1B Luke Voit
As the Cardinals seek the next St. Louis product who could potentially impact their big-league club, they may be looking firmly at a guy who–just like their last impactful St. Louisan, David Freese–grew up in Wildwood and attended Lafayette High School. First baseman Luke Voit, a converted catcher who grew up in St. Louis before attending Missouri State, has enjoyed a breakout season at Double-A Springfield, and he may be pushing himself into the discussion for a Cardinals club that has plenty of good players capable of playing first base, yet doesn’t have a player who’s firmly entrenched as the “first baseman of the future.”
Voit has a career-high .863 OPS this season, having collected 18 doubles, four triples, and 18 homers while turning in a .299/.379/.484 slash line through 493 plate appearances. Like his fellow converted catcher before him, Matt Adams, Voit is a stocky guy who doesn’t look like he can do much more than play first base, though he’s logged 93 2/3 innings in left field this season and has not committed an error. It should be interesting to see what the 25-year-old can do with a probable bump up to Triple-A next season, as he may have the most raw power of any hitter in the Cardinals’ minor-league system.
Honorable Mention: David Washington
If Voit isn’t the most dominant power hitter in the Cardinals’ system right now, it’s certainly David Washington. Like Voit, Washington is a hulking (6-foot-5, 260 pounds) natural first baseman, but he’s also seen a good chunk of action in the outfield throughout his professional career. Between Springfield and Triple-A Memphis, Washington has played 44 games at first, 50 games in right field, and eight games in left this season.
While he hasn’t made spectacular contact, the 25-year-old Washington has had the most productive power-hitting season of his pro career, hitting 28 homers thus far. His 154 strikeouts in 376 at-bats are extremely concerning, and his .247 batting average isn’t all that impressive, but his .881 OPS and light tower power are hard to ignore. The Cardinals will deal with some 40-man roster difficulties in September, but if they determine that guys such as Michael Wacha, Trevor Rosenthal, and Jordan Walden are done for the season, it’s possible that Washington could be a darkhorse for a September call up.
Next: Second Base