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, 2011.
Ben (Leland Grove): How did Cox look to you (and to scouts) during his time in the AFL?
I did not get a chance to see him
personal at the Arizona Fall League. I watched him that last weekend of
his college career, and I actually got to see him take BP and workout in
person at the Super Regional. Scouts/coaches/etc. said he looked like a
college hitter who needed to knock the rust off early in the AFL, and
that he got better later in the season. The numbers reflect that. A few
people I talked with were encouraged by his play in the field there,
Always good to answer a question before
firing off an intro. Wait? No? I'm doing this backward? Anyway, sorry
for the brief delay. Had to wrap my head around having admin privileges
here at Baseball America. Almost went mad with power. Thanks for popping
by. Going to try and get through as many questions as possible, and
know that if I don't get to it now you can always reach me at the St.
Louis Post-Dispatch (email@example.com), the blog I write there
(Bird Land) or even on Twitter (@dgoold). Onward.
Billy (Wilmington, NC): Is Cody Stanley the Cardinals best catching prospect? Did he end up in the 11-20 range?
He has a lot going for him coming out of
the .319/.377/.507 turn this past season, and a strong season in
Johnson City. The Appy League rankings had him No. 14. That wasn't
enough to vault him ahead of other catchers who have done well at higher
levels, though. Bryan Anderson has the incumbent tag as the
organization's best catcher, but the major-league staff's reluctance to
sign off on his defense has proven a drag on his ascent. Highest ranked
catching prospect this year? Why that's Tony Cruz. But Stanley is on the
Jake (Miami, FL): Did John Gast impress you and scouts? Is he on the long list?
He's on the short list. There were some
inside the Cardinals' organization who believed that Gast's debut was up
there with Miller's, and others argued that Gast, Miller and Martinez
are the most impressive pitching prospects within the organization.
There was a lot to like about what Gast did to ... how to put this? ...
make people forget his college stats. Scouts outside the organization
spoke well of him (though not as glowingly as putting him in Miller's
peer group, mind you) and in an organization hungry for a lefty pitcher
Gast was a top-half prospect for me in the Top 30.
Kelly (Jefferson City, MO): How far did Pete Kozma's stock drop this year, in your opinion? Still a top 30 guy?
Still a Top 30 guy, though entering a
defining year for the former first-round pick. Kozma's performance is a
riddle, and he seems to be idling at Double-A. I think it's important to
rub the Porcello envy and the early overstatements out of our eyes and
judge Kozma on his merits alone. Observers believe in his glove, are
concerned about his bat. This hasn't changed much from when he was
drafted. The error total is alarming, and better focus could be a cure.
Kozma will turn 23 early in this season, and there's internal hope that
he makes the climb to Triple-A this season and asserts himself as a
first-round talent, one with a bat that belongs in a lineup and not a
glove that leads to utility.
Brett (Des Moines): Oscar Taveras had a solid state side debut. Did he come close to cracking the top 10 and what is his ceiling?
When I first started putting together
the Top 30, Taveras stood out among the newcomers and I did give some
thought to ranking him super-aggressively as a Top 10 talent. A cooler
head ... OK, OK, a more conservative head ... prevailed. One reason is
we've seen some young Cardinals players do similar damage in that league
and then slow and even peter out at the next level or higher. Taveras
has the ability to defy that trend, and with a solid year he'll zoom up
the rankings — and, more importantly, stay there as his career
develops. His ceiling, right now, is something to, as they say, "Dream
On." Check the box scores for his name this summer, watch the K-rate and
let's reconvene in the fall to discuss if his ceiling is the highest
for a Cardinals' prospect outfielder in a few years. Some scouts seem to
think that's possible.
George (Houston, Tx): With a 0.974 OPS at AAA
Memphis last year, Mark Hamilton seems like a hitter with nothing left
to prove in the minor leagues, but like Allen Craig, with no real chance
to get a lot of playing time in St. Louis. Is there no trade market
for such players, or are the Cardinals keeping them to provide depth in
case of injury?
I spoke to Hamilton about this exact
topic. It's difficult to be a first baseman in the Cardinals
organization knowing that position is taken now and (the Cardinals hope)
for years to come by this generation's Lou Gehrig. Hamilton recognizes
that he's going to have to get better in the outfield to dent the
Cardinals roster and be an option off the bench. He's not the first to
run into that wall. (See: Stavinoha, Gall.) That leaves him with two
paths this spring: Show versatile in the outfield for the Cardinals and,
in games, try to hit his way into a trade. Staying healthy (less than
300 ABs in three consecutive seasons) would also up his trade value.
Ken (Lakewood CA): Just how real a possibility
is it for Cox to end up at 2B for the Cardinals? I know you have him
projected as the long term 3B. But they seem to be lacking at the middle
infield positions. Thanks.
They do seem to be lacking there, yes.
The way it's been presented to me is this: Cox will stay at third base
as long as his play there allows it and as long as the Cardinals don't
need his bat elsewhere. Ahead of Cox on the depth chart at third base is
David Freese and Matt Carpenter. The Cardinals have high hopes for
Freese if he can stay healthy on two reconstructed ankles. If Cox's bat
catapults him through the system and the playing time is there for him
at second because third is taken, then voila he'll be a second baseman.
If he struggles at third as he scales the system, then second is there
for him as a fallback. The Cardinals need for a bona fide middle infield
prospect — an impact prospect, we're talking, not complementary
prospect — will not push Cox to second right now, but it certainly
makes an option.
waltdub (Iowa City): Name 3 players not in the top 30 with the most helium-potential for next year.
Helium-potential? You mean like people
must be sucking gas if they think much of them? Or, helium-potential as
in they'll rise with good years? Never been much of a fan of
high-pitched helium humor, so I'll guess the latter and go quickly off
the top of my head:
— Deryk Hooker, RHP. A real difficult decision this year considering
how impressive his stats were. Those had to be reconciled with some of
the scouting reports I received from outside the organization and his
coming back from a year stained by suspension. I have to think that if
he can channel this year's success into consistency at a higher level
next year, he'll helium up.
— Nick Longmire, OF. Lots of fans for him, and set to climb.
— Samuel Freeman, LHP. Injury swept him off the radar. He's been doing
his rehab in Florida and should be ready to reassert his place this
spring. Freeman is an athletic lefty who will be cast as a specialist,
and with the lack of depth at that position 'round these parts he could
move fast. Helium style.
Dom (Minnesota): Hey Derrick, thanks for the
chat. After reading about how great Martinez's fastball is, I was
surprised that Shelby Miller had the best fastball in the "Best Tools"
section. Is this because Miller is more of a known commodity at this
point, whereas Martinez is more hearsay? That fastball sounds pretty
impressive if the reports are true, and rarely do you hear of a 19 year
old with a fastball that is potentially "one of the best in baseball".
Bingo. We went back and forth on this. I
had Martinez one day, would talk to another source, and then it would
be Miller. At the end we had to settle on this: Miller has thrown the
fastball with more success and more data in the minors. We can't just
base it on raw velocity. We do need to consider effectiveness as well.
Martinez's fastball will make it's domestic debut this spring. My bet:
He takes the title next year. Miller will have other accolades.
Brent (STL): Lots of speculation about the animosity between Tony and Colby the past few months. Is Razzy going anywhere in the near future?
Maybe to No. 2 in the Cardinals order.
But beyond that don't expect Rasmus to be changing his address. Rasmus
is too valuable to the Cardinals: cost controlled, top producing CF in
the NL last year of CFs with enough ABs at the position to qualify for
the batting title, high-ceiling potential, so on and so on. Rasmus has
the ability that La Russa will learn to love.
Sammy (Islip, NY): Danny Descalso - prospect or suspect?
Prospect, and one who is highly rated
because of the organization he's in, mind you. Descalso helped his stock
by showing versatility late last season, and he'll come into spring
training with a chance to win a bench job as the backup second baseman
and an option to spell others at third base. On the brink of the majors,
he does a lot of things well enough to be a prospect until he proves
Ben (Leland Grove): Are the Cards considering moving Stock back to the mound? Your thoughts on his season? Is he still on your top 30?
This question is going to dog Stock's
development until it actually happens. He is still in the Top 30, though
to be candid he is ranked in the Top 30 partially because of his
potential as a pitcher. The Cardinals haven't offered any indications of
an imminent move. Though it should be noted that there are people in
the organization who would have moved him to the mound already.
waltdub (Iowa City): A name starting to float
around Cardinals prospect circles is Trevor Rosenthal, a 21st round pick
in 2009. Have heard his fastball hits 98mph with good location. Did
he make the top 30? What can you tell us about this sleeper?
An excellent sleeper to bring up.
Thanks, waltdub. Rosenthal does it did operate in the mid-90s and a
shift back to relief served him well. Rosenthal has less than 60 innings
in pro ball, none higher than Appy League. I think the term "sleeper"
fits best for him right now. If I were to, say, just go through the
system and rank the Top 30 arms, he'd be up there. Probably way up
there. I'm eager to see what he does with it at a higher level and in a
George (Houston, Tx): Derrick, Thanks for the
chat and your great work for BA and the Post Dispatch. The Cardinals
seem to get a bit shortchanged in the various rankings of minor leagues,
which consistently have them ranked in the bottom 10-20%. According to
a recent "Ask BA", the Cardinals' minor league system was the second
youngest yet produced the highest winning percentage in all of baseball,
despite fielding 7 US-based teams (most organizations have only 6). I
know that winning isn't everything when it comes to evaluating minor
league systems, but shouldn't there be some correlation between the two?
Is it just that the Cardinals excel in attracting and developing good
The Cardinals have put an emphasis on
aggressive promotion (that leads to young rosters) and winning
throughout the system (they believe it lets prospects know of the
pressure to contend at the major-league level). I think what helps the
Cardinals perform well as teams in the minors sometimes works against
them getting highly ranked as an organization. The Cardinals have a lot
of complementary players who will appear in the majors and a handful who
will stick in the majors. They have, in recent years, lacked that
high-ceiling impact prospect ... that top-tier, top-100, high-watt,
big-hype prospect, and when they have had one (Rasmus), they've had one.
There was a time when the Cardinals would kvetch about the system
rankings and point to a minor-league org that has developed, as an
example, Yadier Molina in the past decade. The overall rankings do value
sizzle, and while the Cardinals' winning percentage in the minors
should be applauded, also note that officials will tell you the purpose
of the minor leagues is to produce players who will impact the
major-league winning percentage. The Cardinals have done that (trading
players for Matt Holliday, I think, counts), but are in a situation
where they need to do it more ...
Jason (Dallas): Derrick,
Thanks for all your great coverage of the Cards - means a lot to an out
of town fan.
Can you tell me what the signing of Lance Berkman does to Allen Craig's
near-term future? Is he strictly a bench player? AAA-bound? Trade
It means Craig should pack an
infielder's glove for spring training. Berkman's signing means Craig
will be taking grounders at third. He's positioned to be on the
big-league bench as a right-handed complement for Berkman (who hit .171
from the right side vs. LHP) and an option at third (if good there in
spring), outfield and first base.
George (Houston, Tx): Is the fact that the
"best Tools" table lists 15 different prospects without a single repeat
indicative of good depth in this system, or lack of truly elite talent,
or was it just that you tried to include as many prospects as possible
to pique our interest and goad us into buying the Prospect Handbook
(mine is already ordered by the way)?
Great question, and I think one that
dovetails with the overall theme of the Cardinals' system and the
rankings. It's a bit of both. The Cardinals have good depth of
similar-type players, and yes a thin-slice of elite talent. I'm looking
here at my notes from the Top 30, and it was tricky once we got past,
say, the top 7, 8 or so to distinguish between a group of prospects. I'd
almost prefer to rank them in tiers or groups. A Prospect Pyramid would
be a better representation of the Cardinals' organization than a
straight list, and I think the "best tools" list is a reflection of
that. It was not a goal of mine to list a different name for every tool
Steve (St. Louis): There's been a lot of
fanfare surrounding Matt Carpenter lately. Do you beleive he'll be able
to maintain his high OBP in Memphis or the majors?
I'm among the folks who believes the
fanfare is deserved. There's no reason to think that OBP won't follow
him to Memphis. I spoke with him earlier this offseason, and the
Cardinals have worked him to alter his mechanics at the plate. He swings
from a standstill, and coaches believe that's part of why his power
doesn't match his profile. If he's able to keep his refined approach
while adjusting to a better-engineered swing, then he'll get a chance to
show how well his OBP translates to MLB. One step ... OK, two steps ...
at a time.
Ryan Jackson (St. Louis): do I have enough offense to become an all star shortstop?
In the Texas League? Or, All-Star at the
top? Ryan, if you could produce consistently at the plate ... nothing
too outrageous, just along the lines of that .292/.342/.392 start you
had there in Palm Beach ... then up you go. Your glove has won fans
inside and outside the organization, but you'll forgive the Cardinals if
they're a little reluctant right now to get giddy about an all-glove,
inconsistent-bat shortstop. It's too soon. There are indications that
you could hit well enough to keep that glove in the lineup. All-Star?
Put it this way: It's much better to be the starter in Memphis then an
All-Star Springfield. Dig?
Karl of Delaware (Georgetown, Delaware): Of
last year's 30 top Cardinal prospects which guy has moved up the most
spots in the 2011 list? Which prospect has dropped down the most slots?
A quick look at the rankings and OF
Daryl Jones and C Robert Stock dropped the most. Of the top 30 from
2010, the biggest climb appears to be Joe Kelly, who moved up 11 spots.
Ben (Leland Grove): With such a clear
overabundance of young relievers on the horizon, which of them do you
see having the best shot at being a mainstay in St. Louis over the next
Sanchez tops that list. Reifer, Kelly
and ... well, I wouldn't put it past Ottavino, if he undergoes a shift
to the bullpen. A lot of that will hinge on his health and the
Cardinals' need. Salas is a nice fit for a certain role, but it's one
that we've seen the Cardinals use a lot of different pitchers in during
recent years. I'm interested to see what Blake King does with
major-league coaches watching this spring.
Steve (St. Louis): Are there prospects who are
expected to stick at 2b/ss that the organization has high hopes for?
Could Grabriel Hernandez have a bounceback, or Breyvil or Cesar Valera?
Yes, a bounce-back is certainly
possible. Valera is a good name to keep in mind. I could have mentioned
him earlier as a "sleeper" etc. We just talked about Ryan Jackson, who
fits this question. Yunier Castillo. At second, Luis Mateo and Jason
Stidham are mentioned highest on the depth chart.
St. Louis (St. Louis): Tommy Pham really
exploded once he was moved up to Springfield. Was this a result of
playing in the hitter-friendly Texas League for a small sample size, or
was there a change in his approach that will help him sustain that kind
of success in the future?
I hope not literally! Ick. Pham had a
resurgent season and his production did takeoff in Springfield. All of
the factors you name could be a part of it. Just as likely is a player
who has matured into his ability and was faced with career-threatening
competition. Springfield had some interesting developments this season
in the outfield, what with Chambers and Pham surging and Jone struggling
— and playing time on the time.
Brett (STL): How far away is Miller's change from being a plus pitch?
60 feet, 6 inches.
Shawn Nelson (Chippewa Falls,Wi.): Hello Derrick,I was wondering what you think about Daniel Bibona and Joe Kelly. Think they can stick as starters? Thanks.
Kelly prolonged his turn as a starter
with success this season until those innings began to mount on his arm.
He did enough to at least set the Cardinals up to view him as a starter,
as of now. His upside as a reliever might be too much to ignore once
he's had a starter's innings to refine his pitches. I think Bibona will
have a chance to show where he's best suited.
Greg (New York): Hey Derrick,do you think Cox is an all-star one day or is that too much to ask??? Thanks!!!
Too much? Well, it's certainly too soon.
Let's see what he does with some at-bats in the minors first. At least,
I'll say this: I'm intrigued to see what he does — and how much the
Cardinals actually expose him to playing time — during his first
major-league spring training. He comes into the system with higher
expectations as a position player than Rasmus did, and arguably the most
in, what?, a decade?
Lance Lynn (ST LOUIS): Can I please stay???
Yes. ... Hold on second, someone is
trying to sell me something on the phone. ... Apologies. ... OK, back.
Yes, Lance, yes. Most definitely. The Cardinals are going to need you to
contribute as Wainwright's salary climbs, Carpenter reaches the end of
his contract (option for 2012), Lohse ends his deal and so much of the
payroll will be invested in two position players. You can stay. Heck,
you'll be fitted for a non offensive-lineman number.
JAYPERS (IL): What are Daryl Jones' shortcomings?
I think it's fair to wonder how much
Jones really recovered from his knee injuries of 2009, and how much the
lack of his legs and a slow start corroded his 2010. Few players in the
system are in bigger need of a rebound season than Jones, who was the
highest ranked position player in the system a year ago.
Jasen (FLL): Do you expect Martinez to stick at SP? Do any of his other pitches grade out at as a plus or plus plus pitch like his fastball?
That's the plan. Martinez will get a
look for a full-season assignment this spring, but performance alone
won't dictate that. The Cardinals will also consider how quickly he
acclimates to the States and the best situation for him to learn and
develop. That could be in extended spring with a debut at GCL, for
example. That could also mean a look at Palm Beach. "It all depends on
how polished he is," one exec told me. His curveball has late break, and
he's used it as an out pitch. His changeup has natural sink to it, and
that something the Cardinals will try to sharpen into a plus-pitch. And,
stop if you've heard this before, but he's working on a sinker that he
cannot control now but projects as a pitch he could throw in the
Steve (St. Louis): Considering an unproven
commodity like Jenkins checked in at #4 it was a little surprising that
Oscar Taveras didn't make the list. Could you tell us the biggest
knocks on his game, and what you expect from him in 2011?
I think is a fair question, and it's one
that really deserves discussion beyond the chat. Jenkins comes out of
the draft and scores a spot at No. 4 in the rankings. Taveras has
actually put in a half season in the system, and does not crack the top
10. Beyond the difficulty of a pitcher-player comparison is the obvious
imbalance of information. For me, it comes down to ceiling and the
quality of the information/scouting, not just stats. A trusted judge of
talent described Jenkins as "a raw pitcher, real raw, but athletic." He
has a good aptitude for pitching, and the potential to develop four
pitches that he already throws. With Taveras there seemed to be a lot of
applause for his present and more questions about where it takes him.
Quad Cities will help reveal that.
A while back — what an hour ago? scroll up, you'll find it — I
mentioned Gast being mentioned alongside Miller and Martinez. I should
add that Jenkins had his fans too when it came to folks outlining where
the Cardinals rotation could be headed in the distant future. While not
as polished as Miller was coming out of high school, some evaluators saw
Jenkins as eventually in that group.
Toby (Boston): With Dave Duncan having more
influence in the minor league system on the pitching side, does that
mean that it will somewhat mirror that of Boston's system, where each
level is taught the same methods in order to ease their movement through
the system, rather than each stop teaching in their own way that may
clash with one another? Thanks!
There will be more of a consistent
message carried throughout the system with Dave Duncan having increased
influence and John Vuch being promoted to farm director. Does that mean
every pitcher will have his two-seam grip inspected each morning before
taking the field? No. But it does mean that there will be less messages
to sift through. The goal will be for pitchers like Lance Lynn, Miller,
Kelly, Reifer, Kopp, etc. to start doing things in the minors that will
HELP THEM in the majors — not just GET THEM to the majors. Duncan will
have a larger say in exactly what that means to him. Boston is an
interesting example. I look back to what a few coaches will tell you the
Cardinals had several years ago, with (new Cubs pitching coach) Mark
Riggins and Dyar Miller as the dominant voices for pitching in the
Michael (Milwaukee): Where would Austin Wilson have wound up on this list if he had signed? I'm guessing at least #2 or #3.
Now there's a press-box conversation
starter. I'm going to steal this question and ask it later, if you don't
mind. My first thought is probably No. 4. But then, as we've
established, I'm pretty conservative. The hype would be high. Heck, Tony
La Russa might lobby for a higher ranking.
jstrange (ofallon, mo): It seems as if the
Cardinals have a pretty stout collection of guys with big fastballs.
Some, albeit may end up as relievers but based on the reports of the top
10 pitchers all have or at least have potetial for mid-90's heat.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but is this becoming a more prevelant
philosophy? Get as many hard throwers as you can and if a few pan out,
Also, did Cleto get any love in the top 30? Any chance of getting any
kind of preview to his scouting report?
Much obliged sir
Yes, power arms have been on the
Cardinals' shopping list, and they have experimented with buying in
bulk. This is a trend that I've tried to map over at the blog I write at
StlToday.com, starting with maybe about five years ago when the
Cardinals had one, if that, pitcher with a fastball that averaged in
that plus velocity. For awhile there, the Cardinals did not have a
prospect who threw 95+, and that was about the time that the Cardinals
also did not have (if I remember correctly) a minor-league starter throw
more innings than hits allowed.
Since, there has been a dedicated effort to acquiring more power arms,
and you're starting to see that philosophy increase the velocity at
every level. Mitchell Boggs, Jason Motte and Blake Hawksworth all had
power elements for last year's big-league bullpen. Ottavino, Reifer,
Kelly, Sanchez, Samuel ... all are lurking in the minors with 95+
fastballs. I think you described the approach well.
Cleto did not make it.
waltdub (Iowa City): Where does Oscar taveras rank? What's his scouting report?
Taveras, as we've discussed above, was a
tricky one to rate. He was a comet this season, streaking onto the
radar and impossible to ignore. He's in the lower half of the rankings,
and here is some of what you'll read about him in the Handbook: "Taveras
was third in the Appy League with a .322 average, fourth with 43 RBIs,
fifth in slugging (.526), sixth with a .889 OPS and considered the
second-best position prospect in the league. Coaches see a five-tool
type, with the OK arm and good range to play center if he gets more
consistent with his routes. His speed is about average. Taveras has a
lefthanded stroke that preternaturally makes contact with the sweet spot
and allows him to drive the ball to all fields."
Mike (STL): Were the scouting reports written
before the Berkman signing? For Allen Craig, it says "They've earmarked
him for an expanded role in 2011, and he may begin the season in a
right-field platoon with Jon Jay." This has to be a pre-Berkman view,
Yes. The scouting reports were all written PB.
Kyle W. (Columbus, OH): Can David Kopp be a middle rotation big league starter by 2012?
I get the sense there are lot of people
who would like to see him develop exactly like that. Kopp took a big
stride this past season, and he is one of these power-armed righties
that we talked about above. He made every start this past season, and
that's what sets him up for consideration as a middle- or late-rotation
guy. If not, he's got the stuff to emerge as a reliever, too.
Harris Levine (Bakery, NY): Adron Chambers -
what's his future look like? He played fairly well this year overall, 40
BB/ 68 SO between two levels with a 379 OBP. What type of talent do you
think he can turn into at the MLB level?
Chambers soared into the prospect
rankings this season, leapfrogging several outfielders drafted ahead of
him (granted, there were a lot; he was 1,153rd overall) and many who
were considered higher prospects than him. He's got the
fourth-outfielder label now, and the Cardinals outfield is a crowded
place at the majors and for years to come. Given a crack at Memphis this
year, Chambers could cement that fourth-outfielder potential, and we've
seen others take advantage of that role to turn themselves into
Steve (St. Louis): From limited info and
interviews I've gathered that Nick Longmire is one of those guys coaches
will want to see succeed. He seems to have a great head on his
shoulders and a passion for the game that'll be ignored by
sabremeticians, but not coaches. How much of an impact can that kind of
intangible have on a player's development, and does this organization
value it any more or less than another? After all, the ML team has been
flooded with frustratingly great character players.
Steve is asking questions quicker than I
can answer them. Unless there are a lot of Steves from St. Louis logged
on today. I don't get the sense that Longmire will be "ignored" by
sabremetricians. Though granted there is not way to reliably measure
LUV+ (that is, Passion vs. League Average) or GORP (Grit Over
Replacement Player). All I've heard are positives about Longmire, his
coachability and his upside. He had a strong debut, one that popped him
into the top prospect lists for NY-Penn League. Intangibles have a
strong impact. Let's take Joe Mather as an example. As he stalled at
High-A, Mather was almost released a few times — it once came down to
him and another player — but Mather endured, he won coaches over with
his intensity, his athleticism and, yes, his GORP. He found a gear
eventually and got to the majors. There are a lot of examples of players
hanging around beyond the time their stats say goodbye and getting the
kind of instruction, opportunity and such to eventually find a toehold
and excel. You're right, though, Steve. Character can't hit. But I have
to believe that lacking it can keep a player from getting a chance to
Jasen (FLL): Do the Cards plan on using Sanchez
as the closer down the road or more of a setup man? Who has the better
chance at closing Motte or Sanchez?
Setup man. Fireman something like that.
Motte has the better chance to close, and that's only partially because
he'll have the sooner chance to close.
Jasen (FLL): What's the word on Bryan Anderson? Any chances he will contribute in the majors?
The word is improving. Anderson has an
important fan in Mike Matheny. He still has to win over the major-league
pitchers. This spring, Anderson will be cast in the No. 3 role and that
will give him innings, BP and exposure to the major-league pitchers
that he hasn't had before. (Matt Pagnozzi got this experience last
spring.) He's got gain fans on the mound to get the call to the majors.
waltdub (Iowa City): How far from the top 10
was Adam Reifer? Many of us consider him to have better stuff than
Swagerty, and better results than Joe Kelly. Speaking of Joe Kelly, his
numbers were phenomenal until his rough August. What happened to him
that month? Injury? Fatigue? I saw him in mid-season and his fastball
I'm bullish on Reifer, have been since
his debut. Lots to like. The rankings are a collaborative effort, so
lots of opinions get mixed into the gumbo you eventually see as the Top
10, the top 20, the Top 30. Swagerty had an edge coming from elsewhere
with his college experience, his closer role, and the high opinion
several evaluators had of his pitches. Kelly has the current upside of
potentially sticking awhile as a starter. (Hence, the innings load that
contributed to August.) Reifer to me is a power arm who could have a
strong spring and throw his name into the mix for the inevitable
midseason cameo at the major-league level.
Josh (St. Louis): Do we see Adam Reifer in St. Louis this season?
See above. Ask me in March.
Steve (St. Louis): Of the toolsy outfielders, who would you say has a greater chance of putting it all together, Reggie Williams or Virgil Hill?
Steve! Long time no talk! I feel like we've grown apart. Williams, right now.
Mark (Fargo, ND): How close were Francisco Samuel and Adam Reifer to the top 10? Do eithe project as future closers?
Samuel has to be more consistent, like
he was late in the season. What Samuel lacks that some of the guys with
power arms (those less power power arms, if there is such a thing) have
is the ability to maintain velocity while also throwing strikes. Samuel
dials it down a little to increase his command, and that costs him.
Closer? There are other guys ahead of these two for that role.
Rob (Alaska): Who's your best bet for a front of the rotation starter and how far away are they?
OK, a bunch of quick hits to finish off
strong here. Let's start with this one. Shelby Miller is. He should
finish the year about 4 hours away from the majors, down I-44.
Petey Pablo (Carrboro NC): Have the Cards soured on Steven Hill behind the plate, or was his removal from the 40 simply a function of Cruz's growth?
That's probably a little too strong.
Hill has the bat. Cardinals aren't convinced he'll stick behind the
plate. He was removed from the 40-man because he was less of a Rule 5
risk than others. Cruz's stock at catcher is up, up.
Craig (Omaha): Hi Derrick,
Do you see Dan Descalso taking over at 2B in 2012 or is he just an organizational player ?
Is it a cop-out to say that 2011 will
decide? Then I'm copping out. What happens this year will answer that
question. The job is open for someone to seize it.
Steve (St. Louis): You're right, Derrick, we
need to catch up, whadya say? How about...the press box on opening day?
I might need some help getting in.
Credentials are non-transferable. Sorry, Steve. But at least we'll always have this chat.
Steve (St. Louis): Quick hit-Who's starting at third in St. Louis in 2012?
jstrange (ofallon, mo): outside of the
organization as a whole, were there any draft picks/international
signings from this past year that may have flown under the radar who
sticks out with at least a plus tool? A "super-sleeper" prospect who may
take a few years to even break the prospect lists???
Does Hector Corpas count? Then him.
Andrew (Connecticut): How would you rank the
pitching prospects in the system compared to other systems? It seems
like with Miller, Martinez, Jenkins, Blair, Reifer, Gast, Kelly, Hooker
etc. we have much more high-upside players in the lower parts of the
system. I know we don't have many high-impact pitchers in AA or above,
but it seems like the potential upside of our young pitchers could be in
the top 15 or even top 10. Thoughts?
Another interesting exercise. If you
were to rank organizations purely on pitching prospects, I think it's
fair to say that the Cardinals could rate the top half. Not sure about
Top 10. There are more pitchers with high upside in the organization
right now than when I started doing the rankings for the system. Don't
confuse upside with guarantee, but the potential for these arms has
certainly gotten better.
Ken (Lakewood CA): Thanks for the chat Derrick.
My question concerns both Jon Jay and Allen Craig - and what their
roles will be with the Cardinals in 2011, in your opinion. I like the
signing of Berkman for the Cardinal line up, but i don't see his knee
holding up in playing the OF. Is Craig the logical guy to step up in
your eyes? Is Jay just too lacking in power to be anything more than
their 4th OF?
Last one. We hit on the Craig situation a
little earlier, and yes he is the logical guy to slide into right field
if Berkman falters or the Cardinals need a platoon for that position.
That's not to dismiss Jay's chances, though. The Cardinals aren't so
rigid that they would keep running Craig out there for his untapped
power if it's Jay that's producing, getting on base and making things
happen. There will be playing time for Jay because of his versatility.
And with the way the Cardinals use their roster, dust doesn't gather on
the fourth outfield.
Thanks to all who joined in this brisk, three-hour chat. I've come to
think of it as my final exam at the end of the Prospect Handbook
Semester. If I missed or didn't get to your question please don't
hesitate to reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter, or even on
the Facebook page for the blog I write at The St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Search: Goold's Bird Land. Enjoy the rest of winter.
Cardinals pitchers and catchers report in 30 days.