next: Stephen Piscotty - #12 to #4)

Oddly, last winter infielder Breyvic Valera made the exact same jump from number 39 to 19 as did lefty Tim Cooney this winter. I predict that Cooney will continue to earn his ranking in 2014, rather than slow as did Valera, however.

Several players made eight-spot improvements year-to-year, but outfielder Stephen Piscotty accomplished it where the pyramid is getting narrowest – moving into the top 10, and in fact joins the top four in the system.

Biggest fall: Anthony Garcia - #9 to out of the top 40
(next: Starlin Rodriguez - #17 to out of the top 40)

I have to admit that last winter, I overreacted to one strong season from Garcia in the Appalachian League in 2012. While he still has the talent, the outfielder did not have consistent good health in 2013 and his results represented that. Maybe I have again overcompensated in the other direction by leaving Garcia off for 2014.

On the other hand, Rodriguez fell because he did not progress at the plate and went through a position change. He bounced back down to Palm Beach as he was moved off second base to a corner outfield spot, where his bat will have a tougher time playing. Rodriguez will likely be back at Springfield to open 2014.



To reference our entire list of top 40 Cardinals prospects for 2014 and read about each individual player, click here. You can learn the voters' philosophies in making their selections and much more.

Next up: This article series continues as we highlight the newest members of the top 40. Then, the voters highlight the players on our personal lists that did not make the 2014 consolidated top 40. We move next to our All-Prospect Team, the highest-ranked players at each position, dive into the numbers behind the top 40, take a look at our best and worst selections from 2013, the top prospects by level of play and finally those players that left the top 40 from last year to this.



Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnationblog.com. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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