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Eighteen Cardinals prospects to keep tabs on in 2018

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Kicking off the 2018 coverage with 18 names to watch out for this season

MLB: Miami Marlins at St. Louis Cardinals Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Going beyond the Alex Reyes, Carson Kelly, and Jack Flaherty highlights of the team’s top prospect list, today we’ll look at 18 (a number dictated by the new year - Happy New Year!) Cardinals farmhands to look out for as you scout the organization in 2018.

Tyler Bray, pitcher

Bray is a 26-year-old right-hander from the University of Louisiana Monroe. During the 2017 campaign, Bray pitched his way from Palm Beach to Memphis, spending the majority of the season with Springfield. In 37 games, the reliever went 8-0 with a 2.91 ERA in 52 23 innings. Bray limited his opponents to 0.34 HR/9 while pitching at Double-A.

Tommy Edman, shortstop

Edman, a 22-year-old shortstop from Stanford University, played in 119 games in 2017, including 38 at Peoria, 18 at Palm Beach, and 63 at Springfield. At the Double-A level, Edman batted .247 in 219 at-bats with 12 doubles, two triples, and two home runs. Driving in 26 runs, Edman scored 20 - and also broke up a no-hitter.

Jacob Evans, pitcher

The lefty Evans, who hails from the University of Oklahoma, split time between Palm Beach and Springfield over the summer. After serving as a starter in 2016, Evans took on a reliever’s role in 2017, appearing in 30 games total. In 16 games at Palm Beach, Evans posted a 1.94 FIP with 27 strikeouts over 24 innings; in 17 23 frames in 14 contests with Springfield, the left-hander maintained a 2.55 ERA with a 10.70 K/9.

Jose Adolis Garcia, outfielder

The Cardinals signed Garcia in late February, and the outfielder made it to Memphis in his first season of professional ball. The 24-year-old Garcia hit 12 home runs with a 124 wRC+ in 342 plate appearances at Springfield before his promotion to Triple-A. At Memphis, Garcia slashed .301/.342/.478 with a .355 wOBA in 40 games.

Andrew Knizner, catcher

With Yadier Molina at the top and Kelly looming as his understudy, Knizner is definitely overlooked. The 22-year-old backstop from North Carolina State played in 44 games at Peoria and 51 games at Springfield in 2017. As a Chief, Knizner swatted eight homers and drove in 29. With Springfield, Knizner batted .324 with a 133 wRC+ in 202 trips to the plate.

Josh Lucas, pitcher

Lucas is a right-handed reliever who you may recognize - he made his big-league debut in late August and pitched in five games. But, for the purpose of today’s story: we’ll call him a prospect. In 47 games out of the bullpen for the Memphis Redbirds in 2017, Lucas went 8-1, posting a 3.15 ERA with 68 strikeouts in 60 innings. Serving as the club’s closer, Lucas picked up 17 saves.

Nick Martini, outfielder

Update: As the comments have pointed out, we will have to keep tabs on Martini from the A’s organization as he has signed a minor-league deal with Oakland.

The 27-year-old Martini has been in the Cardinals’ organization since 2011, when he was drafted out of Kansas State University. In 2017, Martini played in 121 games, including 98 at Triple-A Memphis. With the Redbirds, Martini slashed .303/.394/.436 with 55 RBIs and 60 runs scored.

Alex Mejia, infielder

Mejia is a 26-year-old utility infielder who cracked the big-league level over the summer. Debuting for St. Louis on June 29, Mejia appeared in 29 games down the stretch. While not playing in the Majors, Mejia logged 63 contests at Springfield and 55 at Triple-A. With Memphis, Mejia hit .335 with four homers and a 122 wRC+.

Andrew Morales, pitcher

The 24-year-old, right-handed Morales was drafted by the club in 2014, and he has been pitching in the farm system since. Morales appeared in 29 games as a reliever in 2017, with 19 of those as a member of the Springfield staff. Across 23 innings, Morales posted a 3.13 ERA with 28 strikeouts and 11 walks.

Yairo Munoz, infielder

Munoz is a 22-year-old infielder, one of two players the Cardinals got from the Oakland Athletics in the trade that sent outfielder Stephen Piscotty out west. Munoz - and Max Schrock, who will appear in this story later on, were examined a few days following the trade. Munoz played in 47 games at Double-A and 65 at Triple-A in 2017. In 272 plate appearances with the Nashville Sounds, Munoz batted .289 with seven long balls and 10 stolen bases.

Dennis Ortega, catcher

Ortega is a 20-year-old backstop, a player in the organization since 2014. After playing in Rookie ball in 2014, 2015, and 2016, Ortega made it to Class-A Peoria in 2017 for six games. The majority of his season was spent as a member of the State College Spikes, where he maintained a .264 wOBA in 39 games. In 293 innings behind the dish, Ortega nabbed 19 of 35 potential base stealers (a 54 percent caught-stealing rate) and had three errors and five passed balls.

Max Schrock, infielder

Schrock was previously mentioned in this report, as he and Munoz are two of the team’s newest additions. In 106 games with the Double-A Midland RockHounds, Schrock, who turned 23 in the offseason, batted .321 with 19 doubles, one triple, and seven home runs.

Darren Seferina, infielder

Seferina was drafted in a top-heavy 2014 draft that featured Jack Flaherty and Austin Gomber, among others. Seferina, who will turn 24 years old this month, split time between Palm Beach and Springfield in 2017. In 48 games at Double-A, Seferina slashed .277/.357/.410 with five homers and 10 stolen bases.

Ryan Sherriff, pitcher

The lefty Sherriff, after grinding in the team’s farm system since drafted in 2011, made his big-league debut on August 25th and pitched in 13 games out of the bullpen. The 27-year-old’s awaited promotion came after he went 5-1 with a 3.24 FIP across 48 games with the Memphis Redbirds, earning him Triple-A All-Star honors.

Sam Tewes, pitcher

Tewes is a right-handed alumni of Wichita State, where he was drafted from by St. Louis in 2016. The 22-year-old pitched across three levels in 2017: seven games and starts at State College, one start at Peoria, and 10 games with the Palm Beach Cardinals. In 43 23 innings at Palm Beach - including six starts - Tewes had a 3.09 ERA with 34 punchouts and six walks.

Stefan Trosclair, first baseman

Trosclair broke out in 111 games with the Peoria Chiefs in 2017. The 23-year-old, right-handed-hitting first baseman batted .272 with a 136 wRC+ over 481 trips to the plate. His 15 home runs were second on the Chiefs in 2017, trailing only Ryan McCarvel’s 16 blasts.

Luke Voit, first baseman

Voit, a 26-year-old St. Louis-area-raised infielder, debuted for the big-league Cardinals in late June of 2017 after being drafted by the team in 2013. Voit earned his promotion to the Gateway City with a powerful performance at Memphis. In 74 games with the Redbirds, Voit launched 13 homers in 307 plate appearances, during which he batted .327 with a .419 wOBA.

Andy Young, infielder

The 18th and final player we’ll ‘post tabs’ on today is the 23-year-old Young, a 2016 draftee. The infielder played across three levels in 2017, from Class-A Peoria, to High-A Palm Beach and Double-A Springfield. As a Chief, Young played in 58 games, garnering 244 plate appearances. In this span, Young belted 12 homers with a 158 wRC+ to go with a .284/.379/.545 line.

All videos are credited to the official Minor League Baseball YouTube channel.