2009 Cardinals Prospect #10 – Jon Jay

Where does the talented, but injury-limited outfielder stack up playing a position with a lot of organizational competition above, around and below him?

Scout.com Player Profile (including links to full 2008 and career stats)

2008 ranking: #19

Position: OF

DOB: 3/15/1985

Height: 5-foot-11

Weight: 200

Bats: Left

Throws: Left

School: University of Miami

Became a Cardinal: Selected in the second round (74th overall) of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft.

Selected 2008 stats

SPR 0.306 372 57 114 17 3 11 47 39 46 10 0.379 0.457 0.836
MEM 0.345 58 8 20 4 1 1 10 6 10 0 0.406 0.500 0.906
Tot 0.312 430 65 134 21 4 12 57 45 56 10 0.382 0.463 0.845

Staff comments (individual rankings in parens)

Dustin Mattison (10): A polished, mature hitter, the former Miami Hurricane bounced back from an injury riddled 2007 season. A Texas League All-Star, he reached Triple-A in what was his first complete professional season. He played in only 59 games the previous year.

Jay has a lot of motion at the top of the swing, which he uses as a timing mechanism. He uses the entire field and shows superb pitch recognition. A solid fielder that is capable of playing center, Jay may find himself stuck as a corner outfielder due to the Cardinals depth in centerfield. Scouts believe this will hurt him, as he does not have the power to profile as a corner.

I feel that even though he may not have the power of a typical corner outfielder, his hit tool will make it difficult not to play him. Remember, when he was drafted, some in the Cardinals' organization felt he would win a batting title one day.

Ray Mileur (10): Plagued with injuries throughout his professional career, Jay told me that he felt 100% at the beginning of season and was looking forward to a great 2008 campaign. He was named to the Texas League All-Star team in June as a reserve outfielder and Jay had a great year going, before a sore shoulder cut his season short again. He hit .345 in 16 games at Memphis, splitting playing time between the Triple-A club and Springfield. On the season, he finished with a combined, .312 batting average with 12 home runs and 57 RBIs. Jay will start the season at Triple-A Memphis and if he can stay healthy, he could put pressure on the Cardinals to make room for him in 2010.

Message board community (9): Jay seems to elicit quite varied opinions though they are consistently good opinions. Everyone seems to agree that Jay is a good prospect and will most likely be a major leaguer, but they simply disagree on whether he will be a 4/5th outfielder type, a solid major leaguer, or an all-star. One of the major problems in making that determination is that Jay has only stayed healthy enough to play 171 games over the last 2 years. There is also the uncertainty of how much those injuries have affected his play.

The debate over his upside usually centers around whether he can continue to put up ISO SLG numbers of near .150 and whether he can play centerfield. Jay could also improve his stock significantly if he could up his walk rate to allow him to take more advantage of his speed.

Jay should start 2009 in the AAA Memphis outfield and if he gets off to a hot start he could be an early call up in 2009 and most likely will get a September call up if not already on the big club. - CariocaCardinal

Brian Walton (12): I really want to rank Jay higher as I get excited about his offense when I can see him play. Unfortunately, he has missed more than his share of action due to injury as noted above.

I am one of those concerned about the location of Jay's ultimate home defensively. While he can cover enough ground to play center, his arm may not be big enough. Jay has some power, but it would be below-average for a corner outfielder, so if he had to make a move, it would decrease his value. (And no, I don't think he, or anyone else, is a candidate to be moved to second base!)

On the positive side, Jay gets on base and he can run. With some additional growth, he would seem to be the kind of top-of-the-order player needed in St. Louis. On the other hand, the outfield pecking order is long and he is nowhere near the top.

Realistically, I just think that when Jay eventually does make it, he will end up playing a So Taguchi-role instead of a Jim Edmonds one. That still ain't all that bad!

To see our entire list of 40 prospects, click here. You can also read each of the voters' philosophies in making their selections.

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