Updated: Jan 30, 2018
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 #30, 1B/2B Stefan Trosclair.
Age At The Start Of The 2018 Season: 23
Drafted in the 20th Round of the 2016 draft
2017 wRC+ in Peoria - 136
Kyle Reis (Prospect #35 On Personal List, Prior To Combining Lists With Colin Garner)
What I Like about Trosclair, more than anything else, is the athleticism that he possesses for being 6 foot 2 inches and weighing 200 lbs. He's about as smooth of a fielding first baseman as the Cardinals have had come through their system in some time. He's also athletic enough to hold his own at second base. I can't think of many first basemen in recent history that were/are capable of doing that. It's a weird kind of position versatility but it's something that I really like. He played second base about 25% of the time during the season. He put his athleticism on full display on August 5th when he hit for the cycle.
As I've mentioned before, one thing that I really love about Trosclair is that he looks like the Hollywood representation of a porn star when he shaves down to a mustache. Even if I was physically capable of hating that or finding it disgusting (I'm not) I wouldn't because it's glorious. Also, his first name is "Stefan", which basically makes him a character from a 90's sitcom. Gotta like that!
One thing that I really like is the level-to-level statistical consistency that Trosclair has shown in his two season in the organization. He hit 272/374/458 in 2017 just one year after hitting 279/373/442.
That's about as close to identical as you can hope for. That's the kind of consistency that I find myself looking for. I also like that the slugging percentage jumped up, if only by a tick.
When I start to put together my top 30 list I try to find points during the season in which a player both struggled and excelled. Then I try to break their seasons down in those vacuums. With Trosclair, he was steady at the beginning of the season but it didn't really click for him until late June. From June 24th until then end of the season he slashed 276/393/547 with 12 HR and 12 additional XBH in 192 AB. That type of growth in the second half is great. It's made even better because he never really went through a slump during the season.
Another thing that might go unnoticed about Stefan is that he stands close to the plate and he has a wonderful little short swing that allows him to hit to all fields. This is from his final year in college so it's a little dated, but nothing has really changed. Take a look:
The only major adjustment that the righty has had to make since becoming a professional is a small downward adjustment to his had pre-load. You'll notice it here when you compare it to the gif above:
The other adjustment that he's made is that he now stands closer to the plate. The 13 HBP mean very little other than that it's just another way that this OBP-machine who posted a 11.6% BB rate in 2017 can find his way onto the base paths.
What I Don't Like about Trosclair is that he's too old and too advanced to have played the entire season in Peoria. Sure, he's had a ton of success and he has an advanced eye and approach at the plate, but that's to be expected when a senior is playing against sophomores in college. That's basically the statistical equal to what Trosclair was going up against during both his 2016 and 2017 seasons.
Another reason for alarm was his 23% K Rate. While that isn't exactly a miserable rate, it is a cause for alarm. Especially for a hitter as advanced as he is against a level that he's too old to be playing in.
Another concern that I have for Trosclair has nothing to do with him and everything to do with the organization. The Cardinals have a weird logjam of players at the upper levels. Trosclair should be starting the year in Double-A Springfield against a more age and skill-appropriate talent. However, because of the logjam I mentioned, he will instead be held prisoner in the suffocating Florida State League. There, his growth will be stunted and the only one of his skills that'll be tested will be his patience, and I don't mean patience at the plate.
If I'm Comparing Trosclair to anyone it's former Cardinals first baseman Mark Hamilton. Trossclair is a better athlete than Hamilton was but I think that's the kind of career that's ahead for Trosclair. That is, if he's given the opportunity to move up with the logjam in front of him!
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.
And please remember to check out Colin Garner's write up of Stefan Trosclair (Prospect #32 on his personal list, prior to combining our lists) HERE over at The Redbird Daily!
Thanks For Reading!