Players to Watch:
Bryan Dobzanski, 19, RHP
Former wrestler, athletic build, and a power sinker. What's not to like from the Cardinals standpoint? The 29th rounder from 2014's draft has been covered ad nauseum here at VEB, as both Red Baron and yours truly are fans of his stuff, makeup, and mechanics. It would not at all surprise me to see some hiccups for Dobzanski this year, as he's not nearly as polished as pitchers like Kaminsky of Flaherty were coming out of high school.
Ronnie Williams, 19, RHP
The stuff is still very raw and unrefined here, but last year's second round pick has a good amount of upside due to a fast arm, a plus fastball, and a changeup that trends toward plus on the right night. Williams made this year's Top 25 Future Redbirds list, clocking in at #23. For a full scouting report, head there.
Chris Chinea, 21, C/DH
I was surprised to see the LSU product start in rookie ball at the age of 21 and even more surprised that Johnson City was the destination, given that there are now four catchers on the roster. I would guess Chinea will get a significant amount of time at DH after catching a full SEC schedule already this year, and I quite like the bat for a kid drafted in the 17th round who signed for just $100k. Certainly a guy to keep an eye on in July.
Paul DeJong, 21, 3B
I wrote a good bit about DeJong in my MLB draft wrap up and it's still my favorite pick of the 2015 draft even if he doesn't appear to be given a look behind the plate as a professional. I'm positive that his bat can play at 3B and I'm relatively surprised he landed in the Appy League given that the Cardinals generally start their college seniors out with State College in the NY Penn League where the players are closer to their age, development, and experience level.
Eliezer Alvarez, 20, 2B
This will be his fourth season of pro ball and Alvarez is coming off an impressive, if brief, stint in the GCL from a year ago: .353/.413/.632, 6 doubles, 5 triples, and a homer in just 74 PA's. The performance was overshadowed a tad by the impressive seasons by his GCL teammates a year ago, but the lefty swinging keystone is worth watching this year to see whether his 2014 was a mirage or not.
The F-R Top 25 Trio:
Edmundo Sosa, 19, SS
Magneuris Sierra, 19, CF
Malik Collymore, 20, OF
I'm unsure as to why the organization felt it necessary to move Collymore to the outfield as neither I nor most scouts who saw him a year ago were concerned about the glove much at all at second base. He certainly has the arm to play RF and the speed to play in CF, but given what I've seen of Sierra in the outfield from his stint in Peoria it's unlikely he'll get displaced any time soon from that position.
Sosa is one of the younger players in the Appy League this year, along with teammate Sierra, both having turned 19 just this spring. I expect both to acquit themselves well here, but after pushing Sierra a bit by starting him in A-ball this April, I have a feeling the club might be cautious about pushing either of them up a level during 2015. There's really no rush with either player at this point and playing together might also be good for the development of both players.