**For the introduction of what we are doing here and how we are doing it, click on THIS LINK**
THE GUYS YOU KNOW
No. Honestly. It' isn't anyone. You don't know any of the 3B's in the organization. I mean, this was supposed to be Paul DeJong, but he isn't a 3rd baseman anymore. So, strap in!
1. Evan Mendoza: Age 21, Single-A - 236 AB, 80 H, 20 Doubles, 4 Triples, 4 HR, 36 RBI, 3 SB/2 CS, 33 SO, 16 BB, 339/388/508/896
PROSPECT GRADE: B-
My love for Mendoza is what the late, great Joe Strauss would have called a 'Balloon Party". I say that because this is an aggressive spot on the list for a player that has played so little but I really think he deserves it.
Mendoza is all helium. It's all wondering about production and projecting possibilities more than anything, but I'm just so impressed with what I've seen out of him so far.
Mendoza was an 11th round pick in the 2017 draft out of NC State, the same school that gave us the magic that is Andrew Knizner. Knizner started his freshman year as their 3B before transitioning to behind the plate and Mendoza eventually replaced Knizner at the hot corner for the club.
I'll get much more into Mendoza and what he's capable of when we do our Top 30 Prospects list, but, put simply, Mendoza will be able to stay at 3rd even though his arm is somewhat suspect, he won the New York/Penn Leagues batting title, and he has the makeup leadership, and an excitement to his game that gets me, well, excited.
2. Patrick Wisdom: Age 26, Triple-A - 456 AB, 111 H, 25 Doubles, 1 Triple, 31 HR, 89 RBI, 2 SB/2 CS, 149 SO, 38 BB, 243/310/507/817
PROSPECT GRADE: C-
The first great thing about Patrick Wisdom is that he is at a point in his career where it's do or die for him at the plate. Now, for a 22 year old OF stud like Tyler O'Neill it's concerning, but for a 25 year old minor leaguer in his 6th year in the organization with a plus glove at the hot corner and a penchant for striking out, swinging for the fences is the ABSOLUTE correct approach to take at the plate.
The other great thing about Patrick Wisdom? He's a work horse. He's played first in the past and it's always been believed that he'd be able to handle the duties at 1st with ease. He worked his butt off before games to get well acquainted to the position after Aledmys Diaz was optioned to Memphis. By the end of the season, in the PCL Championship game, he had worked his defense at first into a position where he was capable of doing this:
Now, the concerning thing about Wisdom, where the smoke and mirrors come in and fool us, is that this was Wisdom's second full season in Memphis after spending two full seasons at Double-A. It's tough to explain(and an article for another day), but you need to know that a players second tour at a level, especially a high level, is very hard to evaluate. It also inflates the production of the prospect. So, what I'm saying is, Wisdom had a great 2017 statistically but that's only part of the story.
Of course, this could all be for naught as Wisdom was held off of the 40 man roster thus exposing him to the rule 5 draft. The system has changed, but I'm willing to bet that some team scoops him up.
3. Brady Whalen: Age 19, Rookie Level JC - 190 AB, 42 H, 12 Doubles, 2 Triples, 7 HR, 34 RBI, 2 SB/2 CS, 37 SO, 34 BB, 221/348/416/764
PROSPECT GRADE C+
I like Brady Whalen more than I realized.
The 19 year old and 12th round pick in 2016 is an impressive specimen. Initially drafted as a short stop, Whalen is a damn near perfect physical fit at third. I love the way he profiles there.
Now, it's worth noting that he struggled, brutally, at 3B defensively, but he possesses the needed skills to eventually handle it with more seasoning. What really impresses me about Whalen is how he's been able to add power to his game. I was not a believer, exactly, in the projected above average power that many scouts assigned to him prior to the 2016 draft. However, the fact that we are starting to seeing him tap into it this early us encouraging. His strike out and walk numbers are also very intrigueing and something that I plan on keeping a close eye on moving forward.
A year ago I wouldn't have said this, but there's a chance that Whalen might be the best 3B prospect in the organization. Even better, there's a chance that this sentiment ends up being the fully painted picture by the end of the 2018 season.
4. Elehuris Montero: Age 19, GCL - 173 AB, 48 H, 16 Doubles, 1 Triple, 5 HR, 36 RBI, 0 SB/2 CS, 33 SO, 22 BB, 277/370/468/838
PROSPECT GRADE: C+
It's going to be a lot of fun to watch Montero and Whalen progress simultaneously. A little under 300 days is all that separates their birth dates, and Montero was a level below Whalen during 2017 (and that's what puts him 4th here instead of 3rd), but there's a chance that Montero is more developed right now than Whalen. What I know for a fact is that it's going to be a blast to watch the two this coming season.
Now, nothing about Montero reminds be of Albert Pujols except for his stance(pre-load) and his swing and hip movement, which means ABSOLUTELY NOTHING EXCEPT FOR THAT IT LOOKS SIMILAR.
Like with Whalen, the question for Montero appears to be his defense. He DH's a fair amount and he probably projects, right now at least, better as a first baseman. That's totally fine because, as you know from our top 5 first basemen, that a shallow pool depth-wise.
5. Jacob Wilson: Age 27, Double-A - 432 AB, 107 H, 20 Doubles, 1 Triple, 17 HR, 66 RBI, 2 SB/3 CS, 97 SO, 50 BB, 248/337/417/753
PROSPECT GRADE: D-
The organizational depth piece of all organizational depth pieces, Wilson is hardly a prospect at this point. As a matter of fact, I felt pretty confident that the organization was going to have to release him to make room for Edmundo Sosa when Sosa game off of the DL at the end of the season.
But the truth is that Wilson is very important to the Cardinals organization. He can play every position on the diamond and he never seems to, anymore at least, get down when he buoys back and forth from level to level.
Like I mentioned in my introduction piece, I tried to avoid adding the depth guys to the individual lists, but the truth is that Wilson has a place on it. It isn't as far fetched as it seems to think that he could come out and rake during the 2018 season and make a major league debut similar to how Alex Mejia found his way to the majors, especially if Wisdom is taken in the rule 5 draft.
NEXT MAN UP
Danny Hudzina: Age 23, A+ Palm Beach - 275 AB, 49 H, 13 Doubles, 4 HR, 24 RBI, 1 SB/0 CS, 55 SO, 25 BB, 251/317/382/699
PROSPECT GRADE: F
While there are some interesting prospects at the lower levels of the minors and the power of Patrick Wisdom at the higher levels, the talent level really falls off after the potential of Montero and Whalen.
I'm a huge fan of the 23 year old, 10th round pick from the 2016 draft Hudzina (who, for some reason, I always call "HudzinGa" like the moron I am) but his ultimate roll is similar to that of Casey Grayson's or former Cardinals farm hand Danny Diekroeger.
Hudzina is a pretty sure-handed 3B and that's a great thing. I could easily see him transitioning to a utility roll and doing it well during the 2018 season as needed.
Thanks For Reading!