Each month during the season, I present 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!
The number in parentheses is how I ranked the player the previous month.
The Top 20
#2 Carlos Martinez (2). Really struggled this past month but too much potential to move him down in the rankings. Was he just tired or did the FSL catch up with him?
#3 Oscar Taveras (5). His consistency has really won me over and convinced me he's not a flash in the pan. Looking forward to his AFL performance.
#4 Kolten Wong (4). A real hit machine and there are reports his defense is more than adequate. AA or High A to start 2012?
#5 Zack Cox (3). Dropped two spots despite a solid month. Just too much talent in the system right now for "solid" to keep you at the top.
#6 Lance Lynn (8). If I was sure his last month (in St. Louis) was something he could keep up, would probably be top three.
#7 Matt Carpenter (6). His lack of a September call-up makes me think the Cardinals don't know what they have.
#8 Tyrell Jenkins (8). Continued to pitch well. I'm pretty sure I rank him lower than most.
#9 Eduardo Sanchez (10). Moved up one spot due to Adams' struggles. Would rank higher if not for injury concerns.
#10 Matt Adams (9). Followed up slump in July with an even worse August. Tired? Peter Principle? I guess we'll find out more next year. I expect a Spring Training invite.
#11 Jordan Swagerty (13). Bumped up to Springfield and continued pitching well in a relief role. I expect him to be in Springfield's 2012 rotation.
#12 Anthony Garcia (11). Strikeouts crept up toward the end of the season but probably just an aberration. Really good power for a youngster.
#13 Trevor Rosenthal (14). Showing signs of returning to early season domination.
#14 Charlie Tilson (new). Hit extremely well in brief Appy League appearance but will still most likely start there in 2012.
#15 Tony Cruz (12). Still hitting over .300 in the bigs. Will he stay there in 2012?
#16 Maikel Cleto (17). Control issue rearing its ugly head as he struggled at AAA.
#17 Ryan Jackson (16). Has continued to play well. If he can show that his hitting in Springfield is not a fluke he could be the starting shortstop in 2013,
#18 Mark Hamilton (15). Not getting a September call-up has to hurt but I am still a believer in his hitting ability.
#19 John Gast (18). Needs to cut down on both walks and home runs but the potential is there.
#20 Boone Whiting (19). Struggled more later in the season but was still really good and consistent.
Prospects #21-#40 (not numerically ranked but in alphabetical order)
Bryan Anderson - .820 OPS in the second half still didn't earn him a call up.
Keith Butler - Worst month of the year and he was still really good. Is Springfield ready for him?
Adron Chambers (19) – Received the September call up even though he hasn't played that well the last few months.
Jermaine Curtis (new) - Has really flown under the radar this year, but a .900+ OPS in the second half is hard to hide.
Brandon Dickson - Was called back up to St. Louis. There he usually does pretty well.
Samuel Freeman (new - reentry). Followed up a terrible July with an outstanding August. Should be even better next year with more recovery time.
Greg Garcia - A real sleeper who cold make a steady climb up the ladder.
Kyle Hald (new) - Nearly 50% more strikeouts than walks and hits combined. Boone Whiting redux?
Hector Hernandez (new) - Really pitched well after he fully recovered from his injuries.
Joe Kelly - Was better the last two months. Hard to understand all the gopher balls with such a high ground ball rate.
Aaron Luna - Spent August on the injured list. See you next year.
Tommy Pham (20). Also out injured. This allowed him to be passed by others.
Tyler Rahmatulla (new) - Slight drop off in August but nothing to be concerned about. Hesitant to rank him because I still remember Isa Garcia.
Adam Reifer - Continues on injured reserve but potential keeps in the top 40.
Starlin Rodriguez - At least he walked a few times in August. People forget that he is relatively new to professional ball.
Jonathan Rodriguez - I love everything about his offense except that terrible K rate. A lot of criticisms of his defense from those that have seen him play.
Rainel Rosario - I've said this before but I really look forward to seeing his power on display in Springfield.
Cody Stanley - Tailed off in August but a lot of people like him so I'll go with the flow on this one.
Breyvic Valera (new) - Showed his stuff after promotion to Johnson City. It will be interesting to see how fast the Cards advance him. Turned 19 in August.
Justin Wright - An amazing season despite a few more walks in August than you'd like to see. Is he the LOOGY of the future?
Adam Ottavino - Still like his stuff but between iffy performance and apparent organizational dislike for him, there is no point in ranking him.
Audry Perez - Nothing terrible; just others have moved up.
Pete Kozma - Probably kept him on here too long. Do the Cards have the guts to remove such a high draft pick from the 40-man roster?
Michael Swinson - Just can't stay healthy long enough to get any rhythm.
Andrew Brown - I have been a big backer but he hasn't been very good lately.
Kevin Siegrist - Was just terrible in August. Between performance issues and health issues, he just didn't make the cut.
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. I have seen very few of these players in person.
Note 3) Stats are current through the end of August.
#lotsofsolidperformersleftoffthelist Kiekhefer, Maness, Ferrara, De la Cruz (Roberto), Avendano and Cutler come to mind first.
#shouldIlookcloseratgclanddominicantalent It appears the Cardinals are stockpiling some young talent and great athletes at the lower levels. The speed on the GCL team seems amazing.
#ireservetherighttochangemymind As we rank the top 50 over on the free message board, my voting may not agree with my last list here. This is art, not science!
#thanksforreading It has been fun doing these reports this year. I am pretty sure we'll be back next year though I'm not sure whether we'll do a regular monthly report or just some periodic updates during this off-season.
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