Best of the Rest… of Cards Prospects: Walton

The last of four articles on top St. Louis Cardinals prospects that just missed our Top 40 countdown. In the cleanup spot is Brian Walton, who looks at Daniel Descalso, Shaun Garceau, Eddie Degerman and Tony Cruz.

As those who followed our Top 40 Prospects countdown over the last month and a half know, the selection of the master list was a melding of the individual views from four of us here at The Birdhouse,

As a result, a handful of deserving players on each of our personal lists did not make the consolidated Top 40. This is the last of four articles where each of us highlighted those prospects – our "Best of the Rest" and the 48th and final article of the 2008 Top Cardinals Prospects series. We really enjoyed bringing our top prospects list to you again this off-season and hope you found our reports informative.

As a reminder, here is the overall Top 40, with my list next to it. Highlighted are the names unique to each list.

Overall Top 40 Brian Walton
1 Colby Rasmus 1 Colby Rasmus
2 Bryan Anderson 2 Jaime Garcia
3 Jaime Garcia 3 Bryan Anderson
4 Chris Perez 4 Chris Perez
5 Adam Ottavino 5 Adam Ottavino
6 Tyler Herron 6 Clayton Mortensen
7 Jose Martinez 6a Brian Barton
7a Brian Barton 7 Tyler Herron
8 Joe Mather 8 Pete Kozma
9 Clayton Mortensen 9 Mark Hamilton
10 P.J. Walters 10 Jose Martinez
11 Allen Craig 11 Jon Jay
12 Mark Hamilton 11a David Freese
13 Mitchell Boggs 12 Tyler Greene
13a David Freese 13 Joe Mather
14 Jarrett Hoffpauir 14 Kenny Maiques
15 Kenny Maiques 15 Blake Hawksworth
16 Pete Kozma 16 Mitchell Boggs
17 Tyler Greene 17 P.J. Walters
18 Jess Todd 18 Allen Craig
19 Jon Jay 19 Jess Todd
20 Mark McCormick 20 Blake King
21 Josh Kinney 21 Mark McCormick
22 Jason Motte 22 Jon Edwards
23 Blake Hawksworth 23 Stuart Pomeranz
24 Luke Gregerson 24 Jarrett Hoffpauir
25 Jon Edwards 25 Nick Stavinoha
26 Tyler Norrick 26 Cody Haerther
27 Cody Haerther 27 Brad Furnish
28 Luis de la Cruz 28 Mike Parisi
29 Stuart Pomeranz 29 Daniel Descalso
30 Brad Furnish 30 Josh Kinney
31 Kyle McClellan 31 Jason Motte
32 Deryk Hooker 32 David Kopp
33 Mark Worrell 33 Mark Worrell
34 Blake King 34 Tyler Norrick
35 Mike Parisi 35 Luis de la Cruz
36 David Kopp 36 Luke Gregerson
37 Brandon Buckman 37 Shaun Garceau
38 Nick Stavinoha 38 D'Marcus Ingram
39 D'Marcus Ingram 39 Tony Cruz
40 Steven Hill 40 Eddie Degerman

In summary, the four players that made the group's Top 40 but were ranked lower on my list are Kyle McClellan, Deryk Hooker, Brandon Buckman and Steven Hill. On the other side of the ledger, the four players I ranked higher than the others each have their pros and cons. Two received no votes from the others while one had one other vote and the third received support from three of the four voters, yet fell just short of our consolidated Top 40.

At number 29 on my 2008 list is third baseman Daniel Descalso. When picked in the third round of the 2007 draft, the now-21-year-old seemed to take a lot of heat from some vocal draft watchers.

I disagree as I saw Descalso play several times. I like his bat and legs as evidenced by this five triples, tied for fourth-most in the system and his 12 stolen bases, ranking him 13th overall. He posted a relatively power-free .268/.348/.338 line (BA/OBP/SLG) with Batavia last season, but demonstrated an ability to get on base. Descalso had a strong beginning (June - .316) and end (August - .333), but struggled in between (July - .196)

Though his defense is average, some scouts value Descalso highly. Yet, I was the only voter here who ranked him. It remains to be seen if he can find enough power to remain on the hot corner, however.

After missing 2006 due to two surgeries on his leg, Shaun Garceau's comeback placed him as my number 37 prospect. I am again standing alone here in ranking him. With a fastball that touches 92-94 MPH helping him to 110 strikeouts last season for Quad Cities, almost exactly one per inning, the then 19-year-old righty just missed being in the top ten in the system in that category.

Garceau needs to keep the ball down to cut down on his home runs yielded (15) and most importantly stop issuing so many walks (51 in 111 IP). He seemed to often get into trouble early in his games (.350 BA in first three innings) before settling down in the mid and late frames (.220 BA the rest of the way). Garceau still has time to learn and improve.

Leonda Markee joined me in ranking right-handed starting pitcher Eddie Degerman. On my list, he was number 40. Last year, the now 24-year-old placed 32nd on our Top 40 list, but lost considerable support this time around.

Degerman was lights-out in a dozen appearances with Quad Cities (2.45 ERA, 71 Ks in 47 2/3 IP), but had trouble with control in his introduction to the Florida State League. The former Rice star walked 36 in 54 2/3 innings, but pitched better in August (.218 OBA) than in July (.276 OBA). It is also worth noting that Degerman has whiffed considerably more than one batter per inning at each stop as a professional.

With his funky over-the-top delivery, Degerman may be a long shot in terms of future large-scale major league success, but I believe with his low-90's fastball and a plus curve, he has as good of a chance to make it as most any player in the bottom 20 of our prospect list.

The final name on my "Best of the Rest" list is third baseman Tony Cruz, ranked number 39 on my sheet and also making an appearance near the bottom of both Leonda's and Ray Mileur's lists. Like Descalso above, Cruz' glove is not his claim to fame.

The 26th round pick can hit and draws walks, too, posting a .299/.347/.451 line (BA/OBP/SLG). That .299 batting average placed Cruz 12th in the system among players at any level. His 44 RBI across four levels last season ranked 22nd in the system, despite him getting just 268 at-bats in total.

Others who made it onto my spreadsheet but not into my top 40 (in alphabetical order): Brandon Buckman, Luke Gorsett, Tyler Henley, Steven Hill, Deryk Hooker, Kyle McClellan, Andres Rosales, Mark Shorey and Brandon Yarbrough.

To reference our entire list of top 40 Cardinals prospects for 2008 and read about each individual player, click here. You can also learn more about each of the voters' philosophies in making their selections and much more.

Want access to the all details behind our Cardinals prospect news, the most comprehensive anywhere, here at

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Brian Walton can be reached via email at

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