(BaseballStL) – It’s clear to everyone who is watching this season that minor-league talent is going to play a large and immediate role in the strategy for the Cardinal organization.
With that in mind, here’s a look at some of the St. Louis Cardinals’ top prospects and how they have fared this year.
#1. Oscar Taveras. Perhaps the most written about, dreamed about and talked about prospect in the Cardinals minor system is out for the year as doctors probe the damage to his ankle. Before he went on the DL, he was worth the hype. In 46 games at AAA Memphis, Taveras batted 172 times and had 53 hits, including 12 doubles and 5 homers on his way to a .306 average. His 22 whiffs are in line with a power hitter.
#2. Michael Wacha. When he wasn’t on a bus to Busch Stadium, Wacha was quite effective for Memphis, compiling a 5-3 record in 85 innings. His WHIP (walks and hits per inning) was just under 1 and he fanned 73. Teams hit only .210 against him.
#3. Carlos Martinez. Moving him to a starting role appears to have been the right move. Martinez is 5-2 for Memphis with an ERA of 2.05 and opposing teams hit just .213. He whiffed 48 in 57 innings, but walked 23, an area which he will no doubt look to improve.
#4. Kolton Wong is the Cards’ fourth-best prospect and grades out at or near the top in every category. Wong has 412 at-bats in 107 games so his body of work is nearly complete. He’s hitting .303 but what is most impressive is his power. Wong has 10 taters, 8 triples and 21 doubles of his 125 hits, resulting in 45 RBIs in AAA. He saw the bigs Friday in Chicago.
#5. John Gast, who has been out for most of the season with a shoulder injury, did make a couple starts for the big club. He won two games while posting a WHIP of 1.29 and striking out eight. He was injured on May 29.
#6. Michael Blazek’s first taste of The Show didn’t go too well but his performance in the minors assures he will be back. Blazek threw a little over 18 innings in relief and smoked the opposition to an extent that compelled the big club to take a peek at his talents. Blazek’s ERA at Memphis was 1.93 and he fanned 24 in a little more than 18 innings while surrendering a measly .182 average.
#7. Tyrell Jenkins, who is currently in the DL with arm issues but showed a 97 mph fastball at the Class A level. Jenkins is a hard thrower who still has to learn how to pitch.
#8. Marco Gonzalez. The Cards 2013 1st round pick has not disappointed. He has already moved up from rookie league, bypassing low A at Peoria and is pitching at Palm Beach, the Cards’ high Class A affiliate. In the 12 innings he has thrown at Palm Beach, he has 10 whiffs and an ERA of 2.25 with a WHIP under 1. He complements his low 90s fastball with quality off-speed pitches, no doubt learned from his father who is a minor league pitching instructor for the Colorado Rockies.
#11 Rob Kaminsky. Kaminsky was the second first round pick by the Cards in this year’s draft. Although he has seen limited action in rookie ball, he has impressed, fanning 16 hitters in just 15 innings of work. His ERA is .064 but he has surrendered 16 hits in 15 innings. His 95 mph fastball and a plus curve gets him out of a lot of problems. Because he is just 18 years old, the Cardinals will not rush him to the next level.