Players to Watch
Elehuris Montero (Age: 16, 3B)
I mentioned in the DFR this morning that I would have a profile of Montero to share, but after reading this comment from VEB reader Mekonsrock in yesterday's DFR, I decided to just repost it here:
Quite the summary, wouldn't you say? I don't have scouting reports or anything on Montero, and DSL stats are notoriously unreliable due to the fluctuations in talent within the league, but suffice to say that when a 16 year old is slugging .500 in a professional league you sit up and take notice because it doesn't happen often.
Wadye Ynfante (Age 17, COF)
Another six figure signee ($125,000 to be exact) from the Cardinals IFA pool in 2014, Ynfante has started off well in the 2015 DSL league and showcased as a SS, but will likely move into the corner outfield as he fills out.
David Oca (Age 19, LHP)
Dominant for most of last year (he was my DSL Player of the Year) the Venezuelan lefty seemed ripe for a trip stateside. More of a crafty lefty rather than an overpowering one, he can touch mid-90's with his fastball and has fringy secondary stuff but more than enough stuff to give it a go starting games. He should be dominant in a league stocked with 17 and 18 year old kids, especially in his third go around.
Players to Watch
Junior Fernandez (Age 18, RHP)
Following much the same line into baseball as current Cardinal farmhand Alex Reyes, Fernandez was a $400,000 sign for the Cardinals in 2014 after going to high school in the U.S. before moving to the Domincan Republic as a 16 year old. Ben Badler's scouting report on Fernandez:
When Fernandez signed, he was throwing 90-92 mph and touched 93 with slight cutting action. Since then, his velocity has increased, getting as high as 95-96 mph, and his stuff generates a lot of groundballs. His aggressive delivery adds deception, releasing the ball from a high arm slot with a high glove front side to hide the ball well and allow his fastball to jump on hitters quickly. He throws his changeup with good arm speed and it’s ahead of his curveball, a slurvy pitch with short break. Fernandez is a good athlete but he’s prone to overthrowing and doesn’t repeat his release point, which leads to erratic control, so improving his fastball location and overall feel for pitching will be important.
Sounds pretty familiar doesn't it? Other than the changeup being ahead of the curveball (which might work out better for him in the Cardinals organization anyway), his profile is awfully similar to that of Reyes at the same age.
Nick Plummer (Age 18, LF)
Not much more to say about Plummer that hasn't already been said in the last couple of weeks of draft coverage -- I'm just happy that he signed quickly and reported already. Let's hope the Michigan kid survives the hot Florida sun and the 0-0 counts in his first stint of pro ball.
Rowan Wick (Age 22, RHP)
Yes, you read that correctly. After a boatload of struggles trying to hit Florida State League pitching in the first month of the year, the Cardinals sent Wick to Extended Spring Training to begin his transition to the mound -- his second position change since entering the Cardinals farm system in 2012. He's certainly got the arm for it, featuring a mid-90's fastball as a club player in Canada prior to being drafted, and he'll obviously be a plus hitter for the position if he's able to make a go of it as a starter. My guess is that he ends up as a bullpen piece, albeit one that Whitey Herzog would have loved to have at his disposal in the late innings of games as a sort of two way player.