Keith Law released his top 100 prospects over at ESPN earlier today. Based on his review of the farm systems, which we covered yesterday, we knew that Law had placed three Cardinals' prospects in his Top 100, but we did not know which three players nor did we know their placement. That information came today as Alex Reyes received the lofty number eight ranking overall with Marco Gonzales coming in at 76 and Jack Flaherty at 83 in Law's annual rankings.
Alex Reyes is the clear star of the Cardinals' system. Law has been following Reyes' progress for some time, labeling him a sleeper back in 2014 before ranking him at 77 last season. The big jump comes following a fantastic season with Law noting Reyes' eyepopping 151 strikeouts in close to 100 innings. Law noted a few concerns given some shoulder soreness last season as well as the suspension which takes some development time away. Despite those concerns, Law indicated Reyes was a "lock for the 2017 rotation" with "little reason to be concerned that he doesn't have 200-220 inning seasons in his long-term future."
The Cardinals did not place a single prospect in Law's top 50 last year with Stephen Piscotty, Marco Gonzales, Alex Reyes, and Rob Kaminsky all finding themselves in the bottom half of the Top 100 last year. Piscotty graduated to the big leagues, Gonzales more or less held his ground despite a disappointing 2015, Reyes made the big jump, and Kaminsky was traded to Cleveland for Brandon Moss, but did not make Law's list this year. The last Cardinals' player to make Law's top 10 was the late Oscar Taveras, who was in the top 5 before both 2013 and 2014 seasons. The last Cardinals pitcher to make Law's top ten was Shelby Miller, who ranked number 5 back before the 2012 season.
Jack Flaherty's inclusion on Law's list was not a surprise. Flaherty received similar billing on MLB.com's list. Law complimented Flaherty's 6'4" "workhorse frame" as well as his command and control calling it "very promising for someone who has been a full-time pitcher for less than two years." If the Cardinals have a consensus number two prospect, it is probably Flaherty, who was number two on our list as well as Baseball Prospectus and MLB.com while ranking third over at Baseball America.
Gonzales' inclusion on Law's list is somewhat of a surprise, and with him ahead of Flaherty, that makes him Law's second-best Cardinals' prospect. I took a brief look at a few of the candidates yesterday and did mention Gonzales.
The third Cardinals prospect on Law's list requires some speculation. In our rankings, Edmundo Sosa came in at number three. Baseball Prospectus put Magneuris Sierra at number three in the Cardinals system. A major-league ready pitcher in Tim Cooney or Marco Gonzalez along with Luke Weaver are also candidates for that third spot in the Law's top-100.
Baseball Prospectus had Gonzales fourth on the Cardinals with Baseball America putting him fifth, and here he came in sixth so him making Law's Top 100 is a mild surprise. Law did not mention Gonzales' 2015 season, but praised his athleticism and changeup, which he gave a high 70 (out of 80) grade and noted his ability to miss bats with the pitch despite a below average fastball.
Law's placing three Cardinals in his Top 100 is the most Cardinals' prospects we have seen from the major sites this season. Reyes at eighth is also the highest he has been ranked thus far, and while the Cardinals' position players are a little too far away to garner, the Cardinals pitching pipeline that has served them so well remains strong.
For more coverage of Cardinals' prospects, visit our 2016 Prospects Hub with full profiles of all the Cardinals' top prospects.