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Top Ten Prospects: St. Louis Cardinals
Complete Index of Top 10s

By Will Lingo
February 4, 2005


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, 2005.

Scouting reports for the Top 10 Prospects (Subscribers only) -- Click Here to Subscribe


Live Chat! Will Lingo takes
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TOP TEN PROSPECTS
1. Anthony Reyes, rhp
2. Adam Wainwright, rhp
3. Blake Hawksworth, rhp
4. Chris Lambert, rhp
5. Stuart Pomeranz, rhp
6. Brad Thompson, rhp
7. Brennan Ryan, ss
8. Chris Duncan, 1b
9. Cody Haerther, of
10. Carmen Cali, lhp
BEST TOOLS
Best Hitter for Average Cody Haerther
Best Power Hitter Chris Duncan
Best Strike-Zone Discipline John Gall
Fastest Baserunner Matt Lemanczyk
Best Athlete Brendan Ryan
Best Fastball Anthony Reyes
Best Curveball Adam Wainwright
Best Slider Justin Garza
Best Changeup Blake Hawksworth
Best Control Brad Thompson
Best Defensive Catcher Jason Motte
Best Defensive Infielder Travis Hanson
Best Infield Arm John Nelson
Best Defensive Outfielder Reid Gorecki
Best Outfield Arm Skip Schumaker
TOP PROSPECTS
OF THE DECADE
1995 Alan Benes, rhp
1996 Alan Benes, rhp
1997 Matt Morris, rhp
1998 Rick Ankiel, lhp
1999 J.D. Drew, of
2000 Rick Ankiel, lhp
2001 Bud Smith, lhp
2002 Jimmy Journell, rhp
2003 Dan Haren, rhp
2004 Blake Hawksworth, rhp
TOP DRAFT PICKS
OF THE DECADE
1995 Matt Morris, rhp
1996 Braden Looper, rhp
1997 Adam Kennedy, ss
1998 J.D. Drew, of
1999 Chance Caple, rhp
2000 Shaun Boyd, of
2001 Justin Pope, rhp
2002 Calvin Hayes, ss (3rd round)
2003 Daric Barton, c
2004 Chris Lambert, rhp
LARGEST BONUSES
IN CLUB HISTORY
J.D. Drew, 1998 $3,000,000
Rick Ankiel, 1997 $2,500,000
Chad Hutchinson, 1998 $2,300,000
Shaun Boyd, 2000 $1,750,000
Braden Looper, 1996 $1,675,000
Until they ran into a team of destiny in the World Series and got swept by the Red Sox, the Cardinals had a dream season in 2004.

The offense was the most potent in the National League, leading the league in both average and runs. And a pitching staff that was considered a question mark when the season began finished behind only the Braves in the NL with a 3.75 ERA. The result was 105 wins and a runaway in the NL Central, as well as the team's first trip to the World Series since 1987.

Aside from Albert Pujols, St. Louis had few significant contributors to their pennant run who were produced by the farm system. Pujols and So Taguchi--a veteran player who was signed after playing several years in Japan--were the only everyday players originally signed by the organization. On the pitching staff, Dan Haren and Matt Morris were the only players with at least 45 innings who started their careers with the Cardinals.

While St. Louis hasn't incorporated homegrown talent into its major league roster, it has skillfully used prospects in deals to bolster the big league club. Key 2004 contributors such as Jim Edmonds, Edgar Renteria, Scott Rolen and Woody Williams came over in trades. General manager Walt Jocketty made another blockbuster last summer, sending three minor leaguers (the best of whom was lefthander Chris Narveson) to the Rockies for Larry Walker.

Jocketty followed it up with an even bigger deal after the season, recognizing that the pitching staff, while solid, lacked an ace. So he sent the organization's best hitting prospect, catcher Daric Barton, along with Haren and Kiko Calero to the Athletics for Mark Mulder. Mulder clearly strengthens the pitching staff, but the trade took away another premium prospect from a system with precious few of them. The organization has also been hurt by injuries to its prospects over the years, particularly pitchers. Last year's top two prospects, Blake Hawksworth and Adam Wainwright, missed significant time in 2004.

Trades and injuries aren't the only reason the system is thin, however. The Cardinals haven't been satisfied with their production from the draft, so they overhauled the scouting department for 2004. Assistant GM John Mozeliak took leadership of the department, and St. Louis hired Jeff Luhnow as vice president of baseball development to assist their scouting efforts with improved technology.

The new approach was said to mimic the Athletics, but in truth the Cardinals have always leaned toward college players in the draft. The lean became even more pronounced in 2004, however, with St. Louis drafting just four high school players out of 47 picks and signing none of them.

Mozeliak said the Cardinals didn't exclude high school players from their scouting, but rather wanted advanced players who could add immediate depth. Early returns indicate they did get players who will patch holes in the minors, but few who could be significant big leaguers. Only first-rounder Chris Lambert cracked our St. Louis Top 10 Prospects list.


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