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Over the next couple of weeks, I will be selecting the Cardinals organizational All-Star team. The team will be structured like a 25-man roster. For each position, I will isolate the player who made the most starts for each team at that position and will select the one winner. Fans will get a say as well later in the post.
As you will see, the increased prospect presence in the outfield continues in center as we find four players who have a wRC+ over 100, and these four are way over 100. It is no doubt that the outfield is the deepest position group in the Cardinals organization. Also something I notice from the players listed below are strong defenders. With the group, the club is building a strong, core group of center fielders who are strong in the field.
Below is the player who had the most games at center for each team and their slash lines with OPS included at the end. I have also included a sabermetric stat, wRC+, on the stat line. wRC+ has a baseline of 100, thus if a player has a 125 wRC+ it means they produced 25% more runs than a league average hitter. Obviously these are limited stats and you can click on their names for a better stat picture including stolen bases, strike outs, etc.
Memphis: Tommy Pham – 390 plate appearances – .324/.396/.491/.886, 10 HR, 44 RBI, 132 wRC+
Springfield: Rafael Ortega – 414 plate appearances – .249/.331/.346/.677, 7 HR, 31 RBI, 97 wRC+
Palm Beach: Charlie Tilson – 402 plate appearances – .308/.357/.414/.770, 5 HR, 36 RBI, 121 wRC+
Peoria: C.J. McElroy – 558 plate appearances – .267/.342/.298/.640, 0 HR, 29 RBI, 92 wRC+
State College: Jhohan Acevedo – 218 plate appearances – .256/.312/.317/.628, 1 HR, 21 RBI, 88 wRC+
Johnson City: Blake Drake – 279 plate appearances – .282/.364/.419/.783, 6 HR, 35 RBI, 128 wRC+
GCL Cards: Magneuris Sierra – 223 plate appearances – .386/.434/.505/.939, 2 HR, 30 RBI, 170 wRC+
DSL Cards: Carlos Talavera – 271 plate appearances – .197/.301/.266/.567, 0 HR, 13 RBI, 74 wRC+
Sierra was named the Cardinals Minor League Player of the Year by the organization, and it is easy to see why. While he is not a big power guy, he can spray the ball all over the field as his .505 SLG shows. Sierra won the Gulf Coast League batting title and the acclaim of other managers as one proclaimed him the most exciting player to watch in the league. Pham also appears to have had his break out season in 2014 as his OPS was near .900 and it earned him a late season addition to the Cardinals 40-man roster to avoid minor league free agency. I believe health was the key as he played in 104 minor league games, the most since 2010.
Another guy that had a good season was Charlie Tilson. The 22-year old split time between High-A Palm Beach and Double-A Springfield. The numbers above are with Palm Beach and he struggled in his time at Springfield, but Tilson should still be considered a top-10 prospect in my opinion and will get another chance at Springfield in 2015. Blake Drake appears to be the sleeper of the group listed above. The Cards’ 18th round pick in 2014 had a solid season at a lower level and could be in line for a big promotion to either Peoria or Palm Beach.
Magneuris Sierra is going to take the center field position on our team, but it was probably closer than you believe. It is hard to imagine him continue those numbers over 400 at bats like Tommy Pham had, but we truly don’t know. The 18-year old Sierra will have the opportunity to be the next big time Cardinals prospect as he won’t turn 19 until halfway through the 2015 season. I would be surprised to see Sierra make a full-time club like Peoria and I would expect him to start either with State College or Jonson City. I am still hesitant to put Sierra in my top-10 because he only had about a third of a full season’s at-bats. If success like this (or marginally like this) continues for Sierra in 2015, he should be a top 10 prospect and could be top 5 if he sees full-season time.
Who do you think the All-Organizational CF should be?