The Peoria Chiefs will open the season with five players ranked among the top 30 St. Louis Cardinals prospects (according to Baseball America), including two top Cardinals draft picks.
Both of those top picks are outfielders: Dylan Carlson (No. 16 prospect, drafted No. 33 overall in 2016) and Nick Plummer (No. 25 prospect, drafted No. 23 overall in 2015).
Carlson batted .251 with 3 HR and 22 RBI in 50 games in the rookie-level Gulf Coast League last year. Baseball America envisions the switch-hitter developing above-average power from both sides of the plate, if he grows into his frame and balances his swing. Peoria is his first full-season assignment.
After batting .228 in 51 games in the GCL in 2015, Plummer didn’t play in 2016 because of a hand injury that required two surgeries. Obviously he will be looking for a healthy comeback season to show the Cardinals he was worthy of a first-round draft pick.
Carlson is listed as the team’s centerfielder, and Plummer is slated to play right field. Peoria’s leftfielder will be Bryce Denton (No. 26), giving the Chiefs three outfielders who are ranked prospects. Denton batted .282 with 4 HR and 26 RBI in 54 games with the Johnson City Cardinals of the short-season Appalachian League. He is expected to play outfield primarily, but he exclusively manned the hot corner the past two seasons. Baseball America suggests he also can play first base if needed.
Two ranked pitchers are also on the team: right-handers Ronnie Williams (No. 24) and Jordan Hicks (No. 28). Both throw fastballs that can hit 97 mph, and both will be working on better command consistency.
You can see the entire Chiefs roster here.
The Chiefs are managed by former Cardinals minor-leaguer Chris Swauger this year. You can read about him and his coaching staff here.