Major League Baseball recently released the top 100 prospects in the game for the upcoming 2018 season. The St. Louis Cardinals had another respectable showing by placing four of their own on the list. St. Louis was also one of thirteen teams with four or more prospects to be listed. Over the last fifteen years the Cardinals have developed a history of fostering and producing top talent. They hope this year is no different. For the Redbirds, three of their four prospects on the top 100 list fall inside the top fifty. Pitcher Alex Reyes lands at number eighteen, pitcher Jack Flaherty slides in at number thirty eight, and catcher Carson Kelly falls in at number forty six. The fourth prospect on the list for St. Louis is outfielder Tyler O’Neill who comes in at number ninety four respectively. Lets take a look at the ceilings for each of these players and how they might contribute at the major league level within the next few seasons.

Beginning with Alex Reyes, the man who has seemingly been at or near the top of the Cardinals top prospect list for almost four years now. Cardinal nation has been waiting patiently for the arrival of the man who they envision as a top of the rotation talent. However, after a shoulder issue, a drug suspension, and tommy john surgery the waters become a little bit murky for his ceiling to rise all the way to becoming a number one or two in the rotation for St. Louis. Reyes has an excellent fastball which can touch triple digits. Additionally, Reyes possesses an above average curveball and changeup. Three pitches in the arsenal which show his great potential. It has been reported that Reyes’ recovery from tommy john surgery has been smooth and successful. If he is able to remain healthy St. Louis could have found a star in the Dominican Republic back in 2012.

Next, we will look into Jack Flaherty. The 2014 first round pick has lived up to his draft stock earning 29 wins with a 2.77 ERA across four seasons in the minor leagues. Flaherty has a fastball which has been progressing rapidly since the Cardinals drafted him, along with an MLB ready slider, curveball, and changeup. The array of pitches which Flaherty holds can earn him a definite spot in the Cardinals rotation within the next few years. Whether that would be as a top of the rotation pitcher or a number three or four remains to be seen. Although, it is Flaherty’s command and ability to make hitters swing and miss which excites the Cardinals front office. Throughout four years in the minors Flaherty has almost 400 strikeouts with only 115 walks.This ability, combined with his four above average pitches can land Flaherty a spot on a few all-star teams throughout his career.

Now, the case of Carson Kelly is an interesting and complicated one. Originally drafted as a third basemen out of high school, St. Louis transformed Kelly into one of the top catching prospects in all of baseball. Through learning from arguably one of the best defensive catchers of all time, Yadier Molina, Kelly has developed into a terrific defensive catcher himself. Kelly is also a solid offensive catcher. Over the last two seasons in the minors he has hit for a .289 average and a .283 average. He also added sixteen home runs and seventy three RBI’s over that time frame. The only thing stopping Kelly from being the starting catcher in St. Louis right now is legend Yadier Molina. Molina plans to retire when his contract runs out in 2020 and if Kelly can continue to progress his potential over that time there should be nothing stopping him from being the go to back stop in St. Louis for many years to come. The other potential future path for Kelly can be the Cardinals including him in a trade package for someone who can help the Redbirds win right now. However, Kelly is still in the Cardinals system and the fans in St. Louis should expect nothing less than to see him playing at Busch for the majority of his career.

Finally, Tyler O’Neill has been compared to Randal Grichuk in regards to his athletic ability and play on the field thus far throughout his career. With that being said, O’Neill still has the tools to have a higher ceiling than Grichuk and many Cardinal fans will hope this is the case. Before Grichuk reached the majors in St. Louis he hit eighty six home runs with 330 RBI’s throughout his minor league career in the Los Angeles system and briefly in the St. Louis system. O’Neill has hit 101 home runs with 339 RBI’s throughout the minor league system in Seattle and St. Louis. Both players have had a relatively higher strikeout rate than most and possess a batting average that is nothing too special. Both players are good athletes and can play all three positions in the outfield. O’Neill, however, has been able to progressively improve his walk rate which is something Grichuk has not been able to do. With guys like O’Neill and Harrison Bader rising through the ranks in the Cardinal system I believe it made St. Louis comfortable enough to let go of Grichuk this offseason. St. Louis was further able to empty it’s crowded outfield situation by also letting go of Stephen Piscotty and Magneuris Sierra this offseason. Consequently, Redbird supporters may see O’Neill slide in as an every day outfielder at Busch within the next three or four years. Whether he has that all-star potential remains to be seen.

St. Louis appears to have players in their farm system who can make an impact at the major league level in the coming years. Focusing on Reyes, Flaherty, Kelly, and O’Neill one will see these four players all have different skill sets and ceilings of potential. However, as a whole, each of the players should be able to contribute to winning baseball in St. Louis over the next few years. Reyes and Flaherty might be able to land a spot on an all-star team or two within the next six to eight years. Kelly and O’Neill have the potential to be every day starters in St. Louis and may reach that all-star potential throughout the duration of their career.

This article first appeared on isportsweb.com and was syndicated with permission.

MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Draymond Green, Kevin Durant: Warriors do not care about having best record

Brian Cushing announces NFL retirement on Instagram

David Price warns JD Martinez that fans in Boston will boo him

Yelich: ‘Everything changed’ for Marlins after Fernandez’s death

NCAA upholds penalties against Louisville related to scandal

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Mattingly fires back at Harper over Marlins criticism

Report: Jets could pay Kirk Cousins $60 million in 2018

Doug Martin released by Buccaneers

Cuban: Losing is Mavs' 'best option' for rest of season

Figure skater Scott Moir jabs Brett Favre with retirement talk

Report: Nets owner backing lawsuit against Russian doping whistleblower

The 'All muscle hamsters go to heaven' quiz

A.J. McCarron might be the best consolation prize in free agency

MLB's top 10 second basemen for 2018

Offseason needs for every NFL team

Donovan Mitchell's limiting nostalgia

Negro Leaguers every baseball fan should know

Top 30 NFL free agents

MLB's top 10 starting pitchers for 2018

Grading the deal: Eric Hosmer finally finds a home with Padres

MLB's top 10 catchers for 2018

The 'James gang walks away with a win' quiz

Sports & Politics Intersect: NBA united against racial divide

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Offseason needs for every NFL team

MLB's top 10 second basemen for 2018

The 'All muscle hamsters go to heaven' quiz

A.J. McCarron might be the best consolation prize in free agency

The 'James gang walks away with a win' quiz

Negro Leaguers every baseball fan should know

Top 30 NFL free agents

Sports & Politics Intersect: NBA united against racial divide

The 'Emerald City on ice' quiz

NHL Weekender: Blackhawks, Rangers continue to free fall

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker