Following are my views of some of our most notable individual picks and pans from our 2013 rankings, completed last January.
Best 2013 pick – Message board community – Tim Cooney - #33
OK, number 33 may not seem all that impressive the year before the left-hander jumper to number 12 in the entire system. The reality is that the community was the highest on the man who we had named Batavia Starter of the Year in 2012 here at TCN. Cooney, former Wake Forest star, went on to make an even bigger impression in 2013 all the way up at Double-A Springfield.
Best 2013 pick – Brian Walton – Sam Freeman - #15
There was a lot of left-handed relief competition last off-season, but they all appeared to be blocked by the two veterans in St. Louis, Marc Rzepczynski and Randy Choate. When Scabble scattered, Kevin Siegrist slipped past Freeman. Yet when Sam was called upon, he showed he belonged. His current number 17 ranking for 2014 confirms my feeling last year.
Best 2013 pick – CariocaCardinal – James Ramsey - #10
The Cardinals first-rounder from 2012 had been placed aggressively at Palm Beach after signing but delivered an uneven performance. Carioca still penned the former Florida State star into his top 10. Ramsey's 2014 overall ranking at eight indicates Carioca was on the right track.
Both the community and I had the Memphis outfielder at 25 and above. Chambers just couldn't show enough in his limited major league auditions and moved on to Houston following the 2013 season. All things considered, it was still a pretty good return for a 38th-round draft pick.
Top 2013 pan – Walton – Ryan Jackson - #21
The shortstop has already moved to his second organization, San Diego, since leaving St. Louis via waivers following the 2013 post-season. Even a year ago, I could sense Jackson's future with the Cardinals was cloudier than the others thought it would be. In hindsight, it is too bad for the development of others that the organization did not get on with it sooner.
Top 2013 pan – CariocaCardinal – Jordan Swagerty – #20
A top 20 placement isn't exactly a pan, yet the rest of us had the right-hander on the cusp of the top 10. Carioca was less sure we would see the Swagerty of old after his 2012 Tommy John surgery and was right – at least for one year. Overall, Swagerty skidded from number 11 last year to number 29 this time out.
No one's predictions will ever be anywhere near 100 percent accurate. Here are some of our highest-profile misses from last year's rankings.
Voters dig the fastball and De Leon fits that bill. However, his secondary offerings have not developed. A move to the bullpen and injuries dramatically slowed De Leon's growth as he dropped out of the 2014 rankings. There is still time to reverse course, however. Dishonorable mentions: Starlin Rodriguez at number 13, Breyvic Valera at number 16.
Most overrated 2013 pick – Walton – Seth Blair - #16
Coming off an unusual finger injury, Blair looked like he perhaps had turned the corner in the 2012 Arizona Fall League. That breakthrough season did not occur in 2013. Though there was some progress shown at Springfield, Blair is nowhere near top 20-good a year later.
Most overrated 2013 pick – CariocaCardinal – Anthony Garcia - #9
Both Carioca and the community had ranked the outfielder ninth last season, powering him into that spot in the overall ranking at well. (I was slightly more conservative at number 12.) Garcia had a lost 2013 season at Palm Beach, to the point he completely fell off our 2014 list, but could mount a comeback.
Last year at this time, neither the community nor Carioca was particularly favorable about the left-hander, keeping him in their respective second 20s. I had liked what I had seen from Siegrist in the Arizona Fall League just before finalizing my rankings and placed him at number 18. In hindsight, even that was not aggressive enough. Dishonorable mention: Mike O'Neill at number 41.
Worst 2013 miss – Walton – Seth Maness – #20
Coming off the 2012 Minor League Pitcher of the Year recognition from the Cardinals system, Seth Maness was not exactly a low-profile prospect. Then he quickly became a very strong contributor at the major league level in 2013. The other two voters had the right-hander at number 12 and 14, respectively. I was far less optimistic and it has been proven that I was wrong.
Worst 2013 miss – CariocaCardinal – Pete Kozma – #NR
One year ago, Carioca was a conscientious objector regarding the then-prospect shortstop, holding him out of his rankings entirely. Obviously, Kozma has been replaced for 2014 and beyond, but we cannot ignore his 2013. Kozma not only made the major league team, he played in 143 regular season games and 14 more in the playoffs.
To reference our entire list of top 40 Cardinals prospects for 2014 and read about each individual player, click here. You can learn about each of the voters' philosophies in making their selections and much more.
Next up: The final installments of this series will look at our 2014 top 40 prospect list by level of play and position, comparing it to past years, followed by a look at the top 40 players from 2013 that left the list for 2014.
Our 2013 top 40 series 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.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.
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