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|
|First Base||Mark Hamilton||12||23||AA|
|Second Base||Jose Martinez||7||22||AA|
|Third Base||Allen Craig||11||23||AA|
|Corner Outfield||Joe Mather||8||25||AAA|
|Corner Outfield||Jon Jay||19||22||AA|
|LH Starting Pitcher||Jaime Garcia||3||21||AA|
|RH Starting Pitcher||Adam Ottavino||5||22||A+|
|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.
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|
|LH Starting Pitcher||3||4|
|RH Starting Pitcher||13||13|
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)
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)
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 email@example.com.
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