Updated: Mar 4
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 José Suárez
Signed as an International Free Agent in 2021
Listed at 6'2, 200. Bats R/Throws R
Let me be as absolutely blunt with you as I am capable of being:
I DON'T KNOW FUCK-ALL ABOUT José Suárez.
You know who does? Our good friend @KareemSSN, that's who!! You literally have no reason to read my write-up of Suarez because KAREEM ALREADY DID IT AND YOU SHOULD READ IT BECAUSE IT HAS VIDEO AND BETTER INFO THAN WHAT I'M PROVIDING HERE. I'M JUST YAMMERING BECAUSE I FEEL LIKE I HAVE TO. KAREEM BROUGHT IT STRONG SO READ IT.
As I type this, I've never once watched any video of him or asked anyone about him (KAREEM HAS VIDEO IN HIS ARTICLE). I have basically DONE ZERO work to get to this point. Honestly, I could easily just... ask... but I'm not going to because that will take some of the fun out of it for me. By the time this is published, I recon that I'll have heard from someone about him. Regardless, I say that we ride this chaos together and see where it goes!
While I don't have much to go on with Suárez, what I do have, however, is data.
And what the data tells us is that José Suárez kinda hits the shit out of the ball, and he does it a lot. His 90th percentile exit velocity is 105.6 MPH to go with his max exit velocity of 108 MPH. That tells us pretty clearly this 18-year-old with an average exit velocity of 90.9 MPH absolutely crushes the shit out of everything that he hits. With that, the data also tells us that he has some solid wheels, too.
The data also tells us that he needs to work on his plate discipline and that he's pretty aggressive for a level that seems to be a little spotty in regards to pitcher's command. Personally, I LOVE this because it tells us that Suárez is almost certainly hunting for his pitch. As Kareem points to in his article, it sounds an awful lot - and the data points to - like Suárez is being aggressive against fastballs and doing a lot of work against them specifically. This is a great foundation for an 18-year-old to build upon. Suárez just turned 18, as well, so he was 17 for the entire 2022 DSL season.
What kind of a defender is he? BEATS ME!!! What kind of an arm does he have? WHO KNOWS!!
What I do know is that it's more-than worth paying extra attention when a player strikes the ball the way that Suárez demonstrated during the 2022.
In addition, Suárez has the size to keep an eye on that someone like Anyelo Encarnacion simple does not have. List at 6'2', 200 lbs, there's some more of that "foundation" that we look for to build prospects on top of.
And at 39th on a list that used to be 30 (then 35) prospects long, I'm not really taking much of chance by putting him on the list at this spot in the first place. My only hangup at this point is that, honestly, the DSL means very little to me and we've seen many prospects fizzle out stateside. Even then, it's important that you know that the batted ball data is real and that Suárez has every chance to be a sleeper prospect within the organization.
Thanks For Reading!! Kyle Reis