**For the introduction of what we are doing here and how we are doing it, click on THIS LINK**
GUYS YOU KNOW
Breyvic Valera: Age 25, MLB - 424 AB, 133 H, 22 Doubles, 6 Triples, 8 HR, 41 RBI, 11 SB/11 CS, 34 SO, 38 BB, 314/368/450/819
PROSPECT GRADE: D+
Hey! Breyvic! There you are!
What I'd like to stress about Valera is that he is still on the 40 man roster even though he's less valuable to the organization than Alex Mejia is, and Mejia was just out-righted off of the 40 man. That tells me that either the organization realizes just shallow the 2B talent pool in the system is or(and) that they still hold hope that Valera will show some of the drive contact tool that he's shown at different parts during his minor league career.
There was a stretch during the 2017 season, from June 10th until his promotion to the majors, that he was maybe the best contact hitter in the organization, slashing 351/406/528 in 248 AB while hitting 27 extra base hits, walking 24 times, and only striking out 17 times.
I'm often quick to dismiss Valera because of how long he's been in the organization, but maybe, just maybe, there's a little bit more to get out of his game than even I realize.
*Valera's stats are minor league stats only*
1. Darren Seferina: Age 23, Double-A - 443 AB, 123 H, 17 Doubles, 10 Triples, 7 HR, 49 RBI, 19 SB/7 CS, 103 SO, 54 BB, 278/357/409/765
PROSPECT GRADE: C
Organizationally, the second base position for the Cardinals is kind of weak. It wasn't exactly strong before the Cardinals traded Eliezer Alvarez for Juan Nicasio in late September in a trade that, unless they Cardinals resign Nicasio, was completely pointless. Because of that trade, Seferina is now the cream of the 2B crop.
Seferina recovered from an injury-marred 2016 to have a very good 2017. Honestly, there's a good chance that he might have passed Alvarez on the list had Alvarez stayed in the organization.
Seferina beefed up his power after his promotion to Springfield. The injury in 2016 took some of his speed away, but he is still an above average second baseman that showed well playing third, as well. Seferina is Rule 5 eligible, so we'll have to see how that plays out, but I hope he stays in the organization and we get to see what he's capable of.
2. Andy Young: Age 23, Double-A - 410 AB, 114 H, 20 Doubles, 4 Triples, 17 HR, 59 RBI, 8 SB/2 CS, 104 SO, 33 BB, 278/359/471/830
PROSPECT GRADE: C
Young is another prospect that's capable of playing third base as well as second, but he played more 2B than 3B and he profiles better at 2B.
ague, Young, a former 37 round pick, is another example of a late round pick paying off for the organization. You've heard me drone on and on about the Florida State League and why it's terrible, but Young did pretty well there when you consider how volatile that environment is for his type of raker. The 14 extra base hits in 196 AB isn't all that bad for a player that lifts the ball the way that he does in that league. He did strike out nearly 25% of the time for Palm Beach and I want to see that number come down.
The easiest/laziest comp to make for Young is Jacob Wilson (who'll you'll read about tomorrow), but I think that picture will become more clear in a year. I know this: the ball really jumps off of his bat and I think an aggressive promotion to Springfield would really showcase his full arsenal of power.
3. Irving Lopez: Age 22, Rookie Level SC - 182 AB, 52 H, 8 Doubles, 2 Triples, 5 HR, 28 RBI, 6 SB/3 CS, 26 SO, 20 BB, 286/379/434/813
PROSPECT GRADE: D+
I really like Lopez. If I had to chose a prospect in the system that's the most like Alex Mejia it's him. He's a very solid utility player with the collegiate pedigree to advance quick in the system.
The thing to remember with Irving when looking at his stats is that, while he had a great season at the dish after being drafted, he was playing in the Appy League. that league is probably a kick below the talent that you'd see in major Division I college baseball. He performed exactly how a player of his advanced skills and Florida International rearing should have performed. He's a prospect that I'd like to see aggressively promoted and tested because I think that he's capable of handling it. There's a maturity and professionalism to his game that you hope to see out of all of your prospects. If I had to choose one collegiate position player off of the top of my head from the 2017 draft as a mid rounds steal, I think I'd pick Lopez.
4. Bruce Caldwell: Age 26, Triple-A - 339 AB, 82 H, 13 Doubles, 1 Triple, 14 HR, 57 RBI, 2 SB/1 CS, 119 SO, 54 BB, 242/354/410/764
PROSPECT GRADE: D-
It appears that we have a "rinse, lather, repeat" situation with the second basemen in the organization: They can all play 3B. As a matter of fact, Caldwell might be better suited for 3B, but he played more 2B down the stretch and his power profile at the position makes him more interesting there than it does at 3B.
As I mentioned, for a smaller guy, Caldwell possess a fun amount of power. It's not off of the charts, but it's done the trick so far in the minors. 55 HR and 103 doubles over 1910 at-bats fro, an organizational depth piece is a pretty nice thing to have. He also possesses minor league-appropriate range and arm, although I'm not exactly sure how those skills would project in the majors. Below average is my guess, however I don't think we will ever have to worry about that because he's a fine organizational depth piece.
5. Zach Kirtley: Age 21, Rookie Level SC - 188 AB, 42 H, 11 Doubles, 2 HR, 20 RBI, 0 SB/0 CS, 40 SO, 30 BB, 223/341/314/655
PROSPECT GRADE: D-
Cut and paste these words, prospect followers so that I can eat them later when I am wrong: Kirtley is a wasted 5th round draft pick.
I just don't see it with Kirltey. He'd be the type of player that would have been just fine as a mid rounds pick right along side of Irving Lopez, but unfortunately that's not how this terrible draft system works. So, instead, he went early to save the bonus pool.
Now that I'm done trashing him, there are some positive to his game. First, he takes a professional at-bat. He doesn't do much with it when he makes contact, but I could easily see him being the kind of player that hits .240 in the minors but gets on base at a clip of.350. Other than that, he's a perfectly fine defensive 2B.
I really really hope that he makes me look stupid.
NEXT MAN UP
Caleb Lopes: Age 22, Rookie Level SC - 110 AB, 29 H, 5 Doubles, 0 HR, 8 RBI, 3 SB/1 CS, 10 SO, 18 BB, 264/381/309/690
PROSPECT GRADE: D
I can't stress this enough; the 2nd base position in the organization is light. Lopes selection here is a reflection of that.
There are a few players in GCL and DSL level that are interesting, but all in all they are still so raw and far away that I just couldn't have them pass up a player like Lopes. I'm racking my brain trying to come up with a good comparison to Lopes because I'm also racking my brain trying to describe Lopes to you and I think it'd be easier to just give you a comp and let you sort it out. The best that I can do is tell you that he's basically where Breyvic Valera was when Valera was at that stage of his career. I can also tell you that he hit's for virtually no power, but he does that "great AB" thing that makes him interesting to keep an eye on. Also, he went to college at a place called The State University of West Georgia. So that's pretty cool.
I don't know. I'm a hack sometimes. Sorry.
Thanks For Reading!