Promising talent has never been of concern for the St. Louis Cardinals. History backs it.
From pitchers Shelby Miller, Trevor Rosenthal, Carlos Martinez and Michael Wacha, to sluggers Oscar Taveras and Matt Adams. The list goes on and on.
Developing prospects into future big leaguers is what the Cardinals stand for. It’s been that way for quite some time. Fans know it. Other organizations know it, too. The Cardinals are the best example of a well-run, prospect-churning machine.
But when big-name prospects get called up to begin what they hope to be a long and fruitful major league career, what happens to the ones who remain in the minors? They certainly aren’t forgotten. They just aren’t talked about. Heck, they could be having the best season of their young career, yet they aren't the topic at the local water cooler.
As you can imagine, this happens a lot with the Cardinals. And it should. After all, when you have such a deep farm system, it’s hard to talk about everyone.
With that said, here are three prospects no one is talking about.
Juan Herrera, Shortstop
Jhonny Peralta is the shortstop of now, but the future of the Cardinals middle infield could belong to Juan Herrera if he keeps progressing the way he has.
The Cleveland Indians signed the Dominican-born Herrera in 2010 and brought him over to the U.S. two years later. The Cardinals acquired him in a trade that sent left-hander Marc Rzepczynski to the Indians last summer.
Herrera is an up-and-coming talent with tremendous upside. According to Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals believe Herrera can become a “plus” fielder in their organization.
The 21-year-old is certainly on his way to becoming a plus player, if not a great one for the Cardinals.
Herrera leads all Peoria starters with a .287 average. He has scored 46 runs and has 50 RBI this season for the Cardinals' Class-A Midwest League affiliate. More impressive is his .332 on-base percentage and his quickness on the bases. Herrera has 27 stolen bases.
The promising shortstop has feasted off right-handed pitching this season, batting .294 with 40 RBI and 20 extra-base hits. He’s also hitting .314 with runners in scoring position.
The future is bright for Herrera.
Charlie Tilson, Outfielder
When talking about outfielders, the likes of Oscar Taveras, Stephen Piscotty and Randal Grichuk come to mind.
However, Charlie Tilson deserves a lot of credit for his impressive season.
Tilson, an outfielder for Double-A Springfield of the Texas League, began the season with High-A Palm Beach of the Florida State League. There, Tilson put on an offensive show. He hit .309, scored 53 runs and totaled 21 extra-base hits in 88 games. Because of his performance at the plate, Tilson was named a Florida State League All-Star. He was promoted to Springfield shortly after.
It’s taken Tilson a little while to adjust to Double-A ball. He’s hitting just .242 in 13 games, but that’s a rather small sample size, making it hard to give him a fair evaluation.
No matter, Tilson will adjust and continue to strive in the minors.
Jacob Wilson, Second Base
Another middle-infielder that isn’t widely talked about is second baseman Jacob Wilson of Springfield. Perhaps Wilson isn’t in many discussions because he’s been injured since June and his season is likely over.
However, before landing on the disabled list, Wilson was having himself a stellar season.
Wilson began 2014 with Palm Beach where he hit .298 in 30 games. He was soon promoted to Springfield, where he managed a steady .305 mark with five home runs and 21 RBI.
A power-hitting second-baseman, Wilson could become a staple of the Cardinals infield in the future.
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