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Cardinals Farm Inventory: Middle Infielders

Blessed with a deep crop of middle infield help for the first time in recent memory, the Cardinals have at least a lone bright spot in a relative morass of below-average position player prospects.

*Slow clap*
*Slow clap*
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

My favorite thing about this group is not so much the depth by itself, but the amount of upside potential contained within.

Edmundo Sosa's upside excites me the most: Pure hitter, good glove, above average arm, and a little power mixed in as well. His upside is probably similar to that of someone like Edgar Renteria, and that would be a coup for the organization if that's the end result. A half decade of cost controlled 3-4 fWAR production at the SS position is something this farm system hasn't produced since...Garry Templeton? And we traded that guy for a Hall of Famer named Smith.

Jacob Wilson continues to crush the ball in the high minors in 2015, hitting 8 homers through Monday's games split between Springfield (7) and Memphis (1). Given the .225 ISO I think it's safe to say that the .225 BABIP is probably due to some bad luck and leading to a sluggish batting average in his .227/.335/.440 slash line. Given a normalized success rate on balls in play, Wilson would have the stat line to make people wonder why he isn't in the big leagues already. Perhaps the club has finally found a legit 2B/3B/COF option to get 300-400 PA's off the bench and allow Mike Matheny to carry the 13 pitchers he so clearly needs to have given his management of the bullpen this far in 2015.

Diaz and Katz provide some potential punch at the plate and even if they don't really profile as regular players at any position they can certainly hold down the keystone (and a number of other positions) in a limited role without killing a team defensively.

Sohn, Seferina, and Turgeon all were bright spots as newcomers last year, although Sohn hardly got started before missing the last two months of the season due to injury.  All are a bit on the older side for their level, but if just one of these three becomes a legit B prospect, that will be a win for the organization. My money is on Sohn: Not only is he the only one of the three that can play SS, but I like his swing and approach at the plate enough that I think he could shift to SS or 3B if necessary.

Oscar Mercado is solid defensively (he's not as spectacular in the field as his reputation makes him out to be, in my opinion) and is an above average baserunner...which is a bit of a waste due to not being on base enough to really make an impact worth any real value on the bases. I know we use the mantra "If he could just HIT..." a lot with shortstop prospects, but for Mercado it really rings true.  The glove can play and will likely get better with some maturity (He's still just 20) and while the bat has looked better this year than in years past, it's still nowhere near good enough. When you have a similar offensive track record as Pete Kozma, in the exactly same leagues at the exact same age, well, that's not encouraging. Speaking of...

Pete Kozma probably doesn't belong on this list anymore, as he's out of options, but I felt the need to include him here anyway due to tradition, in much the same way I attempt to write Trevor Rosenthal into the starting pitchers list before deleting his name at the last moment. Would Kozma still be in the organization were it not for the investment placed in him as a first round pick? Doubtful. Has he provided enough value to justify that investment? In a $/Win calculation, almost certainly. In any other calculation, certainly not. But he'll always and forever have September 2012 and we'll be able to talk about 'ol Pete owning Drew Storen in October. More likely, Kozma's legend will always be greater than his sum as a player, making his story similar to the Bo Hart's and Joe McEwing's of Cardinal lore.