MLB.com Columnist

Jonathan Mayo

Where the Cardinals' top 30 prospects are starting the season

Where the Cardinals' top 30 prospects are starting the season

With the 2016 season getting started, here's a look at where the Cardinals' Top 30 prospects are projected to start the season:

1. Alex Reyes -- Suspended
2. Jack Flaherty -- Palm Beach Cardinals (A Adv)
3. Luke Weaver -- Springfield Cardinals (AA) -- DL
4. Magneuris Sierra -- Peoria Chiefs (A)
5. Edmundo Sosa -- Peoria Chiefs (A)
6. Nick Plummer -- Extended spring camp
7. Marco Gonzales -- Memphis Redbirds (AAA)
8. Tim Cooney -- Memphis Redbirds (AAA)
9. Charlie Tilson -- Memphis Redbirds (AAA)
10. Harrison Bader -- Springfield Cardinals (AA)
11. Sam Tuivailala -- Memphis Redbirds (AAA)
12. Jake Woodford -- Peoria Chiefs (A)
13. Carson Kelly -- Springfield Cardinals (AA)
14. Bryce Denton -- Extended spring camp
15. Junior Fernandez -- Peoria Chiefs (A)
16. Jacob Wilson -- Memphis Redbirds (AAA)
17. Austin Gomber -- Palm Beach Cardinals (A Adv)
18. Paul DeJong -- Springfield Cardinals (AA)
19. Sandy Alcantara -- Peoria Chiefs (A)
20. Ronnie Williams -- Extended spring camp
21. Matt Bowman -- St. Louis Cardinals (MLB)
22. Patrick Wisdom -- Memphis Redbirds (AAA)
23. Trey Nielsen -- Springfield Cardinals (AA)
24. Corey Littrell -- Springfield Cardinals (AA)
25. Juan Herrera -- Extended spring camp
26. Anthony Garcia -- Memphis Redbirds (AAA)
27. Dean Kiekhefer -- Memphis Redbirds (AAA)
28. Mike Ohlman -- Memphis Redbirds (AAA)
29. Oscar Mercado -- Palm Beach Cardinals (A Adv)
30. Andrew Morales -- Springfield Cardinals (AA)

Team to watch
The affiliate with the most Top 30 prospects will be the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds, with nine. But the club with the most upside might be the Peoria Chiefs. Offensively, they'll be led by Nos. 4 and 5 prospects Magneuris Sierra and Edmundo Sosa. On the mound, there are arms who can really light up the radar gun. Junior Fernandez and Sandy Alcantara were the talks of the Gulf Coast League in 2015 and they're making a jump to full-season ball. So is 2015 draftee Jake Woodford, whose four-pitch mix was taken with the 39th overall pick in the Draft.

Top prospects' starting spots
Division Teams
NL East ATL, MIA, NYM, PHI, WAS
AL East BAL, BOS, NYY, TB, TOR
NL Central CHC, CIN , MIL, PIT, STL
AL Central CLE, CWS, DET, KC, MIN
NL West ARI, COL, LAD, SD, SF
AL West HOU, LAA, OAK, SEA, TEX
Top 100 Prospects

Teams on MiLB.TV
Memphis Redbirds
Springfield Cardinals

New faces
The Cardinals rolled the Rule 5 Draft dice in December and took Mets farmhand Matt Bowman in the Major League phase. It's a low risk move, costing just $50,000, and for now, at least, it's paid off. Though he was a career starter in the Minor Leagues since being taken out of Princeton, Bowman made the big league club as a relief option.

On the shelf
After a very strong first full year, it looked like Luke Weaver could move quickly and perhaps even help St. Louis at some point in 2016. He'll have to come back from a fractured left wrist first, which is expected to delay him about a month. At least it wasn't his pitching wrist. Top prospect Alex Reyes will sit out because of his 50-game suspension for testing positive for a drug of abuse.

Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.