10. OF Nick Stavinoha
Nick is one of those players that you've heard a lot about and then you go watch him play for a few games and you wonder what is every one talking about? That is what happened to me last season as I watch Stavinoha play in Springfield. He hit .297 with 12 home runs and 73 RBI in 111 games for the Double-A team, normally you would take that from a young outfielder, but the previous season he had hit .344 with 14 home runs in just 65 games for Quad Cities.
Following the season, last year Stavinoha hit .218 in 21 Arizona Fall League games for the Peoria Saguaros and I began to have my doubts about him being a legitimate Top 10 Prospect.
Then came Spring Training, I got to see Stavinoha play everyday and he looked like he lost a few pounds, reporting to camp in better shape then he appeared to be in last year. I was expecting at some point to see the real Nick Savinoha play, but he hit only .208 with two home runs and eight RBI in 48 at-bats. The Cardinals promoted Nick to Triple-A Memphis to start the season, so they appear to have the confidence in him that I want have, because they appear to be rushing him in my opinion. Perhaps I should just stop watching him actually play. Stock remains steady as long as the Cardinals continue to promote him.
9. OF Jon Jay
Selected in the second round (74th overall) of the June, 2006 First-Year Player Draft. Jay hit .342/.416/.462 with three home runs and 45 RBI in 60 games for low Class A Quad Cities last season.
Named Cardinals Minor League Player of the Month in July after he batted .339 (37-109) with 18 runs, two home runs and 27 RBI in 27 games for the month, Jay can definitely hit and run with the ability to make things happen. Not a power hitter, but he'll have some occasional pop in his bat.
In spring training Jay hit .295 and was assigned to start the season at Palm Beach. The organization is very high on him and I don't think you are going to see his progress stall at any level. His stock will continue to rise at a steady even pace.
8. RP Chris Perez
Chris is going to be one of those few guys who is actually developed as a closer in the minors and makes it to the majors. Perez has a whipping wrist action that I've talked to Jeff Luhnow the Cardinals Vice President of Amateur Scouting and Baseball Development about and we both agree that unorthodox movement you would only use him in a relief role, so if anyone is thinking you might move him into the rotation so that he can gain experience faster, it isn't going to happen.
Last season Perez appeared in 25 games for low Class A Quad Cities. He posted 1.84 ERA and 12 saves, allowing 20 hits, striking out 32 and walking 19 in 29.1 innings. Opponents hit .198 against him. Perez was very impressive this spring striking out 11 batters in just six innings pitched and will start the season at Double-A Springfield, skipping High-A Palm Beach all together. His stock is on the rise.
7. SP Stuart Pomeranz
The first thing Pomeranz needs to do is to find a way to stay healthy. He'll start this season on the disabled list, after being placed on the DL in July missing six weeks last year with a left oblique strain, only to return to be shut down again almost immediately on August 18, with a tendonitis in his right shoulder.
Last season Pomeranz went 7-4 with a 4.39 ERA in 18 starts for Double-A Springfield. He allowed 107 hits, walked 30, struck out 64 and opponents hit a hefty .282 against him in 98.1 innings and I have to wonder how many of these batters he faced when he was experiencing problems with his oblique and shoulder.
If he continues to struggle with injuries this season, missing weeks of playing time, his stock is certainly to take a hit.
6. SP Chris Narveson
The word was that Narveson was competing for a starting job with St. Louis in spring training, I never really bought into that and I'm not sure Narveson did either.
Out of options, the Cardinals were able to get Narveson through waivers just before the end of spring training, which surprised a few people in Cardinal Nation. As a lefty, Narveson could become a valuable member in the Major League bullpen at some point this season.
Chris who it seems has always had to battle shoulder injuries, put up some decent numbers last season, with an 8-5 record and a 2.81 ERA in 15 starts for Triple-A Memphis.
He didn't have a very good spring training to say the least, in four games and 10.3 innings, Narveson had a bloated 6.40 ERA, that may have made it easier for him to past through waivers.
Narveson isn't the Blue Chip prospect he once was, but being a lefty doesn't hurt and he could see playing time in St. Louis at some point this season. His stock isn't has high as it once was, but I don't expect it to fall much farther either.