ST. LOUIS -- While their decision to deal Stephen Piscotty last month was, in part, dictated by a need to unclutter a crowded roster of outfielders, the Cardinals were not going to send the right fielder away without an appropriate return.They found a match with the A's, who sent a
ST. LOUIS -- While their decision to deal Stephen Piscotty last month was, in part, dictated by a need to unclutter a crowded roster of outfielders, the Cardinals were not going to send the right fielder away without an appropriate return.
They found a match with the A's, who sent a pair of Minor League infielders back to the Cardinals. One of those was Max Schrock, who, on Monday, was ranked eighth on MLB Pipeline's preseason list of second-base prospects.
:: Top 10 Prospects by Position ::
Schrock is the third Cardinals player to dent one of MLB Pipeline's Top 10 positional lists. Last week, Alex Reyes was named the seventh-best right-handed pitching prospect entering 2018, while Carson Kelly ranked second on the list of catchers. Schrock is currently the organization's 11th-ranked prospect.
Though it's his strongest defensive position, Schrock, 23, won't necessarily be utilized solely as a second baseman with his new organization. The Cardinals have also considered getting the former 13th round Draft pick some exposure at third base and in the outfield. With Oakland, Schrock played almost exclusively at second.
What most intrigued the Cardinals about the left-handed hitting Schrock, though, was his offensive potential. In his first full season at Double-A, Schrock batted .321/.379/422 with an .801 OPS in 2017. He struck out only 42 times in 457 plate appearances. Schrock has a career slash line of .324/.372/.439 in three Minor League seasons.
"Everywhere he's been, he's hit," said president of baseball operations John Mozeliak. "When you're looking at all the different things you're trying to do [with creating roster flexibility], it's nice to be able to find a couple players that we can just stick right into Double-A and Triple-A and know that they're going to be productive."
Schrock will get an invite to Major League Spring Training, where he'll be able to make his first impression in front of the big league coaching staff. While he's a longshot to make the Opening Day roster, Schrock's versatility could carry him to the Majors sometime later in the 2018 season.
Ranking ahead of Schrock on MLB Pipeline's list of top second basemen were Philadelphia's Scott Kingery, Luis Urias (Padres), Keston Hiura (Brewers), Isan Diaz (Brewers), Nick Solak (Yankees), Shed Long (Reds) and Garrett Hampson (Rockies). Brandon Lowe (Rays) and Kevin Kramer (Pirates) round out the Top 10.
MLB Pipeline is revealing a new Top 10 positional list daily as a lead in to its reveal of the Top 100 prospect rankings on Saturday.
Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.