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, 2008.

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1. Colby Rasmus, of
2. Chris Perez, rhp
3. Bryan Anderson, c
4. Jaime Garcia, lhp
5. Adam Ottavino, rhp
6. Pete Kozma, ss
7. Clayton Mortensen, rhp
8. Mitchell Boggs, rhp
9. Tyler Herron, rhp
10. Jon Jay, of
Best Hitter for Average Colby Rasmus
Best Power Hitter Colby Rasmus
Best Strike-Zone Discipline Jarrett Hoffpauir
Fastest Baserunner Daryl Jones
Best Athlete Colby Rasmus
Best Fastball Chris Perez
Best Curveball Jaime Garcia
Best Slider Chris Perez
Best Changeup P.J. Walters
Best Control P.J. Walters
Best Defensive Catcher Nick Derba
Best Defensive Infielder Pete Kozma
Best Infield Arm Tyler Greene
Best Defensive Outfielder Colby Rasmus
Best Outfield Arm Jon Edwards
Catcher Yadier Molina
First Base Albert Pujols
Second Base Brendan Ryan
Third Base Scott Rolen
Shortstop Pete Kozma
Left Field Chris Duncan
Center Field Colby Rasmus
Right Field Rick Ankiel
No. 1 Starter Chris Carpenter
No. 2 Starter Adam Wainwright
No. 3 Starter Jaime Garcia
No. 4 Starter Adam Ottavino
No. 5 Starter Clayton Mortensen
Closer Chris Perez
Year Player, Position 2007
1998 Rick Ankiel, lhp Cardinals
1999 J.D. Drew, of Red Sox
2000 Rick Ankiel, lhp Cardinals
2001 Bud Smith, lhp Golden Lg.
2002 Jimmy Journell, rhp Out of baseball
2003 Dan Haren, rhp Athletics
2004 Blake Hawksworth, rhp Cardinals
2005 Anthony Reyes, rhp Cardinals
2006 Anthony Reyes, rhp Cardinals
2007 Colby Rasmus, of Cardinals
Year Player, Position 2007
1998 J.D. Drew, of Red Sox
1999 Chance Caple, rhp Out of baseball
2000 Shaun Boyd, of Phillies
2001 Justin Pope, rhp Yankees
2002 Calvin Hayes, ss (3rd round) Out of baseball
2003 Daric Barton, c Athletics
2004 Chris Lambert, rhp Tigers
2005 Colby Rasmus, of Cardinals
2006 Adam Ottavino, rhp Cardinals
2007 Pete Kozma, ss 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

A disappointing season that revealed a divided Cardinals front office spurred a radical change that has placed a public emphasis on player development. After years of plucking key players from other organizations, the new leadership has been charged with producing them through the farm system.

Shortly after their first losing season since 1999, the Cardinals fired general manager Walt Jocketty. The highly regarded and trade-savvy Jocketty watched over one of the greatest eras of St. Louis baseball, building a World Series champion in 2006 to highlight a run that included two National League pennants and seven playoff berths in 13 years.

But behind the winning at the big league level, there was a threadbare minor league system. Ownership had instructed vice president of amateur scouting and player development Jeff Lunhow to restock the supply of young talent. He reports directly to chairman Bill DeWitt Jr., and a fissure developed between Jocketty's people and Lunhow's. By firing Jocketty, the Cardinals made it clear the direction they want to go in.

Other player-development changes followed Jocketty's dismissal. Field coordinator Jim Riggleman departed to become the Mariners' bench coach. Minor league pitching coordinator and former big league pitching coach Mark Riggins, who had spent 29 years in the organization, became the minor league pitching coordinator for the Cubs.

After assistant GMs Chris Antonetti (Indians) and Rick Hahn (White Sox) withdrew their names from consideration, St. Louis named John Mozeliak to replace Jocketty in November. Mozeliak had been Jocketty's assistant for five seasons and in the organization for 12, developing on the same track as a prospect. He began in amateur scouting and worked his way up to scouting director before making contributions at the major league level. He quickly integrated Luhnow's staff and their analytic and development work with the rest of the baseball operations department.

The pipeline Mozeliak and Lunhow started to build in 2005 is on the verge of producing players who should diminish the Cardinals' reliance on free agents and trades. The first five players on this prospect list, all products of the 2005 and 2006 drafts, should be contributing by 2009. Center fielder Colby Rasmus and closer-in-waiting Chris Perez are just about ready to take over for Jim Edmonds and Jason Isringhausen, while catcher Bryan Anderson will push Yadier Molina. Jaime Garcia and Adam Ottavino almost are set to reinforce a shaky rotation.

The 2007 draft holds promise as well. The Cardinals spent their first choice (18th overall) on Pete Kozma, the best all-around shortstop in the draft. Their next three picks were righthanders—Clayton Mortensen, David Kopp and Jess Todd—who could advance quickly through the system.

During spring training, St. Louis' minor league staff lobbied for a more aggressive approach to promotions. Triple-A Memphis remained a depot for spare parts, but the other three full-season clubs posted winning records. Double-A Springfield was one of the youngest teams in the Texas League, yet won first- and second-half division titles behind Rasmus, Perez and Anderson.

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