St. Louis Cardinals: Top 10 Prospects

1. Colby Rasmus, of
2. Jaime Garcia, lhp
3. Chris Perez, rhp
4. Blake Hawksworth, rhp
5. Jon Jay, of
6. Bryan Anderson, c
7. Adam Ottavino, rhp
8. Mark McCormick, rhp
9. Josh Kinney, rhp
10. Darryl Jones, of
Best Hitter for Average Colby Rasmus
Best Power Hitter Mark Hamilton
Best Strike-Zone Discipline Jon Jay
Fastest Baserunner Daryl Jones
Best Athlete Daryl Jones
Best Fastball Mark McCormick
Best Curveball Jaime Garcia
Best Slider Chris Perez
Best Changeup Blake Hawksworth
Best Control Jaime Garcia
Best Defensive Catcher Matt Pagnozzi
Best Defensive Infielder Brendan Ryan
Best Infield Arm Tyler Greene
Best Defensive Outfielder Skip Schumaker
Best Outfield Arm Jon Edwards
Catcher Yadier Molina
First Base Albert Pujols
Second Base Adam Kennedy
Third Base Scott Rolen
Shortstop David Eckstein
Left Field Jon Jay
Center Field Colby Rasmus
Right Field Chris Duncan
No. 1 Starter Chris Carpenter
No. 2 Starter Adam Wainwright
No. 3 Starter Anthony Reyes
No. 4 Starter Jaime Garcia
No. 5 Starter Blake Hawksworth
Closer Chris Perez
Year Player, Position 2006
1997 Matt Morris, rhp Giants
1998 Rick Ankiel, lhp Cardinals
1999 J.D. Drew, of Dodgers
2000 Rick Ankiel, lhp Cardinals
2001 Bud Smith, lhp Long Beach (Golden)
2002 Jimmy Journell, rhp Bridgeport (Atlantic)
2003 Dan Haren, rhp Athletics
2004 Blake Hawksworth, rhp Cardinals
2005 Anthony Reyes, rhp Cardinals
2006 Anthony Reyes, rhp Cardinals
Year Player, Position 2006
1997 Adam Kennedy, ss Angels
1998 J.D. Drew, of Dodgers
1999 Chance Caple, rhp Out of baseball
2000 Shaun Boyd, of Cardinals
2001 Justin Pope, rhp Yankees
2002 Calvin Hayes, ss (3rd round) Cardinals
2003 Daric Barton, c Athletics
2004 Chris Lambert, rhp Cardinals
2005 Colby Rasmus, of Cardinals
2006 Adam Ottavino, rhp Cardinals
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
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St. Louis Cardinals

Several weeks after ownership shook up the player-development department, the Cardinals rode a sampling of players gathered and groomed by their system to a World Series title.

Seeking to bridge talent procurement with talent development, the Cardinals added farm director to scouting director Jeff Luhnow’s titles in September. Three years into his career with St. Louis, Luhnow has run two drafts and has overseen the establishment of baseball academies in the Dominican Republic and Venezuela. Luhnow said his joint responsibilities should eliminate what he called a natural tension between scouting and development.

The move irritated some members of the front office, because farm director Bruce Manno was reassigned as a major league scout and because Lunhow comes from a business background rather than a baseball background. The move came the same day that general manager Walt Jocketty’s option for 2008 was exercised, prompting manager Tony La Russa to say, “Nothing wrong with our development. Just have to get the talent.”

Though many of the players on the franchise’s 10th World Series championship team were acquired via free agency and trades, the system did make some significant contributions.

Most notable, of course, is Albert Pujols, who went from 13th-round pick in 1999 to superstar seemingly overnight. Chris Duncan (supplemental first round, 1999) cranked 22 homers during the regular season to help St. Louis sneak into the playoffs. Yadier Molina (fourth round, 2000) surprisingly led the team in hits during the postseason.

On the mound, Anthony Reyes (15th round, 2003) pitched eight strong innings to win Game One of the World Series. Adam Wainwright (who developed for two years in Triple-A in the Cards system after coming from Atlanta in the J.D. Drew trade) got the final outs in the National League Championship Series and World Series after taking over for injured closer Jason Isringhausen. St. Louis might not have successfully negotiated the first two rounds of the playoffs without the bullpen work of Tyler Johnson (34th round, 2000) and Josh Kinney (signed out of the independent Frontier League in 2001).

Those are very real contributions from a system that has lacked depth in recent years. It remains thin at the upper levels, as evidenced by Triple-A Memphis’ 58-86 record and 15th-place finish in the 16-team Pacific Coast League. The bulk of St. Louis’ best prospects was concentrated in Class A, the result of an infusion of talent from the last two drafts, when it owned a total of 11 picks in the first two rounds.

Eight of the players on our Cardinals Top 10 list were drafted in either 2005 or 2006. No. 1-ranked outfielder Colby Rasmus was St. Louis’ top pick in 2005, when the club also nabbed righthander Mark McCormick in the supplemental first round, outfielder Daryl Jones in the third, catcher Bryan Anderson in the fourth and lefty Jaime Garcia in the 22nd. Last June, the Cards added righthanders Adam Ottavino (first round) and Chris Perez (supplemental first), plus outfielder Jon Jay (second).