St. Louis Cardinals: Surveying the Crops

Dustin Mattison's weekly look around the St. Louis Cardinals minor league system.

As I look around the St. Louis Cardinals minor league system, a couple of players have caught my attention over the past week. Both are former first round picks and both were recently promoted.

Excluding a couple of games, Pete Kozma has really struggled in his first taste of Double-A. Reports from Springfield are that the "Koz" is putting in good swings but just isn't getting the results. His defense has been a plus for the Cardinals, as expected.

On the other end of the spectrum, Brett Wallace is giving Pacific Coast League pitchers fits. In his first four games, he is hitting .471/.500/.529.


Bryan Anderson was hitting only .184 as the month of April came to an end. The sweet-swinging catcher has found the warmer weather much more to his liking. In May he is hitting .289 with two home runs and five RBIs. Remember he is a California kid.

I hate to see David Freese is out due to ankle surgery. He definitely was in a great position to establish himself with the big league club but those are the breaks.

Early reports on Curt Smith's promotion have been positive. The best one is that "he just looks like a hitter."

Tyler Henley is often overlooked but is one of my personal faves. The former Rice star has been hotter than a firecracker raising his average to .330 for the season. His average is second to Daniel Descalso's on the team and ranks eighth in the Texas League.

Tommy Pham hit 18 home runs in 2008 making him a player I was expecting big things out of in 2009. Unfortunately, he is still striking out at a ridiculous rate and has only two home runs so far this season. On the plus side, he does have nine steals.

Looking for a leadoff man? The Quad Cities' Brett Lilley has posted an OBP of .476.


Who would have thought that Trey Hearne would be one of Springfield's best starters?

Since joining the rotation, the 25-year-old has posted a 2-1 record to go along with a 2.82 ERA with 26 strikeouts in 22 innings.

Blake King is still walking lots of batters but has been able to control the damage thanks to 20 strikeouts in 16.1 innings.

David Kopp is re-establishing himself after injuries cut short his 2007 and 2008 seasons. The former Clemson Tiger has posted a 2.28 ERA and a 2.29-to-1 groundball-to-fly ball ratio.

Arquimedes Nieto is anchoring the Quad Cities staff with 33 strikeouts compared to only seven walks in 30 innings of work. Opponents are hitting only .196 against him.

Dustin can be contacted at

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