Updated: Dec 5, 2021
WELCOME TO THE DIRTY FLIRTY.
These are my top 40 prospects in The Cardinals organization, aside from the players that I’ve already covered in The Dirty Annexes. This little ditty here is the preface to all of the post in our Dirty series. So, if you’ve read this once then you don’t need to read it again!
A warning to those looking for Lars Nootbaar, Scott Hurst, Junior Fernandez, Johan Oviedo, Jake Woodford, Edmundo Sosa, and anyone aside from Angel Rondon that has already made a major league debut: That’s not really my bailiwick, as I’m sure you’ve heard enough about those guys from more qualified outlets already. Most of those guys have exhausted their prospect status, anyway.
A reminder that this is an exercise in futility, ranking prospects. It’s a landscape that is ever-changing and developing. We are almost always talking about kids that are just starting to understand both themselves and their bodies, while learning the most difficult and nuanced sport in the land. You never know when someone is going to start doing 200 pushups per day on their way to postseason glory.
I ask for your thoughts and feedback. I ask that you have fun. I ask that you remember that I’m a moron. Most importantly, I ask that you take all of the prospect rankings from every outlet in the spirit of what they are: a snapshot of that moment, with a bent towards understanding what might come.
#32: 1B/OF Todd Lott
24 Years Old
Drafted in the 9th round of the 2019 draft
Peoria and Palm Beach
Honestly, Todd Lott just kinda looks like one bad motherfucker.
Todd Lott has become one of my personal favorite prospects in the Cardinals organization. There is, or seems to be at least, a through line with the position player prospects that I am most interested in. That through line is usually a combo of athleticism, baseball IQ, and unadulterated power. Lott has all three of these things in abundance. He hardly has to swing at the damn ball to brutalize it.
I remember watching a teen aged Tyler O'Neill in the Mariners organization and being blown away by the fact that he would sometimes short arm his swing and somehow put the ball 50 feet over the fence. This is a skill that Todd Lott possesses, as well. I cannot tell you how often he rockets balls off of his bat with a short and compact swing. It really is a marvel to watch. The stats above will affirm the major concern with him, which is how often he strikes out. But, man, when he isn't striking out he is rocketing the baseball all over the field. It really is a sight to behold. You'll be able to tell almost immediately from each of the gifs in the post how short and direct his bat his. You should also notice pretty quickly has much bat speed Lott can generate when he's hunting.
I haven't fully made my mind up about Todd Lott the outfielder, or Todd Lott the first baseman just yet. In my viewing of his defensive prowess, it seems like he is best suited for first base. His footwork around the bag is sound, and he has good range, feel, and instincts for the position. That isn't to detract from what I see as high potential in the corner outfield position. His arm will definitely play in right, and he has the speed and athleticism to make up for what might be perceived as some issues, albeit minor, reading the ball off of the bat into the gap. What I feel like I see out of Todd Lott as an outfielder is a player that just needs more reps out there to be solid and sure. He's certainly "fine" out there now.
As I barely touched on, I have been impressed with Lott at first when I've been able to watch him. His athleticism really shines through over there, and he's pretty rangy with smooth and quick movements. The gif below won't do this play justice, and it's a poor gif really, but there isn't a way to describe how hard of a play it has to be to be able to stay on the base and hold on to the ball while stretching out in this way to catch a Masyn Winn rocket-throw.
While Lott isn't exactly a base stealer and he doesn't exactly seem like the type of player that will eventually steal a lot of bases - and while it is not fair to call him a "burner" - Lott can really motor once he gets going. He isn’t an elite baserunner, but he is certainly far from a liability.
The most obvious and pertinent spot to work on for this young man is to focus on his high strikeout rate. That is the only thing keeping him from higher standing on The Dirty. A 35+% strikeout rate in 162 plate appearances with Peoria isn't going to cut it. Not without some outrageous walk rate to compliment it. There needs to be more bat to ball in his game if he is going to climb the rankings and the organizational ladder. His swing is quick and compact enough that he should be doing more with what he is being given, and I believe that will come with more reps in the box. He kind of reminds me of a right-handed hitting Colby Rasmus in that he doesn't ever really change his swing path for anything.
It's hard to sneak a fastball by him even in a pitcher’s count, but he is still vulnerable against high-heat now and again. Sometimes it's stuff in the lower half that gets him off balance. As you'd suspect, really good breaking pitches can eat him up. One thing that I noticed was that Lott gets over-aggressive against lefties. It's tough for me to criticize this because I love this and I don't want it to change, exactly, but he needs to continue to refine his approach against lefties to maximize his damage potential. He can do so much more damage against them if he just hunts for his pitch a weeeeeeee bit more.
To double back around to the point that I got away from, the key with Lott is going to be how he cleans up that strikeout rate. It needs to happen, and it needs to happen quickly. Truth be told, it won't take much, either. Even something as modest as a 1% increase in his walk rate and a 5% decrease in his strikeout rate, combined with his ability to hit for extra bases, will result in a player that has the potential to make a major league debut. I'm not sure if this is obvious or not, but when you are talking about a player that had a 99 wRC+ at the A+ level with those rough percentages, you know that you have a player that is worth more attention than he is being given. His potential to do damage is so robust that he's still basically league average at a tough level with some really rough rates.
Sure, that’s 1% below league average for a player that was a little old for his level. But that is one helluva template to build on top of for such a gifted, dedicated, and talented young man.
As I just take a screenshot straight from their website, I can’t begin to stress loudly enough the important role that FanGraphs plays in the statistical side of what I do with these write-ups. Please subscribe to their service BY CLICKING THIS LINK.
In addition, you all know how important and valuable @cardinalsgifs is to the pictures that fire up these articles. He’s helped with some of the gifs along the lines, too. I wouldn’t do the write-ups if it weren’t for him.
Thank For Reading!!