Carioca's July Cardinals Prospect Rankings

Our monthly subscriber-only, in-depth report on rising and falling St. Louis Cardinals prospects. First-round pick Kolten Wong makes a high debut but needs to back it up on the field for Quad Cities.

Welcome to the latest edition of Carioca's Monthly Minor League Prospect Rankings and Other Musings. I hope that this report will be the launching pad for discussion regarding St. Louis Cardinals prospects.

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 premium message board post or via PM if you prefer.

On to the report!

Prospect Rankings

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

#1 Shelby Miller (1). Possibly the #1 pitching prospect in all of baseball.

#2 Carlos Martinez (2). Just moved up to high A. Moving faster than Miller - is his ceiling as high?

#3 Kolten Wong (NR). I am higher than most on this recent addition. I see him as a high floor/high ceiling prospect.

#4 Zack Cox (3). I really wanted to move him into a lower position, but no one has stepped up.

#5 Matt Carpenter (4). I am starting to wonder if he has peaked. His consistency is amazing though.

#6 Oscar Taveras (5). Back on the field after injuries but is slumping. Can he get hot again?

#7 Lance Lynn (8). Doing well where it counts - in the big leagues!

#8 Tyrell Jenkins (6). One good and one poor start to open the season. Inconsistency from youngsters is not uncommon.

#9 Matt Adams (11). A big jump in the rankings for the big guy! He does nothing but hit. Defense said to be improving.

#10 Tony Cruz (14). Proving he can be a solid backup that can play multiple positions. Is he good enough to be a full time starter?

#11 Eduardo Sanchez (7). On the disabled list. Shoulder problems scare me.

#12 Mark Hamilton (10). Doing better in second St. Loius stint but not showing his power stroke yet.

#13 Maikel Cleto (16). Showed good stuff if not good results in brief major league stints. Easy to forget he was only 21 when the season opened.

#14 Trevor Rosenthal (12). Probably ready to move up. Not quite as dominating as early in the year but getting more consistent.

#15 Jordan Swagerty (15). Swagerty will be relieving the rest of the year due to innings (on his arm) but that might allow him to jump to Double-A Springfield before the season is over.

#16 Ryan Jackson (18). Strong comeback month after struggling in May. Decent chance to see STL in 2012.

#17 Alex Castellanos (17). High K rate keeps him from moving higher in the rankings.

#18 Tommy Pham (13). Out (perhaps) for the year with a wrist injury. Hopefully still the same player. Wrist injuries for hitters scare me like shoulder injuries for pitchers.

#19 Adron Chambers (20-40). Returns to the top 20 after dropping out. Showing improved power this year to go with solid OBP.

#20 John Gast (19). Promoted to Double-A Springfield this past week. I will not be surprised if he struggles there. I'm not sure he's ready.

Prospects #20-#40 (not numerically ranked but in alphabetical order)

Nick Additon - Continues to rack up good statistics while being panned by people who see him throw in person.

Bryan Anderson - June was a good month for Anderson but his 40-man roster spot has to be being eyed by Mo and company!

Seth Blair - Pitched slightly better in the month of June. Teams don't get many hits against him but he makes up for it by walking them.

Andrew Brown - Received a lot of compliments on his game during a brief call up to St. Louis though he didn't fair well statistically.

Keith Butler (new) - Since his promotion to Palm Beach, he is striking out about 1.5 batters an inning as he did last year at Batavia. Doesn't walk many either.

Brandon Dickson - Called up to St. Louis this past week. Has been inconsistent in Memphis and has given up a lot of home runs.

Samuel Freeman (new) - His peripheral numbers don't excite me though I love the ERA. Not sure he is yet 100% after Tommy John surgery last year as his velocity is still down.

Anthony Garcia - Off to a good start in rookie ball in an effort to prove last year wasn't a fluke.

Ronny Gil - Not a strong June but he's still shaking off the rust after a year out.

Joe Kelly - Continues to be solid at High A Palm Beach.

Pete Kozma - Needs to prove he can hit at some level.

Aaron Luna (20) - Drops to the second tier despite solid performance. One good hot streak easily vaults him back into the top 20.

Adam Ottavino - Seems to be getting more consistent and walking fewer batters. Should the organization make him a full time reliever?

Audry Perez - Solid performance in Double-A would most likely spell the end for Bryan Anderson.

Rainel Rosario - Becoming more consistent. Solid year putting him on track to move to Double-A Springfield in 2012 where his power should shine.

Starlin Rodriguez (new) - Quick promotion to High A Palm Beach gives him a clear shot to the majors (if this year's draft pick Kolten Wong doesn't pass him).

Jonathan Rodriguez - On the bubble last month. A strong June (.937 OPS - mostly SLG %) kept him in the top 40.

Kevin Siegrist - Lefty starter continues to pitch well.

Cody Stanley (new) - .329 average and .832 OPS in May propels Stanley into the top 40.

Boone Whiting - Recently moved into a starting role, he has dominated at both rookie level (last year) and Low A (this year).

Justin Wright - Lefty was striking out over 1.5 batters per inning and had a minuscule .081 WHIP prior to promotion to Low A Palm Beach. Went immediately onto the DL at PB. Hopefully it is just to give his arm a break from elevated innings this year.

Dropped out

#9 Daniel Descalso - Graduated

David Kopp - Struggling terribly at Double-A Springfield. Recently moved to the bullpen.

Brian Broderick - Hasn't matched the spring numbers or effectiveness that earned in the spot in the Nationals' major league bullpen to start the year.

Kevin Thomas - Organizational Pitcher of the Month (May) was just as bad in June as he was good in May.

Bryan Augenstein - Off the major league DL and sent to Memphis. Needs to show he is recovered.

Note 1) Eligible players include all system players without more than 134 AB's or 50 IP's in the majors. Once a player reaches one of these thresholds he will be removed from the next report.

Note 2) The rankings are based almost entirely from statistics, media reports, and first-hand reports of others. There are very few of these players who I have seen in person.

Note 3) Stats are current through the end of June.

Carioca's Musings

#blastsfromthepast - Former top prospects P.J. Walters and Daryl Jones both had outstanding months to put them in contention to make my ranked prospect list but each fell just short. Another strong month though and they'll be back there.

#shortseasonball#2 - The August 1st rankings will get much more interesting (and competitive) as more players from this year's draft and the short season leagues develop enough of a track record to compete for a prospect ranking.

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