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St. Louis Cardinals 2015 Top 10 Fantasy Prospects

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The prospect staff at Fake Teams continues their fantasy prospect rankings and system reviews with an in-depth look at the St. Louis Cardinals.

Elsa/Getty Images

Just like last year, the prospect staff here at Fake Teams will be taking an in-depth look at each major league organization, including our top 10 fantasy prospects, an overview of the organization's minor league system as a whole and potential opportunities for playing time in 2015. Our goal is to provide you with more information as you prepare for minor league drafts for dynasty and keeper leagues, as well as look at players that could potentially be worth watching during the spring, as they could be in line to potentially help your fantasy team. We will be reviewing two teams per week until we are through all 30 teams, and you can see the schedule of when your favorite team will be reviewed below. if we have already reviewed the team, a link to the post, along with the team's top prospect is noted.

System Schedule

AL East

AL Central

AL West

NL East

NL Central

NL West

Baltimore
(3/11)

Chicago
(2/11)

Houston
(1/14)

Atlanta
(12/10)

Chicago
(Bryant)

Arizona
(Bradley)

Boston
(3/14)

Cleveland
(2/14)

Los Angeles
(1/17)

Miami
(12/13)

Cincinnati
(Stephenson)

Colorado
(Gray)

New York
(3/18)

Detroit
(2/18)

Oakland
(1/21)

New York
(12/17)

Milwaukee
(Taylor)

Los Angeles
(Pederson)

Tampa Bay
(3/21)

Kansas City
(2/21)

Seattle
(1/24)

Philadelphia
(12/20)

Pittsburgh
(Glasnow)

San Diego
(Renfroe)

Toronto
(3/25)

Minnesota
(2/25)

Texas
(1/28)

Washington
(12/24)

St. Louis
(Today)

San Francisco
(Crick)

Organizational Overview
by David Spracale

The St. Louis Cardinals finished the 2014 season with yet another appearance in the National League Championship Series. The organization continually churns out above average Major League talent which has been its' trademark for what seems to be generations. The Cardinals' trademark and organizational philosophy are rooted in solid drafting and not overpaying for high priced free agents whether they are outside the organization or internal. The Cardinals are also always aggressive on the trade market when the organization feels it can upgrade the ball club at the Major League level, and proved that again this offseason when they pulled off a blockbuster trade with the Atlanta Braves.

On November 17th, the Cardinals sent former top prospect RHP Shelby Miller and RHP Tyrell Jenkins to the Braves for RF Jason Heyward. Heyward has always been an elite defensive right fielder and a well above average base runner, but he has always been a bit of enigma with the bat. For his career, Heyward has posted a wRC+ of 117 so nobody can call him a poor hitter, but much more was expected during his time in Atlanta. Heyward enjoyed his second best season when looking at fWAR in 2014 posting an impressive 5.1 WAR in 649 plate appearances. However, despite the impressive overall season, Heyward only hit 11 home runs leaving many to wonder if he will ever tap into the raw power that he possesses and flashed early in his career. As a team, the Cardinals' right fielders posted a combined WAR of -1.5, so Heyward is a considerable upgrade at one position of need for the organization even if Heyward doesn't realize that power potential. The final question for the Cardinals with Heyward is whether or not they traded a developing pitcher that still has top of the rotation potential in Miller, and a solid starting pitching prospect in Jenkins for a one-year rental or an asset that will sign long term, undoubtedly for big money. Either way, this trade helped to solidify the Cardinals' still crowded outfield for the 2015 season. I am still a believer that Heyward has an MVP season in him, but he needs to show some progress at the plate to realize that MVP potential.

I would be remiss if I did not mention the major organizational loss the Cardinals took during the World Series when news of the death of Oscar Taveras rocked the baseball world. Taveras was an elite talent with an extremely high ceiling and a very bright future, and a player the Cardinals were counting on to man right field for at least the better part of a decade. With Taveras' death the Cardinals were missing a key piece of not only their future, but also of their immediate plans. However, the Cardinals, always proactive, were able to fill the void left by Taveras' death by acquiring Heyward.

Drafting well has always been another trademark of the Cardinals' ability to stay at the top of the National League. A perfect example of this came about when the team let Albert Pujols walk for huge money to the Angels prior to the 2012 season. After letting Pujols leave, the Cardinals received the 19th pick in 2012 draft and turned that pick into Michael Wacha. Despite the injury riddled 2014, Wacha has produced 3.0 WAR since his Major League debut in 2013. Stephen Piscotty was a supplemental pick in the first round of that same 2012 draft and he also appears close to being ready to contribute at the Major League level at some point in 2014 if the Cardinals move an outfield piece. Marco Gonzales appears to be another solid St. Louis draft pick and should continue to see time in St. Louis and if the Cardinals fail to sign another starting pitcher in the offseason he should see most, if not all, of that time in the Cardinals' rotation. Gonzales will never blow away hitters with overpowering stuff and does not have a terrifically high ceiling, but he will be a serviceable member of the staff if he remains healthy. There is nothing to suggest that the Cardinals will suddenly forget how to draft, so expect them to keep producing solid major league talent through their strong developmental system.

Free agency has always been a realm where the Cardinals are seemingly never aggressive when it comes to the highest priced players in baseball. Instead, the organization uses its resources to supplement their roster with role players. This strategy has suited them well as the organization is never saddled with albatross contracts that affect their ability to add payroll at the trading deadline or put them in a situation where they are paying big money to players that are well past their prime. Last offseason, the Cardinals biggest acquisition was Jhonny Peralta who signed before last year for four years and $53m paid off spectacularly as he lead all shortstops with 5.4 WAR (Tulo would have bested that number but he's made of delicate Victorian glass). I would not expect the Cardinals to be major players in the free agent market, and I never really believed they were truly in on Jon Lester, but you will see them continue to look for value in lesser additions. I'll throw out a crazy prediction for the first major signing by the Cardinals: Matt Belisle on a one year deal worth $3.5 million with incentives.

Led by General Manager John Mozeliak, the Cardinals front office may not have the name recognition of someone like Billy Beane in Oakland, but the organization's track record of excellence is really second to none in baseball. The Cardinals are seemingly always getting better every offseason and so far this offseason has been no different. I still expect them to bring in another buy-low starter and perhaps a bench bat that could eat some innings in the infield, but nothing drastic. And that should be enough to keep them right there at the top of the NL Central yet again.


2014 Graduates

The following players have surpassed their rookie maximums of 130 AB, 50 IP, or 45 days of service time.

Kolten Wong (AB), Randal Grichuk (ST), Oscar Taveras (AB), Carlos Martinez (IP), Sam Freeman (ST), Nick Greenwood (ST), Kevin Siegrist (ST)

Major League Opportunities in 2015
by David Spracale

Stephen Piscotty, our top prospect for the Cardinals, was a shoe-in for pretty significant playing time in 2015 after the passing of Oscar Taveras. But then everything changed for him when the organization moved Shelby Miller to Atlanta for Jason Heyward. Piscotty is now going to be behind a group of outfielders that include Heyward, Matt Holliday, Peter Bourjos, Jon Jay and Randal Grichuk, so playing time will not be coming his way easily. Piscotty should start the season at Triple-A where he needs to improve on some of his pedestrian numbers from 2014. A slashline of .288/.355/.406 with 9 home runs and wRC+ of 100 in the hitter friendly Pacific Coast League isn't what you'd expect from a highly touted prospect with the raw power and frame that Piscotty possess. I still believe he can hit for league average power with a nice batting average, but he doesn't walk or strikeout a lot so he will be BABIP dependent when he does reach the Show. The key to Piscotty's value for 2015 will probably be determined by the rest of the moves made by the Cardinals in the offseason. Keep an eye on whether the organization moves some of the excess outfielders or Piscotty himself.

Marco Gonzales had himself a cup of coffee with the Cardinals in 2014, after quickly progressing through the minor leagues as a 2013 first round pick out of Gonzaga. Gonzales will be an interesting roster piece in all formats if he is able to nail a spot in the Cardinals rotation in 2015. What I like most about Gonzales is his plus changeup though he didn't get a chance to show it off much at the Big League level this year. The repertoire for Gonzales consists of a upper 80s-low 90s fastball that averaged exactly 90 MPH during his brief stint in St. Louis, but while that pitch is average it's his changeup that makes everything else go. In today's world of more velocity, Gonzales relies on velocity differential, his changeup averaged just 78.3 MPH for a differential of 11.7 MPH. For a point of reference, Cole Hamels, who has what is considered one of the top change ups in the game had an 8 MPH differential in 2014. Now part of what makes Hamels changeup so great is deception and command, so if Gonzales shows the command he showed in his run through the minor leagues I can see that being a truly devastating pitch. Gonzales' 2015 value is going to come down to transactions and his final role on the St. Louis pitching staff. If he can earn a starting rotation spot I like his strikeout potential and would look for him as a great value pick at the back end of a draft.

Xavier Scruggs just has the feel of a AAAA type hitter but I am out of ideas for Major League opportunities and the College Football playoff announcement has really put me in a foul mood, so lets take a look at Xavier for fun. The offensive numbers on the surface have been pretty good in his minor league career, but there has to be a reason that this 27 year old has never had a real shot at the Major League level. Just doing some video scouting Scruggs is strong, his swing isn't especially quick and pitch recognition seems to be an issue which has lead to a ridiculously high strikeout rate. However, Scruggs brought that number down from 32.4% in 2013 all the way down to 21.2% in 2014. In his seven year minor league career Scruggs has posted a wRC+ of 116 or better in six of those seasons and has hit 20 or more homers in each of the last five seasons. If Matt Adams continues to flail away at left handed pitching maybe we could see Scrugg and his impressive power in St. Louis in a platoon split. I am not sure if this has even a remote possibility but the raw numbers intrigued me and right handed power is right handed power.


Top 10 Fantasy Prospects
by Jason Hunt

Our top 10 fantasy prospect rankings are based upon standard 5x5 fantasy baseball leagues, with a balancing of ceiling and present value. While we are having discussions regarding these lists as a collective group, the top 10 fantasy prospect rankings are finalized by the writer listed above. Players are no longer considered prospects once they exceed either 130 at bats, 50 innings pitched, or 45 days of service time in the Majors.

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1. Stephen Piscotty (OF)

Photo Credit: Rob Carr - Getty Images
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.288 70 9 69 11
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
556 0.355 0.406 7.73% 10.97%
OTHER INFORMATION
AGE Bats Throws 2014 Levels
23 R R AAA
Roster Status: Protect after 2015 Season
ETA to Majors: 2015

A supplemental first round pick back in 2012, Piscotty was drafted as a third baseman out of Stanford, but was moved to the outfield following his professional debut. He missed significant time in 2013 due to injuries, and it was hoped that he would be able to stay healthy for the full year in 2014. Despite playing just 49 games at AA the previous year, he was promoted for the 2014 season to AAA, to play right field with other top prospects Oscar Taveras and Randal Grichuk. He appeared in 136 games there, and hit well across the board.

Piscotty's bat will carry him to the major leagues, primarily on the strength of a high batting average. He's capable of providing batting averages above .290 on a regular basis, and also provide value in OBP leagues. How much power he develops will determine whether he is a top 25 outfield option or a bit behind that, as he has not hit more than nine home runs in a season yet. A good base for him is likely to be around 15 home runs, with the potential for more depending on whether his swing moves from more line drives to more flyballs. He should also provide solid value in both runs and RBI, along with some token stolen bases each year.

It's not clear where the Cardinals will find playing time for Piscotty this season as of yet. Jason Heyward has played center field in the past, although just a total of 22 games in the majors. If the team leaves Heyward in right field (where he is an excellent defender), it's hard to see consistent playing time for Piscotty in 2015. It's a nice problem for the Cardinals to have, to be sure.

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2. Marco Gonzales (LHP)

Photo Credit: Rob Carr - Getty Images
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
W SV ERA WHIP K
13 0 2.82 1.22 148
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
IP HR/9 GO/AO BB% K%
156.2 0.81 1.08 MILB /0.82 MLB 7.34% 22.63%
OTHER INFORMATION
AGE Bats Throws 2014 Levels
22 R R A+, AA, AAA, MLB
Roster Status: On 40 Man Roster (2 Options Left)
ETA to Majors: 2015

The 19th overall pick in the 2013 draft, Marco Gonzales has moved quickly since signing with the Cardinals. He finished his first pro season at High-A Palm Beach, and returned there to start the 2014 campaign. After six starts, he moved up to AA Springfield, where another seven starts went well enough that the Cardinals promoted him to the majors when they needed a starting pitcher. He made three starts before Joe Kelly returned, and was sent to AAA Memphis until the end of the minor league season. He finished the season with the Cardinals, working primarily in the bullpen in September and the postseason.

Gonzales features a three pitch repertoire with a fastball, curveball and changeup, with the changeup being his best offering. His other two pitches are at least average offerings or better, and overall his repertoire should play very well as a starting pitcher. He isn't going to be an overpowering pitcher, so his command will be key to his overall success in the bigs. That said, he's also going to be a little defense dependent at times, only because of his propensity to get weak contact to go along with strikeouts.

The Cardinals cleared a spot in the rotation with the Jason Heyward trade, but it's not clear yet if that spot will go to Gonzales, Carlos Martinez, or potentially another acquisition. If it doesn't go to Gonzales, he'll likely return to AAA Memphis to start the year, and could be the first call should the team need a starting pitcher. His best-case scenario in terms of fantasy value is as a top 40 starting pitcher, capable of providing solid but not spectacular numbers in four categories.

3. Alex Reyes (RHP)

2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
W SV ERA WHIP K
7 0 3.62 1.31 137
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
IP HR/9 GO/AO BB% K%
109.1 0.50 0.82 13.12% 29.46%
OTHER INFORMATION
AGE Bats Throws 2014 Levels
19 R R A
Roster Status: Protect After 2016 Season
ETA to Majors: 2018

Reyes took a rather unusual path into the minor leagues, but it appears to have worked out well for both him and the Cardinals. He grew up in New Jersey, but instead of waiting around for the draft, moved to the Dominican Republic well before graduating. He established residency there, and as such was eligible to sign as an international free agent in 2012 rather than be subject to the draft.

The Cardinals gave him a bonus of nearly $1 million, and he debuted the following year in short season Johnson City. He pitched well there, and was rewarded with a full-season assignment in 2014 to Low-A Peoria. Reyes was dominant at times, and while he struggled at some times during the season, finished on an excellent string of four starts where he went at least six innings, struck out at least eight, and walked only six batters total.

Reyes features a three pitch mix, with two potential plus pitches and a third average one. His fastball sits in the mid-90s, and multiple reports have him touching the high-90's as well. His curveball is also a strong pitch, with absolutely filthy break when it is working best. The changeup remains a work-in-progress, but is considered to have the potential to be usable in the majors as well. As with most young pitchers, he needs to work on both commanding his pitches as well as consistently repeating his delivery and release point.

Reyes will likely head to High-A Palm Beach in 2015, and remains an extremely interesting fantasy prospect. The range of outcomes is too wide at this point to move him past #3 on this list, but if it all clicks you have a potential top 25 starting pitcher for your fantasy team. He likely will not be in the majors until sometime during the 2017 season or later.

4. Jack Flaherty (RHP)

2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
W SV ERA WHIP K
1 0 1.59 0.97 28
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
IP HR/9 GO/AO BB% K%
22.2 0.40 1.67 4.26% 29.79%
OTHER INFORMATION
AGE Bats Throws 2014 Levels
18 R R Rk
Roster Status: Protect After 2018 Season
ETA to Majors: 2018

A supplemental-first round pick in the 2014 draft, Flaherty attended Harvard-Westlake in Southern California, and was the third first rounder taken from that school in the past three drafts (Lucas Giolito and Max Fried were both taken in the 2012 draft). He played both third base and pitched in high school, but the Cardinals were able to sign him for a bonus of $2 million and will keep him on the mound long-term. He made eight appearances in the Gulf Coast League this season, throwing a total of 22 innings.

Flaherty is considered a bit more advanced than your usual high school pitcher, on the strength of a four-pitch repertoire consisting of a low-90s fastball, changeup, and both a curveball and slider. All four have the potential to be at least average offerings, with his changeup getting the best grades of his offspeed pitches. His delivery is very easy, and is extremely athletic as well.

Flaherty will likely be in a starting rotation when he gets to the majors, and could be an above-average mid-rotation type for fantasy owners when he arrives. He could potentially be in line for a full season assignment, if the Cardinals want to try to push him. If not, he's looking at heading to another short-season assignment, with both the Appalachian or New York-Penn League as options.

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5. Rob Kaminsky (LHP)

Photo Credit: Ed Mulholland - USA Today Sports
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
W SV ERA WHIP K
8 0 1.88 1.013 79
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
IP HR/9 GO/AO BB% K%
100.2 0.20 1.44 7.62% 19.41%
OTHER INFORMATION
AGE Bats Throws 2014 Levels
19 R R A
Roster Status: Protect After 2017 Season
ETA to Majors: 2018

Taken in the first round of the 2013 draft, the Cardinals gave Kaminsky an aggressive full-season assignment for the 2014 season, and performed extremely well there despite being three years younger than the average player in the Midwest League. While the strikeout total was not as high as you might expect, he did post an excellent 53% groundball rate, leading to just 71 hits allowed in his 100 innings.

Kaminsky features a three-pitch mix of a low-90's fastball, an excellent curveball, and decent changeup. The curveball has the potential to be a strikeout pitch, but there are questions about how well the changeup will develop. After watching video of his last start of the season, I'm not a huge fan of his delivery, as it seemed to be a bit high-effort, but it worked well for him this year and other reports don't seem particularly concerned.

The tools are all there for him to be a mid-rotation starting pitcher, especially if the changeup does develop into an effective third pitch. If it doesn't, you're likely looking at a reliever, albeit one who could work at the back-end of a bullpen. He'll likely head to High-A Palm Beach in 2015, and we could see him in St. Louis by the end of 2017.

6. Carson Kelly (C)

2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.248 41 6 49 1
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
415 0.326 0.366 8.92% 13.01%
OTHER INFORMATION
AGE Bats Throws 2014 Levels
19 R R A
Roster Status: Protect after 2016 Season
ETA to Majors: 2018

After trying Kelly at third base for his professional debut and first full season, the Cardinals went to work to convert him to the catcher spot instead. He appeared in 98 games in 2014, with 79 of them behind the plate, and there were reports that he wore down as the season moved along. This isn't unexpected, as the transition to catcher brings with it a lot more work both in-game and in preparation.

Kelly profiles well as a potential above-average contributor for fantasy owners as a catcher. He's capable of providing solid power production, and should provide at least a solid batting average to go with it. The big questions at this point stem from his defense, and whether he will be able to continue with the conversion. Reports this year were very good about his progress on defense (other than wearing down), and it sounds like the conversion is likely to stick. We're likely looking at him taking at least a year per level, and with Yadier Molina holding down the position for the Cardinals through at least 2017, they can wait for him to develop.

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7. Tim Cooney (LHP)

Photo Credit: Rob Carr - Getty Images
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
W SV ERA WHIP K
14 0 3.47 1.297 119
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
IP HR/9 GO/AO BB% K%
158 1.20 1.02 7.09% 17.95%
OTHER INFORMATION
AGE Bats Throws 2014 Levels
23 R R AAA
Roster Status: Protect after 2015 Season
ETA to Majors: Late 2015

A 2012 3rd round draft pick, Cooney pitched the full season in 2014 at AAA, and posted solid but not spectacular numbers. The strikeout rate leaves a little bit to be desired for fantasy purposes, but he gets grounders at a high rate (47% last year), and limits walks effectively. His repertoire isn't going to light up anyone's radar gun particularly, but gets good movement on all four of his pitches and commands them well.

Cooney profiles as a back-end starting pitcher, which limits his value to fantasy owners except for deeper formats. He's an interesting name for NL-only leagues simply because he has very little left to prove at AAA, and could be in line for starts should the Cardinals need additional starting pitchers. It's hard right now to see him getting an extended look in 2015 with the presence of Marco Gonzales, Carlos Martinez, or even Jaime Garcia potentially ahead of him on the depth chart, but he looks like one of those pitchers that will find success in spite of not having dominant stuff.

8. Luke Weaver (RHP)

2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
W SV ERA WHIP K
0 0 7.71 2.04 12
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
IP HR/9 GO/AO BB% K%
9.1 1.00 1.00 8.70% 26.09%
OTHER INFORMATION
AGE Bats Throws 2014 Levels
20 R R Rk-A+
Roster Status: Protect After 2017 Season
ETA to Majors: 2018

The top draft pick of the Cardinals in 2014, Weaver was a standout at Florida State in his last two years at school. He saw a drop in his strikeout totals as a junior, but still stayed in the first round in spite of that. The Cardinals sent him to their GCL affiliate for four starts, then to High-A Palm Beach for two more before shutting him down for the year.

Weaver features a fastball, changeup and breaking ball, although there are conflicting reports on whether it is a slider or curve. The fastball and changeup both profile as average to potentially above-average pitches, but the breaking ball still needs work. He showed excellent control throughout his collegiate career and his brief outings as a pro, which should help his repertoire play up slightly from the raw grades.

There are questions about his long-term role, and whether he may be better suited for a relief role. If he ends up as a starting pitcher long-term, he looks like a potential back-end of the rotation type right now, and a bit of a streaming option in shallower formats. We should get a clearer picture of Weaver's potential in 2015, as he seems likely to return to High-A to start the season.

9. Charlie Tilson (OF)

2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.289 73 7 53 12
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
547 0.333 0.389 5.48% 19.01%
OTHER INFORMATION
AGE Bats Throws 2014 Levels
21 L L A+-AA
Roster Status: Protect after 2015 Season
ETA to Majors: 2016

Drafted in the 2nd round back in 2011, Tilson reached AA this past year, albeit without a ton of success to show for it. He hit just .237/.269/.324 with two home runs and two stolen bases in 31 games there, but overall had a solid season between High-A and AA. There are a couple things which concern me from the past season, but not so much as to think he can't provide value.

Tilson has the potential to provide value in batting average and stolen bases, although neither are likely to be to the point where he becomes a starter in shallower leagues. A lot of his fantasy value will come from his potential stolen bases, but he was only successful in 12 of his 22 attempts this year, and for his career has only been successful in 64% of attempts. He'll need to improve on that rate as he moves up through the system, but if he can't, we may not see more than 8-10 steals a year from him.

He's not likely to provide a ton of power, as he is more likely to provide extra base hits than necessarily home runs based on his swing. He finished the 2014 season having a 61% ground ball rate, which does not lend itself particularly to home runs and could also lead to some batting average risk if he is a bit unlucky. He realistically looks like a prospect that will help a real-life team a lot more than your fantasy one, and is more interesting in deeper dynasty or NL-only formats.

10. Magneuris Sierra (OF)

2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.386 42 2 30 13
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
223 0.434 0.505 7.17% 13.45%
OTHER INFORMATION
AGE Bats Throws 2014 Levels
18 L L Rk
Roster Status: Protect after 2016 Season
ETA to Majors: 2019

Signed out of the Dominican Republich back in 2012, Sierra made his stateside debut this past season in the Gulf Coast League. He lead the league in batting average (.386), and stole 13 bases in 52 games. He also showed excellent contact skills, striking out just 13.5% of the time while still walking over 7%.

The reports on Sierra point to a very toolsy prospect that could jump up lists with another strong performance in 2015. He is projected to provide above-average value in both batting average and stolen bases in the future, although it's not clear if or when power might be a part of his game. Sierra could be headed to a full season assignment, which would give us a much better idea of what his true potential could be. If you're looking for a lottery ticket in the Cardinals' system, Sierra is likely your best bet.

Other Interesting Prospects
by Jason Hunt

Sam Tuivailala (RHP) - Tuivailala reached the majors this year, and would likely be in the top 10 for this list if there were really any likelihood that he could be in a closer's job within the next year. However, the back-end of the Cardinals' bullpen is very strong, and adding Jordan Walden to that group leaves Tuivailala as a likely bullpen arm with much lower fantasy value.

Juan Herrera (SS) - Herrera is more of a deep league play, as he is expected to be able to stay at shortstop and provide good value in terms of stolen bases with a reasonable batting average. He's probably still a couple years from the majors, and it's not really clear at the moment whether he would be ahead or behind Aledmys Diaz to replace Jhonny Peralta after the 2017 season.

Aledmys Diaz (SS) - Diaz signed after defecting from Cuba in 2013, but was not allowed to sign until early 2014 following an age discrepancy. He appeared in just 47 games in 2014, but spent a majority of the time at AA. He could provide batting average with decent speed to go with it, but having signed a major league contract could move his timeline more quickly than his performance may justify.

About the Authors

Jason Hunt is a contributing writer for Fake Teams, specializing in the minor leagues and prospects
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Brian Creagh is a contributing writer for Fake Teams, specializing in fantasy baseball and the minor leagues.
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David Spracale is a contributing writer for Fake Teams, specializing in fantasy baseball and the minor leagues.
Follow him on Twitter