With a World Series win in 2011 and a playoff appearance in 2012, the future might not be on the minds of most Cardinals fans. However, with some of the star players aging, and the recent injury news for Chris Carpenter, St. Louis might be looking at their farm system for help sooner rather than later.
Fortunately, they have a number of players full of potential waiting in the wings. Whether they make it to the majors with the Cardinals or they are used for trade bait, here are the three best.
The outfielder might be the best prospect in all of baseball (with Jurickson Profar, Dylan Bundy and Wil Myers all making strong cases and it will be interesting to see who goes first in fantasy baseball 2013 drafts). Taveras is a lefty who has plate coverage that resembles that of future Hall of Famer Vladimir Guerrero.
Taveras will enter 2013 as a 20-year old, and since he has not played past AA so far, he will more than likely spend the majority of the season in the minors. However, if he can continues to progress with his raw power and defensive ability, he could be in St. Louis soon.
When it comes to the whole package, there are few right-handed pitcher in the minors better than Shelby Miller. Nothing really blows a person away, but he has above average stuff, solid size and a fastball that hits in the low to mid 90s. He will turn 23 late in the season, so chances are he will get an extended trial in the majors this season.
This past season was not one of Miller’s best, but he was able to fix some of his mechanical issues to get back on track. He is hoping to ride his strong finish to 2012 into an opening day roster spot in 2013.
At just six foot (being generous) and 165 pounds (also generous), Martinez does not have the prototypical size of a star pitcher in the making. However, neither did a guy with the last name Martinez and the first name Pedro. Martinez’ stuff gives him top of the rotation potential, with a mid-90s fastball than can hit triple-digits if he dials it up. His curveball and changeup are already above-average pitches, and the 21-year old continues to get better.
Health issues have already cropped up with Martinez, which is a cause for concern when a guy is that small and throwing so hard. If he can stay healthy, a 2013 appearance might be in the cards.