The Scout.com top 100 minor league prospect list for 2014 has been released and is now available online.
In a direct reflection of the number of rookies who contributed to the St. Louis Cardinals in 2013, the organization is represented by three players, down from a Major League Baseball-best of six last winter.
Multi-talented Oscar Taveras remains among the top players in the game, improving his ranking from number three to the second overall player in the minor leagues, only after Minnesota’s Byron Buxton.
There should be an asterisk attached, however. Scout’s National Baseball Analyst Kiley McDaniel has adopted more aggressive guidelines than most other prospect raters. Explicitly excluded are those players McDaniel projects will open 2014 on Major League 25-man rosters.
For the Cardinals specifically, that excludes two of their very best, right-handed pitcher Carlos Martinez and second baseman Kolten Wong. McDaniel readily admits the two would have been among his 100 best nationally otherwise. Martinez and Wong are second and third, respectively in the recently-published top 40 from The Cardinal Nation. (You can read more about McDaniel’s rankings and methodology in this article.)
In fact, our view of the top five prospects from St. Louis’ system aligned with McDaniel’s. Our fourth- and fifth-ranked Cardinals - outfielder Stephen Piscotty and left-handed pitcher Rob Kaminsky - made the national top 100 at number 60 and 99, respectively. Both make their top 100 debut.
Taveras is the only year-to-year Cardinals repeater in the top 100. In addition to Martinez (38th in 2013) and Wong (57th in 2013) being excluded for 2014, the other three have graduated and no longer have rookie status. They are pitchers Shelby Miller (18th in 2013), Trevor Rosenthal (69th in 2013) and Michael Wacha (94th in 2013).
Two years ago, the Cardinals placed four prospects in the 2012 Scout.com 2012 top 100. They were Miller at number six, Martinez at 19, Taveras at 35 as well as pitcher Tyrell Jenkins at 92.
To read much more about all these current Cardinals prospects and several dozen others from the system, check out the “40 Days, 40 Nights, 40 Cardinals Prospects” series for 2014 at The Cardinal Nation, still underway.
Others catching up
The Cardinals had best not rest on their laurels, as two National League Central Division rivals appear to be gaining. The Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates lead this new top 100 with eight prospects each. Nearing the other end of the spectrum are the Cincinnati Reds with two and Milwaukee Brewers with none.
Other organizations prominently represented in the 2014 Scout.com top 100 include the Kansas City Royals with seven top prospects, followed by the Boston Red Sox and Houston Astros with six each. Three clubs have five top 100 prospects - the Baltimore Orioles, Minnesota Twins and Los Angeles Dodgers. Also ahead of the Cards at four each are the Atlanta Braves, Colorado Rockies and San Diego Padres.
Reminder that you can click here to view the entire Scout.com Top 100 for 2014 as well as prior years’ rankings back to 2006. (The lists can always be accessed from the "MILB Rankings" tab on the red menu bar located to the right of the main "The Cardinal Nation" logo.)
To reference The Cardinal Nation’s last nine annual St. Louis system top 40s, also back to 2006, refer to the permanent links at the lower left of TCN’s home page in the category “Site Extras,” and following the word “Prospects.”
Minor league rosters here at The Cardinal Nation are also up to date for 2014, so check them out via the “MILB Rosters” dropdown links above, along with the Roster Matrix at The Cardinal Nation blog. The latter provides a single-page view of the entire Cardinals system by position and level and tracks all organizational player moves.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.
© 2014 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com and stlcardinals.scout.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.