2008 Cardinals Prospect #10 – P.J. Walters

The 22-year-old rocketed onto the prospect map with solid numbers at three different levels during 2007. Will the right-hander continue to progress?

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

2007 Ranking: not ranked

Position: SP

DOB: 3/12/1985

Height: 6-foot-4

Weight: 200

Bats: R

Throws: R

School: South Alabama

Became a Cardinal: Selected in the 11th round (346th overall) of the June, 2006 First-Year Player Draft.

2007 stats

Tm

W

L

ERA

G

GS

SV

IP

H

R

HR

BB

SO

GO/AO

AVG

QC

6

1

2.62

17

10

1

68.2

59

25

2

12

73

2.21

0.229

PB

3

1

2.67

5

5

0

33.2

29

10

2

6

37

1.44

0.225

SPR

3

4

2.37

8

8

0

49.1

42

13

4

15

37

1.38

0.228

Tot

12

6

2.55

30

23

1

151

130

48

8

33

147

1.7

0.228

Staff Comments (individual rankings in parens)

Leonda Markee (7): Walters makes his first appearance in the Top 40 in the Top 10. Drafted in the 11th round of the June 2006 draft, Walters spent his first professional season pitching out of the bullpen. This was due to the Cardinals' concern over the number of innings Walters had already pitched that year for South Alabama (152).

But word circulated that Walters was one to watch in 2007. Well, the ‘word' was correct. Walters spent time at three levels in 20007, going from class A Quad Cities to high-A Palm Beach and finishing at Double-A Springfield. One of Walters' best assets is his control, as he averaged under two walks every nine innings.

His best pitch is his change-up, which is impressive. However, his fastball is in the mid-80's range and questions remain on how effective Walters will be because of it. Still, I am one for having the play determine the prospect status and Walters' 2007 play was notable. Walters most likely starts 2008 at Springfield.

Dustin Mattison (17): The most surprising pitcher in the Cardinals' Minor League system, Walters' performance earned him The Birdhouse's Minor League Pitcher of the Year Award. Starting the year at the Quad Cities, he struck out 26% of the hitters he faced. The 22-year-old then made a brief stop at Palm Beach where he was just as dominant, striking out 27% of the batters there. Walters quickly ascended to Double-A where the strikeouts slightly dropped but the results were just as impressive. Walters led the system with a 2.55 ERA, in strikeouts with 147, and was second in the system with 12 victories.

Walters is not a fireballer - his fastball sits in the high 80s - but he possesses an above-average changeup and excellent control. Deception is also key to his success, as he hides the ball well with a high leg kick. With a smooth, repeatable delivery, Walters averaged just a little over a walk an appearance in 2007.

Ray Mileur (6): The Birdhouse/Scout.com and minorleaguebaseball.com's "St. Louis Cardinals Starting Pitcher of the Year", P.J. Walters moved all the way up to Double-A Springfield after starting the season at Quad Cities. He finished the season with a combined record of 12-6 with a 2.55 ERA in 30 games, 23 starts. His 4.45 K/BB (147/33) ratio in 151 2/3 innings was very impressive. He led the organization in ERA (2.55), strikeouts (147) and was second in wins with 12. He has excellent control which should lead to his continued success and rise through the system.

Brian Walton (17): One cannot take away Walters' standout 2007 season, impressively amassed at three different levels which lead to the Cardinals organization also naming him their Pitcher of the Year. Yet, how he got there and what may happen next are what concerns me.

Effectively working the edges of the plate and keeping hitters off balance are admirable, but I keep coming back to his lack of velocity, fearing hitters at higher levels are going to catch up with him. Even if/when Walters is moved to the bullpen, I worry that lack of a 90-plus MPH fastball will limit his ceiling. I hope I am wrong.

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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