School: Riverview High School, Riverview, Florida
Selected 2009 stats
Staff comments (individual rankings in parentheses)
Dustin Mattison (27): My number 40-selection in 2009 comes in 13 spots higher for me in this year's discussion. In my opinion, Ferrara is the number one left-hander in the system not named Jaime Garcia and if he continues to develop, he could overtake Garcia's mantle as well.
The Cardinals had to be pleased to find Ferrara still on the board when they chose him in the 2008 MLB draft after he had fallen due to concerns over an arm injury during his senior year in high school.
The 20-year-old has a long, lean frame and gets the most out of his 6-foot-1 size due to his ability to pitch downhill. The former Aflac High School All-American possesses a fastball that sits 89-91 along with good feel for his curveball and changeup. Though quite polished for a high school product, he told me over the summer that he learned a lot during his first full season as a pro and the arm injury was not a concern.
Like with many young arms, the Cardinals limited his workload in his first full season. In 50 innings at Johnson City, the southpaw posted a 4-1 record with a 3.24 ERA. He logged 40 strikeouts compared to 17 walks and an FIP of 3.12. Among players with at least 50 innings pitched in the Appalachian League, he ranked 15th in ERA and ninth in FIP.
I have to admit that a return to short season ball would not completely surprise me but I expect him to be in the tandem starter rotation at the Quad Cities to start 2010.
Message board community (32): Anthony Ferrara didn't make the community top 40 last year. The southpaw was the Cards' 7th round pick in 2008 and he fanned 36 in 30 innings for the GCL Cards at age 18. But he also walked 14, threw six wild pitches, and posted a 4.50 ERA. This year, he graduated to Johnson City, fanning 40 in 50 innings, walking 17 with six wild pitches and a 3.24 ERA. The sample is small, but in his last 29 innings he walked only eight (with 24 K's), compared to nine walks (16 K's) in his first 21 innings. Lefties hit .368 against him (albeit just 14 hits) to .236 for righties. He only gave up one home run this year.
Ferrara was highly touted in high school. Per one article, he was expected to be drafted in the first three rounds. He did have a bit of tendinitis as a junior. The article reports that this was misdiagnosed and Ferrara saw Dr. James Andrews, who put him on a strength and conditioning program. He had signed a letter of intent to play at South Florida but instead went professional with the Cards.
Ferrara has a live fastball. One of our knowledgeable posters reported that a scout had seen him hit 94. Our poster reports that he throws a tight overhand curve, while the change is a work in progress. Ferrara's BABIP this year (.322) was high, which is encouraging for the future. I saw him pitch one game at Johnson City, and I liked what I saw. He stands 6-foot-1 and seemed to know what he was doing. My recollection is that he was throwing around 90 when I saw him. Keep an eye out for where he starts next season. Will it be Quad Cities at just age 20? - Gagliano
Brian Walton (NR): I have to admit that Ferrara has not yet registered a full impression on my radar screen but perhaps should have, as he has pitched well enough to warrant consideration. My non-score certainly dropped him in the rankings.
The fact that Ferrara is left-handed only increases the intrigue, since as Dustin noted, there is a dearth of high-potential candidates of that ilk in the system currently. On the other hand, shoulder injuries in pitchers are the number one red flag in my book.
I will be most looking for continued health once Ferrara is no longer handled with kid gloves and allowed to pitch a full workload. 11 starts and 80 innings over two seasons isn't yet much to go on, but the trend is positive.
Our 2010 top 40 countdown continues: To see our entire list of 40 Cardinals prospects, click here. You can also read each of the voters' philosophies in making their selections.
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