Jason Scott's Cardinals Prospect Report - 6/2

Our popular weekly feature with news and commentary about Cardinals minor leaguers from our Minor League Co-Editor Jason Scott. This week's report focuses on two new pitchers, two recent draft-and-follow signees, the Florida State League All-Star Team and more!

Earlier this week, the Springfield News-Leader reported that the Cardinals have moved Jason Motte from behind the plate to the mound.

Having shown a strong arm behind the plate since being drafted, Motte has been clocked at about 90 mph and also has a hard slider.

"He's picking it up real quick," pitching coordinator Mark Riggins told the paper.

A 19th round draft pick in the 2003 draft, Motte has always been known for his defense. Entering the season, he had hit just .188, but had an eye-popping 151 assists in 171 games played as a professional catcher. He has been named the best defensive catcher in the Florida State League by Baseball America in each of the past two seasons.

The 23-year-old began this season with high Class A Palm Beach where he hit .133 in 30 at bats. He also played in one game for Double-A Springfield. Motte was transferred to extended spring training from Palm Beach on May 8, to begin working on his pitching.

The Cardinals also moved 2005 draftee Brandon Garner to the mound.

Garner was drafted in the 18th round last June as a shortstop, but he did pitch in high school. He played in 35 games for Rookie-level Johnson City last season, hitting .181 in 94 at bats.

• The Cardinals signed two draft-and-follow players from the 2005 draft before Monday night's deadline: pitchers Armando Carrasco (36th round) and Blake King (44th round). Both are righthanded pitchers who have attended junior college since being drafted.

Carrasco, 20, was in his second season at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, CA. Serving as the team's closer, he posted a 3.42 ERA in 21 appearances, allowing 21 hits, striking out 19 and walking 14 in 23-2/3 innings-pitched this season.

King, 19, spent the season playing for Eastern Oklahoma State College after being drafted out of high school by the Cardinals last season. He led all junior college pitchers in strikeouts as a freshman this season with 123. Overall, he went 9-3 with a 1.05 earned-run average. He is also the great-nephew of former New York Yankees star Mickey Mantle. King's grandfather, Roy Mantle, was his brother.

Even though Mantle played for the Yankees, King has always been a fan of the Cardinals.

"It's great to sign with my favorite team," he told the Associated Press.

• Three Cardinals prospects playing for the high Class A Palm Beach Cardinals were named to the Florida State League's East All-Star team on Thursday: outfielder Terry Evans, pitcher Blake Hawksworth and closer Mike Sillman.

As a reward for winning the 2005 Florida State League Championship, Manager Pop Warner, pitching coach Derek Lilliquist, hitting coach Derrick May and trainer Allen Thompson will head up the East Division Team.

Evans, a 47th round draft pick of the Cardinals in 2001, is enjoying a breakout season. The 24-year-old was hitting .312/.363/.537 with 12 home runs and 37 RBI, entering Thursday, in a league that is generally considered pitcher-friendly.

Sillman, 24, has eight saves in 20 appearances, posting a 0.93 ERA, allowing 12 hits and striking out 22 while walking just two in 19-1/3 innings. He was a 21st round pick of the Cardinals in 2004.

Hawksworth improved to 5-2 on Thursday, pitching seven innings and allowing just one run on six hits while striking out two and walking only one. In 11 starts, he has a 2.23 ERA and has allowed 55 hits in 57-2/3 innings, striking out 41 and walking 15.

• The Cardinals have added a team to the Venezuelan Summer League (VSL) this season. A link to the team's roster, stats and website can be found on the left-hand column of our homepage or by clicking the following links: Roster | Stats | Website

The Cardinals Dominican Summer League (DSL) team will begin play on Saturday. The DSL website can be found here.

Contact: jasonscott@thecardinalnation.com

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