The St. Louis Cardinals' top prospects, inside and outside the fanbase

Denny Medley-US PRESSWIRE

John Sickels at Minor League Ball put out his Cardinals prospect list, just in time for us to compare it to the one from Future Redbirds.

Merry Christmas! The St. Louis Cardinals still have Oscar Taveras. This morning a million kids and maybe a few regionally successful, soon-to-be-underemployed sports bloggers are going to open up a Wii U, and it's going to promise a ton of fun, and all of that fun is going to be hidden behind an incredibly painful 5 GB software update, even though I'm holding the GamePad in my hand and it's so neat.

The "next great Cardinals star" (that's John Sickels) is fully established as a .570-slugging, .330-hitting top prospect in the high minors, and he's successfully overthrown Shelby Miller. We've already started enjoying him, but the really good part is still a few months away. So we're stuck watching the progress bar after two big-deal prospect lists come out.

Here's the Future Redbirds list and the John Sickels list, both of which you should read in their entirety. Players appear in bold at their highest rank; players who appear in one list but not the other are in italics.

Rank Sickels Future Redbirds
1 Oscar Taveras Oscar Taveras
2 Shelby Miller Shelby Miller
3 Carlos Martinez Trevor Rosenthal
4 Trevor Rosenthal Carlos Martinez
5 Michael Wacha Kolten Wong
6 Kolten Wong Michael Wacha
7 Matt Adams Matt Adams
8 Tyrell Jenkins Tyler Lyons
9 Anthony Garcia Tyrell Jenkins
10 Carson Kelly Anthony Garcia
11 Patrick Wisdom Greg Garcia
12 Stephen Piscotty Seth Maness
13 Greg Garcia Carson Kelly
14 Seth Maness Maikel Cleto
15 John Gast Stephen Piscotty
16 Starlin Rodriguez Starlin Rodriguez
17 Ryan Jackson John Gast
18 Maikel Cleto Ryan Jackson
19 Tyler Lyons Jordan Swagerty
20 Breyvic Valera Boone Whiting

Most of these are random flipped-bit differences--you can probably draw something out of putting Trevor Rosenthal one ahead of Carlos Martinez, or Kolten Wong one ahead of Michael Wacha, but the three-man committee behind the FR list would make it difficult to take much from it.

The biggest difference, or at least the one that's easiest to generalize about? Sickels, with his broader focus, is fonder of recent draft picks and newer additions; FR places a greater emphasis on system veterans (such as they are) and players who've proven compelling to people who follow the Cardinals in particular.

So Sickels includes Patrick Wisdom and deposits Carson Kelly and Stephen Piscotty higher up the list; Future Redbirds gives Jordan Swagerty another shot at Top 20 relevance and tops the list off with Boone Whiting, a stats-first HPGF favorite. Tyler Lyons, with his 250 A+-through-AAA innings, is No. 8 at FR and No. 19 from Sickels.

I don't know enough to say which one is right, but I do think the resources we have at hand are being used pretty efficiently here. Future Redbirds, home of the Daily Farm Report, should be focusing more on prospects who've been around in the system; Sickels should be scouting players we can't know much about yet.

In any case, both of these lists look pretty great. And in today's least consequential Christmas miracle, Starlin Rodriguez is the No. 16 prospect.

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