Steamer Projects: St. Louis Cardinals Prospects

Earlier today, polite and Canadian and polite Marc Hulet published his 2014 organizational prospect list for the St. Louis Cardinals.

It goes without saying that, in composing such a list, Hulet has considered the overall future value those prospects might be expected to provide either to the Cardinals or whatever other organizations to which they might someday belong.

What this brief post concerns isn’t overall future value, at all, but rather such value as the prospects from Hulet’s list might provide were they to play, more or less, a full major-league season in 2014.

Other prospect projections: Arizona / Baltimore / Chicago AL / Chicago NL / Cincinnati / Cleveland / Colorado / Houston / Kansas City / Los Angeles AL / Miami / Milwaukee / Minnesota / New York AL / New York NL / Philadelphia / San Diego / San Francisco / Seattle / Tampa Bay / Toronto.

Steamer Projections: St. Louis Batting Prospects
Below are the current 2014 projections for select St. Louis batting prospects. All projections have been prorated to 550 plate appearances (and 450 for catchers) for sake of uniformity. Defensive figures (denoted by Def) account both for positional adjustment and UZR, and are presented relative to league average. Note that, in many cases, defensive value has been calculated entirely by positional adjustment based on the relevant player’s minor-league defensive starts in 2013. Prospects are listed in order of projected WAR. The symbol # denotes the relevant prospect’s ranking on Hulet’s list. Figures might diverge slightly (although not signficantly) from those which appear on player pages.

# Name Age POS PA BB% K% BABIP wRC+ BsR Off Def* WAR
1 Oscar Taveras 22 CF/RF 550 5.9% 11.7% .301 113 0 8 -2 2.6
2 Kolten Wong 23 2B 550 6.6% 12.5% .296 99 0 -1 2 2.1
15 Mike O’Neill 26 LF 550 10.5% 7.8% .307 111 0 7 -6 2.0
7 James Ramsey 24 CF 550 9.3% 23.0% .291 90 0 -6 2 1.5
3 Stephen Piscotty 23 RF 550 6.1% 11.4% .286 102 0 1 -6 1.4
10 Randal Grichuk 22 COF 550 4.3% 17.7% .282 101 0 1 -6 1.4
11 Charlie Tilson 21 CF 550 4.6% 15.4% .269 64 0 -22 2 -0.2
8 Carson Kelly 19 C 450 3.9% 14.6% .227 44 0 -28 8 -0.6

Steamer Projections: St. Louis Pitching Prospects
Below are the 2014 projections for select St. Louis pitching prospects. Projections for starting pitchers have been prorated to 150 innings; for relievers, to 50 innings. Prospects are listed in order of projected WAR, which has been calculated by using kwERA — that is, an ERA estimator which utilizes only strikeouts and walks — so as to remove the vagaries of park effects, and probably also because the author has no idea what he’s doing. Listed ages are as of June 30, 2014. The symbol # denotes the relevant prospect’s ranking on Hulet’s list. Figures might diverge slightly (although not signficantly) from those which appear on player pages.

# Name Age Hand IP K% BB% kwERA kwERA- WAR
9 Tim Cooney 23 LHP 150 16.5% 6.6% 4.12 107 1.4
14 Seth Blair 25 RHP 150 18.0% 12.9% 4.70 121 0.4
12 Samuel Tuivailala 21 RHP 50 18.7% 13.2% 4.65 120 0.2
13 Tyrell Jenkins 21 RHP 150 10.7% 9.5% 5.17 133 -0.4

• As the above projections suggest, the Cardinals currently possess a collection of field-playing prospects who, regardless of their overall future potential, offer quite a lot in the way of overall present potential — in particular, the batting part of it. It’s been rare to find, in the course of this series, a club that features as many as two prospects projected to record an offensive line of league-average or better. Indeed, the Cardinals have four rookie-eligible players (Randal Grichuk, Mike O’Neill, Stephen Piscotty, and Oscar Taveras ) forecast to produce a wRC+ of 100 or better — and two more (James Ramsey and Kolten Wong) at 90 or better.

• Absent from the players included above are the Cardinals’ top-three pitching prospects according to Marc Hulet: Marco Gonzales, Rob Kaminsky, and Alexander Reyes. Because none of them have recorded a substantial quantity of (or any) innings above Rookie ball, is the explanation for that, and are therefore difficult to project responsibly.

• Not absent from the players above is the diminutive Mike O’Neill, whom the author is unashamed to announce has been included in the very special, preseason edition of the Fringe Five available (here) to people who’ve demonstrated the good sense to demonstrate six American dollars in FanGraphs+.

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The top three OF prospects project for 6.1 WAR. It includes each of LF, CF, and RF. This projection is higher than eight MLB outfields on the Fangraphs projections.

Account for the difference in PA (2100 vs 1650) by adding in a portion of the next OF prospect(s) brings the total to ~7.25 WAR. This passes another five MLB outfield projections.

So, the AAA outfield of the Cardinals is projected as better than almost half of MLB outfields.