On Friday evening, in the midst of increasing linkage of NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton to the Gateway City via blockbuster trade with the Miami Marlins, the Cardinals announced a less-forecasted trade with the Toronto Blue Jays.
The deal, as first mentioned at VEB by John Fleming, sent 2016 All-Star infielder Aledmys Diaz to the Blue Jays for low-level outfielder J.B. Woodman. With the removal of Diaz from the 40-man roster, the Cardinals currently have two spots to work with.
John Bryant Woodman, better known by ‘J.B.,’was drafted by the Blue Jays in the second round of the 2016 MLB Draft, the 57th overall pick. Bluebird Banter, a fellow SB Nation site, reported on Woodman when he was selected a year ago.
The Baseball Draft Report also noted on Woodman when he was drafted:
The lefthanded bat from Ole Miss is a fantastic athlete who can run, throw, and defend in center. Those skills alone — he’s at least above-average in each area — should get him to the big leagues eventually a la Kirk Nieuwenhuis or Drew Stubbs before him, but his upside is considerably higher than that.
Woodman, who will turn 23 years old this month, spent the 2017 season with the Lansing Lugnuts, Toronto’s Class-A affiliate. It wasn’t an overly flattering year for Woodman, who slashed just .240/.320/.378 in 96 games for the Lugnuts.
The left-handed-hitting Woodman had a 98 wRC+ across 414 plate appearances, with 19 doubles, five triples, and seven home runs. Digging deeper, Woodman struck a staggering 37.9 percent of the time, compared to a 9.7 walk rate for the 2017 season.
A University of Mississippi alumni, Woodman smashed his way to several team accolades. His 14 long balls in 2016 made him the first Ole Miss player to lead the SEC (Southeastern Conference) in home runs in nearly 40 years. He was also a finalist to be named the best collegiate baseball player in Mississippi for his 2016 campaign.
The newest Cardinals farmhand also has solid fieldwork skills. As noted by Ole Miss archives, Woodman had the third-most outfield assists (nine of them all) in the nation among college players. Seven of those assists? Throwing runners out at home plate.
Woodman, who was rated 13th in the Blue Jays’ organization by MLB Pipeline, will likely begin the 2018 season as a member of the Peoria Chiefs.
Video is credited to the MLB Prospect Portal YouTube channel.