It’s Wednesday! That means it is another CardinalsGM blog post. Enjoy!
In our previous two blogs, we have taken a look at the Faces of the Future in the young pitching and the infielders.
Part 2- The Cardinals Young Infielders
Now we turn our attention to the fine young outfielders that are 25 years old or younger and also on the Top 30 prospects list.
The Cardinals Young Outfielders
(Birth year in parenthesis)
Harrison Bader (1994) The 24-yr old righthander has quickly turned into a fan favorite among the Cardinal fans. He brings energy to the team and is an excellent defensive centerfielder. The fans love to watch him play.
Last year in a major league uniform. he hit .264 in 138 games with 12 home runs and 22 extra base knocks and 15 stolen bases. He walked 34 times and fanned 125 times. The Cardinals would like to see him cut down on the strikeouts.
The future is bright for the Cardinals organization with Bader manning the center of the outfield.
Tyler O’Neill (1996) – O’Neill has shown he can hit for power in the major league and flashes the ability to play several outfield spots. The defense is good and the offense is good but needs some work.
Last season at age 23, he took 130 at-bats in the major leagues and batted .254 with nine home runs in limited play. This season will be a right fielder that may platoon with Dexter Fowler or slide over and give Bader and/or Ozuna an off day.
Lane Thomas (1995) – He comes in as the 21st best overall prospect in the Cardinals organization. He was selected by the Blue Jays in the fifth round of the 2014 draft out of high school. The Cardinals acquired the 23-yr-old right-handed batter in 2017 for international slot money. He immediately showed promise as he moved through the AA Springfield roster and landed on the AAA Memphis squad at the end of the 2018 campaign.
He has above average tools in the outfield with a strong arm and defensive instincts to handle every position on the outfield including center field. Last year, he amassed 21 home runs while playing in Springfield. He finished with a .267 average along with 27 total bombs. He has a bit of a problem in the strikeout area but is a contact hitter when needed.
Look for him to be a ready and able player this season and a potential for a big stick when called up to the major leagues.
Justin Williams (1995) – As the #8 prospect for the Cardinals, the Cardinals were thrilled to acquire him in the Tommy Pham deal. His bat has the swing that can produce power but he is better suited as a contact hitter. At every stop since his drafting in 2013 by the Arizona Diamondbacks, he has shown the ability to hit and field with a solid glove.
In 2018, he hit .254 as he climbed through AA to AAA and added 107 hits. Probably suited best for corner outfield, look for him to get his opportunity to play in the major leagues in the next two seasons.
Randy Arozarena 1995) – He was signed out of Cuba in 2015 and had to play a year in Mexico before he got his chance in the minor leagues. He has an all-around game with a strong arm and good defense along with a contact bat that can crack some home runs.
He is the 6th best overall prospect and can man all three outfield spots with his speed. The outfield is crowded at the top of the organizational chart as he waits his turn. Look for a chance to come in 2018 for him as he batted .274 last year in the minor leagues.
Connor Capel (1997) – Signed in the fifth round of the 2016 draft out of high school by the Cleveland Indians, the Cardinals acquired him in the Oscar Mercado deal. Though he lacks power, he can flash plenty of tools in the outfield and the plate. A left-handed bat, he can spray the ball and make contact and run. He will project to be a leadoff hitter in the major leagues.
Last year in his time at Palm Beach, he hit .248 and fanned a few too many times for the Cardinals liking but maybe after some time in his new organization, he will settle down. He is #9 on the Cardinals prospect list and projects to make the major leagues in 2020.
Dylan Carlson (1998) – A 20 yr- old switch hitter, Carlson is noted for his high baseball IQ as a son of a high school baseball coach. Carlson struggled a bit out of the gate and in his initial minor league time but quickly brought things back together.
He is a strong-armed outfielder that is projected to play right field when he gets to the major leagues. Last year he a .246 average in 376 at-bats. He is a 2020 possibility for the big leagues if he stays on track.
Jonatan Machado (1999)- as the youngest o this group at 19 years of age, he was signed in 2016 from the international pool. He has a long way to go but time is on his side. He is a below average arm in the outfield but a contact hitter that knows the zone while at the plate. Currently, the left-handed hitter is the #17 prospect in the organization and is a 2021 projected arrival.
He has recently been named the fastest prospect in the Cardinals organization in an article written by MLB. (FOUND HERE)
Wade Ynfante (1997)- As the 24th prospect in the Cardinals organization, he will have plenty of time to work through the minors. He has struggled some at the plate but has taken to learning the system and shows improvement through footwork and discipline at the plate. Signed as an infielder, he will need to continue playing his way up the ladder. He may get a 2021 or 2022 call if things progress.
Look for Part 4 next Wednesday:
Faces of the Future- The Young Cardinals at the Lower Levels