Mid-Season Dirty Thirty-Five: Prospects 35-29

Updated: Jul 29, 2019

THE PREFACE


This is a completely half-assed list!!!!


OK, so hear me out: I'm breaking the Dirty Thirty-Five into five subsets of seven players for our mid-season report. Why am I doing this? Because that's literally all of the free time that I have. I TRULY, TRULY apologize for not having more time. I swear, I'll do everything that I can to make up for this moving forward.


Anyway, before we get started, remember to check out the article that highlights the Five Players From The 2019 Draft that I'm keeping the closest eye on. That'll come after we wrap-up this countdown. Again, the depth of info, or lack-thereof, is because of the lack of free time I have. I promise that I've peered over countless hours of video and reports to give you my humble and honest opinions, albeit quick, on each and every player that I comment on. Besides, in this world of "TL;DR", my long and drawn out nonsense is probably best consumed in three or four paragraph form.


So, the system isn't in great shape right now. I'm just being honest. I hope that I have more time in the future to write about that. As of right now, I believe this to be the most concise list of top prospects in the organization. TRUTH BE TOLD, outside of the top 20 prospects, things aren't particularly rosy right now within the organization. Only time will tell, of course.


Over the next five days, I hope to give you more context in regards to that topic.


This also comes with one final warning: while I have watched hundreds of hours of video, and read countless reports on these players, this is the least amount of research that I have ever done for a countdown. While I have people I trust at nearly every affiliate in the organization, I usually use MiLB. TV as my primary method of investigation and cross-checking. However, MiLB updated their service and it's terrible, and that has really ruined the experience for me. On top of that, the system has been terribly boring, for the most part. And with the pitching in the organization taking such a large step backwards as compared to past seasons, it's less and less interesting to watch any given start.


The stats in this particular article are current as of 7/7/2019.


I've rambled on long enough. It's countdown time!!! So, without Freddy Adu, Birds On The Black and Prospects after Dark presents....



THE DIRTY THIRTY-FIVE: PROSPECTS 35-29






Prospect #35: 1B/OF-ish John Nogowski


Memphis Redbirds

Signed as a minor league free agent in June of 2017

Age 26




Much like with the 35th spot on the preseason list, a spot that was occupied by Rangel Ravelo, Nogowski finds his way on to the D35 as a sign of solidarity for years of hard work. That, and an advanced feel for the strike zone and how he operates within-and-around it.


Over the last couple of seasons, "Nogo" has undergone a bit of a swing adjustment with an emphasis on introducing a little more power into his game. Last season, when he wasn't out with a broken hand/wrist issue, he really seemed to take well to the power adjustment. While that hasn't translate as well this season, Nogowski still has the quick swing and barrel-ability to put the ball in the air and between the outfielders.


Where Nogowski cashes his check is in his advanced feel for the strike zone. His strikeout rate is great at 10.3%, but it's made even stronger and more impressive when coupled with a walk rate that's right around 13.4%. His at-bats are often long and boring, but equally as productive.


Here's a small sample of a prototypical Nogo at-bat. It's only two pitches, but it demonstrates what he does very well. He lays off of the first pitch, which is clearly designed to get the double play via chase. Then, on a hanger, Nogowski takes the pitch to the opposite field for a double. By the way, Andrew Knizner scores from first on this play.


The other spot that Nogowski really excels is on the defensive side. Nogo is a very solid defensive first baseman. He's how my dad use to describe me as a point guard; "heady". That's to say, he's never out of position, and he's a huge asset at first base. Sure, my dad was just looking for some random nice thing to say about me so that my mom didn't lose her mind, but I mean it in total sincerity with Nogowski.


Like with Ravelo, the issue with Nogowski is opportunity. He's already 26, and he's at least a couple of spots down on the depth chart at first base. He can play left field, but you'd prefer that he doesn't.


There's no telling if the opportunity will ever present itself for Nogowski. I really hope that it does. His contact-oriented approach with grinding at-bats would be an interesting addition, and experiment, in the current Cardinals' lineup. Either way, I hope that Nogowski eventually gets his shot with a major league team. He'll never be anything more than standard James Loney, but he's deserving of a shot.


(Quick shout out to SS Mateo Gil, who originally occupied the 35th spot on the countdown)





Prospect #34: RHP Tommy Parsons


Springfield Cardinals

Signed as an Undrafted Free Agent in 2018

Age 23




Over the last couple of years, I don't think an organization has drafted or signed more players that go by the name of "Tommy" than the Cardinals. If I thought that the Baseball Reference Play Index provided that info, I'd buy it right now. That's the kind of pathetic life that I live.


I really don't know what the future holds for Parsons. He's struggled so far at Springfield, but his stuff seems better than the person that occupies the 29th spot on this version of the D35, even though that pitcher has had more success than Parsons. Both are very early into their tenure with Springfield, so I wouldn't be surprised if there's eventual balance between those two. You'll get to know prospect #29 soon enough. TAKE A BREATH.


I really like Parsons breaking pitch. He gets in trouble because he often slows down his mechanics and his arm to throw it, but it's a big breaking pitch. It pairs very well with his fastball when he's locating his fastball in the upper-half of the strike zone. His fastball, by the way, can reach the mid-90's and stay that way for a great deal of his start. I will say that I feel like he's over-throwing it since getting the promotion to AA. Maybe he's trying too hard to blow it by hitters. Maybe that's causing some of the command and success issues that he's had. I'll dig more into that over his coming starts.


In the past, the best part of Parsons has been his command of three pitches. Again, that command seems to be somewhat fringe-y so far for Springfield. What hasn't been on the fringes is his change-up. It's a plus offering, and you couldn't even debate that fact. Here's two of them to Pirates stud prospect Travis Swaggerty:


While he's been beat around at Springfield so far, he's still fun to watch pitch. Here's a five pitch-mix that gives you an idea of his repertoire:



Parsons is a smart pitcher with a strong understand of the craft. He's the prototypical "coaches favorite player", and I'm asked about him as often as I'm asked about any of the pitchers in the organization that haven't made a major league debut. As an undrafted player from a Division III baseball program, he's the Jason Simontacchi-type pitcher that you just have to root for.





Prospect #33: 1B/OF Leandro Cedeno


Peoria Chiefs

Signed as an International Free Agent in August of 2014

Age 20




Entering the 2019 season, I had Cedeno as the 21st prospect in the organization. This was because of the tape measure-type power that he possesses and has displayed. I thought that he'd struggle to hit for average, and that he'd strikeout a little too much, but there wasn't a world in which I could imagine Cedeno's power evaporating. It was raw and loud and boisterous, and it was in the top-tier of the organization.