2008 Scout.com Cardinals All-Prospect Team

Our annual ranking of the top prospects in the St. Louis Cardinals minor league system by position.

In our haste to transition from our Top 40 Cardinals Prospects for 2008 to our series on the Top 15 Cardinals Teams of All Time, we inadvertently left behind one annual feature – the listing of the top St. Louis Cardinals minor league prospects by position.

To complete this selection process is straightforward. We have already unveiled our Top 40 Prospects in the system via the "Forty Days, Forty Nights, Forty Prospects" series. Putting together this year's All-Prospect Team is as simple as culling the top-ranked player at each position from that Top 40.

The 2008 Scout.com St. Louis Cardinals All-Prospect team consists of eleven players – eight position players, including two corner outfielders considered as one group, plus three pitchers – left and right-handed starters and a reliever.

Included are each player's overall ranking, age and highest level played last season. The 2006 and 2007 winners are listed below for comparison purposes with Pitcher and Player of the Year in those past years listed in bold. The current winners are P.J. Walters and Colby Rasmus, respectively. In a bit of an oddity, Walters was bumped from this team by a higher-ranked right-handed starter prospect, Adam Ottavino.

Six of the eleven featured players are holdovers from last year (bolded on 2008 list), while five are new to the All-Prospect Team. Rasmus, second baseman Jose Martinez (right) and catcher Bryan Anderson made the team for the third consecutive year.

Of the five who left the list, four were bumped down the page by higher-ranked prospects. They are shortstop Tyler Greene, outfielders Nick Stavinoha and Cody Haerther plus right-handed starter Blake Hawksworth. In addition, third baseman Randy Roth retired.

Without further ado, here they are!

Scout.com St. Louis Cardinals 2008 All-Prospect Team

2008 All-Prospect Team Player Rank Age '07 Lvl
Catcher Bryan Anderson 2 20 AA
First Base Mark Hamilton 12 23 AA
Second Base Jose Martinez 7 22 AA
Shortstop Pete Kozma 16 19 A
Third Base Allen Craig 11 23 AA
Corner Outfield Joe Mather 8 25 AAA
Corner Outfield Jon Jay 19 22 AA
Centerfield Colby Rasmus 1 21 AA
LH Starting Pitcher Jaime Garcia 3 21 AA
RH Starting Pitcher Adam Ottavino 5 22 A+
Reliever Chris Perez 4 22 AAA

All-Prospect Team 2007 2006
Catcher Bryan Anderson Bryan Anderson
First Base Mark Hamilton Mike Ferris
Second Base Jose Martinez Jose Martinez
Shortstop Tyler Greene Tyler Greene
Third Base Randy Roth Travis Hanson 
Corner Outfield Nick Stavinoha Cody Haerther
Corner Outfield Cody Haerther Nick Stavinoha
Centerfield Colby Rasmus Colby Rasmus
LH Starting Pitcher Jaime Garcia Eric Haberer
RH Starting Pitcher Blake Hawksworth Anthony Reyes
Reliever Chris Perez Tyler Johnson

While the average age of the players on the list remains constant year to year, overall there was a very noticeable uptick in the average level of play. Last year, eight of the 11 had yet to play a single game at the Double-A level. It is almost just the opposite this year, where only two players have NOT at least reached Double-A. This clearly reflects the top tier progressing closer to the majors.

All-Prospect Team 2008 2007
Average age 21.8 21.9
Average experience AA A+

Now let's look at the overall top 40 by position, comparing last year to this. We can see some backfill has developed at positions that were sparse last season – catcher and the corner infield positions. Last year at this time, each of those three positions had just one player in the top 40.

A noticeable year-to-year drop is evident at shortstop (with the promotion of Brendan Ryan and position change and slide of Tommy Pham) and less so at centerfield (as Jon Jay is classified at the corner this year) and left-handed starting pitcher. The latter looks as if it could be an area of potential focus in the 2008 draft.

Number in Top 40 2008 2007
Catcher 2 1
First Base 3 1
Second Base 2 2
Shortstop 2 4
Third Base 2 1
Corner Outfield 4 3
Centerfield 4 5
LH Starting Pitcher 3 4
RH Starting Pitcher 13 13
Reliever 7 6
Total 42 40

Note: The late additions of centerfielder Brian Barton via the Rule 5 draft and third baseman David Freese via trade expanded the 2008 list to 42 players.

We will close with this year's "Runners-Up" - those players that made the Top 40, but not the All-Prospect Team. This also provides a quick snapshot of system-wide depth by position.

Runners-Up (name/overall ranking)

Catcher: Luis de la Cruz (28)

First Base: Brandon Buckman (37), Steven Hill (40)

Second Base: Jarrett Hoffpauir (14)

Shortstop: Tyler Greene (17)

Third Base: David Freese (13a)

Corner Outfield: Cody Haerther (27), Nick Stavinoha (38)

Centerfield: Brian Barton (7a), Jon Edwards (25), D'Marcus Ingram (39)

Left-handed Starting Pitcher: Tyler Norrick (26), Brad Furnish (30)

Right-handed Starting Pitcher: Tyler Herron (6), Clayton Mortensen (9), P.J. Walters (10), Mitchell Boggs (13), Jess Todd (18), Mark McCormick (20), Blake Hawksworth (23), Stuart Pomeranz (29), Deryk Hooker (32), Blake King (34), Mike Parisi (35), David Kopp (36)

Reliever: Kenny Maiques (15), Josh Kinney (21), Jason Motte (22), Luke Gregerson (24), Kyle McClellan (31), Mark Worrell (33)

Again, for more information about these players, click on their highlighted names above to be taken to their free Scout.com player profile pages with bios, photos, news and more! This link will take you to our Top 40 countdown page. There, Scout.com subscribers can access the detailed article on any of the 40, or as I should say, 42.

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

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