School: Valencia High School, Valencia, California
Selected 2009 stats
Staff comments (individual rankings in parentheses)
Dustin Mattison (NR): Though I did not rank Mulligan, don't think for a minute that I underestimate the right-hander. How can you not be impressed with a pitcher that struck out 31% of the batters he faced in the Texas League? Oh, and by the way, it is his first full season on the mound.
Though he has not been a pitcher long, he has a solid curveball to go along with a 92-94 MPH fastball with good sink. Another interesting aspect that "Mulli" brings to the mound is his varying arm slots. The former catcher is not against dropping down sidearm when he is ahead in the count.
I did not rank Mulligan due to the fact that I am not sure what the Cardinals have planned for him. There are plenty of arms ahead of him that have the potential to be moved to the bullpen or are already in the bullpen. Right-handed relievers are a strength in this system and my fear is that Mulligan could get lost in the shuffle. But it will be hard not to find him if he keeps producing like he did in 2009.
Message board community (18): Casey Mulligan has found a fan club among the community, who ranked him 18th , much higher than the 31st place at which he appears here. Last year he did not appear among the community's top 50.
Mulligan was drafted in the 22nd round in 2006 as a position player, and he spent time at catcher, third base, and first base, though he had pitched in high school. But then the Palm Beach bullpen got tired one day in a blowout and Mulligan got the "take one for the team" duty in the ninth inning, only to set down the side in order. He has not turned back. I have seen reports of his fastball at 92, with a curveball, change, ability to change arm angles, and poise.
Mulligan reached Double-A at just 21, and that bodes well. There were only four players on Springfield's final roster who were younger, Nick Additon, Jose Garcia, Pete Kozma, and Eduardo Sanchez. At that tender age, he fanned 27 batters in just 20 1/3 innings, albeit with a dozen walks. That K/IP ratio was not atypical. Mulligan has fanned 147 batters in just 107 innings, and he's fanned more than a batter an inning at each of his five stops (Gulf Coast League, Midwest League, Florida State League (twice), and Texas League) in these last two years.
During 2009, across levels, Mulligan faced 159 righties. They hit a collective .149 against him with only two home runs. The 121 lefties didn't fare much better, batting .226 with a single home run. The walks suggest that he needs to refine his control, but the success he's had at his age is very encouraging. Following him is likely to be, um, a thriller. - Gagliano
Brian Walton (36): In Mulligan's debut in our top 40, it seems I represent the middle ground between the very optimistic message board community and Dustin's worry that he could be lost among the gaggle of right-handed relievers.
Here's my take. The Springfield staff, especially the pen, struggled mightily for most of the 2009 season. They walked almost 100 more batters than the next worse Texas League club (630 to 533). Baserunners were everywhere as the Double-A staff posted a bloated WHIP of 1.51 – averaging over three opposing runners on base every two innings for the duration of the entire season!
At the next step up, Memphis has lost five pitchers from their 2009 staff due to free agency. In other words, there is tremendous opportunity at the upper levels of the system for anyone who can consistently register outs.
So if Mulligan can improve his control and continue to retire both righties and lefties with regularity, he will make his own notice for something far more important than playacting to music.
Yet for the interim, who am I to deny the reader the opportunity to be entertained?
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.
There's more! Want access to the all details behind our Cardinals prospect rankings in our "Forty Days, Forty Nights, Forty Prospects" feature here at The Cardinal Nation?
Subscribe now to our annual Total Access Pass(tm) and receive in the spring the 2010 FOX Fantasy Guide / Scout Prospect Guide, the perfect hardcopy companion to "Forty Days", including the top prospects from all 30 MLB organizations and much more. We author the Cardinals section of the guide as always.
© 2009 stlcardinals.scout.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.