In conjunction with my friend Colin Garner over at The Redbird Daily, we present to you our combined list of the Top 30 Prospects in the Cardinals organization! Every other day for the next two months, From January 28th until March 29th, we will be presenting you with an exhaustive evaluation on each of the top 30 prospects in the organization starting with prospect #30 and counting down to prospect #1. This is our combined list, not our own individual lists. For additional information on how we came these rankings, CLICK HERE. Without further delay, we present...
Prospect #20, SS/UTIL Tommy Edman
Age At The Start Of The 2018 Season: 22
Drafted In The 6th Round Of The 2016 Draft
A wRC+: 118 A+ wRC+: 106 AA wRC+: 80
Kyle Reis (Prospect #23, On Personal List, Prior To Combining Lists With Colin Garner)
What I like most about Tommy Edman can only be described with one word. That word is the one singular word that gets Cardinals Nation more excited than any other singular word. Yes, folks, Tommy Edman is "SCRAPPY". Rejoice!!!
The good news is, Tommy Edman is more than just scrappy. He's good. Very good. And while his stats might look kind of weird, I was so impressed with how well Edman progressed from the beginning of the season to the end of the season.
Because of his Stanford educated rearing, Edman has an advanced approach at the plate. Aside from Prospect #19 and Prospect #5 on our list, I believe that Edman has the best batting eye in the organization. I believe that he'll take his prospect standing to the next level if he can find a happy medium between that eye and his surprisingly aggressive approach. He knows that he can hit anything and sometimes that works against him.
There are two things that really stick out to me about Edman's 2017 season. First, entering the season I had doubts about his ability to stay at short. However, the strides that he made during the season, when it's the toughest to grow, were so good that he is absolutely on track to be an average short stop defensively in the major leagues, at least.
He needs to stay on this track, and it's easy to derail from that track, but it is certainly headed in that direction. He gets good reads. He makes flashy plays. He gets to the balls that every short stop should get to. Even his arm has been impressive, which a lot of people would agree was a point of concern.
The next thing that really sticks out to me about his 2017 is how he held his own at the Double-A level. Let me make this as clear as crystal: Edman should NOT have come anywhere close to AA last season. Maybe a late season audition similar to what Prospect #29 on our list Andy Young had, but nothing more than that. So, to see that his K Rate was only 14.2% at that level is an amazing sign. By all accounts, even with his approach, that level of pitching should have eaten him up and spit him out. But it didn't. Yes, he didn't get on base the way he did in the past and he wasn't making the strongest contact, but he was always an asset to Springfield when he probably shouldn't have been. Don't let the wRC+ of 80 at Double-A fool you: Edman was an average player at Double-A nearly one full season before he should have been.
My favorite Edman stat is this: in 631 collegiate AB's, Edman hit a total of 5 home runs and 31 doubles. In 699 AB's over two season in the minors he's hit 9 homeruns and 36 doubles. The consistency of the his doubles and the growth of his over the fence numbers make me happy. Edman is a smart kid and a hard worker with an advanced eye. The future bodes well for that type of player. More importantly, he's gotten better every year since his freshman year in college.
What I don't like about Edman is that he had to spend half of his 2017 season at Springfield. He was there because of the injury to Edmundo Sosa and I don't hold it against the Cardinals for putting him there, but it was a level that he wasn't ready for and that kind of aggressive promotion can be harmful more often than helpful. There are stats to back up the harmful nature of that kind of promotion in relation to Edman. Take a look at how he ended the season, from August 1st until the end of the year:
and this was coming off of a July, his first full month is AA, in which he hit very well:
Of course, his BAbip over these two samples help to explain some of the fall off, but what you are usually looking for is progression as time is gained at each level, not a step back. I don't fault Edman for that step back, I fault circumstance. I do believe that Edman is the type of player to rebound, but the concern is still there.
Other than that, there really isn't a lot not to like about Edman. If I'm splitting hairs, he doesn't have much a ceiling. He's all floor. That means that the power is probably never going to come. He'll probably never be anything more than "average". He's the kind of player that'll make it the majors and just be "fine". He isn't the most exciting prospect, but he has a very real chance to make a major league debut and impact, if only modestly.
If I'm comparing Tommy Edman to anyone it's current Angels SS/Utility man Nolan Fontana (who I've linked to because I'm sure none of you know who he is). Fontana gets on base more, but that's the kind of production that I expect out of Edman as he develops. former Cardinals utility player Joe McEwing is a good comp, too. That's the kind of major league impact I expect this kid to have. Maybe if things don't go well he ends up being the next Greg Garcia, but I think the future is bright for this young man.
As always, these articles can't be done without Fangraphs and Baseball Reference. They are equally as reliant on the skills of Cardinalsgif's and NChill17. It's a pleasure to do this list with my friend Colin Garner at The Redbird Daily.
Thanks For Reading!