Here’s a shocker, the Cardinals’ farm system was again ranked number one, this time by Keith Law of ESPN. From the article:
The Cardinals have drafted well, fared well in Latin America, traded well and developed well over the past five years, fulfilling the main goals of a farm system: Provide talent for the major league roster, and provide currency for trades to do the same. St. Louis has shown a willingness to use young players in minor roles, with some of them graduating to full-time roles, a process I think will be easier under current manager Mike Matheny — and it’s a good thing, as the system is bursting with players who look like they’ll be ready for the majors in the next year and who project as average regulars or more. There at least five guys in the Cardinals’ system — if we include Tyrell Jenkins, who’s coming off a shoulder injury — who project as mid-rotation starters or better. Two of them — Shelby Miller and Trevor Rosenthal — are ready now. They’ve got the minors’ best pure offensive prospect in Oscar Taveras, their usual assortment of unheralded relief prospects and plenty of depth in the type of bat-first college position prospects they’ve had success with over the past few years, a strategy that helped yield guys like Allen Craig and Matt Carpenter. They’re in extremely good position to keep the major league club in contention for another five years without forcing them to ratchet up the payroll, and should produce a few rookie of the year candidates in that period, as well.
Throughout Spring Training, we will be talking in-depth about each and every one of these guys. In some ways, the Cardinals almost have too many good prospects and not enough room of the roster to fill it with their top minor-leaguers. I think Spring Training this year will be a lot of fun to watch. Instead of figuring out who the “best worst option” is, a problem many teams have, they’ll really have the opportunity to pick a solid group of players to fill in the back end of their 25-man roster. And particularly with the WBC happening, they’ll hopefully have more chances for at bats and more opportunities to succeed.