TCN 2012 Cardinals Prospect #26: Cody Stanley

Will the catcher make the next step up in 2012 to become a true Major League prospect?

The Cardinal Nation/ Player Profile
(including links to full 2011 and career stats)

2011 rank Pos. DOB Ht. Wt. Bat Thw Signed Round
26 C 12/21/1988 5-10 190 L R 2010 4th

School: UNC-Wilmington

Selected 2011 stats

QC 0.264 379 54 100 24 2 11 66 27 92 4 0.317 0.425 0.742

Staff comments (individual rankings in parentheses)

CariocaCardinal (30): Cody Stanley comes in as #26, the same as last year. The Cards have advanced Stanley, their fourth round pick in 2010, at a relatively slow pace, having him pass a full year in rookie ball and another in low-A.

The ranking of Stanley equal to last year is curious given a drop off offensively by Stanley as he moved up combined with what is perceived as a much stronger Cardinals system than last year. The only seemingly positive offensive statistic for Stanley in 2011 was a slight increase in his line drive rate. On the down side, his strikeout rate increased and his walk rate decreased. Despite his weak season, Stanley still profiles as a slightly above-average defensive catcher with the potential to be slightly above-average offensively as well.

Stanley should start 2012 in high A Palm Beach. His movement from there will depend on a combination of his performance, the performance of the catchers ahead of him in the system, and possibly the Cards' perception of whether Yadier Molina will re-sign with the team. (Stanley would not profile to directly replace Molina but his possible absence could motivate the Cards to move Stanley faster). I would also look for Stanley to receive a spring training invite as the team usually brings in extra catchers to handle the early work load of the pitching staff. I would see the lack of an invite as a telling sign that the Cards aren't optimistic about Stanley's progress to date.

Message board community (31): Stanley dropped from number 28 to 31 on this year's community list, following a so-so showing in his first attempt at the full-season minors. For Quad Cities in 2011, Stanley batted .264/.317/.425; nice pop for a catcher, but overall a bit of a letdown after the .878 OPS for Johnson City in his professional debut the year before. More concerning, perhaps, was the decline in Cody's plate discipline, as his walk-to-whiff ratio slid from a robust 21/30 in 2010 to a marginal 27/92 in the Midwest League.

Stanley's throwing has been a strength since he was drafted (4th round out of UNC-Wilmington, 139th overall). In rookie ball, he shot down a terrific 57% of base stealers, then for Quad Cities he put away a still-solid 39% (though the errors and passed balls were admittedly a bit on the generous side, with ten and nine, respectively.

All in all, the soon-to-be 23-year-old needs to show better with the lumber than he did this year, in order to project as anything more than an MLB backup; but with his presentable work behind the dish, he looks to have a better than usual opportunity to at least assume that role someday. - BobReed

Brian Walton (19): This may be the first time so far in our countdown that I have been considerably more aggressive in my ranking of a player compared to the others. Further, as I moved Stanley up 10 spots on my personal list from a year ago, it becomes the first individual top 20 vote to be cast by any of us.

Perhaps I am leaning into the wind a bit in a system that has no clear heir-apparent to Molina, but I think my placement has merit. Unlike some, I am ok with Stanley's offense and look for him to maintain that level of play while continuing to polish his defensive skills. Those to whom I speak about Stanley see that as being reasonably attainable.

2011 was a big test for Stanley as it was his first full-season as a professional. If fatigue set in during the second half, it would be understandable. He answered the bell for 101 regular-season games, making well over 400 plate appearances while dealing with the daily rigors of catching.

The in-season dip in Stanley's results defensively and perhaps offensively could be at least partially related to a case of rotator cuff tendinitis that put him on the disabled list briefly as June moved into July. To his credit, he bounced back nicely with the bat, following his worst month (.535 OPS in June) with his best (1.024 in July). A major downturn again in August could be supported by the fatigue theory.

With only disappointing Robert Stock and inconsistent Luis De La Cruz just ahead at Palm Beach, Stanley should be well-positioned to become the priority catcher in the Florida State League in 2012. As the tired line goes, where that takes him will be up to him.

Our 2012 top 40 countdown continues: To see the list of top Cardinals prospects announced to date and remaining article schedule, click here. You can also read each of the voters' philosophies in making their selections.

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