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The Cardinals top 10 prospects

Oscar Taveras ranks #1 in the Cardinal system.
Oscar Taveras ranks #1 in the Cardinal system.
Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images

The Cardinals have one of the better systems in baseball, which has been consistently raided and restocked for the last few years. Let's look at the top 10 prospects for the start of the seasons (my top 50 can be found here).

10. James Ramsey, OF
10. James Ramsey, OF MILB.com

10. James Ramsey, OF

Ramsey was kind of a questionable pick in 2012, but he started flashing a little more power than people were expecting.  He’s moving fast through the system and could see some MLB action if there are a few injuries in 2014.  I don’t see him being a corner outfielder due to his lack of power.  Worst case scenario is he’s trade bait at the deadline.

Current Level: Springfield Cardinals (Double A)

9.  Charlie Tilson, OF
9. Charlie Tilson, OF MILB.com

9. Charlie Tilson, OF

Tilson make his first full season in the system in 2013 and showed flashes of what is to come.  His speed is a plus skill, but he needs to work on using it on the base paths.  He won’t show a ton of power, but will hit the gaps pretty well; with his speed, he’ll be able to turn some normal doubles into triples.  I’m expecting he’ll end the upcoming season as the starting centerfielder in Springfield.

Current Level: Palm Beach Cardinals (Hi A)

8.  Alex Reyes, RHP
8. Alex Reyes, RHP MILB.com

8. Alex Reyes, RHP

Reyes, an international free agent from 2012, made is stateside debut this past season and is starting to make a name for himself.  The pitcher has a mid-90s fastball that is expected to eventually get to sit in the high 90s.  He’s starting to develop a curve and change, but needs to work on his control.  A full season in Peoria will be needed, as the Cardinals should take it slow with the 19 year old.

Current Level: Peoria Chiefs (Lo A)

7.  Carson Kelly, C
7. Carson Kelly, C MILB.com

7. Carson Kelly, C

Kelly was a little over-matched in his initial assignment to the Midwest League, but got back on track when he was moved down to Short Season ball; he’s got a lot of work to do.  The hitter will switch from third to catcher, but I think he’ll end up moving to first base over the long run.  He’ll show above average power, but needs to make consistent contact to be successful.

Current Level: Peoria Chiefs (Lo A)

6.  Rob Kaminsky, LHP
6. Rob Kaminsky, LHP Panini

6. Rob Kaminsky, LHP

There were quite a few teams interested in Kaminsky around draft time, so the Cardinals were excited to grab him when their second first-round pick came up.  Kaminsky has more promise than Marco Gonzales, but Gonzales is a lot more refined; if Kaminsky can get to the same level as Gonzales, he’ll be the better pitcher.  He’s already hitting mid-90s with his fastball and has a plus curve (rated best of the system by Baseball America).  Adding a third pitch and a few mechanical tweaks will determine his development.

Current Level: Extended Spring Training; expected to be with State College Spikes (Short Season A).

5.  Stephen Piscotty, OF
5. Stephen Piscotty, OF MILB.com

5. Stephen Piscotty, OF

There were concerns that Piscotty picked up the “Standford Swing” in college; the University is known for having players focus on being slap hitters and worry less about hitting for power.  Since he was drafted, Piscotty has shown flashes of power, but he’s hitting and that’s the main thing at this point.  He looks like he could be a decent corner outfielder, especially if the power continues to improve.

Current Level: Memphis Redbirds (Triple A)

4.  Marco Gonzales, LHP
4. Marco Gonzales, LHP MILB.com

4. Marco Gonzales, LHP

Gonzales was another safe college pick in this past draft, and analysts started pumping up the pick.  Gonzales didn’t have the profile that Michael Wacha had coming into the 2012 draft, but he’ll be a safe bet to make it to the majors.  He doesn’t throw particularly hard (88-90 MPH), but has great control of an average curve and plus change up (best in the system according to Baseball America).

Current Level: Palm Beach Cardinals (Hi A)

3. Kolten Wong, 2B
3. Kolten Wong, 2B ESPN.com

3. Kolten Wong, 2B

Wong struggled in his initial call up, but he also was sparingly used sitting on the bench; that was the first time that he didn't play everyday in his career.  Many in the organization see him as a spark plug for the lineup; his speed is probably tops on the team.  If everything works out, he’ll be an asset to the team.

Current Level: St. Louis Cardinals (MLB)

2.  Carlos Martinez, RHP
2. Carlos Martinez, RHP ESPN.com

2. Carlos Martinez, RHP

We’ve seen a small sample of what Martinez can do last September/October, but I’m glad that the team has decided that Martinez could be an option in the rotation; many scouts believe that he’ll be a reliever in the long run due to size.  His stuff is good enough for either, but the rotation is where he’ll be the most useful.

Current Level: St. Louis Cardinals (MLB)

1.  Oscar Taveras, OF
1. Oscar Taveras, OF MILB.com

1. Oscar Taveras, OF

Taveras is one of the top hitters in minor league baseball; coming into 2013, I had him ranked #2 overall.  With the missed time, he’s still a top 10 prospects, but his stock has fallen slightly; add in the confidence issues in the spring, and he's got to show the organization that he's mature enough to be one of the cornerstones of the future.  Overall, he’s going to be a good player, it’s just a matter of when.

Current Level: Memphis Redbirds (Triple A)