2009 Cardinals Prospect #7 – Jason Motte

Will the hard-throwing rookie right-hander claim a piece of the closer's role or return to Memphis for more seasoning? Today's article is FREE!

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

2008 ranking: #22

Position: RP

DOB: 6/22/1982

Height: 6-foot-0

Weight: 200

Bats: Right

Throws: Right

School: Iona College

Became a Cardinal: Selected in the 19th round of the June, 2003 First-Year Player Draft as a catcher.

Selected 2008 stats

MEM 4 3 3.24 63 0 9 66.2 64 25 6 26 110 0.67 0.245
StL 0 0 0.82 12 0 1 11 5 2 0 3 16 0.89 0.139

Staff comments (individual rankings in parens)

Dustin Mattison (7): The former backstop tore through Triple-A and was rewarded with a September call up. Along with Chris Perez, Motte gives the Cardinals an exciting one-two punch that could be shortening games for years to come.

Motte possess a high nineties fastball that commands exceptionally, especially for someone with so little pitching experience. It looks like his long-term success will depend on his development of his secondary stuff. I know that La Russa has said that he wants Perez and Motte to have more experience before giving one of the two the closer's role. But with a strong performance, he could change the skipper's mind.

Ray Mileur (14): Motte made his major league debut in September, appearing in 12 games for the Cardinals posting a record of 0-0 with 1 save and an ERA of 0.82. Prior to his call up, Motte had recorded 110 strikeouts in just 66.2 Triple A innings. In his 12 games in majors, 11 innings, he struck out 16 batters, while walking only three. Rumor has it, that Motte could be in the mix for the Cardinals closer job in 2009.

I'm on the record of wanting the Cardinals to sign all-time career saves leader, Trevor Hoffman to serve as a mentor and bridge to Jason or Chris Perez. Hoffman has since signed with the Brewers, with him off the market I don't see any other veteran closers or setup men still available I would go with over Perez and or Motte. I'd just as soon give the ball to Motte and Perez and let them work as tandem closers, if you will.

Message board community (6): Jason Motte shot up the prospect rankings in 2008 as he posted an amazing AAA strike out rate of nearly 15 per 9 innings. While many criticize his pitching repertoire for being short on off speed pitches, Motte has done nothing but get people out. He continued his AAA success in a late season call-up to STL.

Motte's improvement was not totally unexpected has he had been a pitcher for less than 100 innings coming into this year -- the pace and amount of that improvement is what won him many believers this year. With 2009 being still only his 4th year of pitching many are thinking that he can still improve and develop the off speed stuff that some say he lacks. Even if he doesn't, there are many who believe he can be effective simply based on his velocity which touches close to 100 MPH.

Motte will compete for a bullpen spot in Spring training. There are those who believe that even if he is among the best of the available relief candidates that he should return to AAA to work on the previously mentioned off speed pitch. I am not one of them. - CariocaCardinal

Brian Walton (9): I see it a little different from my peers here because of the numbers game and Motte's place in the pecking order. Like Perez, he has options remaining, but unlike Perez, who has a half-season of major league experience, Motte has less than a month there.

The Cardinals will most likely come north with five right-handed relievers. As of now, there are six primary competitors for the job. Ryan Franklin, Brad Thompson, Josh Kinney and Kyle McClellan seem to have the inside track. That would leave one spot for either Motte or Perez. For that reason, I see Motte starting the season as Memphis' closer, returning when the first opening presents itself.

(Note that unlike many other Cardinals top prospect lists, Perez will not appear in this countdown as he has already exhausted his rookie eligibility.)

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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