I present to you my list of the top 35 prospects within the Cardinals organization!! The list is both exhausting and ever-evolving.
I am aggressive with who I deem to be a "Graduate." You can read the post that I wrote on The Graduates by following this link. As a heads up, you won't find Lane Thomas, Ryan Helsley, Genesis Cabrera, Andrew Knizner, Rangel Ravelo, or Edmundo Sosa on The Dirty Thirty-Five (R.I.Cardinals Prospect.P to Tampa Bay Ray Randy Arozarena and Texas Ranger Adolis "JAG" Garcia).
There is also another group of about 15 prospects that I could have written about. They are on the outside looking in, currently. I did write in-depth about five of them, and I presented those fellas in this article. I also briefly touch on a bunch of other prospects in that article.
Finally, I totally cheated and basically just copied and pasted the individual write-ups from the "Position Rankings" articles that I wrote after Black Friday. I hadn't realized how thorough those write-ups were until I started to redoing the D35. I have added additional gifs and thoughts to each post, and I've done some HEAVY editing within each write-up, as well.
Please enjoy! Please have fun! Please tell me what you think!
Age 19 (On April 30th)
GCL & Johnson City
2nd Round, 2019
RAW. It's the word that best describes my masturbation enviornment. I don't use lubricant, and it's done basically before it's started. Even then, my masturbation practices still aren't as raw as our number 20 prospects on the D35.
As a matter of fact, I have the 12th round selection from the 2019 draft ahead of the 2nd round pick (and a highly touted draft pick) Trejyn Fletcher. Even with Fletcher playing at a higher level during 2019, I still went higher with the 12th rounder Patrick Romeri (as you'll find out tomorrow). I went back and forth. It makes a lot of sense to put Fletcher wayyyyyyyyyy up on the list. He's so damn athletic and projectable.
I just couldn't do it. It makes even more sense to have him higher that Romeri. I just couldn't do that either. Putting him one spot behind Romeri and in the back-half of the D35 is all that makes sense to me.
Both prospects are raw, but Fletcher is RAW. His success thus far has come because he's a superior athlete playing against inferior athletic competition. I don't think that you could make an argument that there is a more athletic player in the organization, whatever that means. It's a great foundation to build upon, and it's the reason why some thought that Fletcher might have gone first overall in the 2020 draft had he not reclassified for the 2019 draft (he wouldn't have. That draft is loaded, and Fletcher would have been lucky to find his way to the back half of the first round even with a good season). I do understand why some evaluators thought he had the potential to be the first overall pick in 2020. Fletcher has some of the quickest hands in the Cardinals' minor league system. He gets the bat through the zone with the speed of lightning, and there's no denying that it's the type of bat speed that bodes well for projecting a player's long term success and sustainability. His swing is pretty well all upper-body right now, but I'm willing to bet that he'll get the lower body more involved in 2020.
The issue for me is just how raw of a baseball player Fletcher is. I'm not saying that he can't overcome it, or that he won't overcome it, just that there's a LONG way to go to get to that point.
Sometimes I over-complicate things. Let me keep it simple:
Fletcher has one of the strongest outfield arms in the system, but it's sporadic and inaccurate.
Fletcher is one of the fastest players in the system, but he doesn't know how to best utilize his speed on the bases or in the outfield just yet.
Fletcher has some of the quickest hands at the plate in the system. Unfortunately, he doesn't have the approach or understanding yet to take advantage of his hands. He's too much of a free swinger.
Throw this young man three straight breaking pitches near the zone and he's swinging. Fletcher just might have some of the best raw power in the system, but he doesn't have an understanding of how to use it yet, exactly.
You can truly see all of the tools with this young man, it's just that it's going to take, what looks like, a great deal of time to get him to the point where he's maximized those tools. Because of this, there is a larger chance for error in his development. That's a cause for additional caution, and I've always been more conservative with this type of player because of that large margin of error. You don't need to look any further than the combined 43.4% strikeout rate that he put up between Johnson City and the GCL to see that.
In addition to substantially cutting down the strikeouts, Fletcher is going to have to trim his enormous leg kick while learning to use the opposite field a little more than 10% of the time. I know that this was part of his offseason curriculum, as it was during his time at Johnson City. I'm anxious to see how he continues taking to that curriculum. Like we said at the time of his mid-season write-up, it's hard to find two clips of Fletcher with the same batting stance before he was drafted. I hope that he can find his comfort level soon. I do know that he is a bit of a "gym rat", and he's worked hard to incorporate technology into his development. From what I understand, he's taken to it as well as can be expected. That's very encouraging. He has athletic baseball instincts, and he is going to be a bear if he can integrate those instincts with what technology has to offer him.
Just like with prospect #27 Mateo Gil, there's always the chance that Fletcher could make a transition to pitching if the hitting thing doesn't work out for him. While it isn't accurate just yet from the outfield, it is a cannon. There were some evaluators that thought he might be best suited as pitcher, anyway. I'm happy when the Cardinals go the college route for pitchers, so I'm happy that the Cardinals have bought into Fletcher as an outfielder.
To reiterate one more time, you can see the potential for all of the outfield skills but none of them are present, day in and day out. This is what you are always dealing with when you have raw, athlete-first prospects. It's a delicate balance of practicality and potential. Time is needed, lots of it, and the Cardinals Fletcher have that on their side.
As a true, all-ceiling athlete with a genuine chance to come close to that ceiling, Fletcher is something that the Cardinals haven't had in their system in some time, position player-wise. We just need to be realistic about the amount of time that it's going to take to get there. It's going to take a couple of years, at least. There's a lot of baseball-related work needing to be done.
Even then, Fletcher is a blast to watch! He's definitely worth the price of admission. You want to see someone fly around the bases and in the field? Fletcher is the prospect that you pay to watch. You want to see someone look ugly killing a baseball? Fletcher is the kid for you. Want to see teenage athlete in peak shape awe you with pure athleticism? Fletcher's your Huckleberry. He's like watching the best kid in grade school gym class pick off person after person in dodgeball.
While the athletic foundation is there, the applicable baseball talent isn't just yet. It's going to take work and time. At the very least, his arm is dynamic enough to transition to pitching if worst comes worst. I feel confident that we'll never get to that point. I do know for sure that we are going to have to be patient with Fletcher, so let's not get too far ahead of ourselves with over-evaluating him.
Look at that beautiful pic by @Cardinalsgifs. He made that picture. That beautiful, beautiful picture. No one else could do it. No other person would think about it. No one else would execute it like that.
Thanks For Reading!!