Since this is the mid-season write-up, it's just a quick overview of the player. When we get to the preseason re ranking in the offseason, they'll be a lot more involved.
All stats are current as of 8/4/2019.
All write-ups were published during all-star week.
Prospect #23: 1B/3B Evan Mendoza
Memphis Redbirds - On The IL
Drafted in the 11th round of the 2017 draft
If you want to follow a blue print for diminishing some of the value of a prospect quickly, look no further than what the Cardinals have done with Evan Mendoza.
We saw it first during spring training. For some reason, Mendoza, who is the best defensive third baseman in the organization (and just might be the best defensive infielder, in general) was moved to the one place where his value is mitigated: first base. Now, to the Cardinals' credit, they did try Mendoza a little at short during the 2018 season. Unfortunately, it just didn't click. That being said, putting him at first base, of all of the position on the diamond, is the thing that makes the least amount of sense. When you take a player who's value is so heavily tied to his defense, and you put him at potentially the least valuable defensive position on the diamond, well, you just aren't doing it right. This is one of my favorite collegiate highlights of his:
The good news is, as the season has progressed, Mendoza has played third base more often. That is, before he went on the IL on June 15th. You probably won't be surprised to find out that he started to hit more consistently with added third base reps, as well. From April 26th through his IL stint-start on June 15th, a span of 42 games, Mendoza went without a hit in only eight of those 42 games.
Mendoza is a consistent singles-hitter with line drive in his swing. He also has and a good understanding of the strike zone. Even though he's athletic and strong enough, with good barrel-ability, to hit home runs, it just hasn't manifested. As a matter of fact, his lack of slug is really what is going to halt his standing as a prospect in the long-term. This is even more reason to keep him off of first base. Mendoza is also a better at-bat than his .303 OBP indicates. Even during that stretch mentioned earlier, Mendoza still wasn't getting on base enough, even though he was getting hits. He's striking a very unusual balance right now at the plate, when healthy, and it's reasonable to expect it to balance back out once he returns to the lineup.
Other than that, Mendoza and his NC State baseball education is about as fundamentally sound as you'll find in the organization. He's just another player that "plays the game the right way". Now, let the kid play 3rd and hope for the best with the bat.
Thanks to Fangraph for the stats!
Thanks For Reading!!