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 #30: Daniel Poncedeleon – 9th round, 2014
2016 Stats: AA Springfield – 9-8, 3.52 ERA, 151 IP, 122 K, 56 BB
Kyle Reis (ranked #30 on personal list)
There are a few pitchers in the Cardinals organization that have been compared to former Cardinals Jeff Suppan and Joel Piniero. Names like Trey Nielsen, Arturo Reyes, Andrew Morales and Matt Pearce (a few prospects that just missed our “Best Of The Rest” list). But I believe that Poncedeleon has the best chance in that third tier of pitchers in the system to reach that level of success
If you don’t know Poncedeleon history by now, here’s the Cliff Notes: He was drafted four different times over a five years span while playing for four different Colleges, including some place called Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. After being draft by the Rays, Reds, and Cubs, Poncedeleon finally stuck with the Cardinals.
Already at Double A Springfield in his 3rd season, Poncedeleon is a quick riser, albeit a little old, who held hitters to a great .231 average against while striking out 121 in 151 innings. And, to demonstrate how good he’s been in those three seasons, 2016 was by far his least dominant. When you pair his WHIP of 1.22 with that average against you see a pitcher that can handle his own.
With a fastball that has touched 95, an above average slider, a good cutter, a changeup that is only getting better, a 70 grade name and story, I believe the 6 foot 4 “Poncedeleon” will soon see his name stretched out on the back of The Birds On The Bat.
John Nagel (ranked #36 on personal list)
Kyle went through Daniel Poncedeleon’s pretty cool story above, so I will spare you that. However, I want to focus on what I think is a huge factor in him not making my personal top 30, which is his age.
At 25-years old, Poncedeleon is older than Marco Gonzales, John Gant, Sam Tuivaialala, and Rowan Wick. All guys that have seemingly been around the Cardinals system (except Gant) forever. Another problem here is all the above (except Wick) have had more than just a cup of coffee in the majors. Poncedeleon hasn’t pitched above Double-A
If we continue with the age theme, we see that 2016 was the first time in the big right handers career that he was younger than the league average age. 2016 also saw his highest career ERA and FIP, as well as an increased walk total.
There are a couple of other stats that aren’t good signs. His K-BB% ratio has gotten worse every year in professional baseball. Also, batters hit a line drive just 9% of the time in 2015 which compares to 21% last year. His actual number is probably somewhere in between that.
For Daniel Poncedeleon to continue to improve, he needs to walk less batters and work lower in the zone. In 2015 nearly 60% of batted balls against him were ground balls. That is an incredible number. Last year, that number dropped to just 46%.
There is still time for him to become a factor at the major league level, but at 25-years old, time is running pretty quickly.
How we rank prospects: Click Here
Best of The Rest: Click Here
#30 Prospect: Daniel Poncedeleon
#29 Prospect: 2/5
#28 Prospect: 2/7
#27 Prospect: 2/9
#26 Prospect: 2/11
#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