Editor’s Note: the red baron has once again written up a very large number of prospects, done a great job on them, and combined them in just a few posts. You can read those posts, including a dozen reports on players who just missed the list by going here. This post contains a write-up of just a single prospect in a perhaps easier to digest form.-CE
#15: Magneuris Sierra, OF
5’11”, 160 lbs; L/L; 7 April 1996
Relevant Stats: .307/.335/.395, 115 wRC+, .367 BABIP, 3.9% BB (Peoria)
So, what’s so great about this guy?
Two years ago, Magneuris Sierra won the 2014 Cardinals Minor League Player of the Year award, becoming the youngest ever such honouree, and the future looked incredibly bright for the Dominican speedster.
Since then, reality has thrown a bucketful of harsh, cold water on the promise of that spectacular season, and my own personal hopes for Sierra have taken a fairly strong turn downward. That’s not to say there isn’t plenty to still like about him, of course; only that I’ve had to temper my enthusiasm for him quite a bit.
There are things Magneuris Sierra does very, very well. He runs quite well. (Probably a 70 grade runner.) He tracks down fly balls very well. (Potentially a 65-70 grade fielder in center.) He steals bases very well, though perhaps not quite as efficiently as you might hope to see. (He stole 31 bases this year, but was thrown out 17 times, a touch too high.) He also slashes line drives around the field and runs like hell very well.
There are a couple things Sierra does not do very well, though, and the problem is that both are doozies. He does not hit for power (.088 ISO in 2016), and he does not draw walks (see above in the ‘relevant stats’ section).
With all that being said, as well as noting the fact Sierra strikes out a bit too much (17.3% K rate), for a player with his particular profile, I have to admit to being a bit down on Magneuris at this point. I have real doubts about his ability to get on base consistently enough to be an impact player — or even a starter period — at the big league level, and the complete lack of power development we’ve seen from him has been very disheartening.
On the other hand, there are still plenty of positives, and ways one could see Sierra contributing at the highest level. He rates as probably the best outfield defender in the whole system, and that ability to play lockdown defense in center alone could propel him to the majors as clubs continue to try and gain value from the gloves of their players. His speed could make him a late-inning weapon both in the field and on the basepaths. And considering he has yet to turn 21, there’s still time he could physically develop a little further, adding strength, and perhaps learning a more patient approach at the plate as well.
Player Comp: The good version of Sierra probably looks something like Jacoby Ellsburythe non-30-homer-outlier version), but just as interesting a comp is the outfielder many of us on this blog were hoping the Cardinals would trade for this offseason: Jarrod Dyson.