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

Record of Major and Minor League Teams
MLB: [91 – 71] NL Central
AAA: [77 – 67] Pacific Coast League
AA: [71 – 69] Texas League
A+: [61 – 77] Florida State League
A: [61 – 78] Midwest League
A(ss): [37 – 39] New York – Pennsylvania League
R: [37 – 30] Appalachian League
R: [25 – 31] Gulf Coast League

The Run Down
The Cardinals 2010 ranking isn’t looking pretty (#29) and here is why. Colby Rasmus graduated and they traded their numbers 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:

Good thing they resigned Holliday otherwise that would have been one of the largest rental seasons for an entire organization since they lost DeRosa and Greene. I won’t rate the trades, but I will say they lost a gratuitous amount of talent. Grey just mentioned David Freese and what kind of value he may possess, thus I will withhold my comments. Furthermore, the fifth rotation spot is worth watching as the winner may hold more value for you playing in deeper leagues (Jaime Garcia versus Ben Jukich versus P.J. Walters versus Kyle McClellan). Personally, I like Garcia and Jukich. With Spring Training underway, hopefully we (Razzball readers) will start to see some of these players mentioned vying for a 25 man roster spot. Without any further ado, the Cardinals Minor League Review:

Arizona Fall League Players – Surprise Rafters
Pitchers – Gary Daley; Scott Gorgen; Mike Parisi; Adam Reifer
Hitters – (C) Bryan Anderson; (2B) Daniel Descalso; (OF) Tyler Henley; (OF) Daryl Jones

Graduating Prospects
#1 (OF) Colby Rasmus; #8 (RHP) Jason Motte; #14 (RHP) Mitchell Boggs

Players of Interest for 2010
#26 Allen Craig | 1B-LF-3B | AAA | 24 | .322/.374/.547 | 472 AB | 53 XBH | 26 HR | .225 ISO | 95:37 K:BB | .358 BABIP | 44.5 GB% | 18.8 LD% | 36.6 FB%
With Pujols clogging first base for the rest of his career (Yes, I am that sure he’ll remain a Card for life.), Craig isn’t going to get many options to play first base beyond the Pacific Coast League. All the scouting reports mentioned that he’ll probably stay in left field but first base is his best defensive position. His defense is average in the outfield where his below average speed and arm strength are noticeable. However, if Holliday wasn’t resigned, Craig may have been given multiple opportunities to start in the majors this year. Offensively, Craig has the skills to hit between .280 to .300 at the major league level with 20 to 25 homers. His poor strikeout-to-walk ratio doesn’t necessarily tell how well he controls the zone, yet, this is the culprit for predicting a lower average at the major league level – plus the inflated stat line from the PCL and his high batting average on balls in play (.358). Ranked as the seventh best prospect in the Cards system for 2010, Craig could provide some midseason help off the bench if he continues to play well to start the season. He could also be used as trade bait as the season progresses. He’ll make his major league debut sometime in this season. Just remember, it’s his bat that is going to get him to the majors to stay.

#16 Tyler Greene | SS | AAA | 25 | .291/.369/.482 | 340 AB | 30 XBH | 15 HR | .171 ISO | 31/3 SB/CS | 86:38 K:BB | .354 BABIP | 44.4 GB%| 21.8 LD% | 33.8 FB%
An injury to his kneecap in 2007 derailed much of his confidence and speed as this was the most steals since 2006 when he was at Single-A and High-A. This was easily his best year as a pro and it happened to come while playing in the PCL. I am hesitant to claim he is going to be much more than a utility fielder (supported by the scouting reports). He is vying for that role this spring. His greatest assets is his speed and multiple positions he is able to play. His strike zone judgment is Delmon Young-like and defense is spotty at short. If given a full time gig, you’d be looking at a .260 hitter at best with 30 to 35 steals. Great for fantasy purposes as he looks like Everth Cabrera but he is four years Cabrera’s senior. With the recent signing of Felipe Lopez, look for Greene to be back at Triple-A.

#13 Jaime Garcia | LHP | R/A+/AAA | 23 | 9.8 K/9 | 3.3 BB/9 | 37 2/3 IP | 2.87 ERA | 3.69 FIP | 1.04 WHIP | 1.2 HR/9 | 6 H/9 | .212 BABIP | 62.4 GB% | 6.4 LD% | 24 FB%
Following two straight seasons (2007 and 2008) of ending with elbow problems, Garcia went under the knife of Dr. Freeze in 2008 and returned for the end of the 2009. Since his 2009 season is such a small sample, here is his career line:

8.3 K/9 | 3.3 BB/9 | 402 IP | 3.49 ERA | 3.71 FIP | 1.25 WHIP | .6 HR/9 | 8.3 H/9 | .308 BABIP | 58.7 GB% | 14. LD% | 23.4 FB%

Note the groundball ratio (slightly over two-to-one) and the good strikeout rates. He has an 88 to 92 mph fastball with a devastating curve and a new cutter he developed while rehabbing. The favorite to win the fifth rotation sport, Garcia still has to prove he is durable enough to pitch a full season. Further, his control is inconsistent. Don’t be surprised to see the Cards place him at Triple-A for a couple of months and call him up at the end of May. Think of J.A. Happ (but a groundball pitcher instead) and Randy Wells (without the control) for his expectations for 2010. While everyone is watching Wade Davis, Jeremy Hellickson, Brain Matusz, Neftali Feliz, Stephen Strasburg, Aroldis Chapman and Madison Bumgarner, keep an eye on Jaime Garcia. With Dave Duncan as his coach and the revival of Joel Pinero’s career via extreme groundball splits, Garcia could provide excellent value in 2010.

Ben Jukich | LHP | AAA | 26 | 7.8 K/9 | 2.9 BB/9 | 123 IP | 4.10 ERA | 4.28 FIP | 1.34 WHIP | 1.2 HR/9 | .306 BABIP | 51.3 GB% | 16.8 LD% | 26.9 FB% (career 53.6 GB% | 15.3 LD% | 27.9 FB% | .6 HR/9)
Jukich had a great year, but with better defense (as noted by Bryan Smith from FanGraphs) and his great career ground ball ratios (53.6%) he’ll perform better than expected. He is rather old and his prospect status is non-existent. His fantasy prospects aren’t much different, but each year a ground ball pitcher can come up and surprise (Matt Palmer had a few good outings, Scott Feldman had a great year relying on a sinking 2-seam fastball, etc). I accidentally placed him in the Cincinnati Reds Minor League Review, however, with the Cardinals he is vying for the fifth rotation spot with Jaime Garcia and P.J. Walters. Read Garcia’s ending sentences about Dave Duncan for what Jukich could provide in 2010.

#17 P.J. Walters | RHP | AAA | 24 | 8.4 K/9 | 3.3 BB/9 | 121 IP | 4.54 ERA | 3.58 FIP | 1.42 WHIP | .4 HR/9 | 9.5 H/9 | .348 BABIP | 49 GB% | 18 LD% | 27.9 FB%
Walters is a finesse pitcher with a deceptive changeup and an 88 to 91 mph fastball. He saw 16 innings of the major league last year too. He isn’t sexy and doesn’t have the skills to overpower hitters at the major league level. His control and durability are better than Garcia’s. However, his upside is nowhere near Garcia’s. Walters had a high batting average on balls in play (.348), which inflated some of his peripherals (ERA and WHIP). With a more normal BABIP, Walter’s could provide some nice fifth starter value for the Cards. His upside is Aaron Cook. Nothing stellar, but serviceable.

Honorable Mentions
Tyler Henley | RF | AA | 24 | .303/.367/.482 | 423 AB | 47 XBH | 13 HR | .179 ISO | 9/4 SB/CS | 64:40 K:BB (15.1 K% | 8.5 BB%) | .312 BABIP
Invited to spring training and ranked number 18 in the current Baseball America Handbook (non-roster invite), I am not sure why he doesn’t have extended stats at Minor League Splits but he doesn’t. Oh well. Henley projects as a fourth outfielder with good contact skills and strike zone judgment, solid but not great defense and gap power. The Cards have other high ceiling outfield prospects in their system and Henley happens to be the lowest ceiling but most predictable. If there are several injuries to the outfield to the major league club, Henley may be the one called upon to cover the open spot.

#25 Steven Hill | C-1B | AA | 24 | .282/.333/.470 | 464 AB | 47 XBH | 19 HR | .168 ISO | 106:36 K:BB | .326 BABIP | 41.9 GB% | 17.5 LD% | 40.3 FB%
Defensively, he is a liability and his future as a catcher seems to be closing. Swing for the fences only works for so long in the minors before the pitchers catch on. The reason I mention him is that his defense could improve and natural power is difficult to teach. Let’s watch how the 2010 season unfolds for him. If things go well, he could be a sleeper candidate in 2011.

Eduardo Sanchez | RHP | A+/AA | 20 | 9.8 K/9 | 3.0 BB/9 | 75 IP | 2.28 ERA | 3.49 FIP | .92 WHIP | .7 HR/9 | 5.3 H/9 | .234 BABIP | 51.3 GB% | 15.9 LD% | 30.2 FB%
He was aided by an extremely low BABIP (.234) and an even lower one at High-A (.185). Mainly a closer or late inning setup man, Sanchez could provide a mid season boost to a rather uninteresting bullpen for the Cards. He has a 94 to 97 mph fastball and a good slider. Touted as the next closer (over Motte) for the Cardinals because he is actually able to control his pitches. He has the makings of a great closer or reliever with ability to blow his pitches past the batters and keep the ball on the ground (51.3 GB%). For those MR. B’s out there, Sanchez may help sooner rather than later. Might be a midseason call up as he needs to work on his game a little more.

#15 Lance Lynn | RHP | AA | 22 | 7 K/9 | 3.6 BB/9 | 126 1/3 IP | 2.92 ERA | 3.79 FIP | 1.33 WHIP | .4 HR/9 | 8.3 H/9 | .307 BABIP | 47.9 FB% | 16.6 LD% | 31.1 FB%
Possesses an 89 to 92 mph sinking fastball and a solid slider, curveball, and changeup. 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.

  1. peter says:

    Blech. I’ll be looking at Freese in late rounds, this year. But it doesn’t look like I’ll be tracking any of these guys in the near future.

    Just completed a 10 team, 5×5 mock (I’m doing a 10 team this year for the first time in forever). I had the 9th pick. Here’s what happened (# is the overall pick in the draft):

    C – Chris Iannetta (212)
    1B – Mark Teixeira (9)
    2B – Brandon Phillips (32)
    3B – David Wright (12)
    SS – Jimmy Rollins (29)
    OF – Curtis Granderson (49)
    OF – Carlos Quentin (69)
    OF – Nick Markakis (89)
    Util – Michael Bourn (129)
    Util – Ian Stewart (149)
    Bench – Chris Davis (229)
    SP – Jon Lester (52)
    SP – Ubaldo Jimenez (72)
    SP – Chad Billingsley (92)
    SP – Matt Garza (112)
    SP – David Price (169)
    SP – Johnny Cueto (172)
    SP – Clay Buchholz (189)
    SP – Ervin Santana (192)
    RP – Carlos Marmol (109)
    RP – Rafael Soriano (132)
    RP – David Aardsma (152)
    RP – Octavio Dotel (209)

    Some of my quick thoughts: I’m not happy with the Michael Bourn pick. It was one of those situations where you’re not thrilled with the top players on the board and you kind of freeze. Ian Stewart at #149 – I could have had Alfonso Soriano, instead, but I didn’t do it. Also not thrilled with Price at #169.

    Overall, I was trying to get guys who had power and speed. I’m guess in 10-teams with fewer positions, it’s preferable not to waste a spot on a one category guy (I’m looking at you, Bourn). I would be happier if I had guys with higher batting average; one can’t expect Tex and Wright to make up for everyone else.

    Thoughts? Weaknesses? Fears? Aspirations?

  2. Stephen says:

    I see good power-speed combo but a lack of a consistent average. Your starting pitching has good strikeout potential but a tendency to lean towards a higher WHIP; similar comments about your closers as they have strikeout rates to drool over but WHIP issues, namely Marmol, as well as injury history (Soriano namely). I haven’t participated in a 10 team league, but I think you have some good talent and potential, I would just be worried about the amount of upside risk you have taken with some over your pitchers and with Stewart and Chris Davis.

  3. peter says:

    @Stephen: Thanks, Stephen.. good feedback. I share your concerns. Especially about being in a 10 team league. But what can I do? I was asked by a good friend, and, well, the dude abides.

    In future drafts I’ll watch what’s happening w/ the WHIP, definitely. Batting avg, too. Although it’s a h2h, so I’m not as concerned with average. Because, regardless, some weeks you’ll eat the bar and some weeks the bar eats you.

    Since it’s a 10 team, my plan was to try and grab a top player at each of the shallow positions – rather than just throwing, say, SS and grabbing E. Cabrera at the end. 3B, SS, 2B. Rather than worrying about OF and pitching early.

  4. magicterp says:

    Oh Jennry!
    Anyone have thoughts on Jennry Mejia as a late round flyer in an NL-only keeper league?

  5. brad says:

    Looking for any and everybody’s keeper thoughts 16 team roto league. I keep any 6, and my initial thought are to go with these guys:

    Jimmy Rollins
    Justin Morneau
    Cole Hamels
    Jay Bruce
    Carlos Quentin
    Carlos Lee

    Would you swap any of the below for any of the above?

    Chris Davis
    Jason Kubel
    José López
    Jair Jurrjens
    Francisco Liriano

  6. infamy707 says:

    In a 5 keeper league, so far keeping tulo, kemp, votto, lind, and cano. I have Hill, should I trade him for a 15 round pick if offered or for anything?

  7. Grey

    Grey says:

    @magicterp: I think he’ll be solid, but he’s at least a year away from helping for fantasy.

    @brad: I’d go with who you have.

    @infamy707: Trade him for anything if you’re not keeping him as long as you’re not making a great team better.

  8. Adam says:

    Pulled off a big trade last night…10 teams 5×5 roto league

    Get: Teixeira, Napoli, Brian Wilson

    Give: Dunn, McCann, Marmol, Scherzer

    Are you as high on this trade as I am?

  9. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Adam: Looks great for you.

  10. Stephen says:

    @magicterp: In a keeper league … that changes things a wee bit. How many minor league roster spots do you have? If none, than I would wait until the end of the season and see what he accomplished.

  11. manfromearth says:

    Is taking three OF’s in a row a kiss of death. I’ve done a couple of mocks where I’ve gotten Braun in round 1 and Holliday in round 2 (usually happens when I have the 5th, 6th pick, or so). Do I always look for an infielder in round 3, even if my highest ranked player on the board is another outfielder? Thx

  12. Stephen says:

    @manfromearth: You lose some roster flexibility, but I am definitely in the boat about picking the best talent available. If a quality third baseman is available in the third round that is whom I would personally target. Three outfielders in a row isn’t necessarily a “kiss of death” just a potential quandary in terms of roster flexibility.

  13. GopherDay says:

    @manfromearth: What I have found from taking many outfielders early is that I usually regret it around round 10 or 11 when I see that someone like Pence is hanging around, I want to draft him, but I need to fill in my infield.

  14. @manfromearth: I think it depends on how you perceive your ability to make trades. I think you should take three outfielders in the first three rounds if you know you can deal one. I’ve seen tons of dudes sit on lack of roster flexibility all season thinking they could make a deal, but, then being really stubborn about it.

  15. manfromearth says:

    I hear what you’re saying in regards to regretting, later in the draft, having filled so many OF slots when someone you want has no room on your roster. In my most recent mock, I got Braun, Holliday, Phillips, and Bay, in that order, and then took Pence in round 9. I’m not feeling as secure in my drafting ability as I hope to become, but I do target certain players that I feel good about getting in the later rounds, like Pence (maybe reached a bit early), Konerko (19), and Chris Davis (20). Also, great points made on being willing to trade if you have a glut of OF’s.

  16. arussell1983 says:

    7×7 H2H league, 6 keepers per team, minimum two have to be pitchers. first 5 are locked in but am a little confused on number 6….

    BJ Upton

    then one of:

    Adam Jones
    Chone Figgins
    Carlos Quentin
    Wandy Rodriguez
    Heath Bell
    Billy Butler

  17. David says:

    @Grey: Just drafted and wondered what you thought of my team. 12 team mixed.

    OF-A. Jones

    SP-Johan (picked over Lester which I’m kicking myself for)

    Tried to go with upside for my bench guys. Any thoughts would be much appreciated. Indeeeed.

  18. Grey

    Grey says:

    @David: I think you did well. No idea what you’re going to do with 7 outfielders. Maybe you can have a yard sale. Would’ve preferred you grabbed another starter somewhere along there. They are solid upside outfielders though, so there’s that. As long as you get 40 steals from Reyes you’ll be fine on speed. You look light on speed, but that could change if you bench Borbon and one of your upside outfielders breaks out for power. The pitching staff you do have is nice.

  19. GopherDay says:

    @Grey: @Stephen: @Anyone who cares:

    I have been involved in 3 trades in my dynasty league…10 team 6X6 (OPS, HLDS)

    I’ve given: Ben Zobrist, Nelson Cruz, Huston Street, Edwin Jackson

    I’ve received: Carlos Quentin, Curtis Granderson, Cole Hamels (Plus some random dude I pick up off FA)

    Each individual trade: Zobrist for Hamels
    Cruz and Jackson for Granderson
    Street for Quentin

    I think I’ve done very well, but I want to know what y’all think.


  20. David says:

    @Grey: Thanks for the input! I actually have Cueto and Buchholtz on my bench, but I got tired of typing I guess. I definitely feel a little light in power, but I can probably pick something up for cheap on the waiver wire or hope that one of my many outfielders breaks out in power. Thanks again for the help.

  21. GopherDay says:

    @David: It isn’t looking like Bucholz will make the starting rotation…Gosh dangit! Why won’t the Red Sox trade him and whoever else they want to SD for Gonzalez??? That would make all the Red sox fans happy and all fantasy baseball players!!

  22. brett says:

    @GopherDay: Really? Who’s their fifth, Wakefield?

  23. Peoria says:

    @brad: I like the 6 you kept.

  24. Peoria says:

    @Adam: Wow, send that guy to my league.

Comments are closed.