2009 Cardinals Prospect #4 – Jess Todd

The Cards' second-round draft pick less than two years ago is already making an impact at Triple-A. What's left and when will he accomplish it? Exclusive audio clip included.

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

2008 ranking: #18

Position: SP

DOB: 4/20/1986

Height: 5-foot-11

Weight: 210

Bats: Right

Throws: Right

School: University of Arkansas

Became a Cardinal: Selected in the second round (87th overall) of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft.

Selected 2008 stats

PB 3 0 1.65 7 4 1 27.1 18 7 0 7 35 1.33 0.184
SPR 4 5 2.97 17 16 0 103 79 37 12 24 81 1.49 0.216
MEM 1 1 3.97 4 4 0 22.2 19 10 4 11 20 1.14 0.232
Tot 8 6 2.88 28 24 1 153 116 54 16 42 136 1.41 0.213

Staff comments (individual rankings in parens)

Dustin Mattison (5): Todd enjoyed a tremendous breakout in 2008. Undersized and possessing a full effort delivery, he presents the prospect at being a full-time starter the Cardinals have at in the upper minors at this time. That is, if he stays a starter. Due to his size and delivery, many scouts believe him to be a future reliever. The Cardinals will let him play himself out of a starter's role.

Todd can touch 94 but usually works 89-91 with his heater. Not overpowering with his fastball, Todd uses its natural sink to induce groundballs. He will also cut his fastball away to right-handers and in on the hands of lefties. His slider sits in the mid-eighties and is a put away pitch. His third pitch, a changeup, is behind his fastball and slider. If he is going to continue to be a starter at the Major League level, the changeup will have to develop.

Look for Todd to start the year at Memphis. The former Arkansas Razorback could definitely find himself in the Majors if the Cardinals need to reinforce the pitching staff in 2009.

Ray Mileur (3): The Cardinals Minor League Pitcher of the Year last season, made three stops in the minor league system in 08, including Palm Beach, Springfield and Memphis, posting a combined 8-6 record with a 2.88 ERA. If the Cardinals look inside their organization to find a starter for the major league club, Todd's name will likely be in the mix. According to a report in the Kilgore Texas News Herald, Todd has received an invitation to the Cardinals 2009 major league spring training camp. An impressive spring training camp could propel Todd to St. Louis sooner than expected. Todd, The Texas League All-Star, also picked up the Birdhouse's, Springfield Cardinals Starter of the Year and the Cardinals Minor League Starter of the Year honors last season.

Message board community (5): Todd has been one of the best and fastest movers of the 2007 major league draft class. Skipping initial level A ball, Todd then passed through 3 levels of minor league ball in his first full season of pro ball. His rise has not been without a few bumps along the way as his HR and walk rates increased as he progressed.

Todd is often mentioned as a possible candidate to move the bullpen. This is due to his small stature and also due to what appears to be a max effort on every pitch which some believe could eventually lead to him breaking down if used as a starter. Personally, his height doesn't bother me as long as he is effective. The possible injury angle due to effort does.

Todd will almost definitely start 2009 in the AAA Memphis rotation. A possible promotion to St. Louis will be dependent on his performance there. Todd also may be hindered in his promotion efforts by the fact that many people will need to be added to the 40 man roster at the end of the season and Todd is not one of them. - CariocaCardinal

Brian Walton (7): Here's hoping Todd isn't paying any attention to those who discount his big-league chances solely due to his physical stature. I hope his critics can step back and appreciate the fact that Todd was pitching effectively in Triple-A barely 12 months after signing.

If Todd begins 2009 as he pitched in 2008, I wouldn't be surprised at all to see him become the second starter to be called up from Memphis during the upcoming season after Mitchell Boggs and ahead of big names P.J. Walters and Clayton Mortensen. Neither Todd nor the latter two have yet to be required to be placed on the 40-man roster. It should be an interesting arms race among the talented 2009 Redbirds starters.

Exclusive audio: Dustin Mattison's Monday conversation with Todd at the Winter Warm-up.


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

Want access to the all details behind our Cardinals prospect news, the most comprehensive anywhere, from stlcardinals.scout.com?

Subscribe to our annual Total Access Pass(tm) and also receive the 2009 Scout Prospect Guide, the perfect hardcopy, glossy companion our online coverage, including the top prospects from all 30 MLB organizations, fantasy baseball previews and more!

HURRY! This year's deadline to order and get the Guide included in your annual subscription is January 22. So don't wait!

© 2009 stlcardinals.scout.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

The Cardinal Nation Top Stories