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Reviewing the Cardinals top 5 prospects from 2017

MLB: Spring Training-Washington Nationals at New York Yankees Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

None of the St. Louis Cardinals top 5 prospects from the 2017 season are with the organization anymore. Now that is not to say they did not receive production from the group as one player played for the Cardinals for 6 seasons and won a Gold Glove whilst another was an All-Star pitcher. It was a class that featured a lot of hope including the potential shortstop and catcher of the future, but they were never able to fully pan out.

As discussed in the 2016 version, if there is a prospect who was previously covered in a prior article, I will post a link to when they were first discussed to prevent things from getting repetitive.

1. Alex Reyes - RHP - Current team - Los Angeles Dodgers

Covered in the 2015 article.

2. Carson Kelly - C - Current team - Arizona Diamondbacks

For years Carson Kelly was the projected heir to Yadier Molina’s throne largely because of his capabilities behind the plate. No matter what prospect publication you read, Kelly was respected as one of the best defensive catchers throughout the minor leagues. Kelly wasn’t only a defensive specialist as there was some projection in his bat from both an average and power standpoint. He did struggle offensively in his first four years in the Cardinals system, only batting over .250 once and he never hit double digit home runs. Although 2016 saw his production skyrocket as across AA and AAA the catcher hit .289 to go along with 6 home runs in 96 games. The Cards saw enough from him that season to call him up for the first time, but he only received 13 at bats across 10 MLB games. 2017 was more of the same for Kelly as he hit .283 at AAA with 10 home runs but in the majors, he hit .174 in 69 at bats. In ‘18 his production dipped slightly in the minors with his average dropping to .269 whilst hitting 7 home runs. St. Louis gave him 35 at bats with the big-league club where he hit .114. That offseason, he was shipped to the Arizona Diamondbacks as another piece of the Paul Goldschmidt trade. Since then, Kelly has been a relatively uninspiring player hitting .231 with 43 home runs across 1,057 at bats. He has turned himself into a long-term big-league player which is always going to be valuable. However, he has certainly not reached the expectations that were placed upon him early in his career.

3. Luke Weaver - RHP - Current team - Cincinnati Reds

Covered in the 2016 article.

4. Delvin Perez - SS - Current team - New York Yankees

Prior to the 2016 Draft, Perez was expected to be one of the first players selected, but he tested positive for a performance enhancing drug and slipped as a result. The Cardinals still believed he was worth the risk as they took him with the 23rd overall pick, and he immediately became one of the highest ceiling prospects in the system. Perez was a fantastic athlete who played a strong shortstop, was a plus runner and the thought was he would become an average hitter. He looked the part in rookie ball in 2016 as he hit .294, stole 12 bags with a dozen extra base hits in 163 at bats. From there though it was all downhill. Over the next two seasons he hit .203 and .213 respectively with a single home run and 13 combined stolen bases. He rebounded in 2019 with a triple slash of .269/.329/.654 and 22 stolen bases. Perez posted similar numbers at AA in 2021, but once again his numbers slipped in 2022. The 24-year-old elected free agency in the off-season and later signed a minor league deal with the Yankees.

5. Harrison Bader - OF - Current team - New York Yankees

The most successful of the five players, Bader carved out a solid 6-year career with the Cards. Over his 1,516 careers at bats with the team he posted a triple slash line of .246/.320/.409 along with 52 home runs and 55 stolen bases. The majority of Bader’s impact came from his glove. The former 3rd round pick became one of the best fielders in the MLB in his time with the Red Birds totaling 56 outs above average. Bader was traded at the 2022 trade deadline to the Yankees for starting pitcher Jordan Montgomery. The southpaw made a strong impact in St. Louis pitching to a 3.11 ERA over 11 starts and is expected to be a key contributor in 2023.