2014 TCN/Scout.com Cards All-Prospect Team

Oscar Mercado is the youngest member

Our annual ranking of the best prospects in the St. Louis Cardinals minor league system by position including a top 40 depth chart. Today's report is FREE!

The subject here in the 45th article in our Top 40 St. Louis Cardinals Prospects for 2014 series is the top organizational minor league prospects by position. At the end, all top 40 members are shown by position in an organizational prospect depth chart.

The selection process is most straightforward. We have already unveiled our top 40 prospects in the system via the "40 Days, 40 Nights, 40 Prospects" series. Putting together this year's All-Prospect Team is as simple as culling the top-ranked player at each position from that top 40.

The Cardinal Nation/Scout.com St. Louis Cardinals All-Prospect Team includes 12 players – eight position players, including two corner outfielders considered as one group, plus four pitchers – left and right-handed starters and relievers. The left-handed reliever, a constant challenge for the organization, is included separately for the third time. Listed are each player's overall ranking in the top 40, age and highest level played in 2013.

The Cardinal Nation/Scout.com St. Louis Cardinals 2014 All-Prospect Team

Position Player Rank Age 13 Lvl
Catcher Carson Kelly # 9 19 A
First Base Jonathan Rodriguez * 40+ 24 A+
Second Base Kolten Wong 3 23 MLB
Shortstop Oscar Mercado * 22 19 R
Third Base Patrick Wisdom * 15 22 A+
Corner Outfield Stephen Piscotty * 4 22 AA
Corner Outfield Oscar Taveras 1 21 AAA
Centerfield James Ramsey 8 24 AAA
LH Starter Rob Kaminsky * 5 19 R
RH Starter Carlos Martinez * 2 22 MLB
LH Reliever Sam Freeman 17 26 MLB
RH Reliever Keith Butler * 35 24 MLB
  * new members      
  # position change      
  Ages as of 1/1/14      

Last winter, after a record nine of the 12 were holdovers from the previous year, we saw an exodus of rookies to St. Louis during 2013. One by-product is that the 2014 team has just five repeaters, and just four at the same position (names without # or * above).

LHR Freeman is back again
Top organization prospect Oscar Taveras earns his fourth consecutive berth on the All-Prospect Team. So have his 2013 Memphis teammates, second baseman Kolten Wong and left-handed reliever Sam Freeman. Other repeaters are James Ramsey, with his third outfield appearance, and Carson Kelly. The top catcher was the highest-ranked third baseman one year ago.

The new members of the all-prospect team have a variety of backgrounds. Two have already made their MLB debuts in Carlos Martinez and Keith Butler. Martinez never made this team in the past due to Shelby Miller annually blocking him from the top perch among right-handed starters.

At the other end of the experience spectrum is a pair of 2013 teenaged draftees, shortstop Oscar Mercado and left-handed starter Rob Kaminsky. Third baseman Patrick Wisdom and outfielder Stephen Piscotty are other first-timers. Both were early 2012 draft picks also blocked by others the past two years.

For the first time ever, we have a member on the All-Prospect Team that did not make the top 40. First baseman Jonathan Rodriguez is our top-scoring first sacker, and would have ranked in the organization top 50.

TCN/Scout.com St. Louis Cardinals All-Prospect Teams – 2006 through 2014

All-Prospects 2014 2013 2012
Catcher Carson Kelly Adam Ehrlich Tony Cruz
First Base J. Rodriguez Matt Adams Matt Adams
Second Base Kolten Wong Kolten Wong Kolten Wong
Shortstop Oscar Mercado Ryan Jackson Ryan Jackson
Third Base Patrick Wisdom Carson Kelly Zack Cox
Corner Outfield Stephen Piscotty Oscar Taveras Oscar Taveras
Corner Outfield Oscar Taveras Anthony Garcia Anthony Garcia
Centerfield James Ramsey James Ramsey Charlie Tilson
LH Starter Rob Kaminsky John Gast John Gast
RH Starter Carlos Martinez Shelby Miller Shelby Miller
LH Reliever Sam Freeman Sam Freeman Sam Freeman
RH Reliever Keith Butler Eduardo Sanchez Eduardo Sanchez
       
Player of Year      
Pitcher of Year * Zach Petrick * T. Rosenthal  
       
All-Prospects 2011 2010 2009
Catcher Bryan Anderson Robert Stock Bryan Anderson
First Base Mark Hamilton Mark Hamilton Curt Smith
Second Base Daniel Descalso Daniel Descalso Jose Martinez
Shortstop Pete Kozma Pete Kozma Pete Kozma
Third Base Zack Cox* David Freese Brett Wallace*
Corner Outfield Oscar Taveras Daryl Jones Nick Stavinoha
Corner Outfield Allen Craig Allen Craig Jon Jay
Centerfield Adron Chambers Jon Jay Colby Rasmus
LH Starter John Gast Jaime Garcia Jaime Garcia
RH Starter Shelby Miller* Shelby Miller* Jess Todd
Reliever Eduardo Sanchez Eduardo Sanchez Jason Motte
       
Player of Year * M. Carpenter   * David Freese
Pitcher of Year * B. Dickson * Lance Lynn  
       
All-Prospects 2008 2007 2006
Catcher Bryan Anderson Bryan Anderson Bryan Anderson
First Base Mark Hamilton Mark Hamilton Mike Ferris
Second Base Jose Martinez Jose Martinez Jose Martinez
Shortstop Pete Kozma Tyler Greene Tyler Greene
Third Base Allen Craig Randy Roth Travis Hanson 
Corner Outfield Joe Mather Nick Stavinoha Nick Stavinoha
Corner Outfield Jon Jay Cody Haerther Cody Haerther
Centerfield Colby Rasmus Colby Rasmus Colby Rasmus
LH Starter Jaime Garcia Jaime Garcia Eric Haberer
RH Starter Adam Ottavino* B. Hawksworth Anthony Reyes
Reliever Chris Perez Chris Perez Tyler Johnson
       
Player of Year      
Pitcher of Year * P.J. Walters    

Winners from the previous eight seasons are included for comparison purposes with our TCN/Scout.com Cardinals Minor League Pitcher and Player of the Year in those years listed in bold. The current organizational winners are Zach Petrick and Wong, respectively, same as named by The Cardinal Nation.

New 3B Wisdom
The asterisks (*) denote those cases in past years when either the Pitcher or Player of the Year (or both) was not ranked as the top prospect in the system at his position in the following off-season.

Those 2013 top prospect team members leaving the list for 2014 had different reasons. Miller and first baseman Matt Adams graduated to the majors. Shortstop Ryan Jackson and right-handed reliever Eduardo Sanchez departed via waivers. The progress of pitcher John Gast, catcher Adam Ehrlich and outfielder Anthony Garcia were slowed by injury, opening the door for others to overtake them.

In terms of positional turnover, third base remains the champion, with Wisdom becoming our eighth hot corner leader in the last nine years. On recent lists, though, centerfielder has also seen considerable change with five in the last six years. James Ramsey was preceded by Charlie Tilson, Adron Chambers, Jon Jay and Colby Rasmus.

Age and experience

All-Prospect Team 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007
Average age 22.1 22.0 21.7 22.4 22.3 22.5 21.8 21.9
Average experience AA AA AA AA AA AAA AA A+

With Freeman a year older at 26 years of age, there is a greater spread in ages than last year. Along with Kelly, who played at the age of 19 last season, this year's All-Prospect Team has two new additions at that same age, Mercado and Kaminsky. The average age of the 2014 team at 22.1 years is comparable to 2013 at 22.0 years.

The level of play reached by the average player is listed as Double-A, but mathematically, it is slightly above that level. Last year, it was just below, so the 2014 team is slightly more experienced.

In an indication of the top prospects marching toward the majors, four of the 12 prospects on the team reached the majors during 2013 and two more achieved the Triple-A level. Only two of the 12 finished below Class-A last season.

Runners-Up (name/overall ranking)

I will close with this year's "Runners-Up" - the 29 players that made the 2014 Top 40, but not this All-Prospect Team. The following list also provides a quick visual snapshot of system-wide depth by name and position.

Catcher (1): Audry Perez (40)

First base (0): none

Second base (1): Jacob Wilson (28)

Shortstop (3): Greg Garcia (20), Juan Herrera (27), Edmundo Sosa (32)

Third base (0): none

Corner outfield (2): Mike O'Neill (32), Breyvic Valera (31)

Centerfield (4): Randal Grichuk (10), Charlie Tilson (13), Tommy Pham (23), Kenny Peoples-Walls (33)

Left-handed starting pitcher (4): Marco Gonzales (6), Tim Cooney (12), John Gast (19), Ian McKinney (25)

Right-handed starting pitcher (10): Alex Reyes (7), Tyrell Jenkins (11), Cory Jones (14), Zach Petrick (16), Mike Mayers (21), Sam Gaviglio (26), Jordan Swagerty (29), Boone Whiting (30), Nick Petree (34), Seth Blair (37)

Left-handed reliever (1): Lee Stoppelman (18)

Right-handed reliever (3): Sam Tuivailala (36), Fernando Baez (38), Eric Fornataro (39)

Again, for more information about these players, click on their highlighted names above to be taken to their free The Cardinal Nation/Scout.com player profile pages with bios, photos, news and more!

Further, to see the entire Cardinals system by position and level on one page, along with all transactions, check out the Roster Matrix at The Cardinal Nation blog.



Next up: This article series continues as we 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.



Our 2014 top 40 countdown continues: To see the list of top Cardinals prospects announced to date and remaining article schedule, click here. You can also read the voters' philosophies in making their selections.

Not yet a subscriber to The Cardinal Nation? Join today for as little as $7.95 after our seven-day free trial and be able to read each of our Top 40 articles plus all of our exclusive content year-round.



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