Top prospects top heavy in Cardinals system

Season-opening rosters for the St. Louis Cardinals indicate most of the best prospects are opening 2012 at the highest levels of the system.

Monday brought the announcement of the minor league rosters to open the 2012 regular season for the St. Louis Cardinals' four full-season clubs. One can see the details in one place via the Roster Matrix at The Cardinal Nation Blog.


Alternatively, you can explore each team's roster right here at The Cardinal Nation. By clicking on player names, you can view bios, photos, videos, articles, news items, links to current season and career stats and much more – everything you need to know about a player in one place.


Full-season clubs

St. Louis Cardinals

Memphis Redbirds

Springfield Cardinals

Palm Beach Cardinals

Quad Cities River Bandits


With the initial 2012 rosters set, here are the assignments of the Cardinals top 40 prospects as ranked here at The Cardinal Nation during the off-season. The far right columns indicate a re-sort of the same data, by level of play.


(Note the top 40 has 41 players, as outfielder Erik Komatsu was inserted onto the list after the Rule 5 draftee moved into the system in December.)


Rk 2012 TCN Top 40 open Rk 2012 TCN Top 40 open
1 Shelby Miller Mem 6 Lance Lynn StL
2 Carlos Martinez PB 11 Matt Carpenter StL
3 Oscar Taveras Spr 16 Tony Cruz StL
4 Kolten Wong Spr 28a Erik Komatsu StL
5 Zack Cox Mem
6 Lance Lynn StL 1 Shelby Miller Mem
7 Eduardo Sanchez Mem 5 Zack Cox Mem
8 Tyrell Jenkins QC 7 Eduardo Sanchez Mem
9 Matt Adams Mem 9 Matt Adams Mem
10 Jordan Swagerty Spr (DL) 13 Ryan Jackson Mem
11 Matt Carpenter StL 14 Maikel Cleto Mem
12 Trevor Rosenthal Spr 17 Adron Chambers Mem
13 Ryan Jackson Mem 18 Joe Kelly Mem
14 Maikel Cleto Mem 19 Adam Reifer Mem
15 Charlie Tilson EST 20 Mark Hamilton Mem (DL)
16 Tony Cruz StL 25 Bryan Anderson Mem
17 Adron Chambers Mem 31 Jermaine Curtis Mem
18 Joe Kelly Mem 32 Brandon Dickson Mem
19 Adam Reifer Mem 35 Pete Kozma Mem
20 Mark Hamilton Mem (DL) 40 Chuckie Fick Mem
21 John Gast Spr
22 Anthony Garcia QC 3 Oscar Taveras Spr
23 Tommy Pham Spr 4 Kolten Wong Spr
24 Aaron Luna Spr (DL) 10 Jordan Swagerty Spr (DL)
25 Bryan Anderson Mem 12 Trevor Rosenthal Spr
26 Cody Stanley EST (SL) 21 John Gast Spr
27 Starlin Rodriguez PB 23 Tommy Pham Spr
28 Boone Whiting QC (DL) 24 Aaron Luna Spr (DL)
28a Erik Komatsu StL 30 Rainel Rosario Spr
29 Adam Ottavino DFA 34 Sam Freeman Spr
30 Rainel Rosario Spr 38 Keith Butler Spr
31 Jermaine Curtis Mem
32 Brandon Dickson Mem 2 Carlos Martinez PB
33 Seth Blair PB 27 Starlin Rodriguez PB
34 Sam Freeman Spr 33 Seth Blair PB
35 Pete Kozma Mem
36 C.J. McElroy EST 8 Tyrell Jenkins QC
37 Tyler Rahmatulla QC 22 Anthony Garcia QC
38 Keith Butler Spr 28 Boone Whiting QC (DL)
39 Breyvic Valera EST 37 Tyler Rahmatulla QC
40 Chuckie Fick Mem
15 Charlie Tilson EST
26 Cody Stanley EST (SL)
36 C.J. McElroy EST
39 Breyvic Valera EST
29 Adam Ottavino DFA

Following is the data summarized, split out by level for both the top 20 and top 40.


Not surprisingly, the best prospects in the system are closest to the majors. In fact, four are already there. Memphis alone features half of the top 20. Springfield has one fourth of the top 40.


An obvious weak area is at Class-A.


The A-Advanced Palm Beach club has just three prospects in the top 40 to begin the season and only one in the top 26. While he is a good one, Carlos Martinez, he may not stay long after finishing 2011 at that level. Part of the dearth at Palm Beach is due to aggressive promotions of Trevor Rosenthal, Kolten Wong and Oscar Taveras over that level entirely.


On the other hand, Quad Cities is hardly any better off than Palm Beach, sporting just one player in the top 21 and four overall.


Five of the top 40 open the season on the shelf. Four are out due to injury with a fifth player unavailable due to suspension. 


Level Top 20 Top 40
St. Louis 3 4
Memphis 10 15
Springfield 4 10
Palm Beach 1 3
Quad Cities 1 4
Extended  1 4
DFA 0 1
Total 20 41

Brian Walton can be reached via email at Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Look for his minor league features during the season at Follow Brian on Twitter.


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