Deric McKamey on Cardinals Prospects: 2008

One of baseball's preeminent minor league experts returns to The Birdhouse to share his views of the improving Cardinals prospect pipeline.

Deric McKamey has been BaseballHQ's Director of Minor League Analysis for ten years now and a baseball analyst for twenty. A long-time disciple of Bill James and formally trained by MLB's Scout School, McKamey is uniquely skilled to integrate sabermetrics and scouting. His prospect evaluation skills and many contacts have served him well in all aspects of his job, including advising the St. Louis Cardinals.

When Jeff Luhnow joined the Cardinals organization four years ago, he hired several outsiders who had solid statistical foundations and stellar reputations in the game to consult with the team. The most prominent organization to initially come on board was BaseballHQ, led by Ron Shandler.

Once again this year, McKamey and BaseballHQ have published their Organizational Ratings for all 30 major league teams, ranking each organization's top 15 prospects, with details why, as well as a scoring of the organization in the areas of hitting, pitching, top-end talent and overall.

This comprehensive information is available to HQ subscribers and is more in-depth and more valuable than that put out by several more well-known sources of minor league information.

In addition, McKamey takes his work much further in print form. Now orderable for shipment in January is year three of the "Minor League Baseball Analyst", in which McKamey profiles 1000 prospects from across the game with in-depth scouting reports and stats that include batter skills ratings, runner speed, pitch repertoires, Major League equivalents, ultimate potential and much more.

It has become almost as eagerly-awaited each hot stove season as Shandler's famous "Baseball Forecaster" has been for over 20 years running. If readers order the Minor League Baseball Analyst from HQ directly, online updates will be included in March.

Through the generosity of McKamey and BaseballHQ, following is a subset of their findings, which covers their top 15 Cardinals prospects, along with the Cardinals' organizational rankings in comparison to their National League Central Division competitors. 2006 and 2007 club rankings are also listed for comparison purposes.

Notes: As a follow-on to this article, exclusively for Scout.com subscribers, McKamey will respond to your questions about these Cardinals prospects and more. To participate, head over to our premium message board, locate the special thread and enter your questions for Deric. We'll collect them all and publish his answers in a subsequent feature.

Last but not least, please respect the rights of the author and the associated copyrights by not cutting and pasting this information elsewhere. You are receiving an exclusive preview one month prior to the release of the book through the courtesy of McKamey and BaseballHQ. Don't blow it for everyone next time.

BaseballHQ's Organizational Rankings – St. Louis Cardinals
By Deric McKamey

Top St. Louis Cardinals Prospects

1. Colby Rasmus OF…..L/L…..21…..2005 (1-C) high school (AL)

Team (LG) AB AVG OBP SLG HR SB Eye
Springfield (TL) 472 275 381 551 29 18 0.65
MLE 472 239 323 456 22 15 0.67

Strengths: Athleticism/speed (4.05). Plus bat speed/power/BA ability. Plate discipline. Arm strength. Range
Weaknesses: None
Comments: Smooth swinging outfielder with bat speed and plate discipline. Led TL in HR and runs scored, and with his speed, is capable of hitting anywhere in the lineup. Arm strength and range are outstanding in CF and has been able to meet every aggressive challenge the organization has thrown at him.
2008 MLB Role: Starting CF
Potential Rating: 9B

2. Jaime Garcia LHP…..21…..2005 (22) high school (TX)

Team (LG) W-L ERA IP CMD K/9 oppBA
Springfield (TL) 5-9 3.75 103.1 2.2 8.5 245
MLE 5-9 4.19 103.1 2 7.4 255

Strengths: Plus 74-78 MPH curveball and 87-92 MPH two-seam fastball. Plus command. Keeping ball down
Weaknesses: Deception of 79-81 MPH change-up. Stamina
Comments: Athletic pitcher with easy velocity, plus curveball, and outstanding command. Pitches efficiently and is adept at getting strikeout and keeping ball low. Light-frame attenuates stamina issues as he was shut-down in July after experiencing a strained elbow ligament.
MLB Debut: 2009
Potential Rating: 8B

3. Bryan Anderson C…..L/R…..21…..2005 (4) high school (CA)

Team (LG) AB AVG OBP SLG HR SB Eye
Springfield (TL) 389 298 350 388 6 0 0.42
MLE 389 275 325 356 5 0 0.48

Strengths: Moderate bat speed/BA ability. Plate discipline. Average arm strength
Weaknesses: Hitting for power. Receiving skills. Speed/agility
Comments: Solid hitter with moderate bat speed that produces doubles power and BA. Strike zone judgment declined slightly, but made a two-classification jump. Defense still lags offense, as he possesses arm strength and a quick release (1.95), but lacks receiving skills and agility.
MLB Debut: 2009
Potential Rating: 8B

4. Chris Perez RHP…..23…..2006 (1-S) Miami-FL

Team (LG) SV ERA IP CMD K/9 oppBA
Springfield (TL) 27 2.43 40.2 2.3 13.7 126
Memphis (PCL) 8 4.5 14 1.1 9.6 143
MLE 35 3.32 54.2 1.7 11.3 136

Strengths: 90-95 MPH fastball, 82-86 MPH slider, and 75-78 MPH curveball. Arm strength. Tall/strong frame
Weaknesses: Command
Comments: Dominating closer with high-octane velocity and two breaking pitches at his disposal, of which his slider is his strikeout pitch. Command improved slightly, but operates by being effectively wild. Keeps ball down, misses bats, has a durable arm, and loves to pitch in pressure situations.
2008 MLB Role: Short reliever
Potential Rating: 8C

5. Pete Kozma SS…..R/R…..19…..2007 (1) high school (OK)

Team (LG) AB AVG OBP SLG HR SB Eye
GCL Cardinals 13 154 267 154 0 0 1
Johnson City (APPY) 106 264 350 396 2 3 0.57
Batavia (NY-P) 27 148 179 222 0 1 0.14

Strengths: Athleticism/speed (4.1). Moderate bat speed/BA ability. Plate discipline. Arm strength. Soft hands. Range
Weaknesses: Hitting for power
Comments: Athletic SS with above average defense, possessing a strong infield arm and range in all directions. Contact hitter with enough bat speed to project moderate power and is patient enough to draw walks. Instincts and aggressiveness allow his tools to play up and does what it takes to win.
MLB Debut: 2011
Potential Rating: 8C

6. Clayton Mortensen RHP…..22…..2007 (1-S) Gonzaga

Team (LG) W-L ERA IP CMD K/9 oppBA
Batavia (NY-P) 1-1 1.77 20.1 2 10.2 188
Quad Cities (MWL) 0-1 2.41 37.1 5.5 10.6 246

Strengths: 88-92 MPH two-seam fastball, 80-83 MPH slider, and 80-83 MPH change-up. Command. Arm action. Repeating high ¾ delivery. Tall/projectable frame
Weaknesses: none
Comments: Tall/projectable pitcher with a host of skills that are conducive to winning. Commands three pitches with a heavy fastball that supports an excellent G/F and delivers strikeouts. Quick high ¾ delivery gets the ball on-top of hitters right now and his repetitiveness gives him deception.
MLB Debut: 2009
Potential Rating: 8C

7. Brian Barton OF…..R/R…..25…..2004 NDFA Miami-FL by Cleveland

Team (LG) AB AVG OBP SLG HR SB Eye
Akron (EL) 389 314 416 440 9 20 0.41
Buffalo (IL) 87 264 333 333 1 1 0.39
MLE 476 265 325 359 8 18 0.38

Strengths: Athleticism/speed. Moderate bat speed/moderate power/contact ability. Arm strength. Range
Weaknesses: plate discipline
Comments: Plus athlete with good contact ability, moderate power, and speed. Power decreased and strikeout rate increased at upper levels, but was able to maintain BA. Aggressive on bases and chooses situation to steal. Arm strength and range are above average and can play all three outfield spots.
2008 MLB Role: Platoon outfielder
Potential Rating: 8C

8. Adam Ottavino RHP…..23…..2006 (1) Northeastern

Team (LG) W-L ERA IP CMD K/9 oppBA
Palm Beach (FSL) 12-8 3.08 143.1 2.1 8 239

Strengths: 88-93 MPH two and four-seam fastballs and 77-79 MPH slider. Command. Arm strength/action. Drop-and-drive ¾ delivery. Aggressiveness
Weaknesses: Rotation of 72-75 MPH curveball. Deception of 78-81 MPH change-up. Getting out LH batters
Comments: Strong-framed pitcher supports velocity and durability. Gains deception from drop-and-drive delivery and pitched on a downward plane, which assists in getting groundball outs. Has tendency of showing baseball and needs to throw breaking pitches for strikes instead of out of the zone.
MLB Debut: 2009
Potential Rating: 8C

9. Tyler Herron RHP…..21…..2005 (1-S) high school (FL)

Team (LG) W-L ERA IP CMD K/9 oppBA
Quad Cities (MWL) 10-7 3.74 137.1 5 8.5 240

Strengths: Plus 71-74 MPH curveball and 86-91 MPH two-seam fastball. Command. Arm action. Athletic/projectable frame. Aggressiveness
Weaknesses: Repeating arm speed on 78-81 MPH change-up. Leaves ball up. Stamina
Comments: Athletic pitcher with plus curveball and pinpoint command of entire arsenal. Arm action provides good pitch movement and was able to get strikeouts by out-thinking hitters. Change-up lacks deception and tends to leave the ball up when he is tired.
MLB Debut: 2009
Potential Rating: 7C

10. Mark Hamilton 1B…..L/L…..23…..2006 (2-S) Tulane

Team (LG) AB AVG OBP SLG HR SB Eye
Palm Beach (FSL) 221 290 348 520 13 1 0.42
Springfield (TL) 248 250 318 383 6 1 0.44
MLE 248 211 268 321 5 1 0.43

Strengths: Strength. Bat speed/power. Plate discipline
Weaknesses: BA ability. Long swing. Speed (4.5). Arm strength. Stiff hands
Comments: Power hitter with natural strength and plus bat speed, giving him pole-to-pole power. Judges balls and strikes, but struggles with breaking pitches and a long swing hurts contact ability and BA. Below average speed and agility, and struggles defensively with stiff hands and low arm strength.
MLB Debut: 2009
Potential Rating: 8D

11. Jose Martinez 2B/SS…..R/R…..22…..2004 FA (Venezuela)

Team (LG) AB AVG OBP SLG HR SB Eye
Palm Beach (FSL) 226 248 285 332 2 4 0.5
Springfield (TL) 250 300 339 472 10 0 0.58
MLE 250 264 298 404 8 0 0.63

Strengths: Athleticism/speed. Moderate bat speed/moderate power/BA ability. Plate discipline. Soft hands. Range
Weaknesses: Base stealing proficiency. Average arm strength
Comments: Athletic middle infielder with blossoming offense. Contact ability and plate discipline have always been strong, but hit for more power after adding muscle to slight frame. Possesses speed, but doesn't have the instincts to steal bases. Defensive skills profile better at 2B.
MLB Debut: 2009
Potential Rating: 7C

12. Jon Jay OF…..L/L…..23…..2006 (2) Miami-FL

Team (LG) AB AVG OBP SLG HR SB Eye
GCL Cardinals 2 500 500 500 0 0 0
Palm Beach (FSL) 126 286 321 397 2 5 0.20
Springfield (TL) 102 235 333 373 2 4 0.58
MLE 102 206 270 314 2 3 0.60

Strengths: Athleticism/speed (4.15). Moderate bat speed/BA ability. Plate discipline. Range
Weaknesses: Hitting for power. Arm strength
Comments: Excellent athlete with speed, bat handing skills, and ability to draw walks. Flat bat and moderate bat speed limits power, but uses whole field and knows limitations. Ranges well in outfield, but has little arm strength. Missed part of season with shoulder injury.
MLB Debut: 2009
Potential Rating: 7C

13. David Freese 3B…..R/R…..24…..2006 (9) South Alabama by San Diego
Lake Elsinore (CAL) 503 AB, .302/.400/.489 17 HR, 6 SB, 0.69 BB/K
Strengths: Strength. Moderate bat speed/moderate power. Arm strength
Weaknesses: Strike zone judgment. Speed/agility. First-step quickness
Comments: Strong hitter with moderate bat speed that produces moderate power. Improved plate discipline and contact rate which allowed him to hit for BA. Lacks speed and agility, but does have solid arm strength and playable hands at 3B. Played both 1B and catcher in instructional league.
MLB Debut: 2009
Potential Rating: 7C

14. Blake Hawksworth RHP…..25…..2001 (28) high school (WA)

Team (LG) W-L ERA IP CMD K/9 oppBA
Memphis (PCL) 4-13 5.28 129.2 2.2 6.1 295
MLE 4-13 6.31 129.2 1.8 5.2 315

Strengths: Plus 79-82 MPH change-up and 88-93 MPH four-seam fastball. Command. Arm strength/action. Athletic/projectable frame
Weaknesses: Rotation of 72-74 MPH curveball
Comments: Athletic pitcher finally achieved full health, but base skills declined across board. Repeats ¾ delivery with gives him above average command and ability to change speeds. Fastball has velocity, but stayed straight and curveball was inconsistent. Will have to learn to pitch to contact.
2008 MLB Role: Spot starter/middle reliever
Potential Rating: 7C

15. Joe Mather 1B/OF…..R/R…..25…..2000 (3) high school (AZ)

Team (LG) AB AVG OBP SLG HR SB Eye
Springfield (TL) 234 303 387 607 18 4 0.91
Memphis (PCL) 253 241 329 443 13 6 0.45
MLE 487 213 270 392 22 7 0.52

Strengths: Strength. Bat speed/power. Average arm strength
Weaknesses: Contact/BA ability. Plate discipline. Speed. Stiff hands
Comments: Reshaped body, providing more flexibility, and retooled swing allowing him to make better contact. Bat speed generates power to all fields and improved plate discipline helping him get better pitches to hit. Defense is below average at 1B and LF with below average arm and range.
2008 MLB Role: Reserve 1B/LF
Potential Rating: 7C

2008 Contributors - Players outside the top 15 who could contribute in St. Louis in 2008

Tyler Greene (SS), Nick Stavinoha (OF), Cody Haerther (OF), Jarrett Hoffpauir (2B), Mitchell Boggs (RHP), Josh Kinney (RHP), Mark Worrell (RHP).

Player Potential Rating - a player's upside potential on a scale of 1-10

10 – Hall of Fame-type player
9 – Elite player
8 – Solid regular
7 – Average regular
6 – Platoon player
5 – Major League reserve player
4 - Top minor league player
3 - Average minor league player
2 - Minor league reserve player
1 - Minor league roster filler

Probability Rating - a player's realistic chance of achieving his potential on a scale of A-E

A - 90% probability of reaching potential
B - 70% probability of reaching potential
C - 50% probability of reaching potential
D - 30% probability of reaching potential
E - 10% probability of reaching potential

Organizational Rankings – National League Central Division

Tied for last in the Divisional rankings just two years ago, the Cardinals are now ranked second of six NL Central organizations overall, with marked improvement in each category since last season.

Top-end talent showed the largest year-to-year increase, while hitting and pitching are also up from 2007. I assume this is at least a partial reflection of the rapid ascension of Colby Rasmus, Bryan Anderson and Chris Perez.

Team

Hitting

Pitching

Top-end talent 

Overall (2008) 

Overall (2007)

Overall (2006)

07-'08 trend

Reds

B-

B-

A

B+

B

C-

up

Cards

C+

B-

B-

B-

C

C-

up

Cubs

B-

B-

C

C+

C+

B-

flat

Pirates

B+

C

C+

C+

C

C

up

Brewers

C+

C-

C

C

B

B+

down

Astros

D

C

C-

C-

B-

C

down





Brian Walton can be reached via email at brwalton@earthlink.net.

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