2011 Cardinals Prospect #25 – P.J. Walters

Can the right-hander earn a full-time major league assignment in his third year of trying?

Scout.com Player Profile (including links to full 2010 and career stats)

2010 rank Pos. DOB Ht. Wt. Bat Thw Signed Round
16 RHS 3/12/1985 6-4 200 R R 2006 11th

School: University of South Alabama

Selected 2010 stats

Mem 8 5 3.81 19 18 0 108 106 51 12 30 106 0.82 0.254
StL 2 0 6.00 7 3 0 30 32 20 5 10 22 0.97 0.276

Staff comments (individual rankings in parentheses)

Dustin Mattison (NR): Yes, I did not rank P.J. Walters in my Top 40. Yes, I have been a P.J. Walters fan. But I just don't think he is the guy the Cardinals are looking for.

Once again, the 25-year-old put together a solid season at Triple-A Memphis. In seven big league appearances in 2010, he posted an ERA of six with 22 strikeouts in 30 innings of work. Walters shows good control on the mound but doesn't fit the mold of the other members of the St. Louis Cardinals groundball staff.

Bill James predicts Walters will go 2-2 with a 4.50 ERA. Not bad but I don't think he is who the organization will look to for the role of the sixth starter.

Message board community (15): Walters drops in this year's rankings in both the overall and (though not by as much) the community's list despite having possibly the best of his three seasons at Triple-A. Just to be clear, Walters' ranking is not about his minor league performance but his failure to make an impact at the major league level. But even considering that, was the drop in ranking justified?

Walters improved his major league numbers from 2009 to 2010 despite personal problems that forced him to miss most of spring training and surely distracted him both in his preparation and throughout the year. The greatest area of that improvement was in his ability to get out left-handed hitters (though still worse than against right-handed hitters).

Walters should get at least one more chance to redeem himself. He goes into 2011 slated as the #6 starter and also slated to be given a look for Blake Hawksworth's vacated long relief position, so his fate should be in his own hands. Since he will be out of options after this season, my guess is that by the end of the season, Walters will be firmly entrenched on the Cardinals staff or he won't be with the organization to start 2012. - CariocaCardinal

Brian Walton (19): Walters will come into 2011 spring training camp without a clear role other than potentially as a returning starter for Triple-A Memphis. His goal will certainly be to make the major league roster, but will probably need an impressive March showing to grab what could be one opening at most.

His best immediate MLB hope may be to capture Hawksworth's old role. Not having dominating stuff allows him little room for error. Even without the Cardinals signing minor league veterans, the number of potential pitchers against which Walters will compete is considerable.

A return to Memphis' rotation seems his most likely destination, where he may join a competition that should include other returnees Lance Lynn, Adam Ottavino and Brandon Dickson, newcomers Bryan Augenstein and Raul Valdes plus David Kopp, up from Springfield.

Our 2011 top 40 countdown continues: To see our entire list of 40 Cardinals prospects, click here. You can also read each of the voters' philosophies in making their selections.

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