Because of the rate at which he strikes out batters, Alex Reyes clearly is a special talent. That’s why he’s my choice as the top prospect in the Cardinals’ organization.
Members of the United Cardinal Bloggers were invited to rate the top seven Cardinals prospects. For this exercise, I define a prospect as a player who hasn’t appeared in the big leagues.
No. 1 ALEX REYES
Reyes’ rise to the top among Cardinals prospects is a story of perseverance. He wasn’t selected by any team in the amateur draft. The Cardinals signed him as a free agent in 2012 after he was graduated from Elizabeth (N.J.) High School.
No. 2 LUKE WEAVER
The right-handed pitcher was 8-5 with a 1.62 ERA in 19 starts for Palm Beach in 2015. Weaver, 22, allowed two home runs in 105.1 innings pitched.
Unlike Reyes, Weaver was highly touted. The Cardinals chose him in the first round of the 2014 draft after a stellar college career at Florida State.
No. 3 ALEDMYS DIAZ
The shortstop appears to be the heir apparent to Cardinals veteran Jhonny Peralta.
Diaz, 25, had 118 hits in 116 games combined for Springfield and Memphis in 2015. He produced 28 doubles and 13 home runs.
The native Cuban signed a four-year contract with the Cardinals as a free agent in 2014.
No. 4 CHARLIE TILSON
An outfielder and left-handed batter, Tilson, 22, has the potential to thrill fans and ignite an offense. At Springfield in 2015, Tilson batted .295 with 46 stolen bases. He had 159 hits in 134 games and an impressive .351 on-base percentage.
Tilson, a second-round pick of the Cardinals in the 2011 draft, also is a splendid defensive outfielder.
No. 5 AUSTIN GOMBER
The left-handed pitcher was an ace for Peoria in 2015. In 22 starts, Gomber, 21, was 15-3 with a 2.67 ERA, striking out 140 in 135 innings.
The former Florida Atlantic University standout was a fourth-round choice of the Cardinals in the 2014 draft.
No. 6 MAGNEURIS SIERRA
After being named Cardinals 2014 minor league player of the year, Sierra, 19, experienced some struggles at Johnson City and Peoria in 2015. Still, the outfielder produced 102 hits in 104 games, with 19 stolen bases.
A native of the Dominican Republic, Sierra was signed as a free agent by the Cardinals in 2012.
No. 7 OSCAR MERCADO
The infielder is an explosive base runner. With Peoria in 2015, Mercado, 20, had 120 hits in 117 games, with 50 stolen bases. He has 88 steals in three years in the St. Louis system since being taken in the second round of the 2013 draft.