2008 Cardinals Prospect #22 – Jason Motte

Will Motte's interesting story of converting from catching to pitching be overshadowed once and for all by his results on the mound as he moves up in the system? His 2007 season looks to have been a big step in the right direction.

Scout.com Player Profile (including links to 2007 and career stats)

2007 Ranking: not ranked

Position: RP

DOB: 6/22/1982

Height: 6-foot-0

Weight: 200

Bats: R

Throws: R

School: Iona

Became a Cardinal: Selected in the 19th round (575th overall) of the June 2003 First-Year Player Draft.

2007 stats

Tm

W

L

ERA

G

GS

SV

IP

H

R

HR

BB

SO

GO/AO

AVG

PB

1

0

0.90

9

0

3

10

7

2

0

1

6

1.78

0.184

SPR

3

3

2.20

44

0

8

49

36

13

3

22

63

1.18

0.208

Tot

4

3

1.98

53

0

11

59

43

15

3

23

69

1.29

0.204

Staff Comments (individual rankings in parens)

Leonda Markee (16): Motte was superb in his first full season of professional pitching. Most know the story of how the best defensive catcher in the Cardinals' system was converted to pitching. Cardinals' coaches noticed that as a catcher he threw the ball back to the pitchers harder than they were throwing it to him. When his bat simply did not come around sufficiently for him to make it as a catcher, he was converted to pitching.

Motte is still a very green pitcher so is on the beginner's end of the development scale. By his own admission there were times during 2007 that he had only one pitch, the batters knew what was coming and they still could not hit him. He has an attribute that you cannot teach, a heavy fastball in the 97-98 MPH range, with an improving slider. Better yet, he can locate it. As one of the (few) power arms in the Cardinals' system, you may well see Motte in the St. Louis bullpen at some point in 2008.

Dustin Mattison (20): Only having been a pitcher for a little over a year, Motte went out and established himself as one of the best bullpen arms in the system. With a mid-nineties fastball, Motte got a brief initiation at Palm Beach before being promoted to Double-A. At Springfield, he recorded 63 strikeouts in 49 innings with a .208 batting average against.

Motte then was invited to the Arizona Fall League and he proved he belonged with the other elite prospects. The former catcher posted two wins, a save, and an ERA of three and was rewarded with a spot on the 40-man roster. The 24-year-old will probably begin the year in Memphis and with a strong start, he could see his way to St. Louis some time during 2008.

Ray Mileur (22): Motte pronounced "MOT", split playing time between the Palm Beach and the Springfield Cardinals, appearing in 44 of his 53 games with the Double-A Cardinals. The catcher-turned-pitcher posted impressive numbers in 2007, finishing the season with a combined 4-3 record with a 1.98 ERA. Selected to participate in the Arizona Fall League, Motte went 2-0 with one save, in 11 games.

Prior to 2007, Motte had only pitched in 30 games, so he's come a long way in a short time. The Cardinals recently added him to their 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 draft. My take on watching Motte is he's got former St. Louis Cardinals' catcher, Mike Matheny's brains to go along with Hall of Famer, Bob Gibson's fire, drive and tenacity. Motte's stock is rising.

Brian Walton (31): Chalk me up as not being ready to commit. After having seen Motte pitch and talking with him, I can't help but observe that the hyperbole offered above seems a bit excessive. So far, he has one good pitch and could make it to the show as a middle reliever, but I don't see a lot more at the end of his career runway.

Obviously the Cardinals are pleased enough with what they have seen to have given Motte a 40-man roster spot. On the other hand, here are some Cardinals relievers to have gotten this far in the last five or six years, having been showered with similar praise, only to flame out and disappear from the 40-man: Dennis Dove, Carmen Cali, Matt Duff, Evan Rust, Kevin Joseph and Jim Journell. I will wait to see more from Motte at higher levels of competition before organizing a parade on his behalf.

Key: NR = not ranked, NA = not applicable

To see our entire list of 40 prospects as they are unveiled daily, click here. You can also read each of the voters' philosophies in making their selections.

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