Updated: Feb 14
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.
Utility Fielder Chandler Redmond
Drafted in the 32nd Round of the 2019 Draft
Listed at 6'1, 231 (lol). Bats L/Throws R
It's when evaluating players like Chandler Redmond that I realize how worthless I really am to the "audience", whatever in the hell that is. All 16 of you, or whatever.
Because, you know, Chandler Redmond did one of the coolest and rare things that has ever happened on the baseball field when he hit for the Home Run Cycle on August 10th, 2022 and I honestly don't care about it at all. It's something that has only been done one other time on an affiliated field, and here I am being about as dismissive of it as anyone that takes themselves at least marginally serious can be.
I think that I'll decide to stroke my ego as an evaluator and say that it wasn't the four home runs or the cycle of it all that impressed me, it was the way in which Redmond demonstrated his power. Or, rather, the way that Redmond always demonstrates his power.
This is where I'll ask you to go back and pay close attention to the first gif in this post. During the homer cycle game, Redmond hit his first home fun about six hundred feet in the air, and it snuck around the fair poll for a homer.:
For his 2nd and 3rd homer of that game, Redmond did what he does a lot: he crushed a pitch that was middle/middle-away for a homer to the opposite field gap/gap-center. Now, A LOT of his power is in the opposite field alley and I LOVE THAT SO MUCH. Honestly, a lot of his homers are hit on more of a line in these alleys than homer #2 and #3 of that evening, but they were impressive nonetheless. Here's one from later in the season to feast your eyes on:
For Redmond's fourth homer, he decided that fucking around beyond the wall in left field was something that he was no longer interested in, and he decided to go absolutely nuclear on a pitch to right-center. You've seen it already in the first tweet-video in the article, but here it is again:
Now, before we elaborate any further, I'd like to get into the criticisms. First, because of his size, he's probably going to be pigeon-holed into a first base role more than any other position on the diamond. Unfortunately, Redmond has really struggled with some of the demands of a first baseman, especially on weird flyballs in foul territory and back behind the bag. Redmond had maid some gains by the end of the season, but it was still sketchy. We've talked about this in past Redmond write-ups, but Redmond is a VERY solid defensive 2nd baseman and that's probably the position that he'd be best at moving forward. Alas, this is not the way of baseball, so a first base heavy utility role is probably his best chance at busting in with the big club at some point. He also has some experience at third and in a corner outfield position.
The other issue with Redmond is that the left-handed swinger is awful against left-handed pitching. He had seemed to make some gains against lefties by the end of the season, but there was still plenty to be desired. On the season in 79 plate appearances against lefties, Redmond hit 219/379/384 with two homers and six doubles. Also, there were a lot of strike outs. I'm going to post two gifs, one of early in the season then one later in the season. I think you'll see a mechanical difference between the two, and one that shows more solid and stable mechanics against a lefty late in the season. Of course, it's not apples to apples but it's as good as I can do.
ONCE AGAIN and to continue on with a theme that we talked about in the Matt Koperniak write-up, the lefty vs lefty of it all matters VERY little to me these days because of the DH in the NL. Obviously, this big-bodied and stout beast is going to need to clean up his defense in order to make his path to a Major League debut clearer, but the damage that he is capable of doing against right-handed pitchers should not go unnoticed or undervalued. The Cardinals gave Corey Dickerson five million dollars to play a shitty left field and be a productive hitter for basically six weeks of the season. The Nationals just gave #DickDong $2.5 million following that relative-terrible-but-averaged-out-to-league-average-because-of-those-six-weeks solely for production potential against righties.
Now, this is where, in past seasons, I'd be very clear to say that Redmond needs to get better against lefties. However, I just don't feel that way anymore. What Redmond needs to do is crush righties the way that he did at the end of the season. Redmond is still going to need to refine and cut down on strikeouts against righties, but he has the ability to slug and hammer the ball to an .800 OPS if used in the correct situations moving forward, and at least at AAA. From May 1st until the end of the season, against both handed pitchers, Redmond put up an OPS of .815 with a walk rate of 10.1% in 308 plate appearances. From June 1st until the end of the season, Redmond's OPS was .830. From July 1st until the end of the season, Redmond's OPS was .836. From August until the end of the season, Redmond put up an OPS of .823. Redmond's exit velocities aren't wasted, as he averaged 88.3 MPH on the season with a 90th percentile exit velocity of 106.3 MPH and a max exit velocity of 112.4 MPH. It would help Redmond to find the barrel more than the 23-ish% that he did during the 2022 season, but the fact that he still makes hard contact without the barrel shows how strong and dynamic he's capable of being.
Now, this addition of "fun with selective stats" also comes with the caveat that Redmond is a bit old for Double-A, and that he was still barely above league average as a run producer from May 1st until the end of the season. What I'm simply saying is, if used properly with the correct focus and opportunity, Redmond present the real chance to be a slugging DH/simple utility option in a platoon setup that can do real damage in a lineup as the 22nd through 26th member of an active roster but maybe more when he's on a heater and feeling it.
The cost for left-handed hitting has never been higher, and left-handed hitting prospect that can do damage without being too over-aggressive at the plate are in higher demand than maybe ever. Certainly more so than in the last decade or so. This context is reflected in the rankings. When we get into Luken Baker tomorrow and Pedro Pages in a week or so, you'll get a good feeling that Redmond easily could have been at either of those spots, too, at least.
Thanks For Reading!! Kyle Reis