St. Louis Cardinals: Top 10 Prospects Chat With Derrick Goold

St. Louis Cardinals: Chat




Baseball America's Top 10 Prospects lists are based on projections of a player's long-term worth after discussions with scouting and player-development personnel. All players who haven't exceeded the major league rookie standards of 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched (without regard to service time) are eligible. Ages are as of April 1, 2008.

Moderator: Greetings. Up and running for another year, another Top 10, another chat. I'll say up front that I have a plane to catch and will speed through as many questions as possible in the next hour. If I miss one, or you would like to ask a followup, please know that you can always reach me at dgoold@post-dispatch.com. The chat can continue there, if needed. On to the questions ...

 Q:  D. Cornell from Madison, WI asks:
Jonathan Edwards has the body of HULK. Does he have any other attributes that will get him to the Major Leagues?
 A: 

Derrick Goold: His arm is a plus-skill. A year ago the Cardinals considered his arm the best outfield arm in the organization — and many scouts outside the organization agreed. He has the Marvel-Comics frame, as you mentioned, but he is also developing his defensive ability and there is optimism about his eventually production with the bat. He's got power there that cannot be ignored.

 Q:  MJ from Valpo asks:
Greetings. Just wondering the relative thought on Daryl Jones—high draft choice, seems like he's got good upside and lots of raw talent (heard that one before!). But how does he project in the next couple of years? Do the Cardinals like his potential? What about Tyler Greene-a bit of enigma? Is he a future MLB'er? Seems like a gamer, but lacks something?!? Thanks...
 A: 

Moderator: Spent some time this past summer with Daryl Jones in Quad Cities. Saw him play — saw him create a few runs with his speed, saw him track down a ball in deep right-center field ... saw all the tools that has the Cardinals gushing about his raw ability. With a check swing earlier this season he created a game-winning run just because he has that ability. The total package is slow to develop. The Cardinals expected that. This coming season will be big for him to show signs of getting the quality of his game in line with the quantity of his tools. There are some in the organization that would like to see how he does starting in a warm-weather climate and bouncing right out of spring training and into play. Sounds like an assignment to High-A Palm Beach. Sounds like an opportunity he needs. Greene is a bit of an enigma. Good arm. Good speed. A lot of good, MLB-bound qualities. He was slowed by injury and the Cardinals slingshot attempt to boost his confidence didn't work as hoped. Still, he's not out of the picture. Future MLBer? Perhaps, but there are a few ahead of him at second base and a couple ahead of him as a utility player. He has to leapfrog a few players to get back in the picture.

 Q:  D. Cornell from Madison, Wi asks:
John Jay dropped from #5 ('06) to #10 this year. Daryl Jones & Blake Hawksworth fell off the list in '07. Can either guy rebound in 2008?
 A: 

Derrick Goold: All of those guys can rebound easily. Jay stayed in the Top 10 after a year dogged and essentially lost to injuries. Says something about the view of his potential and his overall game that he remained in the Top 10. Jones and Hawksworth fell off the Top 10, but not off the world. They are still among the team's prospects at their positions. Hawksworth didn't have the year hoped, but he did do things in Triple-A that keep him on track to be a contributor at the big-league level. Having a year where he makes 25 starts, throws nearly 130 innings and does so without injury trouble is a step for him. The home runs he allowed (24) stand out and the lag toward the end, but so do the increased strikeouts (28 in 21 innings in August). Jones, as mentioned above, is on the verge of an important summer for him. He's still young, but the Cardinals want to see him move a level ... and get some traction.

 Q:  D. Cornell from Madison, WI asks:
Dennis Dove...Prospect or Suspect?
 A: 

Derrick Goold: Prospect arm. One of the top power arms in the organization a year ago at this time who turned heads in spring training. Suspect situation. His health limited his season and he didn't shine in his few major-league appearances. The Cardinals outrighted him off the 40-man roster, but that doesn't mean he'll vanish. That fastball assures he'll be seen again. Just got back from Madison. Went to Ella's Deli, highly recommend the Tutti Rudy Velvet Soda made with mint chocolate ice cream ...

 Q:  Mike Marinaro from Tampa, FL asks:
Annually, the Cards' system has not been too spectacular over the past decade, yet they have produced more quality major leaguers than many teams. Dan Haren is now the ace of the A's. Wainwright is coming into his prime. Guys like Chris Duncan and Ankiel, Yadier Molina, obviously Pujols, and others have helped the major league club much more than more prolific prospects in other organizations. Does the Cards' system have a superior team of player development, or is there some other reason why it seems like their prospects are always flying under the radar in the grand scheme of things?
 A: 

Derrick Goold: This will be a good compare and contrast with a question coming up. The Cardinals system has produced its share of major-league contributors. (Even Terry Evans, for example, helped land them Jeff Weaver who helped them win a World Series.) And Pujols is not often mentioned as a player who was drafted, developed and debuted as a Cardinal. What many of them share in common is they are lower-round picks. Some also, like Duncan, idled at one level and then blossomed later — doing most of best work at the major-league level. Molina, for example, is the kind of player that coaches and managers and scouts talk up, but doesn't have the baseball-card stats that are going to get the attention you describe. Under the radar? Yes, they have a few like that. (Wainwright was not one, of course, he was among the Braves top prospects at the time of the trade.) The Cardinals contend their development is excellent, but so to is how they use these players at the major league level. Duncan was put in positions to succeed. Patience and a defined role paid off with Josh Kinney. Molina was an apprentice to Mike Matheny. Etc. That, in some way, explains why a player can fly under the radar and then emerge as a contribute at the highest level. And then there is the question ahead ...

 Q:  danny from Iowa asks:
How is the cardinal prospect most likely to be traded? Anderson, Ottavino, Rasmus?
 A: 

Derrick Goold: Take Rasmus off that list. He's all but untouchable. But of that group, it would probably be Anderson because the Cardinals have a starter at the position for years to come (Yadier Molina) and Anderson has value in a trade. The Cardinals aren't in a position to trade pitchers like Ottavino unless they are getting a pitcher in return that will immediately help fill the missing pieces in their rotation ...

 Q:  Brian Daniels from Kennesaw Mountain Landis, Georgia asks:
Derrick, Why are the Cardinals so poor in Player Development? Their top 10 is really bad. How do they compare with the other teams in Top 30? I would say mid to high 20's. Thanks
 A: 

Derrick Goold: ... And here we are, a nice complementary question to the one above. It doesn't appear to be player development because the Cardinals have made a habit in recent years of getting help — key help, everyday-starter help — from players that have been ranked outside the Top 10. That said, the Cardinals have been a lower-third team when it comes to overall minor-league talent for several years. Look no further than their first-round pick in 2004, Chris Lambert, who was — three years removed from being their top pick — a Player To Be Named Later. 'Nuff said. The Cardinals are in the process of restocking their minor-league system. They've been collecting draft picks and expanded the budget for scouting and player procurement. This is well-covered ground here in St. Louis because of the emphasis the Cardinals and VP Jeff Luhnow have put on new sources of talent (international) and new levels of talent (recent drafts). The Cardinals have inched up the overall rankings as a result and are now in the middle third. Still, the Top 10 and the minor-league system is an indicator of how far they still have to go. There are few wow prospects, few prospects they can use in trades and few prospects they are willing to use in trades because there's no depth of prospects. It's improving. But, as Luhnow has said, it is now time to do more than improve the system. It's time for the system to produce. And, Mr. Landis, it's time to Let Joe Go. Thanks.

 Q:  Tony from Durham, NC asks:
I'm curious about Luis de la Cruz, the young catcher. It seems like he has enough upside, and enough performance this last year, to sneak onto the top 10, especially as the list gets pretty uninspiring after the first five or so. What kept him out of the top ten? Thanks.
 A: 

Derrick Goold: A general theme is developing for this chat and ya'll get a feel for what it's like to sort through the 25-35 players who could fit into the, say, 10-30 range for the prospects list. De la Cruz drew raves in the GCL, including a high ranking from BA's Chris Kline in his invaluable rankings of the players in Florida. Cruz led the league by throwing out 51 percent of the runners and he has a plus-arm. He's strong behind the plate and had a batting line of .281.337.385. As scouts and others have said, Cruz's power is expected to develop. He's in the top 30, for me. But he's got to repeat this at a higher level to crack the top 10.

 Q:  Keith from Jefferson City, MO asks:
Steven Hill was said to have one of the best pro debuts by BA this year, how do you project him moving forward?
 A: 

Derrick Goold: Hill was a topic of discussion yesterday over at the Post-Dispatch's Cardinals fan forum. A quick summary of his season for those interested: The first baseman from Stephen F. Austin, a 13th-round pick, put up a .436.511.692 line at his first stop and continued to hit well at Quad Cities. Off the top of my head, he hit around 68-69 home runs in his final three seasons in college. Here's the kicker: The Cardinals believe he can play catcher in addition to first base. They drafted him with the idea that he'd play catcher and only after the scout got a confirmation from him that he was willing to play catcher. He played first mostly, some outfield and did appear behind the plate. If he embraces and excels at catcher then with that bat he'll zoom into the rankings. Got to see him collect some innings at catcher first.

 Q:  JAYPERS from IL asks:
How close was Hoffpauir to making this list, and what kept him off?
 A: 

Derrick Goold: To making the Top 10 list? Close. But not as close as he is to making the major leagues. Which seems odd to write. For awhile now the Cardinals have eyed Hoffpauir as the top second baseman coming up through the system. This year he supported those hopes with production. He has the best strike-zone awareness in the system according to scouts, a patient approach and a steady, line-drive swing. He moved around the infield a bit at Triple-A but is best suited for second base, where he's an above average fielder. What kept him out of the top 10 is probably nothing more than his ceiling and his track record. Last season puts him on track to be a major-leaguer. It put him on the 40-man. He now has to use it as a springboard into seizing the prospect of being an everyday major-leaguer.

 Q:  Greg from San Francisco asks:
We have been hearing about Colby Rasmus for a while now. In his best case scenario, who does Colby draw comparisons to?
 A: 

Derrick Goold: You're going to hear about Rasmus for awhile longer, I imagine. As far as comparisons go, I've heard the spectrum. Steve Finley is one that many people bring up. Lately though, there's been a lot of talk about how Rasmus compares to Grady Sizemore — especially statistically and now that Rasmus is regarded as one of the finer defensive center fielders. That's a heady comparison.

 Q:  azruavatar from STL, MO asks:
Who do you consider the top 5 relief prospects in the Cardinal's system?
 A: 

Derrick Goold: 1. Chris Perez 2. Kyle McClellan 3. Jason Motte 4. Kenny Maiques Some candidates for No. 5: Luke Gregerson, Blake King, Mark Worrell or, a surprise pick, Mitchell Boggs. I'll go with Boggs, but that's only because the Cardinals need him now as a starter that he isn't higher on my rough-draft rankings of relievers here.

 Q:  Todd from Chattanooga asks:
Derrick - where do you see Rasmus fitting into the Stl. lineup? Do you see him as a legit. leadoff guy or is his fit deeper into the line-up? Thanks
 A: 

Derrick Goold: Seems like he could handle either. There is a lot to like about the mix of power and speed that Rasmus brings as a leadoff hitter and he also has the nose for RBIs and the pop to succeed lower in the order. If Rasmus makes his debut as a regular in 2009, as many expect, then Tony La Russa will be making up that lineup card and TLR talks about having damage in the two-spot and liking a lefty there if he can find one. Anyone want to best Rasmus gets treated to one of the best spots in baseball to start his career? Batting second ahead of Albert Pujols. Not a bad place to start. Have to imagine leadoff is where he'll get his next long look ...

 Q:  JAYPERS from IL asks:
Where does Jon Jay fit within the Cardinals' grand scheme? You said he wouldn't fit in as a corner outfielder, and Rasmus is ahead of him, so is a switch to the IF indicated?
 A: 

Derrick Goold: Great question. See, the thing with Jay is scouts and coaches lauded him as a "future batting title winner" when he came out of the draft. That could be true, certainly at the minor-league level he's got the chops and talent to win a title. But the idea he has to play center is all wrapped up in the notion that he doesn't have the power that is needed in the corners. Here's the catch: If the Cardinals believe they have the power source in center (i.e., Rasmus), then it opens up a corner for a hitter like Jay. There was a time when the Cardinals believed Jay and Rasmus would share time in center field and that would sort itself out. It sorted itself out. Rasmus is the center fielder. There's a place for Jay if Jay's bat forces a place for him.

 Q:  JAYPERS from IL asks:
Last year, Daryl Jones was considered the organization's Best Athlete in your Best Tools section. This year, Colby has replaced him. What's changed?
 A: 

Derrick Goold: Rasmus blossomed as a tremendous defensive center fielder, a solid base runner ... the total athletic package. Jones continues to try and connect his athletic prowess to baseball performance. For an inexact science, it's a pretty close race between the two, but what Rasmus has been able to do with his athleticism cinches it.

 Q:  Goose from Chicago asks:
Chris Perez seems to give up too many walks to be a closer. Do you agree with the rest of BA that he may be the Cardinals closer by 2009?
 A: 

Derrick Goold: Going to make one more mad dash through some questions here and then I have to race to the airport. Sorry. I would love to spend hours in here getting to the questions ... and I'll try to stop back if I can get clearance. Otherwise, fire the questions to dgoold@post-dispatch.com and I'll respond. The walks are a chief concern for Perez. Followed by getting him to repeat his delivery consistency (could be related) and conditioning. His wildness, which has been an asset at times, will keep him from being a major-league closer. He believes, the Cardinals believe and coaches who have worked with him believe, he can get rein in his stuff and cut down on the walks. That could put him in the bullpen sometime in 2008 and get him ready to do some closing in 2009. He'll have to earn that role with middle-inning appearances, ala Wainwright.

 Q:  Alex from St. Louis Mo asks:
How does Kozma rank ahead of Jose Martinez? Martinez is 1 year older and already proved himself in 2A. Does it have anything to do with Bonus $?
 A: 

Derrick Goold: This has to do with an upside ranking. Man, Martinez is a tough talent to overlook for the top 10 because of what he's done and how many fans he has. Martinez could be the Cardinals starting second baseman in a few years, and he has drawn favorable comparisons to Placido Polanco. Kozma projects as a major-league shortstop with plus defensive ability. Does it have to do with the bonus? Not really. But it does have to do with where Kozma was drafted. He was the best middle infielder prospect in the draft and he did nothing to dent that reputation in his first turn as a pro. Athleticism and a glove like his with a swing that could develop puts him in the Cardinals' Top 10. Has to do with the draft, sure, and the organization's depth.

 Q:  Todd from Wauwatosa asks:
What are your thoughts on Brad Furnish and in what range will he appear on the rankings?
 A: 

Derrick Goold: Furnish is going to be around the top 20. He prospered in the piggyback rotation in Quad Cities and really showed an aggressive streak as a reliever that is something to keep in mind. He finished his time in Quad Cities with a 3-0, 2.06 and a save in his final 10 appearances. He has the assortment of pitches that make him a starter now, and a rising one, too. But it's hard to ignore what he accomplished coming out of the bullpen.

Q:  danny from Iowa asks:
Ottavino's Fb was said to be up to 99mph.Do you think he will be a starter or maybe set up for perez in 09?
 A: 

Derrick Goold: That's a friendly gun. Ottavino throws consistently in the mid-90s and that's a more accurate range for his fastball. There has been talk about him moving faster as a reliever, but right now he has enough refined pitches (fastball, sinker) and enough improving pitches (breaking ball, change) that he can stay a starter and be of more value to the Cardinals. They'll keep him a starter as long as he advances. There are other possibilities — even better possibilities — to setup in 2009.

 Q:  Michael Swecker from Las Vegas asks:
I know the consensus is that Rasmus needs and will get more time in the minors. I'm just thinking of spring training when Larussa sees an aging, declining Edmonds, an Ankiel who slumped badly at the end of the year and seems to have been figured out, C Duncan whose fielding is akin to an ox, and LudwickTaguchi who offer little to nothing. How long is it really going to take for Rasmus to see the bigs? Unless the Cards go and sign someone which is very unlikely, it seems to me Rasmus is a MayJune call-up at the latest given the internal options. What do you think and what is his expected performance over 550 ab's in 08'?
 A: 

Derrick Goold: As of today, Colby Rasmus might be the Cardinals best bet at leadoff in the organization. That said: He's going to Triple-A next year. He's going to start in center field and he may bat a few different places for the Redbirds. Rasmus is playing in spring training to leave an impression and to show his work habits to the big-league coaches. Barring injury at the big-league level, he's on track to be a September callup. (Aside: Ankiel is the favorite to start in center if Edmonds falters.) MayJune would be too early and his 550-AB performance would start slow if he's forced into the majors that early.

 Q:  Tom from NC asks:
C. Perez' struggles to command the ball and throw strikes concerns me. Should the Cards have him starting in the minors in order to work on his flaws? What are the chances of him reaching his ceiling as a closer? Thanks
 A: 

Derrick Goold: Concerns some of the members of the Cardinals, too. Using him as a starter is an interesting idea — and one not foreign to the Cardinals who have done that with several other pitchers bound for the big-league bullpen. But not Perez. They want him closing. They think that's best for his arm and best for his development. The work he needs to get his delivery more consistent and his control more reliable will be done in the ninth, under pressure or in bullpen sessions. He's being groomed for a specialized role and they want him to stay in that role for the reason you state — so he reaches his potential as a closer.

 Q:  Travis from TX asks:
What can the Cardinals expect out of Stuart Pomeranz? Where is he at in his return from surgery? Thanks for the chat.
 A: 

Derrick Goold: Pomeranz quietly is back on the prospects radar after going out to the Arizona Fall League and showing well. He was once a top-10 prospect and has the profile of a pitcher to watch — tall, good stuff. But injuries held him back. All reports from the AFL are that he's healthy, that he's throwing comfortably and that his strength is returniny. He is expected to have a normal offseason and to pitch his way into a rotation this spring training ... He is not, it should be noted, on the 40-man roster.

 Q:  JAYPERS from IL asks:
What was management's reason for drafting Kozma over Kyle Russell? Had Russell signed, where would he have ranked on this list? Do you think he was 1st round material?
 A: 

Derrick Goold: The Cardinals considered "signability" as a tool. Kozma was a plus in that category and Russell was an unknown. They were not going to spend their first-round pick on a player they didn't know if they could sign (see: Rick Porcello). Russell was fairly high on their draft board, high enough that when they didn't have a preferred pick for the fourth round and thought they'd take a run at signing Russell and getting who they felt was a steal. Russell would have ranked on the list somewhere, but those strikeouts — especially with in the wood-bat season — would have tempered the ranking a bit. It's hypothetical, but I'm not sure he would have been ahead of Kozma or Mortensen. He's got first-round power, that's for sure.

 Q:  Jake from Bartlett, IL asks:
Hi Derrick! Love the chat. Just a quick question. Where's Anthony Reyes on the Cardinals projected 2011 lineup? Has he fallen that far out of favor with the organization? Reyes would seem like a nice fit in a trade with the Diamondbacks for either Carlos Quentin or Carlos Gonzalez, assuming the Diamondbacks were agreeable. Thanks for taking my question.
 A: 

Derrick Goold: Reyes has been supplanted on the 2011 rotation because the 2007 did nothing to assure he'd be around the Cardinals that long. He's come up a lot in trade speculation and even trade attempts this offseason. Has he fallen out of favor with the organization? La Russa has stated often that he thinks Reyes needed to spend 2007 in Triple-A. There are specific things the Cardinals' coaches want Reyes to do to be a major-league starter — throw low in the zone; throw more strikes; be more aggressive — and it might just take a change of scenery for him to consistently do some of those things ...

 Q:  Carl from Gilbert, AZ asks:
PJ Walters had success at three levels (Quad Cities, Palm Beach, and Springfield) with a great combination of strikeouts and groundouts. Very few pitchers in the minor leagues have success through three levels - where does he fall in your rankings of the system and what is holding Walters back a higher ranking?
 A: 

Derrick Goold: Walters had a tremendous season. I saw him early in the season in Quad Cities and then — voila! — he was up in Double-A for the playoffs. The climb three levels he not only had to have solid production but he also had to leapfrog some of the organization's top pitching prospects (Ottavino, Herron, etc.). He was the breakout player of the year, with apologies to Joe Mather. He ranks in the top 20 and did get top-10 consideration. The thing that holds Walters back in these rankings — but hasn't held him back in the minors — is the velocity issue. Even he ardent fans know he has a complement of pitches and throws at a speed that has to prove itself at every level, and at the higher levels could really run into trouble. But that's about it. He has the best control in the organization, even surreal control. He has a top-notch changeup. He continues to channel those traits into good numbers and he'll climb more than these rankings.

 Q:  Silent George from Houston Texas asks:
The Cardinals have only recently become more active in international scouting, but don't seem to have found an impact player yet. Who among that group is closest to making the list? De la Cruz? Elvis Hernandez?
 A: 

Derrick Goold: Jose Martinez. In many ways, Martinez is the torchbearer for the Cardinals improved international scouting. He is a middle infielder on the move, who is also hitting well now in the winter league. Signed out of Venezuela in December 2004, Martinez spent the season with Double-A Springfield and has a lot of fans in the Cardinals' coaching corps. His stock is up. Way up. Others include catcher de la Cruz, who was among the top prospects in the GCL according to BA's Chris Kline.

 Q:  Mark from St. Charles, MO asks:
Where would you put the Cardinals in the organization rankings? Any shot at the Top 10?
 A: 

Derrick Goold: They have a lot more to do and few more drafts to go before they are in that territory.

 Q:  J. Hickok from Charleston, W.V. asks:
Hi, Derrick (6manfan here)The player who seems to be conspicuously absent from the Top 10 is Allen Craig. Is his defense such a concern that he was bumped? How is Jon Jay a better prospect than Craig?
 A: 

Derrick Goold: Craig is in the conversation for who has the best power in the organization. He raked this past season — and he did so in the unforgiving parks of the Florida State League. He is described as an "aggressive" hitter. Craig was on his way to Double-A (and leading the FSL in triple-crown categories) when he missed time with injury. As far back as college, Craig was a man with a moving position. He's seen the outfield. He's played shortstop. He probably saw time at second base. And he played third. Observers don't rave about his defense at the corner, but they also don't doubt his ability to play it as he moves up. What sets Jay ahead of Craig is Jay is a polished hitter, a good judge of the strike zone. He has the ability to play all three outfield positions. Jay's upside is more in focus; Craig's is just coming into focus.

 Q:  Roy D from Phenix City Alabama asks:
Are any of the Jim Edmonds trade rumors to San Diego true? If so could Mo believe Colby is ready to start with the Big team in 2008? What do you here?
 A: 

Derrick Goold: Ah, a question from Rasmus' hometown. My colleague at the Post-Dispatch, Joe Strauss, has reported a few times that some teams (and San Diego is presumed to be one) have expressed interest in Edmonds — but at their terms. We can play hypothetical if you want: If Edmonds isn't the Cardinals starting center fielder in 2008, then you have to skip another player before Rasmus' name comes up on the depth chart. Without Edmonds, Ankiel is the Cardinals starting CF.

 Q:  Silent George from Houston Texas asks:
In 2003 the Cardinals drafted but didn't sign Ian Kennedy (14th round), Kevin Mulvey (34th round), Brent Sinkbeil (38th round) and Max Scherzer (43rd round). Was that the best one-that-got-away draft ever?
 A: 

Derrick Goold: It certainly could be for the pitching-starved Cardinals. In 2004, the Cardinals nearly took Philip Hughes with their pick. Instead, they picked Chris Lambert. A few years later, Joba Chamberlain was on their list of players to select, but they blinked and the Yankees got him before the Cardinals had their chance. Woulda, coulda, shoulda. What sets the names Silent George mentions apart is they were drafted by the Cardinals. System looks a little different if even one of those players above signs. Kudos to the scouts. Fair to question what happened once it was no longer in their hands ...

 Q:  Alan from Wichita, Kansas asks:
Which two players just missed the cut?
 A: 

Derrick Goold: RHP Kyle McClellan, a reliever who was in Double-A this past summer and coming back from Tommy John surgery. He was a late cut from the top 10. OF1B Joe Mather, a power prospect who had a Terry Evans-like breakout this past season. Power. Growing into his frame. The ability to play the corners in the outfield. Good athlete. A few seasons spent idling in Class A is what kept him out of this conversation previously.

 Q:  lawless from Austin, TX asks:
Just a question in terms of evaluation. My feel is that when ranking prospects you would say - who would you trade this guy for —- and rank them that way. With that said, would you trade John Jay for any of the prospects that will be ranked behind him (say Daryl Jones, Mark McCormick, Jess Todd, etc. etc.)? I know I would, but am interested in your perspective.
 A: 

Derrick Goold: That's an interesting approach to ranking prospects — one that got me thinking exactly how to apply it. I kept running into a lot of traps. Would you trade Mitchell Boggs for Jason Motte? For Mark Hamilton? Some might — for need, for preference. Yet, Mitchell Boggs is close to the majors as a starting pitcher, one of the most valuable assets going. But if you believe the upside of the other two is better, then a deal could be done. Jay is a potential starting outfielder with a .300-average bat and he's a good chance to reach that potential. It's not all promise. There's evidence. By your reasoning, I would not trade him for the players you listed — but I might for a few players listed below him because of need.

 Q:  Roy D from Phenix City Alabama asks:
Who do you think will be the starting OF's in Memphis this year? Also will Tyler Green be in Memphis or Springfield in 08?
 A: 

Derrick Goold: There may be a wild-card signing in here that emerges from spring training, but right now the Triple-A outfield would be: Rasmus, Mather and probably Haerther. Jay could play his way there, as could Gorecki. They'd play in the corners though as center is all Colby's.

 Q:  Darren from Florida asks:
Why put Mortensen ahead of Herron? Herron is almost 2 years younger, put up numbers that were just as good as Mort's, has just as good of stuff and was also a supplemental 1st round pick.
 A: 

Derrick Goold: Mortensen has a strong debut coming out of college and reporting for the prospect list showed that he has the skills to move and move fast. Herron has talent, has lots of promise, but he's on a steadier climb. Mortensen has more polish, has a standout pitch and could find himself starting in Triple-A as early as this coming summer.

 Q:  walter from Plano, Texas asks:
I can only speculate what is happening with Reid Gorecki...fill me in on what you hear. He absolutely has one of the best arms I have seen from an outfielder but simply can't hit the breaking ball. Same question for Tyler Greene. Lots of $ spent but no return. Thanks.
 A: 

Derrick Goold: Glad you asked about Tyler Greene, because I fear I flubbed and didn't answer a question about him earlier. Greene has been slowed by injury and bit of a problem adjusting to High-A ball that set him back a stride. Gorecki has a similar explanation. He was once the Cardinals' organizational player of the year — the offseason they traded Barton, that is — and that made him the poster boy of Springfield's first year as an affiliate. He was all over the place. Posters. Media appearances. He was celebrated. The pressure was unfair and when Gorecki struggled, things snowballed. He's had two seasons complicated by injury — but still has the defense that plays.

 Q:  Tom Collins from St. Louis, MO asks:
Does it really matter that Jay doesn't have much power if Rasmus and DuncanAnkiel hit 30 HRs in CF and RF? Its like Edmonds in CF hitting 35-40 HRs from 2000 to 2004. You're just getting your corner outfield production from your centerfielder.
 A: 

Derrick Goold: Bingo. I believe this was discussed earlier — back on Friday when I ran out of time in the chat because I had to race to the airport. Pick the best player for the most-balanced lineup. Jay fits in a lot of ways.

 Q:  D. Cornell from Madison, WI asks:
Will Juan Encarnacion ever play again after his serious eye injury?
 A: 

Derrick Goold: Encarnacion is not expected to play at all this coming season and the Cardinals believe his career is in jeopardy. His vision has not returned as hoped and there is little optimism it will improve dramatically.

 Q:  Barney from Flint asks:
Who's got a better upside for MLB potential: Jaime Garcia, Adam Ottavino, or Tyler Herron? Garcia seems like he could be a top-5 NL lefty five years from now if healthy. Ottavino has been pretty awesome in the minors (really like his FB), and Herron has some nasty stuff, and came a long way...could all three end up starters for the Cards, say by 2011 or 2012? Goodness knows they need some depth at starting pitching!
 A: 

Derrick Goold: Got to stick with the rankings here. Jaime Garcia has the more MLB potential. He's got No. 2-3 stuff, and the injury isn't expected to set him back. Goodness isn't the only one who knows they need pitching.

 Q:  Pat from ibcleague.com asks:
What's the ceiling for Luke Gregerson?
 A: 

Derrick Goold: Not sure if we know yet. Gregerson came out of the Chicago area as a pitcheroutfielder and really only has limited experience as a full-time pitcher. He's got the chops for relieving and he's got the size and the stuff that stands out. Looks like a setup guy. Could serve in the Russ Springer role eventually and, as we'll get a better feel for this season, perhaps more ...

Moderator: Thanks all for coming. Again, I'm sorry I couldn't get to more, but it doesn't look like they'll hold the plane for me. I'll check back if I can, and in the meantime fire your questions to dgoold@post-dispatch.com. Great stuff. Great questions. I hope the answers were up to the quality of the inquiries. — Derrick.