*Over the course of this week we will be offering you our updated Top 30 Prospect list. Day 1, today, We’ll be giving you the names that have fallen off of the list. On Wednesday July 5th we’ll be giving you our first group of prospects, numbers 30-21. Then on July 6th you’ll get prospects 20-11. Prospects 10-1 will go live on Friday July 7th. ENJOY!
As we start our coverage of the new Top 30 Prospects in the system, it only seems fair that we highlight some of the names that have fallen off of our Top 30 Prospect List. And, in the interest of fairness, we’ll be providing you our reasoning as to why they have fallen off of the List.
six Seven names that have fallen off of our list, ranging from prospect number 17 to prospect number 30, and for various different reasons. That’s a good amount of turnover.
Ronnie Williams(Pictured): Class A Peoria – RHP, Age 21 – 2017 Stats – 20 Appearances, 5 starts, 2-4, 7.19 ERA, 51.1 IP, 7 HR Allowed, 29 BB, 57 K, .289 Batting Average Against, 1.68 WHIP
Redbird Daily’s Preseason Ranking: 17
It’s been a disappointing season for Williams to say the least. We were worried as he entered the season that he was letting up too many HR at the end of the 2016 season as he finished the season in Peoria. So far in 2017 he’s done nothing to calm those concerns, as he’s allowed 7 HR over 51.1 IP.
Even more sobering for Williams, he was demoted from the Peoria rotation to the bullpen after only 5 starts on the season because he wasn’t effective enough. Unfortunately, things haven’t been much better for Williams out of the bullpen, as he is sporting an ERA of 5.02, an OPS Against of .700, and 2/1 strike out to walk ratio.
Williams has the stuff to be a starter and to reenter our Top 30 list, but it’s going to take a philosophy change. He needs to cut down on the walks and the HR while refining his off-speed offerings. That’s a lot to ask, and that’s why he has fallen off of our list.
Connor Jones: Class A+ Palm Beach – RHP Age 22 – 2017 Stats – 13 Appearances, 12 Starts, 59 IP, 3 HR Allowed, 26 BB, 38 K, .265 Batting Average Against, 1.46 WHIP
Redbird Daily’s Preseason Ranking: 19
Connor Jones has been fine. I mean, he hasn’t been great. He hasn’t been good, exactly. He’s been fine. As a matter of fact, he’s been exactly what he was in his final season at the University of Virginia.
But that’s not good enough to be on my Top 30 list.
You know the story by now, but at the start of the 2016 college baseball season it was believed that Jones would be a top 15 pick in the 2016 draft. However, Jones saw his strike out totals tank and his command and deception erode, so he fell to the Cardinals in the 2nd Round. Truth be told, he should have fallen further, but the Cardinals took a flier on him because of his signability and because they thought that they could tap into the magic that he showed early on in his college career.
But that hasn’t happened yet. His velocity is down, living in the low 90’s, and his off-speed stuff isn’t fooling anyone in a league that is notorious for boost and inflating pitching stats. With a lot of the starting pitchers on this list they at least have a fall back plan as an arm out of the bullpen, but Jones doesn’t even have that.
So, off the list he goes.
Nick Plummer: Class A Peoria – OF, Age 20 – 2017 Stats – 127 AB, 36 Total Bases, 6 Doubles, 0 Triples, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 27 BB, 54 SO, 3 SB, 3 CS, 185/352/277/628
Redbird Daily Preseason Ranking: 25
Nick Plummer breaks my heart.
This was supposed to be Plummer’s breakout season. After a short minor league career that had been mired in injuries, Plummer started the season at Full Season affiliate Peoria. He had impressed Cardinals brass during spring training at minor league camp and his prospect fire was burning bright.
However, 6 games into the season he suffered another injury that kept him out of the lineup for nearly a month. It’s hard to invest expectations into a player that doesn’t play enough to evaluate.
Unfortunately for Plummer his production upon returning from the DL on May 8th has been exactly lack luster. He has a great eye at the plate, as the .348 OBP suggest. But he constantly makes soft contact, strikes out a lot, and his defense in CF is substandard. Plummer has a weak arm and he lacks the breakout speed to cover an elite amount of ground in CF.
Plummer is a soft hitting LF that can’t stay healthy as of right now. There is no place on our list for that. He is still only 20, so there is plenty of time to recover his prospect potential. He just hasn’t done it yet.
John Gant: Class Triple A Memphis, St. Louis Cardinals – RHP, Age 24 – 2017 Stats: 9 Appearances, 8 Starts, 45 IP, 7 HR Allowed, 12 BB, 41 K, .232 Batting Average Against, 1.27 WHIP
Redbird Daily Preseason Ranking: 27
This one is simple for me: I’ve decided to remove Gant from our list because he’s a major leaguer. He is no longer a prospect.
Make no mistake, I love John Gant. He’s going to be an important part of this organization for as long as he’s in the organization. This is his graduation, and congratulations to him for it!
Jeremy Martinez: Class A+ Palm Beach – Catcher, Age 22 – 2017 Stats – 126 AB, 22 Total Bases, 1 Double, 0 Triples, 0 HR, 8 RBI, 13 BB, 19 SO, 1 SB, 0 CS, 167/259/175/433
Redbird Daily Preseason Ranking: 28
I’m willing to bet that this won’t be the last we hear from Martinez. It’s just that, right now, it’s been a such a rough start to his season.
Martinez received an aggressive and advance promotion to Palm Beach following a dominant showing at State College after being drafted in the 2016 draft.
But Martinez has really struggled, and he even had to take a pause during the first part of the season to regroup and catch his breath.
The good news is that it appears that Martinez’ catching is still progressing, even though his hitting has hit a wall. And, at least, he isn’t striking out a lot and he is walking a solid amount as compared to the strike outs, which is his M.O as a hitter.
I like Jeremy a lot, but he just hasn’t been good enough, especially when you consider that another catcher taken in last years draft, Andrew Knizner, leap-frogged over him for a promotion to Springfield. That kind of stagnation will keep you off of a Top 30 list.
Jonathan Machado: Rookie League GCL – OF, Age 18 – 2016 Stats – 67 AB, 20 Total Bases, 4 Doubles, 1 Triple, 0 HR, 7 RBI, 7 BB, 10 K, 2 SB, 1 CS, 209/284/299/582
Redbird Daily Preseason Ranking: 29
So, you might be asking yourself how a guy can fall off of the list without even playing a game yet in the 2017 season and without being injured during the 2017 season. Well, it’s this way for a couple of reasons.
First, there have been a couple of really great performances elsewhere in the organization and those performances have helped to push Machado off of our list.
Second, I never had Machado in the top 30 of my personal list to begin with. When former Redbird Daily staff member John Nagel and I combined our list that was what put Machado in our Top 30. So now that I am SUPREME OVERLORD OF PROSPECTS here at The Redbird Daily, I’m Dictator-shipping Machado off of the list!
Machado is a fine prospect and it cost the Cardinals a lot of money to sign him, but he’s so far away and his skill set teeters on the rail of fringe, so I’m going to hold off on being excited about Machado until he starts to produce. His speed is undoubtedly elite, I just don’t think that his Ichiro-type swing is good enough to make a significant mark. Only time will tell.
Daniel Poncedeleon: Class Triple A Memphis – RHP, Age 25 – 2017 Stats – 6 Appearances, 6 Starts, 29 IP, 2 HR Allowed, 13 BB, 25 SO, .196 BA Against, 1.14 WHIP
Redbird Daily Preseason Ranking: 30
This one makes me sick to do. I mean it. I am in physical and mental anguish as I write this.
Poncedeleon deserves to be bumped up on this list. He was pitching great and was working his way, at least, into my Top 25. But on May 9th he took a violent line drive to his head that sent him to the ICU. He needed multiple surgeries to protect his brain and relieve pressure on his brain. All indications now are that he will be fine as he moves forward as a human being, and THAT IS INCREDIBLE AND WONDERFUL AND RELIEVING NEWS.
But right now there is no indication that Poncedeleon will be able to pitch ever again. And no one will fault him if he did reach the point in which he was able to pitch but chose not to protect his health and well-being.
Here’s to hoping that this young man gets to live the healthy and happy life that he deserves.
Thanks For Reading!!