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St. Louis Cardinals 2010 Minor League Review
Overall farm rankings via Baseball America (2010)
2010 (29) | 2009 (8) | 2008 (13) | 2007 (23) | 2006 (21) | 2005 (30) | 2004 (28)

Record of Major and Minor League Teams
MLB: [86 – 76] NL Central
AAA: [82 – 62] Pacific Coast League – Memphis
AA: [76 – 64] Texas League – Springfield
A+: [75 – 65] Florida State League – Palm Beach
A: [83 – 55] Midwest League – Quad-Cities
A(ss): [45 – 29] New York – Pennsylvania League – Batavia
R: [42 – 24] Appalachian League – Johnson City
R: [28 – 28] Gulf Coast League

The Run Down

Strictly speaking, the Cardinals had some good, if not great production from a few rookies this year. If there weren’t so many studly prospects producing right upon reach the majors, Jaime Garcia might’ve won the NL Rookie of the Year (it’s still a possibility). Look what I said about Jaime Garcia before the 2010 season began in the Minor League Review, “With Dave Duncan as his coach … Garcia could provide excellent value in 2010.” Not too shabby, crystal ball. David Freese wasn’t great but provided solid acceptable stats for a middle infield – too bad he plays third. There were other prospects that were called up that I predicted, I mean didn’t do as much as anyone hoped. Within the minor league system, several higher ranked prospects didn’t fare well (Daryl Jones and Tyler Hensley). However, a few pitchers provided bright spots (Shelby Miller and Lance Lynn) while they have a few MI and corner infielders that may provide future value. On a last note, I want to quote my 2009 Minor League review explaining why the Cards are so low in the rankings:

The Cardinals 2010 ranking isn’t looking pretty (#29) and here is why: Colby Rasmus graduated and they traded their number(s) 2,3,4,6,28, and 29 ranked prospects this year, not to mention releasing their number 23 ranked prospect (who was picked up off the waivers by Pittsburgh. Here is the breakdown of what happened:

Arizona Fall League Players – Surprise Rafters
AFL Rosters
Pitchers Brian Broderick (RHP), Blake King (RHP), TBA (P), TBA (P)
Hitters Tony Cruz (C), Pete Kozma (SS), Adron Chambers (OF), TBA (IF)

Graduating Prospects
#2 (LHP) Jaime Garcia; #5 (3B) David Freese; #7 (LF/1B) Allen Craig; #13 (LF) Jon Jay; #14 (SS) Tyler Greene; #23 (RHP) P.J. Walters

Players of Interest for 2010
Hitters
#9 Daniel Descalso | 2B | D.o.B: 10-19-86 | Stats (AAA): .282/.350/.421 | 468 AB | 44 XBH | 9 Hr | .139 ISO | 8/4 SB/CS | 48:47 K:BB | .294 BABIP
Probably most major league ready position prospect in the Cardinals system. He has a quick, level swing that should produce gap power. For those of you looking for speed from your middle infielder, Descalos is only average. His defense is solid, with a strong arm, soft hands, and good range. Over a full season, expect a Felipe Lopez-esque season: boring, boring and by the end he has 12 home runs and 12 steals.

#26 Mark Hamilton | 1B | D.o.B: 7-29-84 | Stats (AAA): .298/.389/.585 | 258 AB | 38 XB | 18 Hr | .287 ISO | 0/0 SB/CS | 70:35 K:BB | .335 BABIP
With Albert Pujols in front of him on the depth chart, Hamilton could launch 75 homers in a season and would have to scrape for playing time. His power developed in the last year, but looks to be playing in the wrong league – defense (or lack thereof) would work as a DH. He has a good eye, a strong body and a swing that slings the ball to every part of the field. Defensively, 1B and DH are the only plausible options for Hamilton to play. Look for his name in a minor trade at some point. Otherwise, he’ll provide minor league depth. He needs to play a full season to show that his stats aren’t just flukes from a small sample size. Should get quite a bit of playing time in Spring Training; expect him to be back to Triple-A in the 2011 season opener.

#24 Steven Hill | C | D.o.B: 3-14-85 | Stats (AA): .280/.352/.543 | 361 AB | 50 XBH | 22 Hr | .263 ISO | 1/0 SB/CS | 90:38 K:BB | .313 BABIP
Here is what I said about him last year, “Defensively he is a liability and his future as a catcher seems to be closing … His bat is intriguing but his future is highly in doubt because of his inability to hold onto a defensive position.” Well, his defense is still pretty shoddy, but improving ever so slightly. Offensively, much of the same thing: good power. Hill did play at Triple-A this year getting in 38 plate appearance. Nothing special here but another plug and play catcher in the mold of Mike Napoli. Should start in Triple-A for the 2011 season unless…

#19 Bryan Anderson | C | D.o.B: 12-16-86 | Stats (AAA): .270/.341/.448 | 270 AB | 24 XBH | 12 Hr | .178 ISO | 0/0 SB/CS | 54:27 K:BB | .296 BABIP
…That’s unless Bryan Anderson can’t make the 2011 opening day MLB roster. Anderson doesn’t have great defense, with a fringe arm and awkward mechanics. His stick is expected to produce gap power with good average to combine with a solid batting eye. He’s a year younger than Steven Hill and should get an opportunity to make the opening day roster. Given a full season of playing time, don’t expect anything more than 15 to 20 home runs and a low-ish average.

Pitchers
# 6 Eduardo Sanchez | RHP | D.o.B: 2-16-89 | Stats (AA/AAA): 9.8 K/9 | 3.4 BB/9 | 53 IP | 2.38 ERA | 1.15 WHIP | .7 Hr/9 | 7.0 H/9 (.302 BABIP at AA, and .274 BABIP at AAA (3.28 and 3.42 FIP respectfully))
Quoted from his “Honorable Mention” blurb in 2009, “He was aided by an extremely low BABIP. Mainly a closer or late inning setup man … He has a 94 to 97 mph fastball and a good slider. Touted as the next closer (over Motte) for the Cardinals because he actually is able to control his pitches … Sanchez may help sooner rather than later. Might be a mid season call up as he needs to work on his game a little more.” Nothing more to add to that. Rinse, wash, and repeat for 2011. Just watch out for the hype in Spring Training – remember Jason Motte 2009?

#3 Lance Lynn | RHP | D.o.B: 5-12-87 | Stats (AAA): 7.7 K/9 | 3.4 BB/9 | 164 IP | 4.77 ERA | 4.43 FIP | 1.38 WHIP | 1.2 Hr/9 | 9.0 H/9 | .308 BABIP
Quoted from his “Honorable Mention” blurb in 2009, “Possessed with an 89 to 92 mph sinking fastball and a solid slider, curveball, and change-up. An inning eater type pitcher, Lynn looks poised for a good season in 2010. If that happens, 2011 may be when he makes his MLB debut.” Timetable prediction looks to be spot-on. Not the strikeout machine that great rookies have had in the past, but could produce like Randy Wells in 2009.

#16 Adam Reifer | RHP | D.o.B: 6-3-86 | Stats (AA): 8.7 K/9 | 2.5 BB/9 | 54 IP | 3.00 ERA | 2.76 FIP | 1.26 WHIP | .3 Hr/9 | 8.8 H/9 | .337 BABIP
One of the top fastballs in the system, he has been clocked at 99 mph and consistently sits between 96 and 97 mph. He also throws a plus-slider. Has struggled with control and command in his short career. This year, his small sample size shows good strikeout rate and a solid walk rate. He did throw one inning at Triple-A this year and should start the year there. For the more part, he’s just another name to help any Mr. B’s.

Honorable Mentions
Hitters
Adron Chambers | OF | D.o.B: 10-8-86 | Stats (AA/AAA): .283/.379/.405 | 321 AB | 21 XBH | 6 Hr | .122 ISO | 15/5 SB/CS | 68:40 K:BB | .343 BABIP
Rocket fast, Chambers has yet to figure out how to swipe bases effectively. He did hit six triples showing off some of his speed. The batting eye looks to be fairly solid. Could be an outfielder in the mold of Juan Pierre or Scott Podsednik. Expect to see him at Triple-A to open the season.

#15 Pete Kozma | SS | D.o.B: 4-11-88 | Stats (AA): .243/.318/.384 | 503 AB | 43 XBH | 13 Hr | .141 ISO | 13/2 SB/CS | 111:56 K:BB | .285 BABIP
Here’s a prospect that is quite intriguing. Described as a steady player without much flash, Kozma was a first round pick who plays great defense (minus flashy SportsCenter highlights) with spectacular instincts, quick hands, and a strong arm. His swing has been slow to develop and continued through this year. He has a line drive swing, a good eye, and projects to have a high average with gap power. He’ll be turning 23 during the 2011 season and was playing at least a year above his age at Double-A. Watch for him to repeat Double-A, if he can’t get his swing on track, disregard this name. If he finally puts everything together, we have a potential middle infielder that could hit 15 home runs and swipe 15 bases over a season.

Pitchers
#1 Shelby Miller | RHP | D.o.B: 10-10-90 | Stats (A): 12.1 K/9 | 2.8 BB/9 | 3.62 ERA | 2.42 FIP | 1.25 WHIP | .6 Hr/9 | 8.4 H/9 | .366 BABIP
Want more information, see my Scouting the Unknown article that I wrote this past summer. Ratios are still much the same. About two and a half years away from significant major league production.

Blake King | RHP | D.o.B: 4-11-87 | Stats (AA): 11.1 K/9 | 6.4 BB/9 | 68 IP | 2.91 ERA | 3.92 FIP | 1.30 WHIP | .7 Hr/9 | 5.3 H/9 | .240 BABIP
Hey look, another Mr. B’s type pitcher. Great strikeout ratio buttressed by a low BABIP. Just another name to watch.

Justin Smith | RHP | D.o.B: 3-24-88 | Stats (A): 11.4 K/9 | 2.9 BB/9 | 80 1/3 IP | 3.25 ERA | 2.59 FIP | 1.22 WHIP | .6 Hr/9 | 8.1 H/9 | .350 BABIP
Again, really? You all might start believing that I am a Mr. B or something. Smith had a great strikeout ratio and was a bit “unlucky” in his small sample size (.350 BABIP). And again, another name to watch for.

  1. Chew says:
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    Oh yeah, Minor League reports, Oh yeah!

  2. Stephen says:
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    @Chew: thanks.

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