Cardinals Prospect Power Rankings - Week Two

A new weekly series published on Sundays, that is an amalgamated ranking of the weekly performances and potential of prospects in the organization and who is making the most of their opportunities. It's only the second week of the season, but we are already seeing some movement and two debuts in the rankings.

Week Two – Rankings

(BH#)= 2008 Birdhouse Top 40 Prospect Rankings

1. Colby Rasmus, CF (AAA Memphis) – it's going to take a lot more than hitting just .220 through the first 10 games to bump Rasmus out of the top spot in the rankings. The Memphis coaching staff is trying to teach him to go the other way when he's at the plate, something that Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn didn't learn to do until he was in the majors. Rasmus has played just two games at AutoZone Park and is still getting use to the lights, sounds and field, so he has looked a little awkward on a couple of plays. He's a five-tool prospect with brains to match; he'll be able to make any necessary adjustments. The expectations on Colby are actually too high for this season, sports fans. Be patient, my parents are still waiting on me to reach my potential. Last Week Ranking – #1, (BH#1)

2. Bryan Anderson, C (AA Springfield) – is doing everything he can behind the plate and at the plate, but so far it's just not enough as the Springfield Cardinals fell to 1-9 on Saturday. Bryan is hitting .346 (9-for-26) with slash stats of .346/.357/.385. The only extra base hit he has had on the season is a double. You would hope he would develop a little more punch. He's still working on his footwork behind the plate, he looks like to me that he has a very good arm. One of the youngest players in the Texas League, Anderson could be in Memphis after the All-Star break. Last Week's Ranking-#2, (BH#2)

3. Jaime Garcia, LHP (AA Springfield) – hasn't pitched as well as you might expect, which has contributed to Springfield's struggles early on. He has a record of 1-1 with a 5.00 ERA through his first two starts, but everyone needs to remember that he missed half the season last year with an elbow problem. Look for his game to improve significantly in May after he gets a couple of more starts under his belt. Last Week's Ranking-#3, (BH#3)

4. Chris Perez, RHP (AAA Memphis) – moved up in the rankings, despite not having the best stuff early on, Perez has picked up two saves and effectively closed out Saturday's game, in a non-save situation, against the Omaha Royals to get his work in. Perez struggled some at spring training and he's still not in the form that got him 35 combined saves last season between Springfield and Memphis. It's unrealistic to think Perez could close for St. Louis this season if something happened to Jason Isringhausen. He'll need the entire season at Memphis to get ready for the big show. I wouldn't expect the Cardinals to call him up before September. His stock will continue to rise, as long as he's healthy and it gets closer to the expiration date on Izzy's contract. Last Week's Ranking - #5, (BH#4)

5. P.J. Walters, RHP (AA Springfield) – moves up one spot in the rankings past Ottavino, it's not Walter's fault that the Springfield Cardinals have only won one of their first 10 games. Walters has pitched very well, giving up only three earned runs in 10 innings. He's struck out 14 batters in those 10 innings, while walking only one. All he has to show for it is an 0-2 record with a 2.70 ERA. If the Cardinals offense had not left their bats in Florida, Walters could very easily be 2-0. Last Week's Ranking - #6, (BH#10)

6. Adam Ottavino, RHP (AA Springfield) – dropping a spot in the rankings, didn't make it out of the fourth inning for the Springfield Cardinals Saturday and despite getting a no-decision for his efforts, you would hope that a #1 draft pick could help stop the bleeding when he takes the mound. In his debut last week at Hammonds Field, he allowed four runs on six hits over just 3.2 innings, suffering his first loss. The weather has been anything but delightful, so he should be warming up as the season warms up. The Cardinals have him working on a two-seamer. In St. Louis you have to have a two-seamer to even get in the press box. Anthony Reyes struggled with that pitch over the last two seasons. It will be interesting to see how Adam throws it this year. His future depends on him developing his secondary pitches. Ottavino falls to #6 this week. Last Week's Ranking - #4, (BH#5)

7. Tyler Herron, SP (A+ Palm Beach) – has pitched better out of the bullpen than as a starter. Certainly we have a very small sample to go bye. Just looking at the raw numbers, Herron is 0-0 with a 5.40 ERA in two starts and one relief appearance. It's going to be harder to get a read on guys like Herron who are protected to some degree by the tandem rotation. He has enough raw talent to hold on to his spot at #7 for now. Last Week's Ranking - #7, (BH#6)

8. Joe Mather, OF (AAA Memphis) – is on the DL with a lower back problem. He's the guy I would think that would get the call to St. Louis if Chris Duncan or Ryan Ludwick went down with an injury. Mather turns 26 this July, Memphis needs his bat back in the lineup and he needs to get his at-bats in. He should be in St. Louis in September if not before and he'll be a part of the outfield mix in 2009 for somebody. Last Week's Ranking - #8, (BH#8)

9. Jarrett Hoffpauir, 2B (AAA Memphis) – what does this kid have to do to get some respect. Through the first two weeks of the season he's hitting, .387/.459/.484. This is coming off a season when he hit, .300/.394/.416 in 50 games for Memphis after getting promoted from Springfield. He's not going to hit .387 all season, but he's proved that he can play second base and contribute with the bat at this level. I can hear the cries now. Hoffpauir is not a Top 20 prospect, let alone a Top 10 prospect. I don't care, as long as he keeps playing like one. Last Week's Ranking - #11, (BH#14) – Stock is rising.

10. Mitchell Boggs, SP (AAA Memphis) – picked up Saturday's Birdhouse "Pitcher of the Day" honors after one of the best pitching performances by a pitcher in the Cardinals organization this season. He gave up a solo blast in the first inning, but shut the opposition down for the next six innings. When it was all over, in seven innings, he gave up the one run, scattered three more hits and struck out five without walking anyone. Through his first two starts, he's 2-0 with an 0.69 ERA, allowing only one run in 13 innings pitched. He gives a whole new meaning to the term "Bogged Down". Last Week's Ranking -#14, (BH#13) – His stock is rising faster than gas prices.

11. Pete Kozma, SS (A Quad Cities) – he's beginning to play like a #1 draft pick. Through his first 10 games, he's already had four multihit games and he's playing solid defense. Early reports from Quad Cities and on the road are, yes he has that look of a major leaguer, or as the scout who signed him said, "He had the eye of the tiger." I want to be a believer. Last Week's Ranking- #16, (BH#16)

12. Allen Craig, 3B (AA Springfield) – his numbers don't show it, he's hitting just .161 (5-for-31) but among those five hits are two doubles and a home run. He's putting good wood on the ball, they just aren't getting down for hits. The hits will come, the power is there. He's playing better defense than I expected. He drops a couple spots in the rankings this week. Last Week's Ranking- #9, (BH#11)

13. Clayton Mortensen, RHP (AA Springfield) – drops three places in the rankings, after taking a terrible beating on the 11th of April, giving up five earned runs in 3.2 innings, on five hits and two walks. He struck out five hitters to avoid further damage. Hey everyone has a bad day, it's just that Springfield has had about nine of them in 10 days. He has too much stuff to fall too far in the rankings due to a bad outing or two. Last Week's Ranking -#10, (BH#9)

14. Jess Todd, RHP (A+ Palm Beach) – is one of the reasons the Palm Beach Cardinals are off to a good start this season. Todd has appeared in two games and started one. He's posted a record of 0-0, 2.57 ERA and 1 save through Saturday. Projected to be a late innings reliever in the majors, the tandem rotation system could actually be to his advantage, getting him more time on the mound than most relievers would typically get. Last Week's Rankings- #15, (BH#18)

15. Mark McCormick, RHP (A+ Palm Beach) – is still looking for his first win of the season, but here is a guy who has missed the most of two seasons and is already pitching well in April. In nine innings, he's only given up one earned run. He's walked six batters, so you would like to see him get a handle on that, but he's also struck out 11 hitters. He's healthy and he should be moving up in the rankings in the weeks to come. Last Week's Rankings - #18, (BH#20)

16. Mark Hamilton, 1B (AA Springfield) – is still looking for a decent throw from the Cardinals infielders. Mark plays a better defense than most give him credit for. On opening night he was charged with an error on a bad throw to him that I thought was nonsense. He's hitting .276 with two home runs and eight RBIs in his first eight games. I'll take an RBI per game from a first baseman. Last Week's Ranking - #19, (BH#12)

17. Jose Martinez, 2B (AA Springfield) – will likely see most of his playing time at second base. He's off to a very slow start at the plate, a shortstop in the past by trade, the word is, his future is likely at second base, because of a concern about his range. Martinez hit .300 with 10 home runs and 46 RBIs in 66 games for Springfield last year, if he can duplicate that success this season, he'll be at Memphis in 2009 and then who knows what. Last Week's Ranking - #12, (BH#7)

18. David Freese, 3B (AAA Memphis) – is off to a slow start at the plate, but appears to be able to handle third base with the glove pretty well. He'll always be remembered as part of the Jim Edmonds deal to San Diego. My buddies there are pretty high on Freese, so for now, I'll take their word on it. Last Week's Ranking – 13, (BH#13)

19. Jason Motte, RHP (AAA Memphis) – the kid is pitching lights out at Memphis, granted a small sample size and you have to wonder about his lack of movement on his fast ball, and the development of secondary pitches. In five games already, all in relief, he's pitched 5.2 innings, given up only two hits and a walk and has struck out eight batters. Last Week's Ranking - #22, (BH#22)

20. David Kopp, RHP (A+ Palm Beach) – hasn't allowed an earned run in the two games he's appeared in. He's walked three and struck out four in seven innings pitch and has no won-loss record. Out of the gate it may be that my higher ranking of him than by some of the others, may have been justified. Last Week's Ranking - #23, (BH#36)

21. Mark Worrell, RHP (AAA Memphis) – it's getting crowded in the Memphis bullpen with Worrell, Motte and Perez all looking for innings. Through the first 10 games, Worrell has played in four of them and has picked up a win. He's 1-0 with an ERA of 0.00. He's pitched four innings walking three and striking out seven. With all the focus on Perez and Motte, Worrell has been all but forgotten, kind of sad considering, all he does is get the job done. Last Week's Ranking – 24, (BH#33)

22. Brad Furnish, LHP (A+ Palm Beach) – is off to one of the best starts of anyone in the system. In three games to include one start, Furnish has posted a record of 2-0 with an ERA of just 0.82, in 11 innings pitched. He's walked two and struck out five and opposing batters are hitting just .132 against him. Last Week's Ranking – Not Ranked, (BH#30)

23. Nick Stavinoha, OF (AAA Memphis) – has packed on some pounds, looks to be in better shape this season than last, he may have his power back that has eluded him for over a year now. He has a baby on the way, if he's not hungry, the baby will be. Expect him to bear down, be more focus and continue to hit well. Currently he's hitting .333, 1HR, 7RBIs through his first nine games. Last Week's Ranking – Not Ranked, (BH#38)

24. Luis De La Cruz,C (A Quad Cities) – may be the best catcher in the organization, only time will tell. He's here more based on the position he plays and his potential than his performance to date. He's playing just good enough to hold on at #24 this week. Last Week's Ranking - #20, (BH#28)

25. Jon Jay, OF (AA Springfield) – is healthy and he's covering a lot of ground in the outfield. He's got plus speed, a decent arm and the potential to be a center fielder for somebody; it just isn't going to be in St. Louis. He doesn't have the power to project as a corner outfielder, so I see this young gifted athlete being a part of some trade package in the future. Last Week's Ranking #25, (BH#19)



Blake Hawksworth, RHP, Memphis
Luke Gregerson, RHP, Springfield


Brad Furnish, LHP, Palm Beach at #22
Nick Stavinoha, OF, Memphis at #23

That's it for this week's Power Rankings, I'll see you at the ballpark and let's meet here next Sunday.


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