Cardinals Prospect Power Rankings Week 3

The "Crown Prince of Palm Beach" makes his debut at #21, in this week's power rankings. There are plenty of good seats still available, so go ahead and get on the Steven Hill bandwagon.

This list is not just about who are the better players or prospects, but it is amalgamated ranking of weekly performance and potential and who is making the most of their opportunities. This week features four debuts.

Legend: NR-not rated; BH# - 2008 Birdhouse Top 40 Prospect Ranking

1. Colby Rasmus, CF (AAA-Memphis) – is off to perhaps the worst start of his career. He is currently riding a mini three-game hitting streak that he probably isn't writing home about. The debut continues on if he's trying to work on driving the ball the other way, or is just in a slump. He'd probably be better off facing major league pitching, but that isn't going to happen anytime soon. Be patient, he'll come around, you have to have a three-game hitting streak, before you can have a nine or 10 games one. My take is, and it's a position shared by others, Colby needs to be more aggressive at the plate, a walk is as good as a hit, only when you have made it to the majors. His spot at the top of the power rankings is pretty secure. Last week's ranking - #1, (BH#1)

2. Bryan Anderson, C (AA-Springfield) – stock is rising. He's hitting .455 over his last 10 games and he's playing solid defense behind the plate. He could arrive in St. Louis about the same time as Chris Perez, if he's not traded, but then again, it's hard to see someone with this much talent in a backup role, anywhere. Check out his current line, .392/.407/.569. Anderson may be the only player in the system that could knock Rasmus out of the coveted #1 ranking. Last week's ranking -#2 (BH#2)

3. Jaime Garcia, LHP (AA-Springfield) – has half of his team's wins, the only problem is his team only has four wins. A 2-1 record with a 3.60 ERA after three starts is nothing to be ashamed of, though I imagine some people would expect him to be more dominant. If you talk to any scouts, once you get past Colby Rasmus and Chris Perez, the next two names you hear are, Bryan Anderson and Jaime Garcia. He's a clear-cut organizational "Top Five" prospect, but Chris Perez, P.J. Walters and Mitchell Boggs may be adding some pressure as to where Garcia is going to rank in that "Top Five" list. Last week's ranking -#3 (BH#3)

4. Chris Perez, RHP (AAA-Memphis) –earned his fourth save Saturday night, the old fashion way, pitching two scoreless frames to close out the game for Memphis and to stop a five game losing streak for the Redbirds. His record is 0-1 with a 3.52 ERA and four saves. That may not be the kind of numbers that will blow you away, but Chris looks much better in his last five appearances, where he has not given up a run. Last week's ranking -#4, (BH#4)

5. P.J. Walters, RHP (AA-Springfield) – had a very rough game Saturday, giving up four home runs to the bad guys, two of them were somewhat aided by the wind, but it still was his worst start of the season. His teammates took him off the hook by scoring four runs, resulting in Walters getting a no-decision. It's hard to believe that he's 0-2 with an ERA of just 2.86 in four starts, considering all the offense the Springfield Cardinals was suppose to have. That is, suppose to have. Last week's ranking -#5 (BH#10)

6. Adam Ottavino, RHP (AA-Springfield) – is having a very rough start of the season. Of course we've seen this before, in 2007 he looked dreadful coming out of spring training, it almost got to the point, I was thinking of giving him some advice, but he rebounded and finished second in the Florida State League with 12 wins and third in the league with 128 strikeouts. Like Rasmus, Ottavino appears to have the ability to adjust mentally and the talent is there, despite his rough start this season, his potential keeps him at #6 this week. Last week's ranking -#6, (BH#5)

7. Joe Mather, OF (AAA-Memphis) – is still on the DL, but personally, I haven't seen a better prospect in the system. He could be the first person to get the call to St. Louis, if the outfield "Fab Five" falter. Hopefully he'll be back in the lineup at some point next week. An extended stay on the DL will eventually weaken his standing in the Prospect Power Rankings. But for now, how good is he? Well he's moved up one spot in the rankings while on the DL, now that is potential. Last week's ranking -#8, (BH#8)

8. Jarrett Hoffpauir, 2B (AAA-Memphis) – is bound to catch someone's attention soon, he's played solid defense and has started the year swinging a hot bat. He's hitting .327 on the season and there isn't that many bodies between him and the major leagues. Let's show some respect here. Last week's ranking - #9, (BH#14)

9. Pete Kozma, SS (A-Quad Cities) – is playing like I guess the Cardinals thought he could play all along. Oh we of so little faith. The shortstop is hitting .315 on the season and has hit home runs in his last two games. His defense is solid, he's already playing like he doesn't belong in Quad Cities. He started at third base two nights ago, but don't read too much into that, Pete is going to be a shortstop, the Cardinals just wanted to see a teammate of his, covering short. Pete is slowly making believers out of doubters, in his last 10 games he's hitting .333 (12-for-36) to include four doubles and two home runs. His .422 OBP makes him a very attractive leadoff hitter. The Cardinals may not be rushing him, they may not have to, he's going make them move him, with his success on the field. Last week's ranking -#11, (BH#16)

10. Mitchell Boggs, RHP (AAA-Memphis)– was almost unhittable in his first two starts, yielding just one run in 13 innings, but Thursday night at home against Albuquerque he was hit hard as he gave up five earned runs on six hits and two walks through six innings. Boggs can put together stretches at a time where he can be dominating. Last season Mitchell won seven straight decisions and posted a 2.69 ERA in 10 starts from May 18 through July 12, and there is no reason not to suspect that we could see something like that again next month. Last week's ranking -#10 (BH#13)

11. Clayton Mortensen, RHP (AA-Springfield) – is on the fast track to the majors if anyone is, consider that he was selected in the supplemental round of the June 2007 free-agent draft (36th overall) as compensation for the Brewers signing Jeff Suppan, Mortensen is already playing at the Double-A level, after just pitching in 16 minor league games, 14 of them as a starter. Thursday against Tulsa he had his best start of the season, pitching six scoreless innings, giving up only three hits and no walks, while striking out five. His stock is on the rise again after a slight dip a week ago. Mortensen clearly has the stuff to break into the top 10, he proved it this winter when the Birdhouse staff ranked him at #9. Last week's ranking -#13 (BH#9)

12. Jess Todd, RHP (A-Palm Beach) – has been in three games, making two starts and a relief appearance (the piggy back system), to produce a 1-0 record with one save and an impressive ERA of just 1.50. The Palm Beach Cardinals start Sunday's game in a three-way tie for first place, that's good for business and that's good for the players. A pennant race, yeah I know it's early, but anytime you are playing for first place, it's bound to help you in your preparation and performance on the field. Todd is knocking on the Top Ten door and could be kicking it down, in the weeks to come. Last week's ranking -#14 (BH#6)

13. Tyler Herron, RHP (A – Palm Beach) – drops the maximum number of places in the standings as permitted by the Mileur Secret Formula. It's not that he's pitching that badly, his record is 0-0 with a 4.15 ERA, after four games including two starts, it's just that you expect more from him, because he was a supplemental first round draft pick from 2005. He posted a record of 10-7 with a 3.74 ERA for Quad Cities last season and I'm expecting slightly better numbers for him at Palm Beach. I find it hard to believe that he'll drop much farther in the rankings. Last week's ranking -#7 (BH#6)

14. Mark McCormick, RHP (A-Palm Beach) – missed most of the 2007 season recovering from Tommy John surgery and probably has dropped off of a lot of pundits radar screens. Don't look now (made you look) but, that blip on the screen is Mark McCormick coming back, better than ever. In four games, two starts, he hasn't gotten a decision, but he has allowed only one earned run in 12 innings. If I have one concern it is the number of pitches per innings. He's walk eight batters in those 12 innings, while striking out 14. If he can get a handle on his control issues, and factor that into he's only going to get stronger and better, his stock is going to rise. Last week's ranking -#15 (BH#20)

15. Jose Martinez, 2B/SS (AA-Springfield) – is one of the most exciting players in the system when he is on his game. He started the season slow out of the gate, but in Springfield who didn't? In his last 10 games, he's hitting .400 with two home runs, five doubles with 12 RBIs and five runs scored. I'm not convinced he can't play short, but it appears his future is at second base in the Cardinals organization. Last week's ranking - #17 (BH#7)

16. Allen Craig, 3B (AA-Springfield) – is finally starting to hit, or I should say the balls he's putting wood on are starting to fall in. He's 6-for-12 in his last three games and has driven in three runs and scored six times. His defense appears to be better than advertised, though there is still a question by some as to if he can be an everyday third baseman. The right-handed hitter is struggling against lefties this season, hitting just .190 (4-for-21), but ironically his only home run on the season and one of his two doubles have come off a lefty. This week I'm going to go so far out on the limb as to say, Craig is the Cardinals third-baseman of the future (let's keep it in the family), keep an eye on this kid. Last week's ranking -#12 (BH#11)

17. Jason Motte, RHP (AAA-Memphis) – is the most intriguing prospect in the system. When we get over the converted catcher to pitcher story, everyone is going to notice, he's a pitcher. In the meantime his transformation is more remarkable than that of Rick Ankiel going from pitching to playing in center field. In his first seven games as a reliever this season, Motte has yet to allow a single run, unearned or earned. He's walked only two batters in 7.2 innings and has struck out 12. The critics say he doesn't have the stuff to take it all the way to the Show, personally I would lay my money down on Motte. Last week's ranking -#19 (BH#22)

18. David Kopp, RHP (A-Palm Beach) – has just one save to show for his first four appearances, including two starts, but he's been a key factor in the Cardinals early success and first place standing in the division. Selected in the second round (71st overall) of the June, 2007 First-Year Player Draft, Kopp is a little behind the learning curve because he only pitched four innings in his professional debut last season before being sideline with knee problems. He's making up for lost time this season. You can expect his stock to rise and Palm Beach not having to worry about extended losing streaks with Kopp in the rotation mix. Last week's ranking -#20 (BH#36)

19. Mark Worrell, RHP (AAA-Memphis) – continues to dominate. If a game was on the line and it actually meant something, I'd go with Worrell over Perez, shoot me, drive a stake in my heart, (I almost typed steak, that wouldn't hurt as much) hang me out to dry, make me read my own articles, but I like this kid. He quietly goes about getting the job done without all the fanfare and attention that you see showered on Chris Perez and to a lesser degree Jason Motte. If Memphis starters can get a game to the sixth or seventh inning, I'll take my chances with Motte, Perez and Worrell. If I was Perez, I'd want to take both Motte and Worrell to the majors with me. Last week's ranking -#21 (BH#33)

20. Nick Addition, RHP (A Quad Cities) – is pitching like Sandy Koufax, I've got to get in the car and get up to Quad Cities and watch him in action. Additon has opened the 2008 season with authority, using impeccable control to help make a four-seam fastball that doesn't reach the 90's stand up. He has racked up 19 strikeouts while walking one and allowing just eight hits through his first 13 innings of the year. Opponents are hitting just .178 against him and that run came as a result of a home run that got a big boost from a 30 MPH wind. He's on the mound again today (Sunday 04/20) is stock could rise again before the Mileur Market closes at 2:00 a.m. CDT. Last week's ranking –NR (BH NR)

21. Steven Hill, C (A-Palm Beach) – the "Crown Prince of Palm Beach", go ahead and make up your mind and get on this wagon. Hill is hitting .362 with two home runs and 13 RBIs and through the first 16 games, Hill has scored 16 runs and he's just getting hotter. In his last 10 games Hill is hitting at a .395 clip, driven in 10 runs and scored 10 times. What numbers do you like? OPS, how about .949? Or maybe your from the on-base-percentage school of thought, how a .397 OBP. Folks, these numbers are coming from a catcher. Come on and give him some love, there are plenty of seats on this bandwagon. Last week's ranking –NR (BH#40)

22. Brandon Buckman, 1B (A-Palm Beach) – is off to a decent start, hitting over .300 through the first 16 games, he still hasn't gone deep this season, but he's a solid glove at first that may remind you some of former Chicago Cubs and Arizona Diamonback's Mark Grace in terms as what his future may hold. Last week's ranking –NR (BR#37)

23. David Freese, 3B (AAA-Memphis) – is hitting .316 with three home runs and five RBIs over the last 10 games and has scored nine times in those 10 games. Freese is considered by some writers as a potential Top Ten type prospect, for any organization and my buddies in San Diego rave about this kid. Keep an eye on his strikeouts, he does suppose to have good strike zone judgment, but his Ks concern me some. This week he's dropped a few places in the rankings but don't count him out. Last week's ranking -#18 (BH#13a)

24. Cody Haerther, OF (AAA-Memphis) – here's the bottom line, as far as I'm concern, he hasn't anything left to prove, if he's healthy. The Cardinals claimed him off the waiver wires, added him to the 40 man roster, yet he's played sporadically through the first three weeks of the season. Promoted to Memphis on April the 10th, Cody has responded by hitting .333 (7-for-21). A fan favorite who is getting caught up with the overabundance of left-handed hitters and outfielders in the organization, we can only hope he gets more playing time and another shot at the majors. Last week's ranking –NR (BH NR)

25. Jon Jay, OF (AA-Springfield) – just has potential, he's healthy, he's not hitting, but he has more upside than the others consider for this week's rankings and just barely hangs on at #25 Last week's ranking - #25 (BH#19)



Nick Stavinoha
Luis De La Cruz
Brad Furnish


Steven Hill
Cody Haerther
Brandon Buckman
Nick Additon


Springfield Cardinals first baseman Mark Hamilton was accidently left off the Prospect Power Rankings this week due to an oversight that'll we'll call a Mileur Blooper.

Mark Hamilton, is hitting .306 for Springfield with three home runs and nine RBIs. He's had to handle a lot of bad throws already this season, and I have seen him make three nice plays already. Last week's ranking -#16, this week's amended ranking -#16a, (BH#16)

My apologies for the error; I've been impressed with Hamilton's play and he will likely continue being a member of our Top 20 club for the whole season.


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