St. Louis Cardinals: Top 10 Prospects

St. Louis Cardinals

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, 2007.

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 AverageColby Rasmus
Best Power HitterMark Hamilton
Best Strike-Zone DisciplineJon Jay
Fastest BaserunnerDaryl Jones
Best AthleteDaryl Jones
Best FastballMark McCormick
Best CurveballJaime Garcia
Best SliderChris Perez
Best ChangeupBlake Hawksworth
Best ControlJaime Garcia
Best Defensive CatcherMatt Pagnozzi
Best Defensive InfielderBrendan Ryan
Best Infield ArmTyler Greene
Best Defensive OutfielderSkip Schumaker
Best Outfield ArmJon Edwards
CatcherYadier Molina
First BaseAlbert Pujols
Second BaseAdam Kennedy
Third BaseScott Rolen
ShortstopDavid Eckstein
Left FieldJon Jay
Center FieldColby Rasmus
Right FieldChris Duncan
No. 1 StarterChris Carpenter
No. 2 StarterAdam Wainwright
No. 3 StarterAnthony Reyes
No. 4 StarterJaime Garcia
No. 5 StarterBlake Hawksworth
CloserChris Perez
YearPlayer, Position2006
1997Matt Morris, rhpGiants
1998Rick Ankiel, lhpCardinals
1999J.D. Drew, ofDodgers
2000Rick Ankiel, lhpCardinals
2001Bud Smith, lhpLong Beach (Golden)
2002Jimmy Journell, rhpBridgeport (Atlantic)
2003Dan Haren, rhpAthletics
2004Blake Hawksworth, rhpCardinals
2005Anthony Reyes, rhpCardinals
2006Anthony Reyes, rhpCardinals
YearPlayer, Position2006
1997Adam Kennedy, ssAngels
1998J.D. Drew, ofDodgers
1999Chance Caple, rhpOut of baseball
2000Shaun Boyd, ofCardinals
2001Justin Pope, rhpYankees
2002Calvin Hayes, ss (3rd round)Cardinals
2003Daric Barton, cAthletics
2004Chris Lambert, rhpCardinals
2005Colby Rasmus, ofCardinals
2006Adam Ottavino, rhpCardinals
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).