Earlier this week, Baseball America released their annual installment of the Top 100 MLB Prospects for the upcoming season. The Cardinals have four prospects featured in the list: pitcher Alex Reyes at 17, pitcher Jack Flaherty at 53, catcher Carson Kelly at 55, and outfielder Tyler O’Neill ranking in the 86 spot.
A year ago, Reyes ranked fourth on the BA list. Considering he missed the entire year recovering from Tommy John surgery, Reyes still having a rank in the top one-fifth of the list gives a glimpse at the amount of upside he has. The right-handed Reyes currently ranks as the team’s top prospect by MLB.com.
The 23-year-old hopes to be ready for Spring Training.
MLB Pipeline: Cardinals Top Prospects
Making his Baseball America debut is Flaherty, the 22-year-old right-hander who got a taste of the big-league life over the last month of the 2017 season. Flaherty posted a 1.42 ERA in 10 starts at Double-A Springfield and a 2.74 ERA in 15 starts at Triple-A Memphis before appearing in six games for St. Louis at the end of the regular season.
In six games (five starts) with the Major League Cardinals, Flaherty went 0-2 and logged 21 1⁄3 innings with 20 punchouts.
Kelly has moved up 10 spots on the list after ranking 65 at the start of the 2017 campaign. Kelly, who turned 23 years old last July, slashed .283/.375/.459 in 244 at-bats with Memphis. His success at the Triple-A level led to a promotion, and Kelly appeared in 34 games in the Majors last summer. Kelly batted a meager .174 with St. Louis but did score fives runs, drive in six, and hit three doubles.
Kelly, most importantly, got a chance to flash his cannon, robbing A.J. Pollock of a stolen base. Pollock was caught stealing just six times in 26 total attempts in 2017.
O’Neill has dropped nearly 50 spots since last year, when he ranked 38 as a member of the Seattle Mariners. Nonetheless, O’Neill had a fine 2017, especially after he joined the Memphis squad in July.
In 37 games with the Redbirds, O’Neill smashed 12 home runs and hit at 110 wRC+.
The Cardinals did see Delvin Perez fall off the BA list this year after he was ranked 86 in 2017. Sandy Alcantara, who the team included in the trade with the Marlins for Marcell Ozuna, is ranked 70 in this year’s list.
Aside from the Cardinals-related notes, there are other interesting takeaways from this year’s list. The Braves lead the way with eight total prospects on the list, including the overall number-one Ronald Acuna. The Brewers, Padres, Rays, and Yankees each have six - at least when this list came out. (Milwaukee’s Thursday-evening trade with Miami to acquire Christian Yelich sent outfielders Lewis Brinson (18) and Monte Harrison (75) to the Fish. So the Brewers actually have four on the list, as things stand now.)
The Phillies, Twins, Reds, and White Sox all have five prospects on the list, while the Cubs and Royals each had zero.
The videos of Flaherty and O’Neill are credited to the official Minor League Baseball YouTube channel; the Kelly video is credited to the official Major League Baseball YouTube channel.