St. Louis Cardinals Top 10 Prospects

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, 2011.

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Derrick Goold
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1. Shelby Miller, rhp
2. Zack Cox, 3b
3. Carlos Martinez, rhp
4. Tyrell Jenkins, rhp
5. Allen Craig, of/1b
6. Lance Lynn, rhp
7. Eduardo Sanchez, rhp
8. Seth Blair, rhp
9. Jordan Swagerty, rhp
10. Joe Kelly, rhp
Best Hitter for Average Zack Cox
Best Power Hitter Allen Craig
Best Strike-Zone Discipline Daniel Descalso
Fastest Baserunner Reggie Williams Jr.
Best Athlete Tyrell Jenkins
Best Fastball Shelby Miller
Best Curveball Jordan Swagerty
Best Slider Blake King
Best Changeup P.J. Walters
Best Control Scott McGregor
Best Defensive Catcher Tony Cruz
Best Defensive Infielder Ryan Jackson
Best Infield Arm Pete Kozma
Best Defensive Outfielder Shane Robinson
Best Outfield Arm Tommy Pham
Catcher Yadier Molina
First Base Albert Pujols
Second Base Skip Schumaker
Third Base Zack Cox
Shortstop Pete Kozma
Left Field Matt Holliday
Center Field Colby Rasmus
Right Field Allen Craig
No. 1 Starter Adam Wainwright
No. 2 Starter Shelby Miller
No. 3 Starter Jamie Garcia
No. 4 Starter Carlos Martinez
No. 5 Starter Tyrell Jenkins
Closer Mitchell Boggs
Year Player, Position 2010
2001 Bud Smith, lhp Out of baseball
2002 Jimmy Journell, rhp Out of baseball
2003 Dan Haren, rhp Angels
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
2010 Shelby Miller, rhp Cardinals
Year Player, Position 2010
2001 Justin Pope, rhp Out of baseball
2002 Calvin Hayes, ss
(3rd round)
Out of baseball
2003 Daric Barton, 1b Athletics
2004 Chris Lambert, rhp Out of baseball
2005 Colby Rasmus, of Cardinals
2006 Adam Ottavino, rhp Cardinals
2007 Pete Kozma, ss Cardinals
2008 Brett Wallace, 1b Astros
2009 Shelby Miller, rhp Cardinals
2010 Zack Cox, 3b Cardinals
J.D. Drew, 1998 $3,000,000
Shelby Miller, rhp $2,875,000
Rick Ankiel, 1997 $2,500,000
Chad Hutchinson, 1998 $2,300,000
Zack Cox, 2010 $2,000,000
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St. Louis Cardinals

For a team that wants and needs to be more reliant on its farm system to produce talent, the Cardinals exited 2010 humbled and aware they had to make changes. They started near the top.

St. Louis contended for much of the season and sat in first place in mid-August after a series sweep of the Reds. But the team's stars—Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday in the lineup, Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright in the rotation—didn't get enough help from complementary players and the team wilted down the stretch. The Cardinals finished five games back of the Reds and missed the playoffs for the third time in the past four seasons.

After the season, St. Louis reorganized the minor league side of its front office, promoting John Vuch to farm director and reducing the responsibilities of vice president Jeff Luhnow, who had multitasked as director of both scouting and player development. The club positioned the move as a way to let Luhnow and others focus on specific responsibilities, and general manager John Mozeliak said it didn't represent a dramatic change in philosophy. But this was more than moving furniture in the executive offices.

Further shuffling reassigned two of Mozeliak's lieutenants, Gary LaRocque and Matt Slater, from the pro side to amateur and minor league overview positions. There was also an undercurrent to the moves that had its genesis in fissures between the major league and minor league staffs that dated back before GM Walt Jocketty's firing in 2007. The promotion of Vuch, a respected Cardinals lifer, and greater inclusion of pitching coach Dave Duncan in minor league decision-making are significant strides for internal unity.

The changes continued through the offseason, as assistant GM John Abbamondi left the team after three seasons to join the Padres in a non-baseball job as their director of strategy and business analysis.

Colby Rasmus, Jaime Garcia and Mitchell Boggs—all products of the 2005 draft—are significant parts of St. Louis' future. But after their graduations and recent trades to get players such as Holliday, the farm system is thin on talent. As the Cardinals learned at the 2010 trade deadline, when they had to use major league outfielder Ryan Ludwick to swing a deal, their system is viewed as a collection of contributors and role players but thin on high-end talent.

To turn that situation around, St. Louis added a standout college hitter (Zack Cox) and a high-ceiling high school arm (Tyrell Jenkins) in the 2010 draft. The team also added its first headline-grabbing international signing (Carlos Martinez) in recent years.

The charge now for Vuch and the restructured development staff is to mold the new talent into the next wave of prospects. The Cardinals plan a less aggressive approach to promotion going forward, and they named Mark DeJohn as field coordinator after leaving the position vacant for three seasons. They also hope to establish more standardized instruction from the top down, with members of the major league staff, such as Duncan, getting the increased influence they have sought.

Interestingly, all of the changes came in the wake of a successful season on the field for the organization's minor league affiliates, which finished 431-237, the best composite winning percentage in baseball (.569). Triple-A Memphis reached the Pacific Coast League finals a year after winning the league championship, and Rookie-level Johnson City won the Appalachian League title for the first time since 1976. Every affiliate finished .500 or better.

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