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.
RHRP D.J. Carpenter
Age 23 Season (February Birthday)
Drafted in the 12th Round of the 2022 Draft
Listed at fucking 6'8, 242
Let's have some fun and get a little "out there", shall we?
Aside from the obvious command and body control issues that comes with a pitcher that is this big, I freaking looooooooooooooooove everything about D.J. Carpenter.
And, once again, another "Bravo" needs to be handed out to the scouting staff for this 12th round draft pick. For real, there isn't an organization in baseball that does rounds 4 through the end of the draft as well as the Cardinals do, and it really isn't close.
Now, the scouting department is identifying beyond-promising relief pitchers in the process. This feels like a market efficiency to me, and I hope it plays out that way because I loooooooooooove that, too.
And to think, I used to immediately dismiss drafted relief pitchers. How I've changed. How baseball has changed, really.
Obviously, there are real and alarming command issues here that will absolutely need to be greatly worked out, but I have fallen hard for this tall monster with a desirable motion and release point's matching 2600 RPM breaking pitches (curve and slider) to go along with a consistently mid-90's sinker and a changeup that I find to be highly underrated when I watch it. There's also a split-finger in that arsenal of his (which might technically be his changeup) that he seems to have good command of in the little video that I've watched of him.
Judging off of his small sample at Palm Beach, coupled with some conversations I've had with people that watched him closely at Oregon St, it sounds like the issue in his arsenal is going to be his fastball. I'm still new to understanding the data associated with the shape and break of pitches, but it's a relatively flat pitch that he leaves in the heart of the plate too often. His command will need to be better than that as he moves up in the organization, or he'll need to scrap the pitch. For me, I'm less worried about it than most because I think that the arsenal is deep enough here against both lefties and righties that he could ditch it and be OK, if needed.
Really, I just loved watching D.J. Carpenter pitch when I went back and watched his 2022 performances, and I *believe* that his mechanics were much cleaner when he was pitching in both the Cardinals organization and in the Draft League that was formerly the Short Season affiliates. I know that I had very little expectation for him before I watched him pitch against St. Lucie on MiLB. TV, but then i distinctly remember feeling awe-struck when I watched him absolutely dominate in his one inning of work.
So, I guess you might say that D.J. Carpenter is a "gut feeling" prospect more than anything for me, but with some data and size to back it up. If Carpenter can continue to master his motion and his body then he'll be just another player with the last name "Carpenter" to find his way into that beautiful road navy cap some day. I can't wait to watch more of him and see how his body and his arsenal develop.
Thanks For Reading!! Kyle Reis