The selection process is most straightforward. We have already unveiled our Top 40 Prospects in the system via the "Forty Days, Forty Nights, Forty Prospects" series. Putting together this year's All-Prospect Team is as simple as culling the top-ranked player at each position from that Top 40.
As always, the 2009 Scout.com St. Louis Cardinals All-Prospect team consists of eleven players – eight position players, including two corner outfielders considered as one group, plus three pitchers – left and right-handed starters and a reliever.
Included are each player's overall ranking, age and highest level played last season. The 2006, 2007 and 2008 winners are listed below for comparison purposes with our Scout.com Cardinals Minor League Pitcher and Player of the Year in those past years listed in bold. The current winners are Jess Todd (right) and David Freese, respectively.
In a pair of oddities, our 2007 Pitcher of the Year was P.J. Walters, but Adam Ottavino* was ranked higher in the prospect rankings. Same this year with top draft pick Brett Wallace* out-ranking Freese.
Six of the eleven featured players are holdovers from last year (bolded on 2009 list), while four are new to the All-Prospect Team and one, outfielder Nick Stavinoha, returns after a year away. Centerfielder Colby Rasmus, second baseman Jose Martinez and catcher Bryan Anderson remain charter members, each having made the team for the fourth consecutive year.
Of the five that left the list, three were bumped down the page by higher-ranked prospects and two lost their eligibility due to time in the majors. The former are first baseman Mark Hamilton, third baseman Allen Craig plus Ottavino. The two major leaguers are outfielder Joe Mather and closer Chris Perez, replaced by Stavinoha and Jason Motte, respectively.
Scout.com St. Louis Cardinals 2009 All-Prospect Team
|First Base||Curt Smith||39||22||A|
|Second Base||Jose Martinez||36||23||AA|
|Third Base||Brett Wallace*||2||22||AA|
|Corner Outfield||Nick Stavinoha||30||26||MLB|
|Corner Outfield||Jon Jay||10||23||AAA|
|LH Starter||Jaime Garcia||9||22||MLB|
|RH Starter||Jess Todd||4||22||AAA|
|Catcher||Bryan Anderson||Bryan Anderson||Bryan Anderson|
|First Base||Mark Hamilton||Mark Hamilton||Mike Ferris|
|Second Base||Jose Martinez||Jose Martinez||Jose Martinez|
|Shortstop||Pete Kozma||Tyler Greene||Tyler Greene|
|Third Base||Allen Craig||Randy Roth||Travis Hanson|
|Corner Outfield||Joe Mather||Nick Stavinoha||Nick Stavinoha|
|Corner Outfield||Jon Jay||Cody Haerther||Cody Haerther|
|Centerfield||Colby Rasmus||Colby Rasmus||Colby Rasmus|
|LH Starter||Jaime Garcia||Jaime Garcia||Eric Haberer|
|RH Starter||Adam Ottavino*||B. Hawksworth||Anthony Reyes|
|Reliever||Chris Perez||Chris Perez||Tyler Johnson|
Both average age and level reached by the players on the list has increased substantially in the last year, showing an aging of the top level of prospects. Two years ago, eight of the 11 had yet to play a single game at the Double-A level. It is almost just the opposite this year, where only two players have NOT at least reached Double-A. This clearly reflects the top tier of prospects progressing closer to the majors.
Now let's look at the overall top 40 by position, comparing the last two years to this. We can see some quality backfill is developing at positions on the left side of the infield – third base and shortstop. Catching and left-handed pitching remain weak spots, however.
A noticeable year-to-year drop is evident on the right side of the infield, where there is just one player at each position (barely) listed. The two positions were almost devoid of top prospects this year, as first baseman Curt Smith (#39) and second baseman Martinez (#36) nearly fell off the page. Perhaps as depth is needed, outfielders and shortstops respectively can be moved over.
There was also a drop off in centerfield with no one behind Rasmus and Jones. Jon Edwards moved to right this past season and while Shane Robinson can play center, too, he spent the majority of his time in 2008 in left field.
|Top 40 by position||2009||2008||2007|
|LH Starting Pitcher||2||3||4|
|RH Starting Pitcher||13||13||13|
I will close with this year's "Runners-Up" - those players that made the Top 40, but not the All-Prospect Team. This also provides a quick snapshot of system-wide depth by position.
Runners-Up (name/overall ranking)
Catcher: Steven Hill (29)
First base: none
Second base: none
Third base: David Freese (6), Allen Craig (14)
Corner outfield: Jon Edwards (32), Shane Robinson (33), Ryde Rodriguez (40)
Centerfield: Daryl Jones (5)
Left-handed starting pitcher: Nick Additon (21)
Right-handed starting pitcher: Mitchell Boggs (8), Clayton Mortensen (11), Adam Ottavino (13), Richard Castillo (15), Lance Lynn (18), P.J. Walters (23), Tyler Herron (25), Scott Gorgen (26), Deryk Hooker (27), Shaun Garceau (28), David Kopp (34), Arquimedes Nieto (38)
Again, for more information about these players, click on their highlighted names above to be taken to their free Scout.com player profile pages with bios, photos, news and more! This link will take you to our Top 40 countdown page. There, Scout.com subscribers can access the detailed article on any of the 40.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at email@example.com.
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