Here are the Cardinals' 2019 Top 30 Prospects

February 21st, 2019

The top of last year’s Cardinals Top 30 turned out to be an early preview of the team’s rookie class, as the Nos. 1-7 on the list all went on to make meaningful contributions in the Major Leagues, helping the Cards remain in the playoff hunt into the final week of the regular season.

Jack Flaherty (No. 2 in 2018) was the club’s second-best starter after Miles Mikolas and finished fifth in the National League Rookie of the Year Award race, while Jordan Hicks (No. 7) broke camp with the team and quickly became a Statcast legend. Harrison Bader’s (No. 5 in '18) emergence as the team’s everyday center fielder both strengthened the roster and created the flexibility needed to trade Tommy Pham to the Rays for prospects in July.

Alex Reyes, now in his fourth year as the organization’s top-ranked prospect, still has tremendous upside and is on track for a healthy start in 2019. He should have plenty of company in the big leagues, too, as there are 17 players on the Cardinals' Top 30 with an ETA of '19.

Looking ahead, 2018 first-round pick Nolan Gorman could be a special hitter. He smashed 17 home runs and reached full-season ball in his pro debut -- two accomplishments rarely seen from an 18-year-old pick out of high school. Gorman is the headliner in the group of the three hard-hitting third-base prospects ranked inside Top 10, joined by Elehuris Montero and Malcom Nunez. Together, they help comprise a crop of 23 homegrown players on this year’s list.

The Cardinals have made it clear with their acquisition of Paul Goldschmidt and signing of free agent Andrew Miller this offseason that they believe their best chance to win is now. With that in mind, they could very well take the same approach to managing talent as they did in 2018, using prospects to better the big league roster either via promotions or trades.

Here's a look at the Cardinals' top prospects

1. Alex Reyes, RHP

2. Nolan Gorman, 3B

3. Andrew Knizner, C

4. Dakota Hudson, RHP

5. Elehuris Montero, 3B

Biggest jump/fall

Here are the players whose ranks changed the most from the 2018 preseason list to the '19 preseason list:

Jump: Lane Thomas, OF (2018: NR | 2019: 9) -- Finally healthy, he led the system with 27 home runs and swiped 17 bags in Double- and Triple-A

Fall: Max Schrock, 2B (2018: 10 | 2019: 28) -- A .324 hitter in his first three pro seasons, he batted .249 last year in Triple-A

Best tools

Players are graded on a 20-80 scouting scale for future tools -- 20-30 is well below average, 40 is below average, 50 is average, 60 is above average and 70-80 is well above average. Players in parentheses have the same grade.

Hit: 55 -- Elehuris Montero (Knizner, Malcom Nunez, Tommy Edman, Ramon Urias)

Power: 60 -- Nolan Gorman

Run: 60 -- Lane Thomas (Wadye Ynfante)

Arm: 60 -- Montero (Jhon Torres, Luken Baker)

Defense: 60 -- Edmundo Sosa

Fastball: 75 -- Reyes

Curveball: 60 -- Reyes

Slider: 70 -- Griffin Roberts

Changeup: 65 -- Steven Gingery

Control: 55 -- Gingery

How they were built

Draft: 13 | International: 10 |Trade: 7 | Free agent: 0 | Rule 5: 0

Breakdown by ETA

2019: 17 | 2020: 4 | 2021: 4 | 2022: 4 | 2023: 1

Breakdown by position

C: 2 | 1B: 1 | 2B: 1 | 3B: 3 | SS: 2 | INF: 1 | OF: 7 | RHP: 10 | LHP: 3