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.
Legend: NR-not rated; BH# - 2008 Birdhouse Top 40 Prospect Ranking
1. Colby Rasmus, CF (AAA-Memphis) - is back on his game, hitting .338 this month, he's raised his season batting average to .246 after getting off to a very slow start, hitting .210 and .218 in April and May, respectively. When the Cardinals wanted a bat from Triple-A, they went with Nick Stavinoha this week, but Rasmus is clearly the top prospect in the system. Last week's ranking - #1, (BH#1)
2. Chris Perez, RHP (MLB-Cardinals) – could be the next member of the ‘Not Ready for Prime Time Player's' cast as he's been somewhat less than impressive or dominant at the major league level. He appeared in only two games this past week with the Cardinals. On the Thursday, he gave up two runs to Kansas City on two hits and two bases on balls and then Sunday, Cardinal Nation saw him walk three batters, including walking one with the bases loaded. He hangs on to his spot in the rankings at #2, as Bryan Anderson and others deal with their own struggles. Last week's ranking - #2, (BH#3)
3. Bryan Anderson, C (AAA-Memphis) - had only one hit this week, as he continues to slump at the plate this month and getting less playing time in Memphis. Bryan is hitting just .231 after coming off of hitting .358 in May. I would like to see Anderson get more playing time, in any other organization, or most any, he would be considered a legitimate #1 prospect, and I wouldn't waste time keeping him on the bench at Memphis. Last week's ranking - #3, (BH#2)
4. Jess Todd, RHP (AA-Springfield) -gave up five runs on seven hits through seven innings on Sunday against the Tulsa Drillers, in his eighth start for the Redbirds. Despite the five runs he allowed, his record at Double-A is 2-2 with a Gibson-like 1.79 ERA. Todd recently named the ‘Texas League Pitcher of the Week' (06/02) is the real deal and if the season ended today, he would have to be one of maybe two or three pitchers that you would have to consider for the ‘Minor League Pitcher of the Year'. Another couple of weeks and Todd could be in line right behind Rasmus in the PPR. Last week's ranking - #4 (BH#18)
5. Jaime Garcia, LHP (AAA-Memphis) - made for start for Memphis this week, a no-decision against the Nashville Sounds on Saturday, giving up three earned runs on four hits and three walks, while striking out three in five innings pitched. The call for the Cardinals to insert Garcia into the major league rotation may be a little premature, as Garcia, while he has been fairly effective at the Triple-A level, it's nothing that you would write home about. Through his first nine starts for Memphis, Garcia has posted a record of 3-3 with a 4.10 ERA. Of course that is much better than the numbers that major league veterans, Mark Mulder and Matt Clement have posted on their rehab assignments. Last week's ranking - #5 (BH#3)
6. Joe Mather, OF (AAA-Memphis) - missed some more playing time this past week with dealing with a lower back strain, that appears to be a problem that he has to deal with on a semi-regular basis. Joey ‘Bombs' is the best looking prospect I've seen in terms of what I think his potential is. Let's hope his back problems are something that he won't have to deal with his entire career. He went 2-for-8 this past week, with two singles and no RBIs. Last week's ranking - #6, (BH#8)
7. Brett Wallace, 3B (A-Quad Cities) - after spending months debating the merits of drafting last year's #1 pick, the consensus among most fans in Cardinal Nation is the Cardinals made the right move taking Wallace as their first pick this season. Last week's ranking-#7, (BH-NR)
8. Steven Hill, UTL (AA-Springfield) - ‘The King of the Hill' is still on the DL with a broken hand and at best, he could be back in the lineup around mid-August. Hill had posted a line of .312/.354/.548, (BA/OBP/SLG) between his playing time at Palm Beach and Springfield. How long he hangs out here in the Top 10, depends a lot on what about four or five other players do, while Hill is sidelined. Out of sight out of mind? Not here, I like this kid, he'll be back, though I'm not sure how much of this season he can salvage. I'd like to see him playing in Arizona Fall League, this fall. Last week's ranking - #8 (BH#40)
9. Mitchell Boggs, RHP (MLB-Cardinals) - picked up a win against the Boston Red Sox, perhaps the best team in all of baseball Saturday, as he gave up just three runs on five hits through five and a third innings pitched. In his first four games with St. Louis, including three starts, he's posted a record of 2-0, despite the 5.40 ERA. The Cardinals are taking care of Boggs and as his confidence continues to grow, his numbers, besides the wins, should continue to improve. Last week's ranking - #9 (BH#13)
10. Tyler Herron, RHP (AA-Springfield)- is finding starting at Springfield to be a much bigger challenge than pitching for the Palm Beach Cardinals or Quad Cities. He was lit up on Saturday, as the Tulsa Drillers, getting tired of getting beat down by the Cardinals, scored seven runs off of Herron in six innings, on nine hits and two walks. In nine games at Springfield, Herron is sitting on a 3-4, won-loss record and a 4.11 ERA. The supplemental first round pick out of the June 2005 First Year Player Draft, Herron has the stuff to make it to the show. Last week's ranking - #10 (BH#6)
11. Shane Robinson, OF (AAA-Memphis) - got the promotion to Memphis over the weekend after the Cardinals called up Nick Stavinoha. Prior to his promotion, Robinson was hitting a robust .352, with four home runs and 32 RBIs and 13 stolen bases, warranting his promotion to the next level. I'm not sure how long Shane will be at Memphis, we can anticipate some roster moves this week as the Cardinals activate Mark Mulder to make a start for them. In his first game for Memphis, ‘Sugar' Shane went 1-for-3, getting his first Triple-A hit and RBI. Last week's ranking - #11 (BH-NR)
12. P.J. Walters, RHP (AAA-Memphis) – had an impressive week, making two starts, picking up a win against Albuquerque on Wednesday and getting a no-decision Sunday, after pitching four shutout innings. As a matter of fact, Walters scattered 10 hits over 10 innings in his two starts, without giving up a run, walking four batters while striking out 14. There has been some debate about Walters ranking this high, how much luck was involved in his 7-3 combine record this season between Springfield and Memphis, well this week he took luck out of the equation and pitched very well. Last week's ranking -#12 (BH#10)
13. Mark Worrell, RHP (AAA-Memphis) - didn't fare very well in his brief stint with the Cardinals, an 0-1 record with a 7.94 ERA in four appearances, but this past week, he picked up a save at Memphis against Albuquerque and he shutdown the Nashville Sounds on Sunday. In his two appearances, he didn't give up a hit, walked two and struck out two. Mark has a good shot at being a part of the major league club's bullpen in 2009. Last week's ranking - #13 (BH#33)
14. Nick Stavinoha, OF (MLB-Cardinals) - got a well deserved call to St. Louis this week. I'm not sure he'll be on the major league roster this time next week, but it's good to see him make his major league debut, especially since he got to do it in a big series against the Boston Red Sox. Kudos to manager Tony La Russa for putting him in the lineup immediately. Wearing #61, he went 1-for-6 Sunday, getting his first major league hit under his belt. The Cardinals seem to have an abundance (not to be confused with the abundance of pitchers, NOT) of outfielders, as they look to 2009 and beyond, it will be interesting to see what happens with Nick. Last week's ranking - #14 (BH#38)
15. Pete Kozma, SS (A-Quad Cities) - is having a good month, hitting .306 through the first 13 games. He's playing solid defense and while he's not setting the world on fire like he did in April, when he hit, .341 with three home runs and 23 RBIs, the Mid-West League All-Star is still making developmental progress. My take is, I'd keep him at Quad Cities this season, rather than pushing him up to Palm Beach. Last week's ranking - #15 (BH#16)
16. Nick Additon, LHP (A-Quad Cities) - carrying a 5-2 record with a 2.27 ERA, made one start this past week, pitching four innings in a no-decision on Thursday against Cedar Rapids, giving up two runs on seven hits and two walks, while striking out two. This month Additon is 1-0 with a 1.02 ERA in four games, including three starts. It doesn't get much better than that. This kid is a Rising Star, keep your eyes on Additon, he may arrive to the majors someday in the ‘Nick of Time'. Last week's ranking – 16 (BH-NR)
17. Brian Barden, SS (AAA-Memphis) - is one of the hottest hitters in the organization in the last week to 10 days. He's hitting .368 (14-for-38) in his last 10 games, with one home run and five doubles. He also has walked four times while just striking out five times in his last 38 at-bats. Brian is another player that could be a phone call away from being the Cardinals 10th player to make their major league debut this season. Last week's ranking – #19 (BH-NR)
18. Lance Lynn, RHP (Pending) - the Cardinals 2008 First Year Player Draft, first-round supplemental draft pick, made his professional debut this week, pitching two shutout, no hit innings on Saturday against the Mahoning Valley Scrappers. He walked one batter and struck out one, for what should be the beginning of a nice career in professional baseball. Last week's ranking – #20 (BH-NR)
19. Clayton Mortensen, RHP (AAA-Memphis) - is already at Triple-A Memphis, after just being drafted in 2007 draft, yes he was a first-round pick, supplemental after Kozma, you have to give him credit for getting to Memphis already. He made only one start this past week, picking up a win over Albuquerque, pitching 5.1 innings, giving up four earned runs on three hits and four walks, while striking out four batters. Not a great performance, per se, but Mortensen is certainly one of the Cardinals top prospects who will be a resident of the PPR probably until he reaches the majors. Last week's ranking - #18 (BH#9)
20. David Freese, 3B (AAA-Memphis) - considering he hadn't played about Class A, before the Cardinals picked him up in the Jim Edmonds deal to San Diego, Freese is playing well at Memphis, despite going just 2-for-10 this past week. This month he is hitting a respectable .268 with five home runs and 13 RBIs. Last week's ranking - #17 (BH#13a)
21. Jon Jay, OF (AA-Springfield) - didn't get the promotion to Memphis when Nick Stavinoha was called up to St. Louis, but he could have and it could be argued should have. Jay who dropped out of the PPR on June the first (week 8), after ranking as high as #21 in week four, has fought his way back into the rankings, hitting .430 this month with six home runs and 19 RBIs. In his last 10 games, Jay has scored 10 runs, hitting .410 (16-for-39) with three home runs and 12 RBIs. The sidekick if you will, in the Dynamic Duo with ‘Sugar' Shane Robinson, it's just a matter of time before the Batmen are playing together again, in Memphis or St. Louis.
22. Fernando Salas, RHP (AA-Springfield) - had a difficult week, in three games, five innings pitched, Salas gave up four runs on six hits and two walks, while picking up a save on Thursday. On the season, Fernando has posted a 3-1 record with 12 saves and a 2.53 ERA. The Texas League All-Star is one of the young guns, you'll want to keep an eye on during the second half of this season. Last week's ranking – #21 (BH-NR)
23 . Allen Craig, 3B (AA-Springfield) - is not having the best month this month, hitting just .222 through 20 games in June as his stock takes a slight dip. Looking at the big picture, he's hitting .270 with 11 HRs and 46 RBIs for Springfield and if they are to make it to the playoffs, they'll need consistent production out of Craig in the second half. Last week's ranking - #22 (BH#11)
24. Shane Peterson, OF (SS-Batavia) - the Cardinals second round draft pick in the 2008 First Year Player Draft, makes his professional debut and PPR debut this week. In his first six games he's hitting .286 with a .353 OBP against right-handers. Another left-handed bat in the system, this kid has the tools to be an impact player at the major league level. Last week's ranking – NA (BH-NR)
25. Richard Castillo, RHP (A-Quad Cities) - the 18-year-old kid from Barquisimento Venezuela, makes his Quad Cities debut tonight, after being promoted from Beach where he had posted a record of 1-0 with a 1.13 ERA after appearing in six games, making two starts. In 16 innings at Palm Beach, Castillo struck out 19 batters and did not give up a home run. He spent last season in the VSL, where he struck out 60 batters in 62 2/3rds innings. I'm not sure how long he'll hang out here, but he's here this week. On the horizon, it's Richard Castillo, checking in at #25 on the PPR. Last week's ranking - NA (BH-NR)
WHO BROKE INTO THE POWER RANKINGS THIS WEEK
21. Jon Jay, OF (AA-Springfield) returns to the rankings after a two week absence.
24. Shane Peterson, OF (SS-Batavia) makes his professional and PPR debut this week.
25. Richard Castillo, RHP (A Quad Cities) makes his PPR debut this week. A phenom in the making?
WHO DROPPED OUT OF THE POWER RANKINGS FROM THIS WEEK
23. Mark Diapoules, RHP (A-Quad Cities) had a rough week making his first start outside of the tandem rotation system
24. Mark McCormick, RHP (AA-Springfield) a sore right shoulder lands McCormick back on the DL.
25. Jason Motte, RHP (AAA-Memphis) another rough week, a 1-1 record with a 7.71 ERA in June, knocks Motte out of the PPR this week.
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