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Cardinals news and notes: Prospects, big money, and lineup optimization

Prospects don't grow on trees. Neither does money. But lineup cards are made of paper and, well, you know.

David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Sometimes at VEB, we write in a somewhat nostalgic tone. I'm as guilty of this as anybody, and I don't consider it to be an inherently bad thing (particularly if your chosen nostalgia is towards a team which is historically very successful and not, say, the Colorado Rockies--no offense, Rockies fans), but this weekend, the focus was primarily on the future, looking at both 2016 and years down the road.


  • Although we (speaking both as a person who writes about baseball and a fan) tend to have a somewhat Americentric view with regard to prospect evaluation, the international market is vitally important to all Major League organizations, and Craig Edwards thinks the Cardinals should exceed the international bonus pool cap to which all teams are subjected. As Craig notes, several big market teams will be ineligible to sign a player to a bonus of over $300,000 this season, including but not limited to the Yankees, Dodgers, and Red Sox. I don't know enough about the nuts and bolts of the current market to give an informed opinion on the matter, but it does appear to be an appealing time to break the bank on the international market.
  • On MLB Network's countdown of the top prospects in baseball, two members of the Cardinals organization cracked the list. Most notably, Alex Reyes ranked 13th. Although Reyes is due to serve a 50 game suspension to begin 2016 due to a suspension for marijuana use, his prospect status has gone relatively untarnished and the 21 year-old continues to excite Cardinals fans looking into the future. Although he is not quite as ballyhooed as Reyes, 2014 first-round pick Jack Flaherty also cracked the list, ranking 80th.
  • The repostings of Red Baron's top prospects countdown have continued and here were some more since last Friday: #12 prospect Charlie Tilson, #11 prospect Harrison Bader, and #10 prospect Ronnie Williams.

Big money

  • Although I am no fan of elitism, Lil Scooter provided tremendous insight into the world of the bluest of bloods on the St. Louis Cardinals. I'm not entirely sure how she got into the meeting of the Cardinals' ten-millionaires club, which now includes recent free agent acquisition Mike Leake, but this tremendous bit of what I can only assume is utterly earnest journalism is a gripping commentary on a world in which I have no first-hand experience.

Lineup optimization

  • The Red Baron played around with the Baseball Musings Lineup Analysis Tool to examine what would be the optimal batting order for the Cardinals in 2016. It's an inexact science, as RB concedes, but it's an interesting study. Although the construction of the lineup makes a relatively small dent in a team's overall success or lack thereof, it's always been an interesting topic to me because it all seems so simple and intuitive to change. And when the end result, as was generally the case here, is "give your best hitters the most plate appearances", it all seems so easy.
  • wrote about Matt Adams, and how although he is somewhat limited as a player by his poor hitting against left-handed pitching, he has been a terrific hitter against righties. Mike Matheny appears at least somewhat averse to platoons, and it is possible that this aversion will lead to Brandon Moss as a full-time first baseman. I just don't, um, agree.
  • A big cog in the Cardinals lineup of the last two seasons has been Jhonny Peralta. Whether he turns out to be the All-Star caliber player of 2014 and the first half of 2015 or the very poor performer of late 2015 could have a dramatic effect on the overall success or failure of the 2016 lineup, and Ben Markham looked at whether Peralta will be terrific, terrible, or somewhere in-between in 2016.
Enjoy your Monday and your February, folks.