After a few months of taking some time off with Prospects1500, I’m back. With the MLB season a few weeks deep, we’re all hopeful that the presence of COVID-19 can move along anytime now. Most, if not all of us baseball fans, were excited when they announced the season would begin. With the minor league seasons getting shut down, there was a lot of opportunity for some of the closer to MLB prospects to maybe get a shot sometime this year of making their debut. With that being said, I’ve picked ten Cardinals prospects that you should keep tabs on. Some you might already know, and some maybe not so much. I’ve left off a few guys that most of us already know like Dylan Carlson, Nolan Gorman, and Matthew Liberatore. Those guys are some of the top prospects in the game. I’ve dug a little deeper into the system to tell you about 10 of the lesser named players. So let’s get to it.
I’ve listed the players’ rankings from my preseason Cardinals Top 50 Prospects if they were included on that list.
Ivan Herrera, C (Preseason #8)
Herrera has been moving up everyone’s prospects list the past couple of seasons. On my preseason Top 50, I have Herrera ranked 8th. Herrera is the top catching prospect the Cardinals have and easily a top 5 prospect in their system. He is an excellent hitter, see’s pitches extremely well for his age, and doesn’t strikeout very often. In 2019 between A and A+ ball, Herrera hit 9 home runs, 47 RBI, and a .284 batting average. He also had 40 walks and 72 strikeouts in his 356 plate appearances. Not too bad for 19 year old at the time. He may still be a couple years away, but keep this kid on your radar. He’s going to be good.
Zack Thompson, LHP (Preseason #7)
Thompson pitched in 15.1 innings in 2019 compiling 23 strikeouts, while only walking 4. Thompson projects more of a mid rotation pitcher, but that all depends on if he can stay healthy. While Thompson won’t be an elite arm, he does possess some great stuff. He can throw his fastball mid to high 90’s, but usually sits in the lower 90’s. Thompson has two breaking balls in his arsenal as well. A curveball that is one of his better pitches, and a slider with some late slicing action that can be above average at times. To round out his pitches he also has a changeup that is average at best. This four pitch mix has the potential to be excellent at times and I think Thompson, with a little work, can be that 3rd man in the rotation for a long time.
Tre Fletcher, OF (Preseason #15)
Fletcher was drafted in the second round of the 2019 MLB Draft. Fletcher is still a few years away from the MLB, but with his raw power and speed, he can be a great asset. In 2019, Fletcher hit 4 home runs, 26 RBI, and stole 7 bases in 160 AB. His average was only .244, not great, but if he cuts down some of the strikeouts that’ll go up quickly. Fletcher is still only 19 so he has lots of time to develop and work on some of his downfalls. You might have to hang onto him for awhile in your dynasty leagues, but if you have some patience it could pay off in the years to come.
Darlin Moquete, OF
Darlin Moquete might not be a name you’ve heard of yet, but you’ll want to remember it. Moquete spent 2018 and 2019 in the DSL where he fared very, very well. I know it’s only Rookie ball, but if what he did there can carry on into the top tiers of the minors, this kid will be a must have. In 2019, Moquete had 5 home runs, 33 RBI, and a whopping 23 stolen bases in just 181 plate appearances. Moquete struck out only 16 times while walking 17. Good for an OPS of 1.030. Not too shabby if you ask me.
Tony Locey, RHP (Preseason #19)
Locey pitched in just 17 innings in 2019 after being drafted in the 3rd round. But he struck out 31 in those 17 innings, good for a 16.4 K/9. Locey can be a starter and his velocity seems to hang around throughout his entire start. But with his stuff I think the back end of the bullpen is where he could be best. His fastball can hit the high 90’s, mixed in with a curveball, and a slider. Locey should be up in the next year or two and where the Cardinals use him is up in the air. But whether he’s a starter, or in the bullpen, he has high K potential.
Juan Yepez, 1B/3B/OF (Preseason #36)
Yepez was acquired from the Atlanta Braves in 2017 for Matt Adams. Yepez has some great power and while he played 37 games in the OF, due to his lack of speed I imagine he will end up playing 1st base after all is said and done. 2019 seen Yepez move up from A to A+ and ending in AA. Throughout the 3 levels he hit 10 home runs and 43 RBI. Yepez still has some swing and miss tendencies, but has cut them down a lot since joining the Cardinals system. It’s only a matter of time until Yepez is in the MLB, most likely within the next year or so.
Elehuris Montero, 3B (Preseason #5)
2020 has seen Montero get added to the 60-man player pool, but then tested positive for COVID-19. Montero is a solid hitter with great hand eye coordination. 2019 wasn’t a great year for Montero as he had an average below .200. But he did however hit 7 home runs, and 18 RBI in an injury riddled season. Montero is a great hitter and his time in the MLB is coming sooner rather than later if he can stay healthy. Once he gets over COVID-19 and can get his negative tests, he may get a chance to show what he can do this season.
Andre Pallante, RHP (Preseason #21)
Although Pallante projects more of back end starter, he’s a solid pitcher that throws a ton of strikes. Pallante is still a couple years away from making his debut, but with a little work on his secondary pitches, he can be a mainstay as a possible 4th starter in the rotation. In 2019 he pitched in A-, and in 35.2 innings he struck out 38 and finished with a 2.78 ERA. When the minor leagues start back up, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him move up through the system quickly.
Ricardo Sanchez, LHP
Sanchez was signed by the Angels in the 2013-14 signing period. Prior to the 2015 he was acquired by the Braves and ended up making the 40-man roster, but ended up being designated for assignment and traded to the Mariners after the 2018 season. Sanchez had a successful 2019 season in the Mariners system but was DFA’d again. Then in February of 2020, the Cardinals gave him another shot. Sanchez has the stuff to be a back end starter or possible long reliever. At 23-years-old he’s not too far away from getting a shot in the majors either. I think he just needs to get his shot and have a team like the Cardinals to give him chance. He has shown at times that he can be a great pitcher and I think maybe a change of scenery that lasts more than one season could be a confidence booster for him
Jordan Walker, 3B
Walker was drafted 21st overall in the 2020 MLB Draft. Standing 6’5″, the kid is a giant with a ton of power potential. Walker has some decent speed but once he physically matures a bit in the coming years he’s bound to lose a step or two. I believe Walker has a ton of potential both with that bat and on the base paths. He’s a 3B, but if he loses some of his speed, he will most likely end up in the OF. With his arm strength he would be a solid right fielder. I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do once the minor league season starts back up next year.
Hope you enjoyed my list of 10 players to keep an eye out for. Obviously there are many other players that could easily have made this list. These are just some that have caught my eye over the last year or two. Thanks again for reading!!
I am the St. Louis Cardinals correspondent for Prospects1500. Live in Manitoba, Canada. Big sports fan for all sports. Love my Philadelphia Eagles, San Jose Sharks and the Boston Red Sox. Part of Diamond Duos V deep dynasty league. Always free to answer questions, or just chat fantasy sports. Thanks!! Follow me on Twitter at @ChrisEros