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.
To prepare you for the first part of this countdown, the back seventh of these rankings are comprised of what I'm going to call "Misfits." Think of this group of players as being on the fringes of prospect status for one reason or the other, yet still needing a little shout out or love.
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 medium editing within each write-up, as well.
Please enjoy! Please have fun! Please let me know what you think!
RHP Alex FaGalde
Palm Beach and Springfield
30th Round, 2017
Alex FaGalde is a weird pitcher.
FaGalde has great command of three pitches, but the dude gets hit hard and often. I can't remember watching a Cardinals Minor Leaguer get hit around the way that FaGalde does, but without the damage to show for it. It seems like everything that is hit off of him is always seems to be right at someone. It's a helluva thing to witness.
In my mind, I kind of pigeon hole it into tremenedous luck, but the lazy thing about calling it "tremendous luck" is that it's actually kind of a skill. FaGalde has such terrific command of his fastball, and that's part of the reason why minor league hitters have trouble producing against him. I don't think that I saw/heard his fastball get above 92 MPH during the season (and he often "lived" way lower than that), but he commands it on the corners so well. His four-seam fastball is lively, and it keeps hitters off-balance when they aren't swinging out of their shoes. He mixes it well with a curve and a slider, and all three of these pitches have worked well against the lower levels of the minors.
It also seems pretty evident that FaGalde throws all of his pitches from a similar arm slot. He definitely does a great job of repeating his motion. You can tell that there are times when his curveball is filthy, and it has a chance to be a strikeout/out pitch. But his effectiveness comes from control and deception, and not necessarily "stuff." I know that I've seen him mix in some type of changeup, but I don't have much of a feel for it, from an evaluation standpoint.
The problem with this is, without consistent "stuff", more advanced hitters usually punish this type of pitcher. This is why we saw FaGalde have bad results (for the first time), at the end of the season for Springfield. It became clear that this young man with the high-80's fastball was going to struggle if his command wasn't perfect.
Next, we saw these advanced AA hitters lay off pitches that less advanced hitters at the lower-levels would chase, and that was part of the reason why FaGalde struggled down the stretch. This forces the strike-throwing FaGalde to creep over the plate more, which allowed hitters to do more damage against him. This, of course, is always a tough direction to go because it allows the advanced hitters at AA to wait for their pitch. As you'd suspect, that is precisely what started to happen. It didn't help that FaGalde was showing clear signs of fatigue by the end of the season.
Much like with former Cardinals' farmhand Mike O'Reilly, the question becomes how FaGalde will adjust now that he has been beaten around a bit at AA. More than likely, it'd be in his best interest to pitch out of the bullpen. There, he might be able to dial his fastball up to the mid-'90s, which would allow the rest of his arsenal to play up. Then again, with a little work on the changeup this offseason, he just might be able to stick as a starter for longer than I am anticipating. He is well built at 6'3" and 220+, and that is a frame that is built for innings.
It's been a very nice minor league run for FaGalde to this point. I hope that he's able to take some of the lessons that he's learned during the 2019 season and apply them during the 2020 season. It'd be really nice to have a pitcher on the cusp of the majors with the type of command of three pitches that FaGalde is capable of exhibiting. After struggling and fatiguing at the end of the 2019 season for Springfield, FaGalde is going to get a chance to reclaim some of his success right back there to start 2020. More than likely he ends up being a pen arm, but I'm all for giving him every chance to stick as a starter.
In the past, I've GREATLY underestimated and disrespected the success that this young man has had. Being a total piece of crap, I deserve to have my ignorance be exposed, and this pitcher deserves the success, extrapolated.
Look at that beautiful pic by @Cardinalsgifs. What a mensch.
Thanks For Reading!!