Deric McKamey on Cardinals Prospects: 2009

One of baseball's preeminent minor league experts returns to The Birdhouse to offer his views of the improving Cardinals prospect pipeline. In Part one of a two-part series, Deric McKamey shares his top 15 Cards prospects with the details as to why they're ranked where they are.

It is again publishing time for Deric McKamey's "Minor League Baseball Analyst", the first prospect guide to fully integrate sabermetrics and scouting. A long-time Bill James disciple and graduate of Major League Baseball's scout school, Deric's unique brand of analysis is provided for over 1000 minor leaguers.

McKamey has been BaseballHQ's Director of Minor League Analysis for eleven years now and a baseball analyst for over twenty. His in-depth scouting reports and stats include batter skills ratings, runner speed, pitch repertoires, Major League equivalents, ultimate potential and much more.

Once again in year four of the Analyst, McKamey and BaseballHQ have also included their Organizational Ratings for all 30 major league teams, ranking each organization's top 15 prospects, with details why, as well as a scoring of the organization in the areas of hitting, pitching, top-end talent and overall. We'll cover a subset of that in Part two of this series.

The comprehensive information in the Analyst is more in-depth and valuable than that put out by several more well-known sources of minor league information and is used by front office personnel, scouts, fantasy players and fans from coast to coast.

It has become almost as eagerly-awaited each hot stove season as Ron Shandler's famous "Baseball Forecaster" has been for over 20 years running. If readers order the Minor League Baseball Analyst from HQ directly, online updates will be included in March at no additional charge.

Through the generosity of McKamey and BaseballHQ, following is a subset of their findings, covering their top 15 Cardinals prospects,

Please respect the rights of the author and the associated copyrights by not cutting and pasting this information elsewhere. You are receiving an exclusive preview several weeks prior to the release of the book through the courtesy of McKamey and BaseballHQ.

Top St. Louis Cardinals Prospects - 2009

1. Colby Rasmus OF…..L/L…..23…..2005 (1-C) high school (AL)

Memphis (PCL) 331 0.251 0.346 0.396 11 15 0.68
MLE* 331 0.218 0.298 0.329 8 12 0.69

Athletic outfielder who missed most of the second half with a sprained MCL of his left knee. Bat was streaky all season and struggled to make adjustments, but has the bat speed and smooth hitting mechanics to hit for both batting average and power. Runs well (4.05), and sports excellent range and arm strength in CF.
2009 MLB Role: Starting CF
Potential Rating: 9B

* Major League Equivalent

2. Brett Wallace 3B/1B…..L/R….21.....2008 (1) Arizona State

Quad Cities (MWL) 153 0.327 0.418 0.490 5 0 0.53
Springfield (TEX) 49 0.367 0.456 0.653 3 0 0.29

Strong/muscular hitter with impressive bat speed and barrel awareness, allowing him to hit for batting average and power. Uses the whole field and hangs-in well against LH pitching. Arm strength is solid-average, but lack of speed (4.4)/agility and stiff hands leaves his defense below average.
MLB Debut: 2010
Potential Rating: 9C

3. Bryan Anderson C…..L/R…..22…..2005 (4) high school (CA)

Springfield (TEX) 80 0.388 0.412 0.525 2 0 0.33
Memphis (PCL) 235 0.281 0.367 0.379 2 2 0.70
MLE 315 0.273 0.332 0.328 3 2 0.62

Athletic catcher with good bat speed and plate discipline, giving him doubles power and ability to hit for batting average. Young for level of play, his defense is improving gradually. Average arm strength and quick release (1.95) helped stop 38% of attempted runner, but still needs work on receiving skills.
2009 MLB Role: Reserve catcher
Potential Rating: 8B

4. Daryl Jones OF…..L/L…..21…..2005 (3) high school (TX)

Palm Beach (FSL) 307 0.326 0.406 0.476 7 18 0.49
Springfield (TEX) 124 0.290 0.409 0.500 6 6 0.73
MLE 124 0.253 0.343 0.407 4 5 0.74

Plus athlete with game-changing speed (3.9) and emerging bat that resurrected prospect status. Improved approach and solid bat speed lifted AVG/OBP and showed moderate power to all fields. Ranges well in CF and makes up for below average arm strength by being highly accurate and throwing to the proper bases.
MLB Debut: 2010
Potential Rating: 9D

5. Jason Motte RHP …..26…..2003 (19) Iona

Team (LG) W-L ERA IP CMD K/9 oppBA
Memphis (PCL) 4-3 3.24 66.2 4.2 14.8 0.245
St. Louis (NL) 0-0 0.82 11 5.3 13.1 0.139
MLE 4-3 4.06 66.2 2.9 11.1 0.291

Drafted as a catcher, the transition to power reliever has been flawless. Overpowers hitters with an 88-98 MPH fastball/79-82 MPH cutter combination and was amongst minor league leaders in K/9. Command was solid despite inconsistent mechanics, though his ¾ delivery has effort and can be too aggressive.
2009 MLB Role: Short reliever
Potential Rating: 8C

6. Pete Kozma SS…..R/R…..20…..2007 (1) high school (OK)

Quad Cities (MWL) 377 0.284 0.363 0.398 5 12 0.65
Palm Beach (FSL) 77 0.130 0.231 0.182 0 0 0.37

Athletic and fundamentally sound player whose tools play-up with his game acumen. Handles the bat well, making solid contact, with the ability to draw walks. Power will be of the gap variety and uses his 4.1 speed well. Makes plays defensively, with above average range and arm strength.
MLB Debut: 2011
Potential Rating: 8C

7. Mitchell Boggs RHP…..24…..2005 (5) Georgia

Team (LG) W-L ERA IP CMD K/9 oppBA
Memphis (PCL) 9-3 3.45 125.1 1.8 5.8 0.235
MLE 9-3 3.94 125.1 1.5 4.7 0.249

Tall/projectable pitcher led PCL in ERA by sinking and cutting his fastball to achieve groundball outs. Command improved slightly, but strikeout rate was mediocre despite above average velocity (88-95 MPH). Will need to pitch more aggressively in the Majors, develop his 79-82 MPH change-up and continue to let his pitches work for him.
2009 MLB Role: #5 starter/middle reliever
Potential Rating: 7B

8. Jon Jay OF…..L/L…..24…..2006 (2) Miami-FL

Springfield (TEX) 372 0.308 0.379 0.457 11 10 0.85
Memphis (PCL) 58 0.345 0.406 0.500 1 0 0.60
MLE 430 0.269 0.323 0.355 9 8 0.77

Fluid athlete with above average speed (4.15), contact ability, and plate discipline. OBP was solid at the top of the order and power improved slightly even though he uses the middle of the field and his bat plane is flat. Possesses good range, but arm strength is a tick below average, which could make playing CF a stretch.
2009 MLB Role: Reserve outfielder
Potential Rating: 7B

9. Jess Todd RHP…..22……2007 (2-C) Arkansas

Team (LG) W-L ERA IP CMD K/9 oppBA
Palm Beach (FSL) 3-0 1.65 27.1 5.0 11.5 0.184
Springfield (TEX) 4-5 2.97 103 3.4 7.1 0.216
Memphis (PCL) 1-1 3.97 22.2 1.8 8.2 0.232
MLE 8-6 3.38 125.2 2.7 6.2 0.225

Short/stocky pitcher made smooth transition from relief to starting, adding a 84-85 MPH cutter to his plus 82-84 MPH slider and heavy 87-92 MPH sinker. Proved extremely difficult to hit and sported good command, but was victim to the long ball at the upper levels. Pitches with effort, but durability has never been compromised.
2009 MLB Role: Spot starter/middle reliever
Potential Rating: 8C

10. David Freese 3B…..R/R…..25…..2006 (9) South Alabama by San Diego

Memphis (PCL) 464 0.306 0.361 0.550 26 5 0.35
MLE 464 0.251 0.295 0.427 18 4 0.32

Strong hitter with improved bat speed and contact ability, which gave him career-high numbers at the Triple-A level. Plate discipline is mediocre and could get exploited by better pitching. Below average speed and agility, but has a strong arm and soft hands to make him an average defender.
2009 MLB Role: Reserve 3B
Potential Rating: 7C

11. Clayton Mortensen RHP…..23…..2007 (1-S) Gonzaga

Team (LG) W-L ERA IP CMD K/9 oppBA
Springfield (TEX) 3-4 4.22 59.2 2.2 7.2 0.257
Memphis (PCL) 5-6 5.51 80 1.4 6.4 0.281
MLE 8-10 5.53 139.2 1.4 5.6 0.285

Tall/projectable starter found life difficult at upper levels, uncharacteristically elevating pitches and not being efficient. His 88-92 MPH sinker is heavy and is deceptively quick with his high ¾ delivery that he repeats frequently. His 80-83 MPH change-up regressed slightly and needs to pitch more aggressively in the strike zone.
2009 MLB Role: Middle reliever
Potential Rating: 8D

12. Jaime Garcia LHP…..22…..2005 (22) high school (TX)

Team (LG) W-L ERA IP CMD K/9 oppBA
Springfield (TEX) 3-2 2.06 35 2.6 10.5 0.206
Memphis (PCL) 4-4 4.44 71 2.3 7.5 0.270
St. Louis (NL) 1-1 3.65 16 1.0 4.5 0.233
MLE 7-6 3.91 106 2.3 7.3 0.259

Athletic pitcher with plus command and a plus 74-78 MPH curveball. Smooth arm action provides easy velocity (87-92 MPH). Adept at getting both strikeouts and groundball outs. His 79-83 MPH change-up needs to be disguised better. History of elbow soreness resulted in TJS in August, which will cost him most of 2009.
2009 MLB Role: Middle reliever
Potential Rating: 7C

13. Lance Lynn RHP…..21.....2008 (1-S) Mississippi

Team (LG) W-L ERA IP CMD K/9 oppBA
Batavia (NYP) 1-0 0.96 18.2 5.5 10.6 0.179
Quad Cities (MWL) 0-1 2.25 8 3.5 7.9 0.258

Tall/strong-framed pitcher overpowers hitters with power 88-92 MPH sinker and a 72-77 MPH curveball that he pinpoints with precision. He does not always repeat ¾ slot/release point, which tips-off his 80-81 MPH change-up and flattens 80-84 MPH slider. Pitchability allows his stuff to play-up and has the durable arm to chew-up innings.
MLB Debut: 2010
Potential Rating: 8D

14. Richard Castillo RHP…..19…..2006 FA (Venezuela)

Team (LG) W-L ERA IP CMD K/9 oppBA
Palm Beach (FSL) 1-0 1.13 16 2.4 10.7 0.222
Quad Cities (MWL) 8-4 2.62 79 3.5 7.9 0.227

Short/athletic pitcher thrived as one of the youngest pitchers in A-ball. Generates tremendous pitch movement via quick arm action and dominance improved as his curveball became more prominent in game plan. Commands plate and mixes pitches well, provides average velocity (87-92 MPH), and was always poised on the mound.
MLB Debut: 2011
Potential Rating: 8D

15. Niko Vasquez SS…..R/R….19.....2008 (3) high school (NV)

Johnson City (APL) 208 0.317 0.416 0.462 4 8 0.56
Quad Cities (MID) 39 0.128 0.205 0.154 0 0 0.24

Athletic infielder with impressive contact ability and plate discipline, which should account for a solid AVG/OBP. Medium bat speed may limit power and is a below average runner (4.45). Arm strength, soft hands, and ability to read groundballs make defense solid, but may move to 2B eventually.
MLB Debut: 2012
Potential Rating: 7C

Player Potential Rating - a player's upside potential on a scale of 1-10

10 – Hall of Fame-type player
9 – Elite player
8 – Solid regular
7 – Average regular
6 – Platoon player
5 – Major League reserve player
4 - Top minor league player
3 - Average minor league player
2 - Minor league reserve player
1 - Minor league roster filler

Probability Rating - a player's realistic chance of achieving his potential on a scale of A-E

A - 90% probability of reaching potential
B - 70% probability of reaching potential
C - 50% probability of reaching potential
D - 30% probability of reaching potential
E - 10% probability of reaching potential

In Part two, we will analyze McKamey's organizational ratings for the National League Central Division clubs with scoring of each in the areas of hitting, pitching, top-end talent, depth and overall. We will also dig deeper into Cardinals ranking comparisons year-to-year.

Brian Walton can be reached via email at

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