The St. Louis Cardinals’ lowest two domestic affiliates, the Johnson City Cardinals and the Gulf Coast Cardinals, recently began play for the 2017 season. Both teams are usually stocked with newly signed draftees or international prospects making their way up the organizational latter. Both the Johnson City and Gulf Coast clubs are coming off of league championships in 2016.

Here are a few key players to watch on the Johnson City Cardinals:

Delvin Perez

Perez is probably the highest rated prospect on either team. The Cardinals’ 2016 first rounder stayed back in Florida when full season clubs departed in April. According to this article from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Perez says he feels like his defense improved the most.

Johan Oviedo

The Cardinals emptied their pocket books internationally this past year, thanks in large part to their hacking scandal with the Houston Astros, and the Cuban Oviedo is a product of that windfall as he received a $1.9 million signing bonus. At 6’6″, Oviedo has the size to become something special.

Alvaro Seijas

Seijas was part of the 2015 international signing class and received a bonus of roughly $760,000. The Venezuelan is going to be linked to Oviedo as long as they are on the same team, but they are much different pitchers. At 5’8″ (although that is disputed), Seijas may not be able to survive as a starter and is a little more polished than Oviedo.

Chase Pinder

The Cardinals’ 7th round pick this year should see success at the Rookie level. Pinder, from Clemson, is off to a quick start in the Appalachian League. If this continues, I would expect him to see a promotion pretty quickly.

Here are a couple of players to watch on the Gulf Coast Cardinals

Terry Fuller

Talk all season has been about how the Cardinals need a masher. A middle of the order bat that puts fear in the other team’s pitcher. While he may be several years away from the big leagues, Terry Fuller could be that guy. His raw power is off the charts, but he is extremely raw. The Cardinals hitting staff has their work cut out for them. Enjoy this video of Fuller hitting a BOMB.

Jonathan Machado

Machado, also a Cuban,  was also part of the same international class as Oviedo and received a huge signing bonus of $2.3 million. He spent his 2016 season with the Dominican Summer League Cardinals and is making his domestic debut this season in the GCL. His skill set has been compared to that of Ichiro as he is not a power hitter but gets on base.

Carlos Soto

Soto received a $400,00 bonus and was in the same class as Oviedo and Machado. Soto, a catcher, saw some time in the DSL as well in 2016. Soto could become the Cards best rated catching prospect other than Carson Kelly.

As you can see, these two clubs have tons of international flavor on them. While the only top prospect is Delvin Perez, there are several other prospects who could find their names on prospect lists by the season’s end.

CLICK HERE to view the roster for the Johnson City Cardinals

CLICK HERE to view the roster for the Gulf Coast Cardinals

Thanks for reading!

John Nagel