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St. Louis Cardinals Top Prospects: #29

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 #29: Jonathan Machado – International Signee – 2016

2016 Stats: R DSL Cardinals – .209/.284/.299, 0 HR, 7 RBI, 2 SB

Kyle Reis (#36 on personal list)

We are only two names into the list and we already have two pretty sizeable discrepancies in our personal rankings! I love it!

First, Machado’s small taste of the DSL had absolutely no weight when it came to where I ranked him. There are exceptions to the rule (and we’ll be getting to some of those names over the next few weeks) but I largely take production in draft year/signing year with a grain of salt. That rule applies especially to teenagers.

Truth be told, I have no idea what to make of Machado. I’ve watched every video that I can find on the kid and I’m baffled that the Cardinals gave him such a large signing bonus ($2.35 Million) during this year’s international signing period. The Cardinals have been linked to the pint-sized Machado for a few years now, and part of me wonders if the signing bonus was agreed upon back when he was a projectable 15, not the 17-year-old that they actually signed.

When it comes to scouting Machado, the first thing that jumps out is that he is an absolute burner. I could see him having Billy Hamilton-type range in CF when fully developed. That gets you excited, until you watch him throw the ball with a wet noodle that makes Jon Jay‘s arm look like Carlos Beltran‘s.

At the plate, Machado is a contact-monster, although most of it is soft contact. If Mags Sierra is projected to hit 10-12 home runs at most per season, then there is almost no way that Machado hits 10 in a season.  Which, of course, is fine if his arm develops to at least average for a center fielder and he can get on base enough. I’m anxious to see what level Machado starts at. I imagine it’ll be the GCL, but I could easily see the now 18-year-old starting back in the DSL.

I find Machado’s swing terribly interesting, as well. You’ll hear him compared to Ichiro mostly because of his footwork and load transfer, but also because he is really just throwing the bat at the ball. It’s fun to watch, but I wonder about its sustainability as he advances. Another interesting thing about his swing is that it’s very loopy and, from the side, reminds me a lot of the late Oscar Taveras‘ swing. That swing was beautiful, but had serious contact questions when he finally reached the majors.

Sure, I just spent a little time tearing the kid apart, but there is good news: He’s only 18 and there is plenty of physical developing ahead of him. The Cardinals certainly thought so. It’s just that, right now, he is a small kid that doesn’t have a strong enough arm for center or a bat for a corner. The kid is a Rubik’s cube, and if his development spins correctly and the blocks line up he could end up as an average major leaguer.

But, I mean, have you ever tried to do a Rubik’s Cube?!


John Nagel (#26 on personal list)

Like Kyle mentioned above, we have a 10 spot difference on Machado. Unlike our last player, Daniel Poncedeleon, I will spend this time looking at the positives of Jonathan Machado. While Kyle did a great job looking at the things that could cause him problems, I think there is a lot to like.

I think if you could find a speedy, lead-off type, solid center fielder in the draft, you would take him pretty early on. That is what the Cardinals have in Machado. The easiest comparison to make for Machado is with Magneuris Sierra. However, I think Machado is faster and can get on base more, making him a better lead-off option than Sierra. Don’t get me wrong, Sierra is by far the better of the two, I just question his chance to hit at the top of a major league lineup.

For me, there is less risk in Jonathan Machado than other players at his age or experience level. Speed is a tool that really doesn’t change much, the same with getting on base. If you can consistently get on base at 17-years old, you will be able to get on base at 24 years old.

The problem with Machado is, I think he can get overlooked by prospect raters pretty quickly as he doesn’t have much power. For him to continue to move up this list, he will need to make his US debut this season and continue to get on base at excellent rates.

I think the Billy Hamilton comparison is not a good one as Hamilton can’t get on base very well. Imagine a Billy Hamilton with a .350 OBP? That is what you might have with Machado.

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

#29 Prospect: Jonathan Machado
#28 Prospect: 2/7
#27 Prospect: 2/9
#26 Prospect: 2/11 
#25 Prospect:
#24 Prospect: 2/15
#23 Prospect: 2/17
#22 Prospect: 2/19
#21 Prospect: 2/21
#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


Father, husband, teacher who currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia. Grew up in St. Louis and has been a huge Cards fan as long as I can remember.
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