The St. Louis Cardinals have always been one of the best organizations in the MLB for player development. With the arrival of Brendan Donovan, Juan Yepez and Nolan Gorman, Card’ continues to introduce strong players, some of them seemingly out of nowhere.
While Juan Ypez and Brendan Donovan don’t have the same level of potential fanfare as Nolan Gorman or Matthew Liebertour, they were influential early in their careers.
Since being called up on April 25, Brendan Donovan has posted 181 shooting matches + over 60 board appearances while covering 5 defensive positions and hitting throughout the card lineup. When I say in all lineup, I mean Donovan has started in all nine lineup positions already over his 22-game career.
Although Donovan was the eighth-best prospect in the Cardinals’ system in American baseball, it seems that anyone outside the top three is not considered an influential player. Given that the Cardinals were only the 18th ranked organization by the US Farm Baseball Rankings, the 8th placement can be viewed as the most up to normal in MLB.
He’s early in Donovan’s career and he’s down for a dip, but he’s shown that his good discipline and improved strength have raised the bar for something better and more versatile Daniel Decalso.
Not far from Donovan in terms of current production is Juan Ypez. Yepez was acquired through a trade that sent Matt Adams to the Braves in May 2017. The 19-year-old jumped from being an unranked prospect to the Cardinals’ ninth best prospect after a year breaking through at the age of 23 in 2021.
Now he’s now scoring with 155 wRC + 17+ card games while playing both the outside corner and first base positions.
They seem to fit right in with former sixth-round pick Tommy Edman, who was in the middle of a year into his career and Harrison Bader who has steadily improved his offensive profile across the big league.
Pair that with veterans Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado, the Cardinals seem to be on par with quality as they always seem. Also, Dylan Carlson is still 23 years old and Andrew Kneiser seems poised to step in as the daily hunter when Yadier Molina finally gets to hang him.
Shifting the focus back to this year, the Cardinals still have potential capital to help upgrade their promotional staff if they need to, but the Cards offense is an incredibly well-balanced unit. Not only are they balanced in terms of offensive skills, but they are incredibly well balanced in faction divisions and stories.
Louis Cardinals always seem to be competitive and the main reason is that they have a knack for turning picks mid-round into regular players. Of course they have their stars, but they got those stars through clever deals and identified the right prospects to keep them.
Presently, the Cardinals sit three games in NL Central behind the Brewers who also play 6-4 baseball over their last ten games. However, when cardinals warm up, they seem to lack any holes in their slate, while cardinals still have some warts on their slates.
The NL Central race, like most races, will go deeper. The Cardinals began to display their ideas with the arrival of Juan Ypez and Brendan Donovan. This doesn’t even take into account the possibility that a potential client like Nolan Gorman would bring to class.
Once again, Cardinal St. Louis are well positioned to be a force at NL Central this season and for seasons to come. No matter what magic they use in the recruits selected between rounds 5 and 10, the work continues and the cards remain a record holder for player development in the National League.