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 Mr. 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 Moisés Gómez
Age 24, Turns 25 in August
Minor League Free Agent in 2021/22
Inaccurately Listed at 5'11, 200. Bats R/Throws R
First, I can't be 100% sure, but I think that the listing of his height and weight whiffed on both his height and weight. Moisés Gómez is at least 5'11, and he's *AT LEAST* 215 pounds. I don't know. From these untrained eyes, Gómez has to be at least 220-225. It really doesn't matter that much in the grand scheme of things, but it's something that I wanted to point out right away.
By now, I'm sure that you know the story that put Gómez back on the prospect radar, so I'm just going to give a quick recap: Gómez signed as an international free agent with Rays about 100 years ago and was a highly promising prospect. Then, after the lost 2020 MiLB season, Gómez came back to baseball in 2021 unprepared in every sense of the word and how it pertains to baseball. After exhausting his 7th year within the Rays organization, Gómez was allowed to sign anywhere that he wanted as a Minor League free agent. While playing in the Caribbean Winter League, he signed with the Cardinals for the 2022 season. Between the work that he put in during the Winter League and the 2021/2022 offseason, Gómez ended up getting his shit together at the plate. It was a glorious site to behold that catapulted him to a deserved addition to the Cardinals 40-man roster this offseason.
That's where we are at now.
Before we get into the nuts and bolts of his scouting report, I want to point out that you are going to see a vast array of spots within the Cardinals organization that Moisés Gómez is going to rank. I want to stress loudly that EVERY SPOT THAT HE IS RANKED ON EACH PROSPECT LIST IS WARRANTED. He's 8th on my list, but I don't blame anyone for ranking him outside of the top 15 Cardinals prospects. I also wouldn't blame anyone for having Gómez higher than 8th. It really just boils down to how much you value a player's ability to hit the ball hard and how often you think that Gómez is going to swing and miss.
Personally, I'm confident that he is going to do both of these things A LOT regardless of what level he is at.
What I am wagering is that Gómez will carry about a 28-35% K rate to the next level for a couple of seasons, but I'm also willing to wager that his walk rate will stay about 10-ish% while continuing to crush the ball at extraordinary exit velocities about 50% of the time that he makes contact. Last year, Gómez made contact on about 63% of the swings that he took. That's an important number because it's not going to take much of a downward trajectory on that number to see a substantial drop in his productivity. However, because he hits the shit out of the ball every time that he makes contact, I still don't know if I care much about that, either. This also probably means that whatever success Gómez has at the next level might not last longer than a couple of seasons. Still, those could be BRILLIANTLY productive seasons at the plate. There's also a chance that we see Gómez's walk numbers increase as less talented pitchers avoid him like their careers depend on it.
I think that part of the reason that I don't care is because there isn't a consistent area or pitch type or handedness that Gómez struggles against. I've seen him swing and miss at every type of pitch in every quadrant inside and outside of the zone in every count, and I've also seen him crush those same pitches in those same situations. He doesn't change his approach, even if it is flawed. What he does is hunt for a pitch that he can hit hard and swings hard at it. He doesn't go up there trying to hit a ball 700 feet anymore. He just makes contact and hits the ball 700 feet now. I think that one of the biggest changes that we saw in 2022 from Gómez was that he was more willing to use the opposite field in pitcher's counts than in past seasons.
Candidly, internally, the conversation that I have with myself in regards to Gómez is "if I felt 65% confident that a hitter could perform how JAG (Adolis García) has performed at the Major League level, how should I value and rank that?"
Well, I think the player in question almost certainly has to be a top 10 prospect, even if that player has a ton of flaws. It just so happens that the flawed prospect in question is Gómez. The flaws in his game are simple to state. He's going to swing and miss a lot. He's going to look weird in the field and he's most certainly a corner outfielder. His arm is potentially elite, but he makes plenty of throwing mistakes with his cannon. I've noticed that he tends to get a little too under a flyball that he intends to catch and heave. This usually leaves him flat-footed before he throws the ball, and I think that plays into why he makes some bad throws.
Same goes for his work in the outfield corner, where he's capable of being a great corner outfielder but he takes weird routes sometimes. Gómez often seems out of position even though he dives around and makes great plays every once in a while. The same description can be made of his work on the base paths. I do worry that his choppy running style and stride length underneath that monstrously-stout frame of his will break down sooner rather than later.
Basically what I'm getting at is, nothing about Gómez makes much sense. This list has been filled with players that I've personally over-valued because of their ability to be consistent and steady. The only thing that Gómez does consistently and steady is crush the baseball.
You know what? That's good enough for me in the day and age of the DH in the NL. He's not "DH ready" as of now because, again, we collectively undervalue how difficult it is to be a DH, especially for a young player. While I have no doubt that DH will be the spot that Gómez makes his mark the most at the Major League level in the coming years, there is still ML production to be had before he gets to that point.
Thanks For Reading!! Kyle Reis