Updated: Mar 18
THIS IS THE PROSPECT PREAMBLE.
Each post will feature these words, so feel free to skip accordingly. I offer the same always-standing apologies for the lackluster quality of my writing, as well as the stream of consciousness nature that I write with. I sincerely wish that I was better at writing than I am but, alas, here we are. Also, I'm very good at this as compared to most, but I am still VERY bad at it. Just think about that for a second, for context purposes.
I want to start off by reminding everyone that these posts are aided and enhanced by the works of Baseball Reference, FanGraphs, Baseball America, and Prospects Live. Each embedded link will take you to their subscription pages and you should absolutely do that. Shout out to Geoff Pontes and Matt Thompson from Baseball America and Prospects Live, respectfully, because they're awesome. FanGraphs stats are OBVIOUSLY clutch and awesome, and that's why they are used in nearly every "Dirty" post. LOVE that FanGraphs.
Accordingly, @Cardinalsgifs provides his artistic touch to the pictures in each article, and I wouldn't do this at all if he wasn't a part of it. Special shoutout to @KareemSSN who is a must follow for Cardinals prospects stuff. His partner in crime is @Cardinalsreek and they have their own prospect list coming out soon!! Shoutout to Blake Newberry (@BT_Newberry) and Brian Walton (@B_Walton) for their work on their list over at The Cardinal Nation, too.
I also want to remind everyone that my list is different in that I don't include players with rookie eligibility that have made a Major League debut. So, you'll have to look elsewhere for Matthew Liberatore, Ivan Herrera, Alec Burleson, Nolan Gorman, Juan Yepez, Brendan Donovan, Jake Walsh, Andre Pallante, and ZacK Thompson. Some of these guys have exhausted their prospect status, anyway. I'm just trying to get ahead of this because I will 100% be asked about each. I did almost add 32-year-old Rule 5 draft selection Wilking Rodriguez to the list, but decided against it because he's 32-years-old, entering his age 33 season, and the coverage of him will surely be overly saturated by the time that Spring Training gets going. Also, I didn't add recently acquired Jose Fermín because I just don't care at all. I'm sure he'll make a Major League debut at some point in 2023 which will be cool but I just can't find it in me to care about it at all.
The last thing that I'd like to do is remind everyone that this is just a snap shot of THIS moment. I'm not 100% sure what every player on the list has worked on or has been doing this offseason. So, when I'm a little more conservative with a player like, say, Michael McGreevy, it's without the knowledge of what he's worked on this offseason, along with the gains that he's made in the areas that I'm concerned about. You never know when/if things are going to click for a player, and there's more reason now than ever before - with the advancements in modern baseball technologies - for a prospect to catapult themselves from out of nowhere. Vice versa, it's easier than ever for a prospect to fall off into obscurity.
Finally, I'd like to provide links to other sites that rank Cardinals' prospects. The Cardinal Nation, Prospects Live, and Baseball America all have their 2023 lists published, and MLB and FanGraphs will link to their most recent rankings from 2022:
KAREEM AND CARDINALS REEKS TOP 12
THIS HAS GONE ON TOO LONG. LET'S. GO.
OF Victor Scott ii
Drafted in the 5th Round of the 2022 Draft
Listed at 5'11, 190. Bats L/Throws L
In just a couple of days or a week or so, you'll learn about outfielder Mike Antico. Antico is a name to know for many reasons, but the reason that most in the business know him is because of his elite speed and what he's capable of doing with it on the base paths and out in centerfield.
This, too, can be said about Victor Scott II.
Now, I'm going to resist the urge to compare the two any further because it just isn't fair yet to compare the two. Antico was an older and more experienced - and polished - player when the Cardinals drafted him in 2021 than Scott was in 2022 and that needs to be taken heavily into account with any additional comparison that might come between the two moving forward.
The only other thing that I'll say in regards to Antico and Scott II is that it kind of feels like Antico will be Scott's floor. BUT WE AREN'T GOING TO GET THAT CRAZY JUST YET.
There is an argument to be made that Victor Scott II is already the best defensive centerfielder on the farm. I certainly like him better than Antico out there (I swear, I'm really going to try and stop comparing). He plays fearless, and he uses his near 80 grade speed to get to flyballs that others just can't. He's not afraid of gaps or walls, either. I don't know if I have a personal evaluation of his arm just yet, but I've certainly seen it flash above average here and there. That probably means that it's a traditionally average arm, which is totally fine because I'd bet everything that the Cardinals player development staff will be able to help the hard working Scott II get the most strength and consistency out of that arm. They have a track record of this, after all.
The best part about Victor Scott II's speed is that it's the practical type of speed. He broke the West Virginia University single season stolen base record in 2022, and with 18 games left in the season. He uses his speed, his instincts, and hard work in the form of studying pitchers to swipe bags. Victor is also a smart baserunner, so you can bet that he isn't going to get himself into too much trouble trying to take an extra base when he can't. Sure, it might happen every once in awhile, but it won't happen often.
Since we have all of the other stuff out of the way, let's not dilly dally anymore around the issues that lay in front of this talented lefty. First, on the surface, there are some serious power issues with Scott II's swing. Again, on the surface. He's never been one to put up much pop, and he's been highly overmatched by left-handed pitching in the past. A lot of the video from his time at West Virigina that I was able to track down showed a left-handed swinger that was "Holding On For Life" against lefties, and mostly just hoping to work a walk. One of the issues that I feel like I've noticed about Scott II's swing is an apparent length that sometimes creates drag, which causes his bat to slow, his barrel to lag behind, and his hips to work behind. It's not something that "always" happens, and it happens more against lefties than righties, but these are obvious issues and areas in need of development and work for Scott II.
The good news is, Scott II's swing and approach are right up the alley of the Cardinals' minor league hitting coordinator Russ Steinhorn and his staff. This is a swing MADE for the Cardinals hitting and development staff to get the most out of. Which isn't to discredit Mr. Scott II in the least. In fact, the work ethic and drive of Scott II is what will catapult him to the next level of his development in 2023. I'm not sure how quick it'll happen. It might take a season or two (which is what I'm betting on), but there is a chance that it might happen right away. Either way, with Scott II's intangibles and potential buy-in to the process, there's a clear path to a Major League debut in his future.
At the very least, between his eye at the plate, his defense in center, and his speed, you're looking at a player that could develop into a faster version of Nick Plummer. Adron Chambers and Ben DeLuzio, too, but to a different extent. I wanted to make a point to bring up Plummer because while he hasn't (and might not ever) have Major League success, he's the perfect example of a player that worked his ass off and used modern techniques and technologies along with the tutelage of the Cardinals' minor league process to turn the foundation of himself into a player that made a Major League debut, at least. Also, Plummer new how to get on-base, and early on in his time within the organization he seemed more interested in working counts and getting on-base via walks than doing damage. When he change his philosophy and plan at the plate, that's when he reached the next level of his development. I imagine this will also have to happen with Scott II. Unlike Plummer, I think that Scott II has already begun to make this change based on the gains and strides that he made by the end of his affiliated 2022 season.
I truly believe that Victor Scott II has AT LEAST the future of a role playing outfielder ahead of him based solely on what he already has shown, his work ethic, dedication, and what he's capable of.
What we know for a fact is that Scott II can hit the shit out of a pitch when he does square it up, and his exit velocities are a good indicator of consistent future success that he could have with the work that I mentioned. If he stays on his current track of development, his defense will play at the next level, his speed and baseball I.Q. will play at the next level, as will his plate discipline, even if it is in need of refining in the form of hunting.
All of this, of course, says nothing of his character, which is of the highest class. He's beloved by teammates and coaches, and his personality and energy are infectious when you talk to people that have been around him. Victor Scott II is just one of those kids/players that everyone loves to be around.
If I had to be "cool" and "clever" and select a prospect that is the most like a snake in the grass ready to pounce or bite or eat or pray or love or whatever the Old Whites that aren't racists say, I'd select Victor Scott II to be that prospect.
Thanks For Reading!! Kyle Reis