The Cardinals, surprisingly, have re-signed 34-year-old Yadier Molina through 2020. That leaves no path to the majors for Carson Kelly, 22, widely considered the best catching prospect in baseball.
Here’s how MLB.com described Kelly, drafted as a third baseman:
With a tireless work ethic, Kelly has turned himself into a premium defender behind the plate, one who looks like he’s been back there for years. He has a plus arm that has thrown out almost a third of would-be base-stealers since he switched positions. He has outstanding hands and footwork, the type of backstop who could win Gold Gloves in the future, and he is the kind of natural leader teams love to have behind the plate. In 2016, his bat started to catch up to his glove. He has some raw power and has really improved his approach and pitch selection, where it looks like he should be able to hit for average and power in the future.
Kelly hit .289 with a .343 OBP between AA and AAA ball. He’s ticketed to start the year in Triple-A but sure would look good in Atlanta this summer.