James Ramsey – CF - Palm Beach
The Cardinals surprise 1st round pick in 2012 was thrust immediately into advanced A ball at Palm Beach last year after the draft and predictably, he struggled a bit even though his wOBA+ was right at 100 for average in the pitcher’s league. The Cardinals put him back in Palm Beach to start the season and he has started out the year red hot. In his first 25 plate appearances, his batting average is .350 (not wildly high for his track record) which is supported by a .438 BABIP (which is quite high, but we have seen small sample size heroes with a much higher BABIP). He’s hitting 3% more line drives than league average so far as well. Ramsey is going to come back to earth slightly, but he’s having a great year so far, here’s hoping he keeps it up and justifies his draft position.
Stephen Piscotty – RF – Palm Beach
Piscotty, another 2012 draftee who is also supposed to move quickly was placed in full season low A ball after the draft and thrived with a 116 wOBA+. He was promoted to Palm Beach to start this season and the third baseman turned outfielder is tearing the cover off the ball despite some pretty strong bad batted ball luck. In his first 20 PAs, Piscotty is batting .333 despite a BABIP that is .250. In his 6 hits, 2 are HRs and 1 is a double. His numbers still have some rise in them despite his 5.6% LD%. Piscotty is due for some better contact and some better luck. Look out.
Colin Walsh – 2B – Palm Beach
The first three entries are all from Palm Beach so far, but they have the three top hitting prospects so far. Colin Walsh is a 2010 draftee and has worked his way up the ladder and is capitalizing on a strong season last year and has started out hot in Palm Beach. Must be the weather, everyone is red hot down there. (Well, not everyone, sorry Ronny Gil!) In 24 PAs, Walsh is hitting .364 with a very high .500 BABIP. That is certainly not sustainable! His line drive average is at 6.3% which is below his career average and the league average. Walsh is due for his numbers to regress to the mean even when he begins to make harder contact. But, the .962 OPS and 148 wOBA+ are great signs to start the season.
Keith Butler – Closer – Springfield
I had to mention Keith, who is repeating in Springfield as their closer. Through his first 7 batters faced, Butler has struck out 5, allowed 2 batted balls and no hits. His ERA is obviously 0, but his FIP is -1.80. You read that right, negative 1.8.
Kyle Hald – SP – Palm Beach
Kyle Hald, the Cardinals 2011 draftee, a lefthander out of Old Dominion has had two great starts to begin the year for Palm Beach. He’s pitched 11 innings and has struck out 25% of the batter he’s faced, 90% of those strikeouts swinging. He’s buoyed a bit by .276 BABIP, which is 50 points below average, despite the fact that he’s allowing 12% more line drives than his career average and the league average. He is saving himself by not putting extra guys on the bases with 0 walks so far. He’s no Seth Maness, but his career walk rate of 4.4% is still quite good.