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 Chandler Arnold
Drafted in the 13th Round, 2022
Listed at 6'2, 190
On the surface, there isn't a lot that is impressive about the Cardinals' 13th round pick in 2022. He's not huge. He doesn't have a funky delivery. His stuff spins and profiles pretty average, if we are being generous in some cases.
What we found out is that Arnold began to have a slight spike in velocity at the end of the 2022 campaign. His average fastball velocity in that short sample with the Cardinals was just a shade below 93 MPH, but it's been rumored that he has gotten his fastball into the mid-90's and above at times since last August.
This is a positive development.
More of that please.
You'll be able to tell from the gif above that Arnold's fastball has a great deal of hard run on it when he's commanding it up in the zone. This is something that I love. You could see how just a little extra velocity - living between 94-96 instead of 92-94 - could greatly aid his pursuits on the mound.
Putting Arnold on the list is also a form of displayed conformation bias on my part. Arnold was one of those late round arms that really stood out to me upon doing the bare minimum amount of research into the 2022 draft class. He seemed strong and stout, with easy arm action and quick and repeatable mechanics.
Another thing that I loved about Chandler Arnold as I began my research into him is that he pitches with a great deal of energy and excitement on the mound. Arnold has started in the past for Dallas Baptist (as well as in the Sunflower Collegiate League), but you could see how his high-energy pitching style might hit another note or beat out of the bullpen. He certainly appears like a young man that is up for the challenge of high-stress relief innings moving forward.
There isn't anything particularly "special" about Arnold, but there is a strong foundation to build up with a fastball that is showing signs of growth. Chandler is still developing a slider and change that might turn into more than just what you can dream on. Personally, I think that his slider is already close to being a well above average pitch, but I guess we'll have to wait and see. What I also know to be true is that Chandler Arnold is incredibly dexterous and athletic, and he's the type of athlete that you don't bet against reaching his ceiling. Arnold is also an incredibly intense worker and competitor, which bodes extremely well for future success.
Just like with Jack Ralston, the relief pitcher that Arnold somewhat shares a spot with on this list, I'm not going to waste much more of your time with words that I don't even command all that well in the first place. I'll just finish by saying that I'm anxious to see if Chandler Arnold gets any innings as a starter moving forward, and that I could see this incredibly poised young man outkicking some of his projections, as well as the spot where he was drafted.
That's all I got. You're here for the gifs, anyway.
Thanks For Reading!! Kyle Reis