"I was wondering if you have ever looked back at previous years ‘Just Missed Lists' of you, the Community and writers such as Carioca to see who amongst yourselves may have been the first in previous years to rank players who became either helpful players, or trade bait for the Cards or who (identified) currently stud prospects, e.g. who first, if any of you, had Taveras close to but just outside the Combined Top 40?"
My interpretation of that includes at least two related questions.
The first is a look at those players who were among the top 46 players as named by each individual voter here at The Cardinal Nation, but missed our group top 40. (We individually rank 46 to ensure we end up with 40 names having received at least two of three possible votes.)
The second view is how rapidly we as voters in our annual ranking process recognized future Cardinals stars. In this case, I exclude by definition those prospects originally among the Cardinals' top draft picks.
I see both as most relevant and interesting questions. We will tackle the first one in this article.
Before proceeding, I want to make a statement. This is an effort to look for positives only. For every player about whom we may have been right, we probably missed the ball on any number more. This may seem unnecessary to mention, but I felt I needed to, anyway.
OK, here is the process I followed in part one. I took the individual top prospect votes from our process in six prior years – 2007 through 2012 – and highlighted names of selected future major leaguers based on who identified them first. Or, in the case of the most recent years, I identified a few top prospects called out early.
Here are the codes that correspond to the voters. I am the only constant over these years, denoted as "BW." In the left column is CariocaCardinal for 2012 – "CC" – preceded by Dustin Mattison, "DM," in 2008-11 and Jason Scott, "JS," in 2007. Ray Mileur, "RM," voted from 2007-09. The message board community, "Com," was incorporated into the site ranking process starting in 2009.
The numeric value is where that rater placed the player in their individual top prospect ranking that year. (The rankings are always completed prior to each season.)
|31||Jon. Rodriguez||32||Steven Hill||33||Sam Gaviglio|
|34||Greg Garcia||34||Anthony Ferrara||39||Hector Hernandez|
|35||Scott Gorgen||35||Deryk Hooker||43||Roberto DeLaCruz|
|39||Justin Wright||36||Tyler Lyons||44||Matt Williams|
|41||Kyle Hald||37||David Kopp||46||Aidan Lucas|
|45||Michael Swinson||41||Amauris Capellan|
|30||Kevin Thomas||39||Casey Mulligan||30||Scott Gorgen|
|34||Roberto DeLaCruz||42||Bryan Augenstein||39||Breyvic Valera|
|38||Alex Castellanos||43||Xavier Scruggs||41||Blake King|
|39||Javier Avendano||44||Frederick Parejo||43||Deimer Bier|
|40||Amauris Capellan||45||Scott Schneider||44||Donovan Solano|
|35||Yunier Castillo||27||Mike Parisi||24||Grabiel Hernandez|
|36||Blake King||31||Charlie Cutler||25||Deimer Bier|
|37||Ryde Rodriguez||33||Shane Robinson||35||Audry Perez|
|38||Deryk Hooker||39||Donovan Solano||37||Hector Garcia|
|40||Sam Freeman||40||David Kopp||38||Luis Mateo|
|33||Tommy Pham||32||Mark Diapoules||36||Tony Cruz|
|34||Brett Zawacki||38||Domnit Bolivar||39||Aaron Luna|
|36||Luis De La Cruz||39||Jarrett Hoffpauir|
|38||Tyler Henley||40||Amaury Marti|
|23||Brett Zawacki||37||Luke Gorsett||29||Daniel Descalso|
|29||Tyler Henley||39||Tony Cruz||37||Shaun Garceau|
|32||Brian Barden||39||Tony Cruz|
|40||Tommy Pham||40||Eddie Degerman|
|36||Adam Daniels||35||Travis Hanson||30||Travis Hanson|
|39||Travis Hanson||36||Reid Gorecki||34||Juan Lucena|
|40||Reid Gorecki||38||Josh Wilson|
Let's get into the detail of the highlighted names above.
2012: One year ago, CariocaCardinal had an early spotlight on Greg Garcia, ranking the infielder 34th. Garcia had logged an .819 OPS in 59 games at Palm Beach to close out the 2011 season.
As Tyler Lyons was coming off an Arizona Fall League showing - but over a year ahead of him scoring a major league spring training camp invitation - the message board community placed the lefty at number 36.
While neither has yet reached the majors, both seem on that trajectory.
2011: The bat of Alex Castellanos caught Dustin Mattison's eye. After a strong first half of 2011 with Springfield, the outfielder was flipped to the Dodgers in return for Rafael Furcal. Castellanos made his MLB debut last summer.
I placed second baseman Breyvic Valera in my top 40 a full year before he took the New York-Penn League by storm in 2012. Now Valera is a consensus top 20 prospect here.
At number 44 on my list two years ago was infielder Donovan Solano. While the Cardinals let him walk as a free agent following the season, the Colombian went on to make 316 plate appearances for the 2012 Miami Marlins while logging a .717 OPS. To be fair, the community had him at #39 the year prior, but had lost interest by 2011.
2010: Former Kansas lefty Sam Freeman was liked enough by Dustin Mattison to be placed at number 40. In 2012, Freeman leapt from Double-A to the majors.
Outfielder Shane Robinson had been in the system since 2006, but his glove always seemed to be ahead of his bat. The community placed him at #33 after he made his brief debut in St. Louis during 2009. Robinson spent most of 2012 in the majors.
2009: In our 2009 rankings, the community placed second baseman Jarrett Hoffpauir at number 40. Hoffpauir went on to have a brief MLB debut with the Cardinals that following season and again with Toronto in 2010.
I liked what I had seen in catcher Tony Cruz, converted from third base and showing a nice bat. While I had Cruz at number 36 prior to the 2009 season, I also had him at #39 even a year earlier, as did Ray Mileur.
2008: I will talk more about Daniel Descalso in part two of this report.
2007: Outfielder Reid Gorecki never reached the majors as a Cardinal, but did so with the 2009 Atlanta Braves. Both Ray (#36) and Jason Scott (#40) singled out Gorecki's potential before the 2007 season.
I will come back to this topic in further detail in part two of this report, looking at how rapidly we identified future major league stars.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at email@example.com. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.
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