During a successful 2013 campaign, the St. Louis Cardinals relied heavily on a plethora of rookies who stepped up and established themselves as big time major league contributors. Rookies may not have as big of a role in the Cards’ 2014 season, but they have players in the minors ready to step up nonetheless. Here is a look at the Cardinal prospects who could have an impact on the 2014 season. All stats are from baseball-reference.com.
Zach Petrick, SP – In just his second professional season, Petrick was named the Cardinals minor league pitcher of the year. The right-hander was 7-3 with a 1.99 ERA across A, High A, and AA ball last season. He will likely start in AA and move up to AAA as the year goes on, but if he continues to dominate the Cards will have to consider him if they need to call up someone for a spot start.
Mike O’Neill, OF – O’Neill is a disciplined hitter who is an on-base machine. He has hit .340 with an on-base percentage of .449 during his time in AA Springfield. He does not have any power, but if the Cards need a reliable outfielder for an extended stretch he may get the call.
Greg Garcia, INF – A polished fielder with a solid offensive approach, Garcia, 24, could be called up to the majors in 2014 because of his versatility. His ability to play all three infield spots and capable base stealing might be a spark the Cards need as they trudge through the dog days.
Tim Cooney, SP – One of the highest regarded pitchers in the Cards system, Cooney will likely start the year in Memphis after a solid 2013 in Springfield. A lefty, Cooney has great control and rarely hands out walks.
Stephen Piscotty, OF – An all-around player, Piscotty has hit in the .290s at every level of the minors that he has played in. Piscotty, only 23, reached AA last year, so he still might be a year away from reaching the bigs, especially considering the Cards’ outfield depth. But he is a regular on top prospect lists across baseball.
Lee Stoppelman, RP – This powerful southpaw reliever dominated in AA last season before getting a quick taste of AAA ball. Stoppelman will be 24 this season and if he can show any sort of proficiency in Memphis, he will be on the Cards radar as another always-needed matchup lefty.
Oscar Taveras, OF – The top rated prospect in the Cardinals’ system for the last two years, Taveras is a renowned hitter with a lethal combination of bat control and power. His 2013 was cut short due to injury, so he will likely start 2014 in Memphis. But if Taveras, who is still not 22 years old, continues his progression the Cardinals will be forced to strongly consider calling him up for a major league debut.