Prospect Power Rankings - SPECIAL REPORT

A free preview of the first of a four-part premium content series, as we take a look at how the top prospects in the Birdhouse's 2008 pre-season edition, of the annual 40 Days, 40 Nights, 40 Cards Prospects, are faring in this season's Prospect Power Rankings.

40. Steven Hill (UT–Springfield), a big fan favorite of the Birdhouse, with more nicknames than any other top prospect, the "King of the Hill", the "Crown Prince of Palm Beach", skyrocketed in the Prospect Power Rankings during the first half of the season, making all the way to #8, before he was struck by a pitch on his left hand that fractured two bones and broke my heart. Hill, the Cardinals' 13th-round draft pick in 2007, was promoted to Double-A from A-Advanced Palm Beach exactly one month prior to his injury. Overall this season between both stops, Hill has posted a stellar .312/.354/.548 (BA/OBP/SLG) line in 221 at-bats. Hopefully Steven will back in the Cardinals lineup by mid-August. Hill fell out of the Birdhouse PPR recently due to his injury and the level of play by some other prospects.



39. D'Marcus Ingram (OF-Quad Cities), is hitting .208, 1 HR, 7 RBI in 43 games for Quad Cities. He's been in the lineup and starting everyday for the past couple of weeks, hitting .258, 1 HR, 2 RBI. Known for his speed, D'Marcus has spent some time on the DL with an ankle injury from May. He'll need to finish the season pretty strong to stay in our Top 40 Rankings.




38. Nick Stavinoha (OF – Memphis), a lot of people had basically written Nick off or at least didn't expect him to make a big jump in the rankings this season. In his fourth season of professional baseball, Stavinoha has been hitting and hitting and hitting, (.352 in April, .350 in May, falling to .333 in June), to the point that he got his first call to "the Show" in June. His bat cooled off some while with the Cardinals, but he only played in five games, hitting .250 (4-for-16), before getting sent back to Triple-A. So far this month, Nick is hitting .333, 3 HRs, 9 RBIs in 14 games. Named to the PCL All-Star team, Nick should see more playing time in St. Louis in 2009.



37. Brandon Buckman (1B – Palm Beach), the first half of last season, it seemed like Brandon Buckman was the ‘Player of the Day' almost everyday, hitting .341, 14 HRs, 52 RBIs with a line of .384/.590/.974 (OBP/SLG/OPS) in 67 games for Quad Cities. His hot bat earned him a promotion to Palm Beach, where his numbers took a hit and Brandon's appearances in our daily post game highlights in our Minor League Notebook, took a hit to the point we almost has his picture placed on some milk cartons. This season Brandon has spent a couple of tours on the Disabled List, that and his numbers in the FSL, .258/.332/.347 (BA/OBP/SLG), will probably knock him out of the Birdhouse Top 40 rankings for 2009. It's hard for me to forget that first half of Brandon's last season, don't write him off, just yet.



36. David Kopp (RHP – GCL), the big right-hander out of Clemson university saw his season come to an end in 2007 when he was placed on the Disabled List at the end of July with shoulder tendinitis. He's had problem with an ankle injury and most recently with what is being described as bursitis in his shoulder. A second round draft pick, we all have very high hopes for David, he's currently on a rehab assignment in Florida, trying to salvage something out of a season, where he has only pitched in 11 games, including seven starts. He's posted a 1-3 won-loss record with a save, but has actually pitched better than those numbers show at face value. If he can stay healthy and close out this season with some decent numbers at Palm Beach, David should begin moving back up into the upper echelons of the PPR, it should be interesting this winter to see where my distinguish colleagues rank him in the Birdhouse Top 40 rankings.



35. Mike Parisi (RHP – MEMPHIS) , the Cardinals 2004 9th round (#270 overall) draft pick, could be one of the most interesting pitchers in our rankings, if for no other reasons, there is such a big difference in how pundits and St. Louis fans rank him among the elite prospects. Mike failed to crack my PPR this season, despite that, he has still been recalled to the majors twice this season, posting numbers; 0-4, 8.22 ERA, that would seem to suggest that perhaps his trip to St. Louis, both of them were a bit premature. Notwithstanding, the kid has impressed me with his guts and heart and he's gone back to Memphis and pitched very well, including a complete game win in his first start back from St. Louis. Give this kid some love. He should move up some in the Birdhouse Top 40 rankings this winter and perhaps crack into the PPR before the season is over.

CURRENT PROSPECT POWER RANKING – Not ranked, but making me take a strong second look


34. Blake King (RHP – PALM BEACH), his grandfather, Roy Mantle was the brother of New York Yankees Hall of Famer and my all-time favorite player Mickey Mantle, that is going to get you, what is it they call it, man love around here. Blake has split some playing time between Quad Cities and Palm Beach this season and has struggled with his control, walking 49 batters in 51 innings for the River Bandits and in just 7.2 innings pitched for Palm Beach, he's walked seven batters. What drives you nuts, is he's struck out 11 batters in those 7+ innings and an amazing 60 batters in the 51 innings at QC. But until he can get his control issues resolved, he's only going to tease you and hang out on the fringe of our rankings here "In the House". I love you man.



33. Mark Worrell (RHP – MEMPHIS), if nothing else, Worrell you have a fan here. Mark has gotten lost in the shuffle with the emergence of Chris Perez and for that matter with Kelvin Jimenez, who is currently getting the most save opportunities at Memphis. Worrell should still be a part of the Cardinals bullpen plan for 2009, but I'm not sure that is the case. He is without a doubt in my opinion (it is easy for me not to doubt my opinions) the most underrated and overlooked pitcher in the Cardinals minors. The Cardinals called him up in June after Mark had posted some impressive numbers during the first two months of the season, he didn't fare well, in four games posting a record of 0-1 with a 7.94 ERA. He had a rough outing on July 13th against the Omaha Royals, giving up a couple of runs in one inning of relief, but other than that he's only given up two more runs in his last 10 Triple-A appearances. I rank Worrell higher than most, in some cases, much higher. Coming in at #33 in the Birdhouse Top Prospect rankings to begin the season, I had Mark at #24 in Week One of the Prospect Power Rankings. He made his highest mark in the rankings in Week 9 (June 9), at number 11. I'm not giving up on Mark and you shouldn't either.



32. Deryk Hooker (RHP – JOHNSON CITY), just turned 19 last month and is struggling at Johnson City, after pitching well for the Gulf Coast Cardinals last season, albeit only in 10 games, including three starts. He struck out 11 batters in his final four innings of the 2007 season, and that is going to catch your attention, if you are paying attention. Selected in the 7th round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft out of Mira Mesa High School in San Diego, California, Hooker broke into our Top 40 rankings this past winter at #32. To date, his 0-0 record with a 6.50 ERA doesn't appear to justify his making our list, but like Santa Claus, you need to check that list twice. In his last two games for Palm Beach, including one start, he's pitched eight innings, giving up just one earned run on six hits and two walks, while striking out eight. It's another glimpse at his potential. Deryk should be able to hang with the Top 40 rankings this winter, though a move up in the standings would be somewhat of a surprise to me.



31. Kyle McClellan (RHP – STL CARDINALS), is the word "Props", I wish I was more hip, who are all these people on these music, movie and TV award shows, if they ever take TV Land off the air, I'm totally lost. Back to the subject at hand, one of the best stories of the 2008 St. Louis Cardinals is Kyle McClellan the kid from Hazelwood High School who is getting to pitch at the major league level in front of his hometown crowd after breaking from spring training with the club. You have to give the St. Louis Post Dispatch's writer Derrick Goold, his props for projecting way in advance of everyone else, that McClellan was going to do what he's been doing this season. I was having trouble believing that the Cardinals would take him North with them from Florida, after Kyle had missed a lot of playing time in his minor league career, struggling with injuries causing him to miss most of the 2006 campaign and only pitching in 30.2 innings at Double-A Springfield in 2007. Kyle's record with the Cardinals to date is 1-4, 2.94 ERA with one save in five save opportunities. He may be suffering from a little fatigue recently, in his last 10 appearances he's 1-2 with a 4.26 ERA. Thank God for the All-Star break, hopefully the rest will do him a lot of good as the Cardinals try to close the gap between them and the Cubs down the stretch. You can basically forget about Kyle when you are talking about prospects and prospect rankings, he's in the Show and I doubt that he'll be back in Memphis, unless he's visiting Graceland on vacation.

CURRENT PROSPECT POWER RANKING – Not ranked, I consider him a major league pitcher with 52 innings under his belt.


Related links;

40 Days, 40 Nights, 40 Cards Prospects: 2008


Publication schedule;
Wednesday: Prospects 31-40
Thursday: Prospects 21-30
Friday: Prospects 11-20
Saturday: Prospects 1-10

Monday: Prospect Power Rankings


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