Each month, I present you with my top 20 prospects (updated through the end of the month), my next 20 prospects (not ranked but listed in alphabetical order), as well as whatever observations I feel are relevant at the moment.
This report reflects my opinions and not that of the entire The Cardinal Nation staff, so feel to address any comments or criticisms directly to me either through a message board post or via PM if you prefer.
On to the report!
These rankings are heavily influenced by how players performed in Spring Training and I would expect a lot of changes the first few months as more minor leaguers get a chance to strut their stuff in regular season games. The number in parentheses is how I ranked the player the previous month.
The Top 20
#2 Carlos Martinez (2). Stuff seems dominant but he needs to gain more consistency. I guess that's why he is still in A ball. :)
#3 Zack Cox (4). Removed lots of doubts (and criticisms) with a strong May. Won't get a pass for a lack of power in the hitter-friendly Texas League.
#4 Matt Carpenter (6). Consistency seems to be one of his strong suits. Batting eye is major league. Defense this year seems improved.
#5 Oscar Taveras (7). Hamstring problems continue to keep him off the field. Will the injuries allow him to maintain the outstanding batting eye he has shown?
#6 Tyrell Jenkins (8). Positive reports out of extended spring training make me optimistic.
#7 Eduardo Sanchez (3). His youth has been showing through in St. Louis but he still has the makings of a dominant reliever.
#8 Lance Lynn (6). Slowly slipping in the rankings as he fails to show dominance. Consistency though remains his calling card.
#9 Daniel Descalso (9). Has added "clutch" to his resume this year. Most likely this is his last appearance on this list as he will lose his prospect status in the next month.
#10 Mark Hamilton (14). Didn't hit well in St. Louis but since returning to Memphis, he has been raking. More walks than strikeouts so far this year.
#11 Matt Adams (12). Continues to show both awesome power and hit for a high average at AA.
#12 Trevor Rosenthal (11). Seems to be off just a little this month. May have some nagging injuries holding him back.
#13 Tommy Pham (20-40). 1.000+ OPS May allows Pham to make a huge jump in the rankings.
#14 Tony Cruz (19). Now in St. Louis and making a strong showing. Undoubtedly now the system heir apparent to Yadi.
#15 Jordan Swagerty (17). Bumped up to high-A Palm Beach and still pitching well.
#16 Maikel Cleto (18). Moved up to AA. Not quite as dominating but holding his own. Just turned 22.
#17 Alex Castellanos (20-40). Followed up strong April with even stronger May. Improved K and BB rates bode well for his development and possible call up to AAA later this year.
#18 Ryan Jackson (13). Followed up outstanding April with an equally horrendous May. Which Ryan Jackson will emerge in June?
#19 John Gast (16). Struggled early in the month but came back with two strong starts to finish May.
#20 Aaron Luna (20-40). Continues to be a solid performer at AAA Memphis. OBP is key to his success.
Prospects 20-40 (not numerically ranked - in alphabetical order)
Bryan Anderson. Organizational future has to be in doubt with Tony Cruz promoted ahead of him to St. Louis.
Brian Augenstein. Still on injured reserve with no date given for an expected return.
Seth Blair (20). Wildness seems to have subsided but still not pitching as you would expect of a supplemental 1st round pick.
Brian Broderick (new). Returned by the Nationals. Broderick wasn't on my pre-season top 40 list but he pitched well enough to make the Nats major league squad out of spring training and that's enough to get him on this list.
Andrew Brown (new). Brown continues to smash the ball at AAA Memphis in his first year there. If he was 2-3 years younger, he would be a hot prospect but since he's older, he'll have to settle for the second 20 on my list.
Adron Chambers (15). Only hit .192 in May though his OBP and SLG% remained decent.
Brandon Dickson. Suffered through a terrible month with a couple of tough games but still getting buzz within the organization.
Anthony Garcia. Will finally get on the field in real games next month.
Ronny Gil (new). Just called up to Quad Cities, Gil has log been a personal favorite. Hopefully he can carry his strong start forward into June.
Joe Kelly. Continues to give a solid performance at high A Palm Beach.
David Kopp. Returned to action this month at AA Springfield with mixed results. Inducing ground balls at good rate but needs to K a few more to move into the top tier of the rankings.
Pete Kozma. Continued struggling at AAA Memphis but didn't embarrass himself when called up to STL.
Adam Ottavino. Struggled a little in the month of May but held on to his top 40 spot.
Audry Perez (new). Moved up to AA Springfield during the month. Has performed adequately while adjusting to a higher level.
Rainel Rosario. Average and power dropped despite a 15-game hitting streak during May. Rosario needs to realize his power is his ticket to the bigs.
Jonathan Rodriguez. Still struggling with the bat but showing enough power to remain on the list.
Kevin Siegrist (new). Another lefty without overwhelming stuff that continues to get great results.
Cody Stanley (new). .329 average and .832 OPS in May propels Stanley into the top 40.
Kevin Thomas (new). Outstanding May with increased K rates and an amazing 71% ground ball rate.
Fernando Salas (10) – Graduated.
Alan Ahmady (20-40). Promoted to AA Springfield but has struggled mightily.
Chuckie Fick (20-40). Relief pitchers have a narrow margin for error. Fick lost the margin required to stay on this list.
Deryk Hooker (20-40). Has thrown some good games at AA but has thrown more bad ones. I'd like to see him bumped down to Palm Beach.
Nick Longmire (20-40). Improved during May but not enough to remain on the list.
Luis Mateo (20-40). Struggles at Palm Beach continue. Still young so the concern here is not great.
Michael Swinson (20-40). What happened to his power?
P.J. Walters (20-40). Recently removed from the 40-man roster, Walters seems like he has lost his trademark pinpoint control.
1) All system players with 134 or fewer at-bats or 50 or less innings pitched in the majors are eligible. Once a player reaches one of these thresholds, he will be removed from the next report.
2) The rankings are based almost entirely from statistics, media reports and first hand reports of others. I have seen very few of these players in person.
#herecomesthedraft. Prior to the next monthly prospect report, the Cardinals will have participated in the Rule 4 free agent draft. Can the Cards get lucky and have a top player slide to them over signability concerns like they have the last two years (Miller, Cox)? Can they find a mid-to-late round pick that can progress rapidly through the system like Craig or Adams?
#shortseasonball. In addition to the draft, June sees the start of the Gulf Coast, Appalachian, and New York-Penn short season leagues. It will be interesting to see if any players step up quickly in these leagues and earn a quick promotion to a full-season league.
© 2011 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com and stlcardinals.scout.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.