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 Tanner Jacobson
Drafted in the 10th Round of the 2022 Draft
Listed at 6'1, 190
LET'S GET FUCKEN WEIRD.
But first, listen to Tanner Jacobson yourself. I don't know how to just isolate his clip from that other fella's, so you'll have to ignore the first clip and go straight to the longer-haired gentleman.
I'm starting to find out that I spent a lot of time composing the backend of this prospect list with confirmation bias in mind. You see, when the Cardinals drafted Jacobson I did a little searching because I had never heard of him before, and the videos and articles that I found on him REALLY stuck out to me. I can't find the tweet, but I know for a fact that I was very aggressive about saying that Jacobson really stood out to me as a late round steal from almost the exact moment that he was drafted.
The Cardinals scouting staff also gets a ton of credit for the work that they put in to finding Jacobson. A converted two-way player with a conservative amount of innings on his arm, Jacobson is a pitch-spinning son a bitch with good - albeit MPH-underwhelming - heat to match it.
Obviously, the issue is that he throws too many balls. As a matter of fact, Jacobson probably throws too many balls to be ranked in the top 40 of any top prospect list, probably, but I really don't care and you *probably* shouldn't either. I'm clearly banking on the gains of an entire offseason worth of work as a full-time pitcher within an organization. I say that you shouldn't worry, but Jacobson will really uncork one every once in a awhile that make you worried that he will never be able to harness his shit.
You'll see in the gif that this dude is just throwing the baseball. Like, he's just throwing it. I SWEAR that I'm not channeling my inner, middle-aged white baseball coach and calling him a "thrower" instead of a "pitcher". Rather, I'm just saying that the frill is absent from his motion and I like that. There's a little Jake Walsh in his delivery but with less polish, and I'm totally fine with that. The hope is that the Cardinals have gotten ahead of a potential velocity bump and that they might have stumbled into this year's Trevor Rosenthal as a high-throttle Major League bullpen option that was also spending time in the field when he was drafted. Only time and added velocity and command will tell, of course.
In his brief appearance with Palm Beach at the end of the 2022 season, Jacobson threw a 2400 RPM sinker to go with a 2500 RPM fastball, both in the 90 MPH range. The reports are that he has substantially more in the tank to get to, and I can't wait to see what that looks like when Jacobson is pumping that heater in with a few more MPH on it. It seems like he's just a few minor mechanical adjustments away from being able to get to more velocity and to cleaning up his command. He hasn't done it yet, and he hasn't even gotten close to it yet, but if he can then he'll be a special bullpen arm. I'm banking on Jacobson and the Cardinals pitching hive mind to get it sorted out.
But that's not all.
Jacobson also throws both a slider and a curve that have measured in above 3000 RPMs, and a changeup that I honestly don't know shit about and I haven't seen. As you saw in the gif above, Jacobson will uncork one too many pitches, and most of those pitches are his off-speed offerings. It's not just his fastball that needs refining and work; he'll have to show gains with both of his potentially plus breaking pitches, as well.
So, what we have here is a 10th round steal of a reliever with, honestly, maybe the best clay to mold of any of the relief pitchers in the organization. With a little teaching, a little time, and a little patience, Jacobson could be a BEAR in the pen. Then again, all of that spin and promise won't mean anything if he can't get his command in order.
Thanks For Reading!! Kyle Reis