Editor's Note: Red Baron has compiled this year's top prospects in three parts, which can be found by clicking on Part I, Part II, and Part III. The post below is a portion of those massive posts, focusing in on a single prospect at a time, which should make a search of any one prospect easier to find. All of our 2016 prospect coverage and write-ups can be found at the Viva El Birdos 2016 Prospects hub. A few additions were made to this post to add a little more color.
The "Just Missed" List
These are the players who fell just outside the Top 21, but still deserve to at least be mentioned here. I may do a more substantial post later this offseason about some of these players, the guys who occupy the fringey spaces at the edge of the picture. For now, though, these are your not-top 21 players for 2016, but who shouldn't go unnoticed all the same.
Austin Gomber, LHP -- Outstanding performance this year, and really could justify a spot on this list, but I have concerns about the arm action and long-term durability. Fits best as a funky reliever for me, but could be fantastic in that role. Probably the first guy out of the 21, to put it in NCAA Tournament terms.
Gomber did a Q+A with Joe Schwarz last year which revealed the following:
VEB: What is the one piece of advice given to you by a coach in the Cardinals organization that has helped you most?
AG: Last season in State College, Tim Leveque showed me a different curveball grip and I worked a lot with it this offseason, and I really think that was the turning point for me. Adding a pitch to my arsenal that I can count on in big situations to get a swing and miss. It's really helped me out this year in some tough spots.
Sandy Alcantara, RHP -- Another near-miss, Alcantara is definitely worth a write-up sometime this offseason. Extremely young, but a big frame and already-elite velocity make him extremely intriguing.
Alcantara made Baseball America's Top 20 prospects of the Gulf Coast League, coming in at number 12, just ahead of fellow Cardinals' prospect Junior Fernandez.
Jake Woodford, RHP -- Certainly has the draft profile, and the stuff is good, but I'm not on the bandwagon yet with Woodford enough to push him above the other players covered here.
When Woodford was drafted, red baron had this to say:
My comp player for Woodford would be something like a far less polished Rick Porcello, as a tall, athletic righty with a power sinker and an interesting changeup. Where Porcello's curve was already a useful pitch, however, Woodford is much less advanced, and mostly leans on the sinker to get the job done.
Dean Kiekhefer, LHP -- Proximity to the majors (he might be up this year), makes him a name to know, but as a probable LOOGY the ceiling for Kiekhefer is very limited. Still, useful to not have to sign Randy Choate for three years.
In a Q+A with Joe Schwarz last year, Kiekhefer discussed his repertoire:
VEB: Give us a snapshot of your repertoire.
DK: I throw mostly two-seam fastballs from two different arm slots. I drop my arm angle a little lower versus lefties to try and add more deception as well as make my slider a little better against them. When facing lefties, I mainly throw two-seamers and sliders. When facing righties, I use my normal three-quarter arm slot and throw two-seam fastballs, a changeupâwhich was a pitch I really worked on in the Arizona Fall Leagueâand more of a slurvy slider.
Jacob Wilson, INF -- Wilson is still interesting as a utility bat with power, but profiles similarly to new Cardinal Jedd Gyorko, with a little less glove, and may not have a clear route to the big leagues. Probably #23 here.
Although his prospect status has dimmed a bit, red baron once compared Wilson to Allen Craig:
When Allen Craig was coming up through the Cardinals' system, he looked to be a solid bet as a utility player whose bat was good enough to get him in the lineup more often than you might think given his lack of a position. So far, Wilson looks like he might be much the same, with perhaps even a better chance of fulfilling that true utility role due to his somewhat superior athletic ability. He can actually play both second and third base, two positions Allen Craig never really received much serious consideration for.
Patrick Wisdom, 3B -- Yeah, yeah, I know. Wisdom has the draft pedigree and a good story about a turnaround this year. But, I'm not buying anything he's selling just yet. Even with that hot stretch midseason, the numbers overall were bad, and he fell back off late. Also was not very good in the AFL. Bottom line, I'm still not a believer. He did make strides in knocking his K rate down this year, though, so maybe there's still hope.
Here is what red baron wrote about Wisdom after his performance at the Arizona Fall League:
Aledmys Diaz continued a second-half breakout and put himself on the 40 man roster. Patrick Wisdom....grew a pretty cool moustache.
The kid from St. Mary's appeared in 24 games, collected 93 plate appearances, and continued to show above-average power, clubbing four home runs en route to a .215 ISO. Unfortunately, pretty much everything else went wrong, as Wisdom's plate approach and contact skills still appear to be sorely lacking. A .237/.268/.452 line in a fairly extreme hitter's league is not anything to write home about, and a 17:4 strikeout to walk ratio is discouraging. The strikeouts weren't excessively high, but Wisdom seemed intent on avoiding the Ks by swinging before he could get backed into a corner, which is also less than optimal.
Wisdom put himself back on the map with his midseason performance this year, but a late season swoon and a decidedly below average AFL has that run looking more and more like a simple hot streak all the time.
Allen Cordoba, SS -- Cordoba torched the Gulf Coast League this year, winning the MVP of the league. Magneuris Sierra did the same in 2014, and jumped into prominence. Cordoba probably won't make that same sort of leap, but as a shortstop who hit .342 with a near 1:1 walk to strikeout ratio, he's definitely a name to watch. Depending on where he starts and how he performs in 2016, Cordoba could be the biggest gainer on next year's version of this list.
Over at Baseball America, Ben Badler discussed Cordoba in a chat, comparing him to fellow prospect Edmundo Sosa:
He's from the northern part of Panama and did grow up playing games there, but not as much as Sosa did, so he was just more raw at the time. But he is athletic and his work ethic gets great reviews, so he made himself a better player over the last couple of years. The Cardinals actually had Cordoba at third base during extended spring training since they were using Edmundo Sosa mostly at shortstop then, so he committed more than half his errors during the first month of the GCL season as he transitioned back to shortstop, but he's his hands and feet work well, he has a good arm and is a 55-60 runner. His swing does get long but he finds a way to get the barrel to the ball consistently and has a sense for the strike zone. He has gotten stronger over the last couple years but power is definitely a question mark on him going forward.
For more information on this year's Cardinals prospect list, visit our hub for a full list and reports.