2008 Cardinals Prospect #12 – Mark Hamilton

An eye-catching start in Palm Beach cooled with his initial introduction to Double-A prior to a late-season surge. Will the lefty-hitting first baseman eventually make the majors and if so, will it be with St. Louis?

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

2007 Ranking: 18

Position: 1B

DOB: 7/29/1984

Height: 6-foot-4

Weight: 220

Bats: L

Throws: L

School: Tulane

Became a Cardinal: Selected in the supplemental second round (76th overall) of the June, 2006 First-Year Player Draft.

2007 stats

Tm

AVG

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

SO

SB

OBP

SLG

OPS

PB

0.290

221

31

64

12

0

13

49

20

48

1

0.348

0.520

0.869

SPR

0.250

248

32

62

15

0

6

41

24

54

1

0.318

0.383

0.701

Tot

0.269

469

63

126

27

0

19

90

44

102

2

0.332

0.448

0.780

Staff Comments (individual rankings in parens)

Leonda Markee (14): I am in the middle of the pack when you compare my placement of Mr. Hamilton with my colleagues' ranking of him. Hamilton's main asset is his bat and he is a true lefty. He began the season at High-A Palm Beach and ended it at Double-A Springfield.

While his Double-A numbers are not impressive (.250/.318/.383/.701 with a .298 BABIP), Hamilton did hit .288/.347/.423/.771 in 111 at bats during August and September. Defensively, Hamilton plays first base but his best ‘position' may be as a designated hitter. Hence, his best chance to see the Majors may come with an American League team.

Dustin Mattison (11): "Roller Coaster" is the best way for me to describe Hamilton's 2007. Starting the year at High Class-A, Hamilton showed the power the Cardinals hoped for when they drafted him in the second round in 2006. The big first baseman hit 13 home runs while being named the Florida State Player of the Week twice and a Florida State League Mid-Season All-Star. Next came a promotion to Double-A where he struggled with consistency. The 23-year-old slugged only .383 but did drive in 41 runs hitting at the bottom of the lineup.

With all his struggles at Springfield, he did produce some magic in the postseason. Hamilton hit three home runs and drove in seven as Springfield swept Tulsa in the first round of the Texas League playoffs. The Tulane product was only the third player in the history of the storied Texas League to accomplish the feat. Next off to Arizona to play in the Fall League, Hamilton was never able to get anything going against the more experienced players. While hitting below .200, did post an impressive .370 on base percentage.

Hamilton's has above-average power but his swing can get long and loopy. His only position is first base where he is adequate at best. The problem for Hamilton is that Cardinals have a pretty good first baseman already.

Ray Mileur (19): Selected in the 2006 supplemental second round by the Cardinals, out of Tulane, Hamilton began the year in Palm Beach and was a Florida State League All-Star, hitting .290/.348/.520 with 13 home runs and 49 RBI in 60 games. The Cards promoted him to Springfield, which proved a little tougher. Hamilton hit .250/.318/.383 in 68 games there. The left-handed hitter with plus-power did finish the season with 19 home runs and an organization-leading 90 RBIs before being invited to play in the Arizona Fall League. In 15 games in the AFL he hit only .171, but he had an on-base-percentage of .370 (about 40 points above average) because he took 13 bases-on-balls in just 41 at-bats.

I have Hamilton at #4 on my Cardinals depth chart at first base, behind Albert Pujols, Chris Duncan, and Joe Mather. Hamilton should spend most if not all of the 2008 season at Springfield.

Brian Walton (9): In a system with few legitimate power hitters, Hamilton is at the top of my list. Yet the two of my fellow raters who see Joe Mather as a better prospect swayed our overall vote in the favor of the two-year older player who is also at a higher level in the system.

I like Hamilton's combination of strength, bat speed and ability to draw walks. Like many power hitters, his long swing means his average may suffer at higher levels and his defense will likely keep him at first base. Another good season at Double-A could turn Hamilton into a prime trade prospect to help fill other organizational needs, something Mather, who turns 26 in July, may never become.

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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