Fully published at St. Louis Sports 360, March 12th.
All throughout the St. Louis Cardinals camp right now are splattering of guys that have numbers on their backs that look like a better fit with the St. Louis Rams than their baseball playing city mates. These jersey tags in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s would stick out like Cubs hat at Busch Stadium in October usually, but make no mistake about it, these aren’t second rate guys. In many cases, these are the gatecrashers are the ones that are looked at to be the future around the field, and the forecast in St. Louis hasn’t looked as bright as it does now in many years.
After many years of being one of the most depleted minor league systems in the game, due to a mixture of high profile trades, bad drafts and simply potential not becoming reality, the Cardinals minor league ranks are stacked right now. ESPN’s Keith Law ranked as the 4th best minor league group in the game, and in addition placed five young Redbirds in his Top 100 prospects for 2012. However, many of those players are still years away from being ready to make a run at The Show. Carlos Martinez, Tyrell Jenkins, Kolten Wong, Trevor Rosenthal and Oscar Tavares are among the best the minor leagues have to offer, but are years away in their development still. The real sign of the depth of the system is that there are just as many talents that are pushing the ranks of the 25 man St. Louis group now, that aren’t as ballyhooed prospects.
In other words, the very best is yet to come; but the good that’s close now, is pretty close to great. The trick is that this current Cardinal team is returning the majority of its roster. There is also a surplus of backups that could push their way into the everyday mix. So which of the minor league hopefuls in camp which ones have the best chance to crack into Mike Matheny’s mix now despite all of this? Here’s a look at the Cardinal farmhands that have the best shot at reaching, and impacting, the Bigs this season…
Matt Carpenter: Last year’s spring sensation is back in camp looking for another chance to make the roster, and he’s doing it via a by any means necessary approach….
For the rest of this article, including a full listing of the top Cardinal farmhands that could make their way to and impact St. Louis this summer, follow this link to St. Louis Sports 360: http://stlouissports360.com/cardinals-spring-12-12-part-5-deck/
And for everything else from my sports breakfast to fourth meal, follow me on Twitter at @CheapSeatFan.