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St. Louis Cardinals Top Prospects: #21

Every other day over the next two months, John Nagel and Kyle Reis will announce a new prospect on The Redbird Daily’s Top 30 St. Louis Cardinals Prospect List. For each prospect, John and Kyle will reveal where that prospect landed on their personal lists and also few thoughts on the prospect. We hope you enjoy!

Prospect #21 Johan Oviedo – International Signee, 2016

2016 Stats: Dominican Summer League – 0-1, 1.66 ERA, 21.2 IP, 29 K, 6 BB

Kyle Reis (Prospect #19 On Personal List)

Every once in a while a prospect comes along and turns an evaluator into a complete hypocrite. In my case, Oviedo is the player on our list that makes me a hypocrite.

When John and I wrote about how we ranked prospects, I wrote that proximity to the majors affects where I rank a prospect. I wrote that a players’ age relative to the average age of the league he is playing in weighs heavily when I rank prospects. I wrote that I trust my eyes and I try to watch as much video on the players as possible.

I can’t check any of those boxes with Oviedo. After signing on July 2nd, Oviedo was placed in the DSL, the league furthest from the majors. Oviedo was younger than the average age of a DSL player, but the DSL is a weird league, often filled with older players that will never make it stateside. Also, it is very hard to find video of Oviedo, so my evaluation of him is based only on what I’ve read and heard through the grapevine.

So, evaluating Oviedo gives us a chance to examine what it is to build a top pitching prospect.

First, if you’re going to build a pitcher from scratch you start with a nice frame. Say, 6’6 and 230 pounds.

Then you have that frame throw gas. Say, top out 98 while throwing mid 90’s consistently.

Next, you give this prospect build out of clay a curve ball that has the potential to be a dynamic plus pitch.

Sprinkle in a second breaking pitch, advanced command of the fastball, and a dash of the success that the Cardinals have had developing fire-throwing international signees (Alex Reyes, Carlos Martinez, other prospects we haven’t gotten to on our list yet…) and you have a legitimate pitching prospect. That’s what you have in Oviedo.

Unfortunately, that is about all that I can say about Oviedo. As an international signee that flew below the radar before being signed, there just isn’t a lot to go on. His size, stuff, and limited success get him on the list. The 2017 season will be the first substantive professional taste that Oviedo gets and also our first real chance to watch what he has. Oviedo still has a lot of developing to do and he needs to pitch successfully stateside, but he has the makeup, foundation, and building blocks to be a legitimate top tier prospect. If Oviedo can really develop that third pitch and continue to refine the fastball and curve, he’ll be the next big international signing to make noise for the Cardinals.


John Nagel (Prospect #23  On Personal List)

There is not much more I can add to what Kyle said. Johan Oviedo has very limited professional experience so we are just going off of scouting reports, which indicate the 6’6″ righty can throw a baseball pretty hard. Combine a mid-90’s fastball with a potentially plus curveball and you have a slightly less version of Alex Reyes.

With that said, Oviedo does not have the projection that Reyes had(has). I still think there is some risk involved as Oviedo is almost 19-years old and has pitched in the United States yet. For reference, Alex Reyes was pitching for Low-A Peoria when he was 19.

For 2017, I would like to see Oviedo pitch for either the Johnson City Cardinals or State College Spikes, but since he has not pitched on American soil yet, he could start with the GCL Cardinals. If that is the case, expect him to dominate the less experienced hitters.

Oviedo, along with Jordan Hicks, could be fast risers this season. For what it’s worth, I had Hicks one spot higher on my list as I think he is further along in the system and has about the same ceiling with slightly less risk than Oviedo. Both have tremendous upsides though.

How we rank prospects: Click Here
Best of The Rest: Click Here
#30 Prospect: Daniel Poncedeleon

#29 Prospect: Jonathan Machado
#28 Prospect: Jeremy Martinez
#27 Prospect: John Gant
#26 Prospect: Alvaro Seijas
#25 Prospect: Nick Plummer

#24 Prospect: Jordan Hicks
#23 Prospect: Zac Gallen 
#22 Prospect: Bryce Denton
#21 Prospect: Johan Oviedo
#20 Propsect: 2/23
#19 Prospect: 2/25
#18 Prospect: 2/27
#17 Prospect: 3/1
#16 Prospect: 3/3
#15 Prospect: 3/5
#14 Prospect: 3/7
#13 Prospect: 3/9
#12 Prospect: 3/11
#11 Prospect: 3/13
#10 Prospect: 3/15
#9 Prospect: 3/17
#8 Prospect: 3/19
#7 Prospect: 3/21
#6 Prospect: 3/23
#5 Prospect: 3/25
#4 Prospect: 3/27
#3 Prospect: 3/29
#2 Prospect: 3/31
#1 Prospect: 4/2

Kyle Reis
Kyle is a South City St Louis born and raised. He is 30 years old and grew up at old Busch Stadium. His favorite Cardinals player of all time is Ray Lankford. Kyle is an overly simple person who loves countable baseball statistics, following minor league baseball, and friendly discourse. He tends to not take people seriously that refer for the team that they root for as "we" instead of "them".
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