2010 Cardinals Prospect #16 – P.J. Walters

After an uneven 2009 debut, can the right-hander earn a full-time MLB assignment? Today's article is FREE!

Scout.com Player Profile (including links to full 2009 and career stats)

2009 rank Pos. DOB Ht. Wt. Bat Throw Signed Round
23 RHS 3/12/1985 6-4 200 R R 2006 11th

School: University of South Alabama

Selected 2009 stats

MEM 8 10 4.54 21 20 0 121 128 73 6 44 113 1.43 0.271
STL 0 0 9.56 8 1 0 16 21 19 6 9 14 1.62 0.304

Staff comments (individual rankings in parentheses)

Dustin Mattison (19): It was a season to remember for the 24-year-old though he may want to forget part of it. During 2009, Walters made his big league debut, appearing in eight games including one start. He may want to forget the outcome; he posted an ERA over nine in 16 major league innings.

Having always relied on superb control to get hitters out, this aspect of his game failed him during his stint in St. Louis. The product of South Alabama finished his big league tour with a rate of 5.06 BB/9, too many for a pitcher without overpowering stuff. With his work ethic, I would suspect this is an area that Walters will improve upon over the winter.

Walters will go to camp with an outside shot at the fifth starter job unless another veteran is brought in. Jaime Garcia and Mitchell Boggs appear to be the favorites but I wouldn't count the former 11th round pick out. Remember, it was only two years ago that he was an afterthought in the Quad Cities rotation. Well, he finished the season at Double-A Springfield on his way to being named the organization's Pitcher of the Year.

Message board community (12): This is P.J. Walters' third straight year on The Cardinal Nation top 40 list. If all goes according to plan, it will be his last. P.J. had a solid 2009 season but struggled when called up to the major leagues. The key to that can be found in his splits. Even in Memphis, Walters was much more effective against right-handed hitters – including inducing many more groundballs. In St. Louis, that was exacerbated, yet he actually faced more left-handed hitters than right-handed hitters there. In his minor league stint, he was also much more effective at home than on the road. I believe that the bouncing back and forth between St. Louis and Memphis also may have affected Walters.

Walters has proven to be a solid minor leaguer and prospect. Now he needs to answer several questions about his big league future – is he starter material? Can he pitch in relief if needed? Can he get out left-handed hitters? Hopefully this will be the year those types of questions get answered. - CariocaCardinal

Brian Walton (15): Walters will come into 2010 spring training camp without a clear role other than potentially as a returning starter for Triple-A Memphis. His goal will clearly be to make the major league roster, but will need an impressive March showing to grab one of what could be a pair of openings at most.

His best hope may be to capture the old Brad Thompson long reliever role, one the ex-Cardinal held for the better part of five years despite a similar rap of not having dominating stuff, allowing him little room for error. Even without the Cardinals signing another major league veteran, the number of potential starters against which Walters will compete is considerable.

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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