2011 Cardinals Prospect #22 – Aaron Luna

Becoming a second baseman no longer seems in the plans for the outfielder. Is that a career difference-maker? Today's article is FREE!

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

2010 rank Pos. DOB Ht. Wt. Bat Thw Signed Round
24 OF 3/28/1987 5-11 200 R R 2008 9th

School: Rice University

Selected 2010 stats

MEM 0.205 44 10 9 1 1 1 1 5 10 0 0.327 0.341 0.668
SPR 0.270 319 60 86 13 3 15 54 63 73 5 0.426 0.470 0.897
Total 0.262 363 70 95 14 4 16 55 68 83 5 0.415 0.455 0.870

Staff comments (individual rankings in parentheses)

Dustin Mattison (28): I can honestly say Aaron Luna is an enigma to me. The more I follow his career path, the more uncertain I am of his potential. Luna doesn't look the part of a corner outfielder yet his .897 OPS was the fifth-best in the Texas League.

The close friend of former Missouri Tiger and current New Orleans Saints quarterback Chase Daniel posted an impressive strikeout-to-walk ratio of 73-to-63. Luna has good speed on the bases and in the field to go with a below-average arm. Drafted as a second baseman out of Rice, he did lose significant value as a prospect when he was moved to a corner outfield position. With his arm strength, I think that corner position will be left field.

Though he has produced impressive numbers the past two seasons at Springfield, we need to remember Hammons Field is an offensive park. Destined for left field, he does not have the power or the power potential to man that position on the big league level. It seems apparent that he looks the part of a utility player but I don't think he has the defensive flexibility to make it work. So, his best case scenario appears to be that of a late inning pinch hitter.

Message board community (21): Luna is another player who had an excellent year (and better than 2009) but hardly moved in the rankings. One possibility for that is that the idea of him perhaps moving to second base seems to have faded as he hardly played there this year. Still, outfielders whose OPS rate in the mid-.800's have value and that appears to be what Luna gives consistently.

One knock on Luna's OPS is that it is disproportionally derived from being hit by pitches which some people think is unsustainable at the major league level. Another knock is his low batting average, which was above .250 for the first time this year. Luna doesn't strike out much but he has a low line drive rate which results in a low BABIP. He most likely will need to improve that if he is to be considered a serious prospect going forward. - CariocaCardinal

Brian Walton (21): Luna clearly belongs in this top 40 and has earned his placement, but his defensive assignment is an even greater point of concern to me than it was one year ago.

As a legitimate second baseman, the sky would have been the limit, but all indications are that isn't going to happen. As a corner outfielder or utility player, Luna finds himself among a number of others in the system with similar attributes.

Unfortunately, there can be no designated hitter in St. Louis, at least not yet, and they can't play a group of undersized, underpowered corner outfielders at the same time, either. I just don't know where the realities of the kind of player Luna is will leave him over the long haul, but I can't be overly optimistic about his chances.

Though a bit of an over-dramatization perhaps, Luna might be an appropriate placeholder for the system in the broader sense. Decent numbers on the surface, but not enough size or athleticism to be projectable as a major league starter. Yet I still ranked him 21st.

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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