By Scott Barzilla

When you think about the Cardinals farm system, keep in mind that this is a team that has consistently been in the hunt for the past decade. So, they’ve been drafting in the lower part of the first round every year for the first decade. When you include the fact that they traded top third base prospect Zack Cox to the Marlins for Edward Mujica. Considering all of that you have to be impressed with the farm system they have.

Former scouting director Jeff Luhnow has moved onto the Houston Astros, but his stamp can be seen all over this system. Many of the players on the top twenty list were either undervalued international signees or lower draft choices. The system also have impressive depth. Unfortunately, this is not something you see here.

   

Age

LV

How

BP

BA

MLB

POS

C Cody Stanley

23

A+

D

18

NR

NR

NR

1B Matt Adams

24

AAA

D

4

9

7

3

2B Kolton Wong

21

AA

D

5

5

4

4

3B Matt Carpenter

26

ML

D

10

NR

NR

NR

SS Ryan Jackson

24

AAA

D

11

NR

17

NR

OF Oscar Tavares

20

AA

I

2

3

3

NR

OF Charlie Tilson

19

R

D

12

NR

10

NR

OF C.J. McElroy

19

R

D

17

NR

19

NR

P Shelby Miller

21

AAA

D

1

1

1

2

Cody Stanley– Catcher

Yadier Molina just signed a five year extension before the season. In catcher years that can seem like a lifetime. Stanley has the look of a solid catching prospect and the Cardinals have the option of taking their time with him. It is still very smart to have options in case something happens to Molina along the way.

Matt Adams– First Base

This time last season it seemed silly to have anything at first base in the system. Albert Pujols seemed destined to come back and Lance Berkman was playing out of position to accommodate him. Now, Pujols is gone and Berkman has gone through an injury riddled season. He’s talking retirement. Allen Craig seems like he could be the first baseman of the future, but first base is now open for competition.

Kolton Wong– Second Base

Wong has been an advanced hitting prospect since he stepped foot in the Cardinals system. He has regressed some this season, but in comparison with what he has done that means he has only been good. Still, second base is a mess in St. Louis and he is destined to take over whenever he is ready. That could be as early as next season.

Matt Carpenter– Third Base

David Freese seemed to solidify the third base position this season, but as we have noted, first base is still a bit of a mess and Carpenter could find himself there. He also could become the heir apparent to Allen Craig’s super utility role. He is barely a prospect in real terms, but with the Zack Cox trade, the Cardinals are struggling to find third base prospects.

Ryan Jackson– Shortstop

Rafael Furcal was signed to a three year contract to hold down the fort here. Jackson might make it as a utility infielder or he might end up getting an opportunity if and when Furcal gets hurt. The Cardinals are the best example of any that opportunities come at the most unusual and unpredictable times.

Oscar Tavares– Outfield

Tavares might be the prospect Luhnow is most proud of. He is a hitting machine and still only 20 years old. Carlos Beltran is signed through only next season, so Tavares seems destined to take over in right field in 2014. If he continues to hit as he has throughout his minor league career they won’t skip a beat.

Charlie Tilson– Outfield

Tilson is one of those young players the Cardinals have a lot of hope for. Considering that he is still in rookie ball means that they have a long time to wait. A competitive team at the big league level has the luxury of waiting. Matt Holliday will be here for a very long time and Jon Jay looks like the real deal. We’ve already covered right field, so you get the idea.

C.J. McElroy– Outfield

Whatever we just said for Tilson also fits for McElroy. It is amazing how depth in one sense can suddenly look thin a little while later. So, the Cardinals will keep adding and wait to see what happens.

Shelby Miller– Pitcher

Miller was leapfrogging everyone in the system and then he went to AAA. He got off to a very rough start and only began to recover in the end. Often times, struggling can be a great teacher for the future. Every pitcher faces adversity at some point and since he has already faced it it might make him ready for the big leagues next year.

 

 

Scott Barzilla

Scott Barzilla is the editor in chief at hardballchat.com. He is also the author of four books, including The Hall of Fame Index. The Hall of Fame Index was nominated for the Sporting News Award for statistical innovation in 2011.

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