TCN 2013 Cardinals Prospect #36: Colin Walsh

The utilityman capped off a big year in the Midwest League by a successful Arizona Fall League stint.

The Cardinal Nation/ Player Profile
(including links to full 2012 and career stats)

School: Stanford University

2012 rank Pos. DOB Ht. Wt. Bat Thw Signed Round
NR OF/2B 9/26/1989 6-1 202 B R 2010 13th

Selected 2012 stats

CAR 0.125 0.143 8 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 0 0.119 0.125 0.125 0.250
QC 0.314 0.343 353 69 111 18 16 68 60 65 4 0.423 0.419 0.530 0.949
Tot 0.310   361 70 112 18 16 69 60 66 4   0.413 0.521 0.934
AFL 0.281 0.405 57 11 16 6 1 14 13 20 0 0.397 0.408 0.439 0.847

Staff comments (individual rankings in parentheses)

CariocaCardinal (31): Walsh led the Midwest league in OPS in 2012 and he did so by a wide margin. Despite that, he gets little prospect love. I see two basic reasons for that. 1) It was his third year he had appeared in the Midwest League and 2) he seems to be a player without a defensive position.

Reason one doesn't bother me in the least. At 22, he still wasn't particularly old for the league. I don't mind players repeating leagues as long as they show improvement (which he has each year). Those combined with the fact that he more than held his own in the AFL against players who were generally older and more experienced showed me that his offense is for real. His lack of position is a little concerning but given that fact that he was on the PAC 10 all defensive team his last year in college leads me to believe he has some defense in him somewhere!

Walsh could start next year at high-A Palm Beach or just as easily at Double-A Springfield (since he had two full years of low A and experience in the AFL.) I think it will most likely depend on where they try to fit him defensively and where other players at that position are slated.

Message board community (43): Walsh, aka The Man Without A Position, enjoyed a huge breakout season for Quad Cities this year, with an OPS of .949, and a superb 60/65 walk/strikeout ratio.

Oddly, despite that outstanding performance with the lumber, the organization neither promoted him in-season, nor settled Colin into a particular defensive assignment -- that he might better excel there. But then, perhaps the 23-year-old is being groomed for an MLB utilityman role in the long run.

In any case, if the former Stanford second-sacker can maintain a healthy chunk of his 2012 gains in the power department, then (given his gaudy walk rates) there should certainly be some slot for him in the Show by 2015 or '16. - BobReed

Brian Walton (38): With a decent performance against more advanced pitching in the Arizona Fall League - albeit in only 57 at-bats - Walsh earned his way onto my personal top 40. Prior to then, he was below the line, despite his solid 2012 in the Midwest League.

Unlike Carioca, I am bothered by any player remaining at the same level for three seasons. While it was not of Walsh's direct doing, and opportunity has to present itself, it seemed clear the Cardinals organization did not feel he was ready for more advanced competition. It is easier to understand when recalling that he batted just .214, then .239 at Quad Cities in 2010 and 2011, respectively. Some good fortune may have come into play this season when considering his BABIPs of .343 in the MWL and especially .405 in the AFL.

Yes, Walsh has shown improvement along the way, but isn't that expected? The reality is that he will report to 2013 spring training at the age of 23 having never played one game of regular season ball beyond low-A. In other words, the majors remain four challenging levels above.

Walsh can still make up for lost time, but the window is not too large, in my view. His switch-hitting bat seems ready to move ahead, though he spent far too many games in 2012 as the designated hitter for my liking - well over one-third of his starts – 36 of 97 games. Positionally, he may be a moderate-power corner outfielder rather than a good-hitting second baseman, further increasing the challenge.

Our 2013 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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