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, 2009.

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1. Shelby Miller, rhp
2. Jaime Garcia, lhp
3. Lance Lynn, rhp
4. Daryl Jones, of
5. David Freese, 3b/1b
6. Eduardo Sanchez, rhp
7. Allen Craig, of/1b/3b
8. Blake Hawksworth, rhp
9. Daniel Descalso, 2b
10. Robert Stock, c
Best Hitter for Average Jon Jay
Best Power Hitter Allen Craig
Best Strike-Zone Discipline Charles Cutler
Fastest Baserunner Adron Chambers
Best Athlete Daryl Jones
Best Fastball Shelby Miller
Best Curveball Jaime Garcia
Best Slider Blake King
Best Changeup P.J. Walters
Best Control P.J. Walters
Best Defensive Catcher Matt Pagnozzi
Best Defensive Infielder Ryan Jackson
Best Infield Arm Tyler Greene
Best Defensive Outfielder Shane Robinson
Best Outfield Arm Jon Edwards
Catcher Yadier Molina
First Base Albert Pujols
Second Base Skip Schumaker
Third Base David Freese
Shortstop Brendan Ryan
Left Field Daryl Jones
Center Field Colby Rasmus
Right Field Ryan Ludwick
No. 1 Starter Adam Wainwright
No. 2 Starter Chris Carpenter
No. 3 Starter Shelby Miller
No. 4 Starter Jaime Garcia
No. 5 Starter Lance Lynn
Closer Jason Motte
Year Player, Position 2009
2000 Rick Ankiel, lhp Cardinals
2001 Bud Smith, lhp Out of baseball
2002 Jimmy Journell, rhp Out of baseball
2003 Dan Haren, rhp Diamondbacks
2004 Blake Hawksworth, rhp Cardinals
2005 Anthony Reyes, rhp Indians
2006 Anthony Reyes, rhp Indians
2007 Colby Rasmus, of Cardinals
2008 Colby Rasmus, of Cardinals
2009 Colby Rasmus, of Cardinals
Year Player, Position 2009
2000 Shaun Boyd, of Out of baseball
2001 Justin Pope, rhp Yankees
2002 Calvin Hayes, ss (3rd round) Out of baseball
2003 Daric Barton, c Athletics
2004 Chris Lambert, rhp Orioles
2005 Colby Rasmus, of Cardinals
2006 Adam Ottavino, rhp Cardinals
2007 Pete Kozma, ss Cardinals
2008 Brett Wallace, 3b Athletics
2009 Shelby Miller, rhp Cardinals
J.D. Drew, 1998 $3,000,000
Shelby Miller, 2009 $2,875,000
Rick Ankiel, 1997 $2,500,000
Chad Hutchinson, 1998 $2,300,000
Brett Wallace, 2008 $1,840,000
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The Cardinals didn't view their series of win-now trades in 2009 as a jarring change of direction. Rather, they presented the spree-spending of prospects as an offshoot of a deeper design.

For nearly five seasons, starting with the drafting of Colby Rasmus 28th overall in 2005, the St. Louis front office followed an ownership mandate to restock a threadbare farm system and become more self-sufficient. The payback from the investment was supposed to be a flow of players like Rasmus, who debuted as a big league regular in 2009. But the Cardinals also eyed an alternative return on their emphasis on gathering minor league talent: the depth to pull off bigger deals.

That's the same formula that former general manager Walt Jocketty used to build seven playoff clubs and one World Series champion in 13 seasons in St. Louis. Now it's GM John Mozeliak pulling the trigger.

In moves for Mark DeRosa and Matt Holliday, the Cardinals traded five prospects, four of whom were expected to be major league contributors as early as 2010. To land Holliday from Oakland, they dealt third baseman Brett Wallace, as well as righthander Clay Mortensen and outfielder Shane Peterson. It cost them future closer Chris Perez and righty Jess Todd to get DeRosa from Cleveland.

Rasmus' promotion and those two trades stripped this list of five of its top six prospects from a year ago. The sixth, catcher Bryan Anderson, missed most of the last two months of the season with shoulder problems.

In other words, it's time to restock a radically altered and diluted farm system again.

The impact of St. Louis' moves was immediate as Holliday gave the lineup a second legitimate threat after Albert Pujols, and DeRosa solidified third base, even if he didn't play up to his previous standards. After a two-year absence, the Cardinals returned to the playoffs with a 91-71 record.

Despite having its roster plundered for trades and for filling holes in the majors, Triple-A Memphis won the Pacific Coast League championship. The return of lefty Jaime Garcia and third baseman David Freese from surgeries spurred the Redbirds' success, and both players will be counted on at the big league level in 2010, possibly as starters.

While the Cardinals remain confident they can lean on their system to produce in-house contributors such as Rasmus and Brendan Ryan, some fissures appeared during 2009. Pitching coach Dave Duncan acknowledged his simmering frustrations with a disconnect between his major league staff and minor league development. Mozeliak insisted there would be changes to increase Duncan's influence and strengthen the overall bond between the big league club and rising young players, because more are on the way.

St. Louis hopes that international signees will start to join the organization's influx of talent, though they had a major setback in that area last summer. After making a statement by giving Dominican outfielder Wagner Mateo a franchise-record $3.1 million bonus in July, they voided the contract two months later because of concerns about his vision. The Cardinals acknowledge they'll have to repair their image in Latin America, hopefully starting by showcasing the development of international players already in the system, such as Venezuelan righthander Eduardo Sanchez.

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