Recently, Baseball America posted its annual Best Tools survey results. Managers and coaches in each full-season league are polled for their opinions on the talents in their respective leagues.
The table below summarizes the results for the St. Louis Cardinals system, extracted from each of the original articles, posted by level.
In tabular form, it indicates why the Cardinals are a middle-of-the-pack farm system and why there should be concern about the offensive pipeline of top talent anywhere near the majors.
Across four leagues and levels, only one hitter was called out among 10 Cardinals recognized – and that was for ability to take walks by a non-prospect, .250-hitting, 24-year-old low-power first baseman still at high-A.
Not a single Cardinal was identified as best hitter, best power potential or most exciting player in their respective leagues.
On the other hand, St. Louis’ pitching prospects continue to be recognized, as are their up-and-coming defenders, with the latter representing at least half the organization’s most acknowledged top tools. All three pitchers singled out have since been promoted, headlined by the system’s top prospect, Alex Reyes.
Maybe the 2016 draft class will help address this high-end offensive shortfall, but that storyline will take considerable time to develop.
|Hitting||Pitching||Defense / Speed|
|Triple-A||Best fastball – Alex Reyes||Best first baseman – Efren Navarro|
|Double-A||Best catcher – Carson Kelly|
|High-A||Best strikezone judgment – Casey Grayson||Best first baseman – Casey Grayson|
|Best baserunner – Darren Seferina|
|Best outfield arm – Blake Drake|
|Class A||Best fastball – Sandy Alcantara||Best second baseman – Eliezer Alvarez|
|Best changeup – Junior Fernandez|
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