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.
Infielder Anyelo Encarnacion
Signed as an International Free Agent in 2021
Listed at 6'0, 164. Bats R/Throws R
Look, I'm not even going to play like I know a damn thing about Anyelo Encarnacion other than what the stats tell me. There's hardly any video out there of him. You're best bet is to subscribe to Baseball America and FOLLOW THIS LINK.
It would be so damn ignorant of me to keep a guy off of the list that produced a 171 wRC+, regardless of his age and league. So, bravo to him!! Pretty cool stuff going on in the Dominican, and Anyelo really crushed his 2022 season. Now, personally, I'm more "into" Samil De La Rosa, Luis Rodriguez, and Luis Pino, among others, but Anyelo deserves this spot for the season that he put up in 2022.
NOW, I do add him to this list with some trepidation. First, we've seen the smaller-type J2 kids do well in the DSL then really struggle stateside. So, Mr Encarnacion is going to need to bulk up a little IF his listed weight is correct. Another thing that we've seen is that players that don't produce much in the way of "slug" really struggle with more stateside exposure. Also, he was 18 years old in his 2nd tour of the DSL, and that usually means some type of inflated production in the first place.
Encarnacion is also weird because he doesn't make particularly hard contact or contact really all that often, but he manages to use his wheels and instincts to make the most of the contact that he makes. Honestly, his batted ball profile along with his expected stats and contact rate really makes his 2022 production a head scratcher. Anyelo is a WILD producer.
STILL, even with these common areas of concerns and expected regressions, I just cannot ignore how much he produced at the plate during the 2022 season. AND LOOK AT THAT BB/K RATIO!!! This fucking guy walked basically 24% of the time and struck out basically 3% less often than that!! That's nuts!!! Of course, when you align that walk rate with some of the other bloated walk rates at this level, it starts to paint a more vivid picture of the pitching in the DSL more than anything else, but it's still cool that he did it!!
Truth be told, I don't know much about Encarnacion's defense, specifically at 2nd where he played mostly during the 2022 season. What I know is what I've been told, and what I've been told is that he's incredibly athletic there and could be a "plus" defensive second baseman who is capable of playing all over the infield. My thought is, has, and always will be "we'll see" once we actually get to see him. A few years back, I was told the same thing by the same person about Ramon Mendoza and that person was 100% correct. So, here is to hoping!! I know the showcase video that is on the Baseball America website shows a wiry and twitchy kid with quick movements. I'll take it! He seems athletic and instinctual enough at short in the video, but who's to say! Stupid showcase videos.
I'm sorry that I do not have more for you, especially via gifs or videos. Just more proof that the Baseball America subscription is worth it.
Thanks For Reading!! Kyle Reis