2008 Cardinals Prospect #8 – Joe Mather

31 home runs between Double-A and Triple-A last season earned him a 40-man roster spot. Will he put up another monster season in Memphis and get a call-up or plateau at Triple-A?

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

2007 Ranking: not ranked

Position: OF/1B

DOB: 7/23/1982

Height: 6-foot-4

Weight: 210

Bats: R

Throws: R

School: Mountain Pointe HS - Phoenix, AZ

Became a Cardinal: Selected in the third round (104th overall) of the June, 2001 First-Year Player Draft.

2007 stats

Tm

AVG

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

SO

SB

OBP

SLG

OPS

SPR

0.303

234

48

71

17

0

18

46

29

32

4

0.387

0.607

0.994

MEM

0.241

253

32

61

10

1

13

31

23

51

6

0.329

0.443

0.771

Tot

0.271

487

80

132

27

1

31

77

52

83

10

0.357

0.522

0.879

Staff Comments (individual rankings in parens)

Leonda Markee (8): After years of more promise than performance, Mather put it all together in 2007. He was the talk of the Texas League where he went .303/.387/.607/.994 in 234 at bats for Double-A Springfield.

The most eye-catching part of his game was his pop. Mather displayed Major League power to all fields while spending time both in right field and at first base. He showed enough defensive capability to indicate that aspect of his game will not hold him back.

However, Mather struggled to get on-track after being promoted to Triple-A Memphis on June 19th. Yet, Mather hit .274/.379/.500/.879 in 106 at bats during August which indicates that he was adjusting to that level. Mather was eligible to become a six-year Minor League free agent at season's end but his addition to the Cardinals' 40-man roster prevented that move.

Mather provides a right-handed power bat to the Cardinals' outfield equation. But the likelihood of him appearing in St. Louis during 2008 was diminished with the Cardinals' acquisition of Brian Barton in the December Rule 5 draft.

Dustin Mattison (16): The 25-year-old enjoyed a breakout season at the plate in 2007. Mather admits that maturity has allowed him to elevate his game. In an incredible run at Springfield, he hit .303/.386/.607, good enough for an All-Star selection and a promotion to Memphis. "Joey Bombs" struggled in the early going at Triple-A, but made adjustments as the season went on and slugged .500 in August. Even with his early struggles, he posted a .202 isolated power number at Memphis.

Mather is a long lanky player with fantastic raw power and bat speed. An above average defender in right, he has a good arm and good range. Mather is an ideal fourth outfielder, able to play either of the corner outfield spots as well as center in a pinch. Drafted as a third baseman, he does not hurt his team when he is called on to play first base, either.

As a reward for his fantastic season, Mather earned a trip to the Arizona Fall League as well as a spot on the 40-man roster. He will most likely start the year back at Memphis but could be called up some time during 2008.

Ray Mileur (8): Joe Mather is the story I never got around to writing in Spring Training. Mather was hands down the best looking player I saw in the five weeks I was in Florida. I remember thinking, is this the same Joe Mather that has been in the system so long? He hit 10 home runs in April and 18 round trippers in his first 64 games. Eventually he was promoted to Memphis and the Cardinals added him to the 40 man roster at the end of the season, to protect him from the Rule 5 draft.

Mather finished the 2007 campaign with a line of .271/.357/.522 with 31 home runs and 77 RBIs and I think he's only going to get stronger and better in 2008. A guy who can change the course of a game with one swing, Mather will start the season at Triple-A Memphis.

Brian Walton (13): I think this could be another case where some Cardinals watchers are overvaluing a home-grown prospect. As Leonda alluded to above, Mather has provided years of disappointment to Cardinals minor league fans before ripping up Double-A in his age 25 season. After five years in the system, Mather didn't receive a single vote in our Top 40 voting just 12 months ago. Also, remember that Mather was eligible to be taken in the 2006 Rule 5 Draft and didn't get a sniff.

With a glove rated below average, Mather is going to have to continue to carry a big bat to have any kind of a reasonable chance to stick at the next level. The major league outfield being very crowded and first base being blocked do not help matters one bit. For me, one solid year in 2007 isn't enough to propel a player who turns 26 years of age during next season into my top ten. In fact, I may very well have overrated Mather at 13.

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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