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He pitched just 87 innings in his first full professional season because of persistent ankle problems, but Hawksworth established himself as the organization's brightest light. He was a prominent prospect in high school, pitching on the same 2001 Eastlake High (Sammamish, Wash.) staff with Andy Sisco, a second-round pick that year who has emerged as one of the best prospects in the pitching-rich Cubs system. He fell to St. Louis in the 28th round because of a perceived strong commitment to Cal State Fullerton. At the last minute, though, he decided to enroll at nearby Bellevue CC, so the Cardinals retained his rights. They signed him the next May as a draft-and-follow for $1.475 million, making up for their lack of a first- or second-round pick that year. Hawksworth earned a promotion to high Class A Palm Beach last year after just 10 starts at low Class A Peoria, still enough to rank him as the Midwest League's top pitching prospect. He had a small spur in his ankle that bothered him all season and limited his running. He tried to pitch through it and did for the most part, but the Cardinals finally decided to shut him down at the end of July so he could have the spur removed. He should be at full strength for spring training. Hawksworth has the highest ceiling of any St. Louis pitching prospect since Rick Ankiel. His fastball usually ranges from 90-92 mph, but it was clocked at 96 in the seventh inning of one start. He could pitch at 92-94 consistently as he fills out, and he has started pitching off his fastball consistently after relying too much on his offspeed stuff as an amateur. Both his curveball and changeup are potential above-average pitches. His curve has good rotation and his changeup has good fade. Hawksworth also has a good approach to pitching and admirable toughness. He makes pitches when he needs to, and when he gets ahead of hitters he puts them away. Fastball command is Hawksworth's biggest need, as it lags behind his control of the curve and changeup. Again, that's a function of his younger days, when he dominated hitters with his offspeed stuff and used his fastball sparingly. He can pitch to all four quadrants of the strike zone but doesn't always do so consistently. In part that's because, while his mechanics are smooth, his release point varies. Hawksworth needs to pitch a full season, not only to prove he's healthy but also to soak up the experience that only innings can bring. Because the ankle injury slowed him down, Hawksworth could return to Palm Beach to start the 2004 season. But he'll likely spend a good portion of the season in Double-A Tennessee. One Midwest League manager said Hawksworth would be in St. Louis in no more than two years, and that's not an unreasonable prediction. He projects as a front-of-the-rotation starter in an organization that desperately needs pitching help.
Wainwright was the top pitching prospect in a deep Braves organization and provides a needed boost to the Cardinals after being the key player in the J.D. Drew trade. In his first season in Double-A, he overcame five straight losses at midseason to go 5-1, 2.14 in his final seven starts and rank 10th in the Southern League in ERA. Wainwright has an ideal combination of size, talent and makeup. He started working off his 92-93 mph fastball more often at midseason and the positive results were immediate. He also throws a hard curveball and a solid changeup, and he mixes his pitches and throws strikes well. He has a great work ethic and is one of the most intelligent pitchers in the minors. Wainwright needs to continue to gain confidence and trust his stuff. He tends to be too fine with his pitches instead of challenging hitters. He also needs to get his body stronger so he'll have better durability throughout the season and late into games. It was encouraging that Wainwright finished the season stronger than he started. He's still maturing and learning his craft and will continue to do so at Triple-A Memphis in 2004.
Narveson returned to the mound in 2002 after Tommy John surgery in August 2001, but he didn't really regain his form until 2003. Named the organization's best minor league pitcher in spring training, he was selected for the high Class A Florida State League all-star game and retired both of the batters he faced in the Futures Game. Though he potentially has four pitches that could be major league average or better, Narveson's real strength is his intelligence and understanding of how to get hitters out. His changeup is a potential plus pitch. His fastball ranges from 86-90 mph, and his slider and curveball should be average pitches, with the slider more useful at this point. Narveson's command isn't what it needs to be yet, both in terms of throwing strikes and pitching effectively out of the strike zone. But the Cardinals liked the way he battled and stayed in games even when his control wasn't great. Narveson will probably go back to Double-A to start 2004. He profiles as a solid No. 3 starter who can be a workhorse.
As the brother of Angels catchers Bengie and Jose Molina, Molina has terrific catching bloodlines, and he's on his way toward joining them in the majors. Skipping over high Class A, Molina held his own in Double-A in 2003. The only hiccup came when he missed a couple of weeks with a bruised ankle. As with his brothers, defense is Molina's calling card. He has a plus arm and soft hands, and led Southern League regulars by throwing out 40 percent of basestealers. He also is advanced for his age in working with pitchers and likes to take charge on the field. Speed is by far Molina's weakest tool, rating as low as 20 on the 20-80 scouting scale. It hurts him on offense, though he showed progress otherwise in 2003, staying on balls well and going the other way. He needs to do that more consistently and to improve his plate discipline. He never has hit for much power. Molina was batting third in the Tennessee order by the end of the season. He isn't expected to bat there as a big leaguer, but it showed he can handle the bat and continue to move quickly. He'll get a chance to be the starting catcher at Triple-A Memphis in 2004.
After two years as a starter, Journell went back to his college roots and returned to the bullpen in 2003. The results were dramatic, as his ERA was three runs lower as a reliever and batters hit .225 against him, as opposed to .311 as a starter. He made his big league debut in June. Journell has dynamic stuff when he's on, and that occurred much more regularly in relief. His fastball touched 96 mph out the pen, compared to 88-91 when he was starting, and his slider was much more effective. He likes relieving, and it's more comfortable for him physically as well. What ultimately drove Journell out of starting was his inconsistent mechanics, which affected his location and durability. He moves his arm slot and release point when he doesn't need to, which has been an issue throughout his career. Journell is at the age and stage of development where he needs to establish himself in the majors. The move to the bullpen gives him a good opportunity, and he'll get a long look in spring training.
The valedictorian of his high school graduating class in suburban Seattle, Hanson was a late bloomer on the baseball field. He earned only a partial scholarship to Portland, where he was a three-year starter. He got off to a hot start at Peoria in his first full season, but a slow May and June left him with more pedestrian numbers. The organization already regards Hanson as its best defensive infielder. He shows athleticism, soft hands and a strong arm at third base, and some scouts think he should return to shortstop, his college position. He might fit better there offensively, because while he has gap power he could max out at 15 homers per year. Hanson does have a smooth, natural swing and uses the entire field. Hanson has good instincts at the plate but is still learning the strike zone and pitch recognition. He needs to get more selective and look for pitches he can drive. His speed is below-average. Hanson's age for his stage of development tempers excitement about him a bit, but he could remove questions with a midseason jump to Double-A. He'll open 2004 in high Class A.
Gall grew up 10 miles from the Stanford campus and played four years there, setting numerous school and Pacific-10 Conference offensive records. A cousin of Athletics outfielder Eric Byrnes, Gall flopped in his first Triple-A experience in 2003. He batted .179 in April, but got back on track in Double-A and raked when he returned to Memphis. His .314 combined average was best in the system. Gall has proven he'll hit no matter where he plays. He's patient, works counts and drives the ball to all fields. He's also an intelligent hitter, keeping a daily journal during the season with notes on virtually every at-bat. Gall's lack of athelticism works against him. He has toiled to improve his defense and footwork every offseason, but that part of his game remains far behind his offense. While his power has increased in the last couple of years, it may not be enough for first base. The Cardinals will give Gall time in left field in 2004 because his bat would fit better there. He'll get a shot at a big league job but is likely to return to Triple-A to start the season.
Parrott built on his breakout 2002 season by getting to Triple-A in 2003, though it wasn't easy. He was called up on short notice at the end of July when Tennesee was on the road, so he spent a night in a Chicago airport and met Memphis in Omaha for a noon game the next day. Using all borrowed equipment, he gave up one run in five innings. The Cardinals like that story as an illustration of Parrott's mental toughness and thirst for competition. His stuff is also pretty good, with a fastball that registers 88-91 mph and an improving changeup. Parrott has struggled to develop a reliable breaking pitch. He threw a slider in college, abandoned it for a curveball as a pro and went back to it in 2003. It was an out pitch at times but still isn't consistent. His fastball command also took a step back, as he got quick to the plate and dropped his arm slot at times. Parrott will return to Triple-A to smooth out his remaining rough spots. He should make his big league debut in 2004 and profiles as a middle-of-the-rotation starter.
The Indians lost Luna as a major league Rule 5 draft pick for the second straight year in December. After the Devil Rays picked him in 2002 and then returned him at the end of spring training, he went through a funk when he was returned to the Indians and assigned to Double-A. But he turned it around by the end of the season, hitting .313 in July and .407 in August. Luna is athletic and an above-average baserunner who can contribute offensively without driving the ball. He tends to drag the barrel of the bat through the zone, robbing him of power. He needs to use his strength more, and should be capable of hitting double figures in homers in the big leagues. Luna needs to play under control, particularly defensively, where his high error totals are a concern despite his arm, range and hands. He made 35 errors last year, mainly because he has poor footwork and fields the ball too close to his body. With improved consistency, Luna projects as a major league shortstop. If not, he could be a useful utilityman, and the role the Cardinals will use him in as they try to retain him. Rule 5 guidelines mandate that players selected have to be kept on the active major league roster, or else they have to be placed on waivers and then offered back to his original team for half the $50,000 draft price. Because Luna already has been through the process once and was outrighted last year, he'd become a free agent if he cleared waivers.
While Barton was one of three catchers picked by the Cardinals in the first eight rounds of the 2003 draft, it was his bat that intrigued them. He played third base as a high school senior because his coach's son did most of the catching, but spent most of his time behind the plate at Rookie-level Johnson City. Barton had one of the best lefthanded bats in the 2003 high school class. He's short to the ball and has a balanced swing. He already can hit for average and shows a good idea of the strike zone. He can pound the ball and will have power as he matures. The Cardinals said they were encouraged with Barton's defense, but he'll have to work to stay behind the plate, especially with Molina and eighth-rounder Matt Pagnozzi in the system. Barton has the potential to be a good receiver, but his arm is just average. He threw out 29 percent of Appalachian League basestealers. Barton is a baseball rat with the potential to be the impact bat the Cardinals system needs. He could blossom into a No. 3 hitter and would have tremendous value if he can catch. He'll stay behind the plate in low Class A in 2004.
Johnson's amateur career stalled after high school, as he struggled to stay on the field because of academic difficulties. But he has moved quickly as a pro, leading the system with 15 wins in 2002 and jumping to Double-A in his second full season. His transition to the bullpen went as smoothly as could be expected. Johnson's curveball is the best breaking pitch in the organization, a true 12-to-6 bender that can be electric. He seemed happier and more confident in relief, and he likes knowing he could play every night. His fastball, which can touch 90-92 mph, and his improving changeup are solid-average pitches at times. Johnson is still maturing and learning how to pitch. He didn't show up in shape for spring training, and that resulted in nagging injuries and took away from his fastball, which was at 87-88 mph last season. Johnson's changeup is in the rudimentary stages. Johnson should move up to Triple-A to start 2004 and be ready to contribute to the big league bullpen later in the year. With his stuff, he should be able to be more than just a lefty specialist.
Boyd's continuing search for a defensive home might finally end in the outfield. He has bounced between the outfield and second base since the Cardinals drafted him, but they finally put him back there for good after he committed 40 errors at second in 2002 and got off to a rough start there in high Class A last year. Boyd has the potential to be a dynamic offensive presence, and when his defensive struggles started to affect him at the plate, St. Louis decided a change was needed. He has a smooth swing and profiles as a No. 2 hitter with some pop in his bat. He draws walks and makes contact, but Boyd must start driving the ball with more consistent authority. Though he has taken to the outfield and can make up for many mistakes with his athleticism, Boyd still needs repetitions to improve his routes and other nuances of outfield play. He played left and center field in the Arizona Fall League, and the Cardinals hope he can handle center because he doesn't profile as well as a corner outfielder. His arm is OK and could get better with more outfield work. The move to the outfield may allow Boyd to move more quickly up the organizational ladder. He'll open 2004 back in Double-A.
Nelson started in the organization as an outfielder, but he got an opportunity at shortstop because of a temporary shortage of players in spring training 2002. He had a breakthrough season, but regressed significantly in 2003. Sent to the Arizona Fall League to try to turn things around, Nelson broke a bone in his hand trying to check his swing. Nelson has the makings of a big league shortstop, with a 70 arm on the 20-80 scouting scale as his best tool. He's a good athlete and above-average runner. He has the strength to put a charge in the ball. Nelson needs to learn plate discipline and change his approach. He gets anxious and overaggressive if he gets in a hole and thinks one swing can get him out of it. That thinking just gets him out. He needs to slow things down and shorten his swing. Nelson's struggles weren't a complete surprise to the Cardinals because he skipped high Class A, but the extent of them was. Because he didn't get to redeem himself in the AFL, he'll probably go back to Double-A to start the season.
Michael was a two-way standout for Gloucester (N.J.) Catholic High when it won the 2000 national high school championship, and the Twins made him a 21st-round pick. He went to Old Dominion instead and transferred to Delaware after his freshman year. He spent more time hitting than pitching before 2003, playing the corner infield positions and DH. The Blue Hens used him on the mound last spring and the results weren't pretty: 3-4, 6.96 with 27 walks, 12 wild pitches and 16 hit batters in 53 innings. The Cardinals liked his live arm, though, and think he could develop quickly after signing for $220,550 as a fourth-round pick. He made consecutive starts without a walk late in the season and looked very sharp in his lone victory. Pitching coordinator Mark Riggins and short-season New Jersey pitching coach Sid Monge worked on Michael's mechanics because he opened up too soon and his arm dragged, getting his delivery out of sync. The adjustments made an immediate difference. Michael throws 89-94 mph from a three-quarters arm angle, sitting at 91 most of the time. His curveball and changeup both show potential. He has a big, projectable body and could add velocity as he gains experience. He still has screws in his elbow from surgery he had in high school, but his health isn't a concern. While Michael is definitely a project, the early returns were promising. If he pitches well in low Class A to start the season, he could move quickly.
The top prospect in Tennessee for the 2003 draft, Pomeranz also earned High School All- America honors. He went 13-1, 0.52 with 165 strikeouts in 94 innings and had a 52-inning scoreless streak. The Cardinals signed him for $570,000 after making him a second-round pick, then gave him a light workload at Rookie-level Johnson City. They love his big body, which makes him projectable even though he already throws 88-92 mph. He also has an above-average curveball with good depth, and a changeup that's advanced for a prep pitcher. Pomeranz also has strong mound presence, a feel for pitching and the ability to throw strikes. He doesn't have a very quick arm, which may keep his velocity down a bit. Pomeranz' first real chance to prove himself as a pro will come in low Class A this season.
Haerther was a star at Chaminade Prep in Chatsworth, Calif., where his brother Casey was named the state's freshman baseball player of the year by one organization in 2003. Cody fell in the 2002 draft because of a perceived strong commitment to UC Irvine. The Cardinals signed him for $250,000, the largest bonus in the sixth round, and he didn't make his pro debut until last year. He topped the Rookie-level Appalachian League in hits and was among the leaders in several offensive categories, and he followed up with a strong instructional league performance. Haerther's bat is his calling card. He has bat speed, a sound approach and a good eye at the plate. He shows the ability to drive the ball and should hit for power down the road. He has decent speed. The Cardinals are trying to find a defensive home for Haerther. He has some arm strength and played third base in high school, but St. Louis moved him to left field last year. Though he has work to do in the outfield, he was more comfortable there and the Cards don't want his defense to get in the way of his bat. They'll move him to low Class A in 2004.
Ryan played for NAIA power Lewis-Clark State, winning a NAIA World Series championship in 2002 but getting dismissed from the program before the Warriors repeated in 2003. He also won a National Baseball Congress World Series title with the Alaska Goldpanners in 2002. Ryan had a promising pro debut, putting together 16 multihit games, including a five-hit contest. Ryan is a good athlete who brings a high-energy approach to the field and is always in motion. He has some strength and bat speed, uses his hands well and already has a decent idea of the strike zone. He also has some power potential and was occasionally impressive in the way he drove the ball, though he needs to fill out. Ryan also has promising defensive tools, including quickness, soft hands and arm strength, though he committed 14 errors in just 32 games in the field. Ryan's biggest need at this point is experience. The Cardinals were impressed with the way he adjusted to pro ball and will send him to low Class A to open 2004.
Reyes gained national attention as a freshman at Southern California in 2000, pitching better than teammate Mark Prior at times as the Trojans advanced to the College World Series. But while Prior built on that experience, Reyes failed to live up to expectations and struggled with injuries. He had elbow tendinitis in 2002 and his velocity dropped, so he fell to the 13th round of the draft. He declined to sign with the Tigers and opted to return for his senior year to improve his stock, but he showed only flashes of his previous form and again struggled with elbow problems. The Cardinals took a chance on him in the 15th round, and he looked like he might be returning to form in instructional league. His fastball, which ranged from 89-94 mph in college, was back in the low 90s, and his slider was sharp again. Reyes never lost his effortless delivery, and if his stuff returns he could be the steal of the 2003 draft. His command also is expected to be strong, but that's of secondary concern at this point. The Cardinals are anxious to send Reyes to one of their Class A affiliate to see if he can keep up the encouraging results.
Axelson has been one of the organization's biggest enigmas since he was drafted, and he was just as puzzling at Michigan State. He has bounced back and forth between the bullpen and the rotation during the last two years, though he was the best starter on the Double-A staff in the final month of the 2003 season. The Cardinals sent him to the Arizona Fall League to get more work as a starter, but he was out of gas and got knocked around with a 7.36 ERA in 33 innings. Axelson has an average fastball that ranged from 88-92 mph last year, a good curveball and a slider he uses occasionally. His changeup showed progress last season. More important, though, Axelson started to understand how to pitch. He regarded himself as a power pitcher coming out of college, and his stubborn, bulldog approach often held him back. After a change to his mechanics got him going in 2002, the mental adjustment moved him further ahead last season. He'll have a chance to win a spot in the Triple-A rotation in 2004, though it won't be considered a disappointment if he opens the season back in Tennessee. The Cardinals think he can succeed either starting or relieving.
Kinney had a 2.31 ERA as a senior at NCAA Division II Quincy (Ill.), but he was passed over in the draft and signed with River City in the independent Frontier League. It took just three starts there before the Cardinals snapped him up, and he has moved up quickly if quietly as a reliever. He dominated in high Class A and was even better after a promotion to Double-A in 2003, then went to the Arizona Fall League after the season. Injured in his second AFL appearance, he didn't feel pain but couldn't get anything on the ball. An MRI revealed a partial tear of his labrum and he had shoulder surgery, though he's supposed to be healthy for spring training. Kinney is a sinker/slider pitcher, throwing his fastball at 88-90 mph with hard dowward action. His slider is more sweeping than sharp. He's a groundball pitcher who can come in and get a double-play ball. He doesn't use a changeup very often but doesn't usually need to. His command improved significantly last season, but it needs further refinement for him to be successful against advanced hitters. He'll stay in the bullpen and probably go back to Double-A to open 2004, assuming he's healthy. He could figure into the Cardinals' bullpen plans for 2005.
Gorecki broke the short-season New York-Penn League's 30-year-old record for triples with 13 in his 2002 pro debut. He built on that success last year by leading a weak Peoria lineup in several offensive categories. Gorecki is a strong athlete with a nice all-around game. He has a solid swing and some power potential. His approach at the plate improved in 2003, though he still strikes out too much for someone who provides mainly gap power. Gorecki has good speed but struggles to use it judiciously on the basebaths, getting caught 11 times in 34 attempts last year. His speed plays well on defense, however, and makes him a strong center fielder. His hustle helps him on defense as well, and his outgoing personality makes him a favorite of Cardinals brass and fans. Gorecki offers no overwhelming tools but is solid in all aspects. He has been moved slowly so far, particularly for a college player, and the Cardinals are looking for big things when he moves up to high Class A this season.
It's no wonder that Haynes is a fan favorite. He grew up in Mississippi and now lives in Memphis, and he called the Memphis Redbirds' front office this offseason to see if he could help in any way. The Redbirds brought him in to help make season-ticket calls, so when he wasn't working out in the AutoZone Park weight room he was selling tickets to fans. On the field in Memphis last year, he had middling results on the heels of a breakout year in 2002. He had surgery to remove bone spurs from both big toes after the 2003 season, as well as laser-eye surgery. Haynes is a muscular specimen with above-average power potential, and he has a knack for getting the bat on the ball. He still needs to learn to lay off pitchers' pitches, though. He doesn't strike out a lot, but he rarely walks and gets himself out too often. Haynes should be average in left field, though he has to work to keep himself from getting too bulky. St. Louis' left-field situation is muddled, so it's conceivable Haynes could work his way into the picture with a hot spring. Realistically, though, he'll repeat Triple-A.
Rust was the key player the Cardinals acquired in the Tino Martinez deal, though the main thrust of the trade was simply to unload Martinez. Rust signed as a non-drafted free agent in 2000 after going 1-11 at St. Mary's (Calif.). Managers rated him the best reliever in the high Class A California League in 2002, and he encored with a solid performance last season. Rust's fastball sits in the low 90s and he complements it with a curveball. He does a good job of keeping his pitches down in the strike zone, allowing only one homer in 2003 and just eight as a pro. He's not overpowering but has proven himself at every step so far. With the St. Louis bullpen in flux, Rust figures to get a long look in the spring. If he doesn't make the big league club, he'll start the year in Triple-A.
Thompson has been in the right place at the right time a lot recently. He was going to walk on at the CC of Southern Nevada after graduating from high school, but attended Dixie (Utah) JC. The Cardinals spotted him there while scouting his teammate, infielder Kyle Boyer, and drafted both of them in 2002. After a strong pro debut last year, Thompson was in instructional league when Josh Kinney hurt his shoulder in the Arizona Fall League. Chosen to replace Kinney, Thompson put up a 1.59 in nine AFL appearances. His main pitches are a low-90s sinker and the best slider in the system. He worked on adding a changeup in instructional league after never really using one before. Thompson throws strikes but has to locate his pitches better in the strike zone because he has been hittable. Though he has set up and closed so far as a pro, he projects as a middle reliever in the big leagues. He could open at Double-A with a good spring, though he's more likely to start 2004 back in high Class A.
Hayes was the Cardinals' first pick in the 2002 draft, though he was the final selection of the third round. St. Louis lost its first two picks for signing free agents Tino Martinez and Jason Isringhausen. Hayes had committed to the University of North Carolina, but St. Louis signed him late in the summer for $400,000. He stood out more as a running back in high school and many teams didn't see him as a third-rounder, but the Cardinals zeroed in on him early. He missed a month of his pro debut last year with a strained left wrist. Hayes is an all-around athlete, and his speed and quickness stand out the most among his tools. He uses his wheels well on the basepaths, succeeding on 16 of his 18 steal attempts in 2003. He should have gap power and showed a better-than-expected approach at the plate. He jumps at the ball sometimes and will need to channel his aggressive approach. Hayes has the tools to be a solid defender, though he'll probably outgrow shortstop and struggled there in Rookie ball, making 19 errors in just 32 games. He's very much a work in progress. He'll spend this season in low Class A.
Stocks isn't the pitcher he was when the Cardinals made him a supplemental first-round pick in 1999, but that might turn out to be best for all involved. He had Tommy John surgery while at Florida State, and he has been bothered by persistent back and shoulder problems as a pro. He finally put together a full, healthy season at Double-A in 2003, and while he didn't have good numbers the organization still considered it a bounce-back year. His velocity came closer to his old mid-90s peak after he threw in the mid-80s in 2002, but he chose to focus on movement rather than pure velocity. He threw a two-seam fastball that's 3-4 mph slower than his four-seamer, so he sat at 87-88 mph and touched 92-93 when he needed something extra. His curveball and changeup were also effective at times, though he must get more consistent with them. His command wasn't good, but the Cardinals expect it to improve with more healthy innings. Stocks finally made the adjustments the organization wanted him to make several years ago, when he thought he could rely on power. He could get himself back into the big league picture with another healthy season and better results. He'll compete for a Triple-A job in spring training.
Pearce showed flashes of his old form last year in his return from shoulder surgery. He was worked hard in college at Arizona, then piled up 423 more innings in his first 2 1⁄2 pro seasons. He finally broke down in May 2002 with a torn labrum. Pearce got called up to St. Louis briefly last July, then was told along with the rest of his Memphis teammates that none of them would be called up in September. The Cardinals changed their mind and promoted Pearce as an extra arm for their bullpen, and he pitched well in that role. Pearce mixed strong outings with bad ones throughout the season, but the Cardinals say it was to be expected. His velocity was back to its previous 88-91 mph level most of the time, and he also showed good command. His slurvy breaking ball and changeup should be at least average pitches. He has a bulldog mentality and competes hard, but he has no real out pitch and can get knocked around if he's not sharp. Pearce will compete for a bullpen job in spring training and return to Triple-A if he doesn't win one.
Schumaker was a two-way player at UC Santa Barbara, and some teams liked him better as a pitcher after seeing him touch 92 mph with his fastball. Because of his stature, he knew he had a better future as a hitter. He was hurt for much of his first Double-A exposure in 2003, missing time with a stress fracture in his leg and a hand injury. The Cardinals sent him to the Arizona Fall League to make up at-bats. Schumaker has the speed to be a leadoff hitter, though he was limited last year by his leg injury. He occasionally shows the plate discipline needed to bat at the top of the lineup, but he doesn't do so consistently enough. He recognizes that he's not a power hitter and has worked on his bunting to make better use of his speed. Schumaker played center field in 2003 and it should be his long-term position, though he has played both corners as well. He has the defensive tools to play anywhere, including a plus arm, but doesn't fit the offensive profile for a corner spot and prefers center. He'll probably return to Double-A to start the season.
The son of former all-star pitcher Dave Lemanczyk, Matt set Northeast Conference records for steals in each of his last two years at Sacred Heart and has won stolen-base crowns in each of his first two seasons as a pro. Managers rated him the best baserunner and fastest baserunner in the Midwest League last year, when he swiped 56 bases in 69 tries. The Cardinals consider him a throwback to St. Louis players of days gone by, such as Vince Coleman. Lemanczyk makes fielders uneasy because he can reach base if they make the slightest hesitation or bobble. He's a slap hitter who hasn't shown much pop, so he's going to need to work counts better and draw more walks to find an offensive niche. Because he played at a small college and grew up in a cold-weather region, Lemanczyk still needs work to refine his game. Though he has the speed and arm to play center field, the Cardinals have used him in left because he's raw. He moved up to Double-A at the end of the season to provide speed off the bench as Tennessee went to the Southern League playoffs, but he'll open 2004 in high Class A.