Jason Scott's Cardinals Prospect Report

Five minor leaguers who may be trade bait plus news and notes from around the Cardinals minor league system.

I almost thought I was down in Memphis when I attended the Cardinals game at Busch Stadium on Saturday. With four members of the Cardinals opening day lineup currently on the disabled list and ten players on the 25-man roster that have spent time in Memphis the past two seasons, the Cardinals might look to make a move with the non-waiver trade deadline nearing.

With the Cardinals dealing Daric Barton during the offseason, they are unlikely to deal any of their premier prospects, but they might decide to trade some top talent that hasn't quite lived up to expectations. The Larry Walker trade last season when the Cardinals sent Chris Narveson to Colorado is a good example, except that the Cardinals will probably want someone younger this time.

Following are five prospects that could potentially be dealt by the deadline.

Reid Gorecki: The 24-year-old outfielder was supposed to be the face of the Cardinals' new Double-A franchise in Springfield, Mo. this season. Instead, he hit only .182 over the first two months of the season and was sent down to high Class A Palm Beach, where his struggles would only continue. He hit .191 in his first 69 at-bats before being placed on the disabled list with a stress fracture in his left foot.

Since coming off the disabled list, however, Gorecki has been on fire, batting .467/.541/.700 with four doubles, a home run and seven RBIs in 30 at-bats. He has also scored seven runs and walked five times. His overall numbers for Palm Beach have risen to .273/.371/.475 in 99 at-bats.

Baseball America rated Gorecki as the No. 11 prospect in the Cardinal's organization prior to the season and called him a "legitimate major league center fielder with speed and instincts as well as a good arm."

Travis Hanson:The best defensive infielder in the Cardinal's system, Hanson missed most of last season after breaking his ankle in June, but has been very good in his first season of Double-A ball, batting .272/.337/.443 with 14 home runs and 66 RBIs in 397 at-bats.

The 24-year-old, who is currently playing third base, would be blocked in St. Louis by Scott Rolen. He was moved to second base last season, but because of the injury they moved him back to third base this season.

Carmen Cali: Cali has been very inconsistent this season for Triple-A Memphis, compiling a 5.63 ERA and allowing 47 hits in 38-1/3 innings. He has also spent a little bit of time with St. Louis this season, allowing eight runs on 10 hits in only six innings.

Cali can get his fastball up to the mid-90s, but Memphis pitching coach Dyar Miller recently said that he thinks lefthander Tyler Johnson is better. Johnson has allowed just one run in his last nine appearances and the Cardinals will likely protect him from the Rule-5 Draft this winter, unlike last year, by adding him to the 40-man roster if he is not called up before then.

John Gall: A two-time Cardinals Minor League Player of the Year award winner, Gall finally got his chance in the big leagues when he was called up on Tuesday. He hit .270/.338/.436 with 10 home runs and 47 RBIs in 282 at-bats for Memphis this season.

The 27-year-old might not be much of a prospect anymore, but he has always hit. Coming into the season, Gall was a career .301 hitter in five minor league seasons. The question has always just been his defense.

Shaun Boyd: A first round draft pick in 2000 who received a $1.75 million signing bonus, Boyd has yet to really live up to expectations. Having finally made it to Double-A, Boyd is hitting .278/.337/.335 in 349 at-bats while scoring 47 runs.

Boyd still has all the tools that got him drafted and he is only 23, so he could possibly draw some interest from other teams.

News and Notes
• Springfield Cardinals catcher Gabe Johnson was activated from the disabled list on Friday. He has five hits in 16 at-bats since returning.

Johnson broke his left knee cap in Wichita back on April 17. He had been working out at the Spring Training Complex in Jupiter for the last several weeks. The Cardinals will likely have him DH and play the corner infield positions for the rest of the season rather than catching. He is currently batting .333 with a .451 OBP in 42 at-bats this season.

Chris Lambert picked up his second Double-A win on Monday night, allowing only one run on seven hits, walking two and striking out five in six innings.

Lambert has a 4.35 ERA in 10 starts since being promoted from Palm Beach on June 1. He has struck out 50 and walked 29 in 51-2/3 innings.

Mark Michael made his first start since May 25 on Monday night for high Class A Palm Beach. He allowed one run on one hit, striking out four and walking three.

Michael, 22, missed nearly two months with shoulder tendonitis. He made his first appearance since coming off the disabled list last Wednesday night in a relief appearance, striking out one in a perfect inning and topping out at 95 mph with his fastball. In 46 innings this season Michael is 2-3 with a 4.11 ERA. He has walked 26 and struck out 37.

• Lefthanded starter Eric Haberer pitched a 7-inning complete game to earn his eleventh win of the season in the second game of a double-header for high Class A Palm Beach on Monday night. He allowed only two runs on six hits, walking two and striking out five.

In 20 starts for Palm Beach and low Class A Quad Cities combined, Haberer is 11-5 with a 2.44 ERA. He has struck out 73 and walked 41 in 125-1/3 innings. The 22-year-old was drafted by the Cardinals last season in the third round out of Southern Illinois University.

Mark McCormick picked up his first professional win on Wednesday night, carrying a shutout into the seventh and final inning of the first game of a double-header for the Swing of Quad Cities. On a pitch count of 90, he allowed two runs on five hits, striking out eight and walking only one in 6-1/3 innings. His GB-FB ratio was 10-0.

The 21-year-old righthander was promoted after just two starts for New Jersey, in which he allowed only one hit, walked three and struck out 10 in six innings. He pitched 5-2/3 shutout innings in his Quad Cities debut.

McCormick was selected in the supplemental first round of this year's draft as compensation for the Boston Red Sox signing of Edgar Renteria.

• Righthander Kyle McClellan had Tommy John surgery performed by Cardinals' team doctor George Paletta on July 22.

The 21-year-old Florissant, Mo. native had bounced between the starting rotation and the bullpen for low class A Quad Cities, posting 1-4 record with a 4.83 ERA in 54 innings. He struck out 36 and walked 26. McClellan was placed on the disabled list on July 2.

• Lefthander Jackson Paz has a partial labrum tear and is likely out for the season.

The 23-year-old has spent most of the season on the disabled list with shoulder problems. He is 1-0 with a 2.45 ERA in 7-1/3 innings, striking out 12 and walking three.

Paz was selected by the Cardinals from the Minnesota Twins in the Double-A phase of 2004 Rule-5 Draft.

• Swing of Quad Cities outfielder Simon Williams has a left hamstring strain and is likely out until at least August 2.

Williams, 23, has split the season between Palm Beach and Quad Cities, batting .279/.404/.442 in 172 at-bats for the Swing and .261 in 69 at bats for Palm Beach while Reid Gorecki was on the disabled list.

• According to a report in the Monroe Enquirer-Journal, New Jersey Cardinals closer Matt Trent underwent Tommy John surgery early in the 2004 season.

Trent, 22, recently missed nearly a week due to elbow tendonitis. In 12 appearances, he has a 0.84 ERA, striking out 11 and walking five in 10-2/3 innings, and is tied for the league lead with seven saves. He was the Cardinals' 30th round draft pick this season out of Wingate College.

• First baseman A.J Van Slyke was hit by a pitch that dislocated his shoulder on Sunday.

"I knew he was trying to hit me because the first pitch went by my face and the second one went by my head," Van Slyke told the New Jersey Herald. "In a situation like that, your emotions just get the best of you."

Van Slyke said he is awaiting an MRI on his shoulder and could travel to St. Louis to see the organization's doctors. He will also probably face a suspension once the New York Penn-League reviews the incident, which resulted in ejections to Van Slyke and three Vermont players. According to the Herald, the injury could sideline him for 2-4 weeks. There are only six weeks left in the season.

"I wish I didn't get injured," Van Slyke said. "I felt like you have to defend yourself."

The son of former Cardinal Andy Van Slyke, A.J. is batting .343/.410/.571 with two home runs and five RBIs in 35 at-bats since being promoted from Johnson City.

• Righthander Blake Hawksworth left Tuesday night's game because of shoulder discomfort. He signaled to the dugout in the third inning that his shoulder was hurting and went to the clubhouse with the trainer.

"He felt a little pain in his shoulder and it's just a situation where he has to come out," New Jersey Cardinals manager Mark DeJohn told the New Jersey Herald.

The 22-year-old, who is rehabbing a torn labrum in his shoulder that required surgery last year, had trouble finding the plate in his fifth start of the season. He allowed eight runs — four earned — on six hits in 2-1/3 innings. The righthander hit two batters, walked one and threw a wild pitch.

After being named as the top prospect in the organization by Baseball America, Hawksworth started only two games for high Class A Palm Beach last season before going on the disabled list in April. He eventually had surgery on July 3 to repair a partially torn labrum and remove loose cartilage. In five starts for short-season New Jersey he is 0-2 with a 6.57 ERA. He has walked eight and struck out 10 in 12-1/2 innings.

Jason Scott can be reached via email at jasonscott@thecardinalnation.com.


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