The selection process is most straightforward. We have already unveiled our top 40 prospects in the system via the "40 Days, 40 Nights, 40 Prospects" series. Putting together this year's All-Prospect Team is as simple as culling the top-ranked player at each position from that top 40.
As always, the 2011 The Cardinal Nation/Scout.com St. Louis Cardinals All-Prospect Team consists of eleven players – eight position players, including two corner outfielders considered as one group, plus three pitchers – left and right-handed starters and a reliever. Included are each player's overall ranking in the top 40, age and predominant level played in 2010.
The Cardinal Nation/Scout.com St. Louis Cardinals 2011 All-Prospect Team
|First Base||Mark Hamilton||20||26||AAA|
|Second Base||Daniel Descalso||8||23||AAA|
|Third Base||Zack Cox||2||21||R|
|Corner Outfield||Oscar Taveras||11||18||R|
|Corner Outfield||Allen Craig||7||26||AAA|
|LH Starter||John Gast||28||21||SS-A|
|RH Starter||Shelby Miller||1||20||A|
In an indication of significantly less churn at the top of the prospect rankings, six of the eleven featured players are holdovers from last year (bolded above), doubling the number of repeaters the year before. A seventh, catcher Bryan Anderson, rejoins the list after a one-year vacation at the hands of Robert Stock. Just four are new to the All-Prospect Team.
TCN/Scout.com St. Louis Cardinals All-Prospect Teams – 2006 through 2011
|Catcher||Bryan Anderson||Robert Stock||Bryan Anderson|
|First Base||Mark Hamilton||Mark Hamilton||Curt Smith|
|Second Base||Daniel Descalso||Daniel Descalso||Jose Martinez|
|Shortstop||Pete Kozma||Pete Kozma||Pete Kozma|
|Third Base||Zack Cox||David Freese||Brett Wallace*|
|Corner Outfield||Oscar Taveras||Daryl Jones||Nick Stavinoha|
|Corner Outfield||Allen Craig||Allen Craig||Jon Jay|
|Centerfield||Adron Chambers||Jon Jay||Colby Rasmus|
|LH Starter||John Gast||Jaime Garcia||Jaime Garcia|
|RH Starter||Shelby Miller*||Shelby Miller*||Jess Todd|
|Reliever||Eduardo Sanchez||Eduardo Sanchez||Jason Motte|
|Player of Year||* Matt Carpenter||* David Freese|
|Pitcher of Year||* Brandon Dickson||* Lance Lynn|
|Catcher||Bryan Anderson||Bryan Anderson||Bryan Anderson|
|First Base||Mark Hamilton||Mark Hamilton||Mike Ferris|
|Second Base||Jose Martinez||Jose Martinez||Jose Martinez|
|Shortstop||Pete Kozma||Tyler Greene||Tyler Greene|
|Third Base||Allen Craig||Randy Roth||Travis Hanson|
|Corner Outfield||Joe Mather||Nick Stavinoha||Nick Stavinoha|
|Corner Outfield||Jon Jay||Cody Haerther||Cody Haerther|
|Centerfield||Colby Rasmus||Colby Rasmus||Colby Rasmus|
|LH Starter||Jaime Garcia||Jaime Garcia||Eric Haberer|
|RH Starter||Adam Ottavino*||B. Hawksworth||Anthony Reyes|
|Reliever||Chris Perez||Chris Perez||Tyler Johnson|
|Player of Year|
|Pitcher of Year||* P.J. Walters|
Past winners from the last five seasons are listed for comparison purposes with our TCN/Scout.com Cardinals Minor League Pitcher and Player of the Year in those years listed in bold. Our current winners are Brandon Dickson and Matt Carpenter, respectively. (Shelby Miller took the Cardinals organization's top pitcher nod for 2010 with Carpenter also their top player.)
It seems each year that one of our top award winners is not the highest ranked player at his position. This year, for the first time, neither award winner is the top prospect at their respective positions, again reminding us there is a difference between having a good season and being a top prospect.
Our 2010 Pitcher of the Year Dickson yielded to Miller. The year before, Lance Lynn was in the same boat, also at the hands of Miller. 2010 Player of the Year Carpenter is ranked behind third baseman Zack Cox. Brett Wallace out-ranked our 2008 Player of the Year David Freese and the year prior, our 2007 Pitcher of the Year was P.J. Walters, but Adam Ottavino placed higher in the prospect rankings.
Three players, Freese, centerfielder Jon Jay and left-handed pitcher Jaime Garcia, left the All-Prospect Team after promotion to St. Louis. Garcia had been our top left-handed pitching prospect four years running and is replaced by John Gast. That was an easy decision since Gast is the only lefty on the entire 2011 top 40. Along with Stock, outfielder Daryl Jones hit the prospect team pines for performance reasons.
Unlike last year when two members of the previous year's squad had been dealt away, Wallace and Jess Todd, none of the 2010 All-Prospect Team left the organization via trade.
In an oddity, Cox becomes the sixth different third baseman named to the All-Prospect team in six years. That is the position with the highest level of turnover over time. With his five selections in six years, Anderson becomes the unofficial captain of the 2011 All-Prospect squad despite still being just 24 years old.
Age and experience
The All-Prospect Team has a considerable spread in ages, from Oscar Taveras at 18 years old to Mark Hamilton and Allen Craig at 26 years of age. Two years after the average age and level reached by the players on the top 11 increased, showing an aging of the top level of prospects, the average age remained roughly flat for the second consecutive year.
Interestingly, the average level of the All-Prospect Team remained at Double-A, but what would have been an increase was masked by the Cardinals assigning Cox artificially low for his short debut, the Gulf Coast League. Five of the 11 prospects played the majority of the 2010 campaign in Triple-A with another, Adron Chambers, moving there late in the season.
Note that for the second consecutive year, not a single Palm Beach (A-Advanced) player made the Top Prospect Team and just one from Class A Quad Cities, Miller. This is an indicator that the middle levels of the system appear to be a bit short of top talent.
In a reminder how the Cardinals top prospects have grown in experience, four years ago, eight of the 11 members of the Top Prospect Team had yet to play a single game at the Double-A level. This year, only four of the selections can make that claim.
Next up: In tomorrow's installment, we will dive into the numbers behind the 2011 The Cardinal Nation/Scout.com Top 40 Prospect List in terms of sourcing of players, distribution by position with comparisons to recent years. We'll follow with some of our best and worst selections from last year's top 40.
To reference our entire list of top 40 Cardinals prospects for 2011 and read about each individual player, click here. You can also learn more about each of the voters' philosophies in making their selections and much more.
There's more! Want access to the all details behind our Cardinals prospect rankings in our "40 Days, 40 Nights, 40 Prospects" feature here at The Cardinal Nation?
Time is running out! Subscribe by January 21 to our annual pass and receive in the spring the 2011 FOX Fantasy Guide / Scout Prospect Guide, the perfect hardcopy companion to "40 Days", including the top prospects from all 30 MLB organizations and much more. We author the Cardinals section of the guide as always.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at email@example.com. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.
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