BaseballHQ on Cardinals Prospects: 2010

In the first of a two-part series, we highlight the top 15 St. Louis Cardinals prospects from the Minor League Baseball Analyst with the details as to why they're ranked where they are.

The fifth edition of BaseballHQ's "Minor League Baseball Analyst" is now available. As always, the guide integrates sabermetrics and scouting for over 1000 minor leaguers. In-depth scouting reports and stats include batter skills ratings, runner speed, pitch repertoires, Major League equivalents, ultimate potential and much more.

Once again authors Rob Gordon and Jeremy Deloney have included their Organizational Ratings for all 30 major league systems, ranking each organization's top 15 prospects, with details why, as well as a scoring of the organization in the areas of hitting, pitching, top-end talent and overall. We'll cover a subset of that in Part two of this series.

The comprehensive information in the Analyst is more in-depth and valuable than that put out by several more well-known sources of minor league information and is used by front office personnel, scouts, fantasy players and fans from coast to coast.

It has become almost as eagerly-awaited each hot stove season as Shandler's famous "Baseball Forecaster" has been for over 20 years running. If readers order the Minor League Baseball Analyst from HQ directly, online updates will be included in March at no additional charge.

Following is a subset of their findings, covering their top 15 Cardinals prospects.

Please respect the rights of the author and the associated copyrights by not cutting and pasting this information elsewhere. You are receiving this exclusive view through the courtesy and generosity of Gordon and BaseballHQ.

Top St. Louis Cardinals Prospects - 2010

1. Shelby Miller (RHP)....Age: 19....6'3", 200#....2009 (1) Brownwood HS, TX. (#36 top MLB starting pitching prospect, #81 prospect overall)

Team (LG) W-L ERA IP CMD K/9 oppBA
QC (MID) 0-0 6.00 3 1 6 0.357

Strengths: 92-97 MPH fastball. 75-77 MPH 12-6 curveball. Athleticism. Aggressiveness.
Weaknesses: Command. Consistency of change-up.
Comments: Athletic/projectable/talented high school right hander. Features a 92-94 fastball that tops out at 98 mph. Generate easy velocity and fastball has good late life. One of the best arms in the 09 draft class. Decent curve, good size, and an ability to get swings and misses. Inconsistent command due to a short follow through is only shortcoming. Long-term potential remains considerable.
MLB Debut: 2013.
Potential Rating: 9D

2. Daryl Jones (OF)…..B/L...T/L…..Age: 22…..5'11", 180#....2005 (3) Spring, TX. (#21 top MLB outfield prospect)

SPR (TEX) 294 0.279 0.360 0.378 3 7 0.51
MLE: 294 0.245 0.306 0.320 2 6 0.52

Strengths: Plus athleticism/plus speed (3.9). Bat speed/moderate power. Plate discipline. Range
Weaknesses: Arm strength. Moderate power.
Comments: Plus athlete with game-changing speed. Improved approach at the plate and overall refinement have made him a legit prospect. Improved approach and solid bat speed lifted BA/OBP and showed moderate power. Ranges well in CF and makes up for below average arm strength by being highly accurate. Power has yet to develop and might be moderate at best, but other tools now play well.
MLB Debut: 2011
Potential Rating: 9D

3. Jaime Garcia (LHP)…..Age: 23…..6'2", 230#....2005 (22) Sharyland, TX.

Team (LG) W-L ERA IP CMD K/9 oppBA
CAR (GCL) 0-1 4.50 4 3 6.8 0.250
PMB (FSL) 0-1 0.71 12.2 4 11.8 0.105
MEM (PCL) 2-0 3.86 21 2.4 9.4 0.230

Strengths: Plus 74-78 MPH curveball and 87-92 MPH two-seam fastball. Plus command. Keeping ball down
Weaknesses: Deception of 79-83 MPH change-up. Stamina
Comments: Athletic pitcher with plus command and true 12-6 CB, and a smooth arm action that provides easy velocity. Adept at getting both strikeouts and groundball outs. CU needs to be disguised better. History of elbow soreness resulted in TJS in August 08, which resulted in a late start in 09. Return to action was resounding success and could contend for rotation spot in the spring.
2010 MLB Role: Potential #4 or #5 starter/setup reliever.
Potential Rating: 8C

4. Lance Lynn (RHP)….. Age: 22....6'5", 250#.....2008 (1-S) Mississippi.

Team (LG) W-L ERA IP CMD K/9 oppBA
PMB (FSL) 0-0 2.30 15.2 5.7 10.1 0.276
MEM (PCL) 0-0 2.70 6.2 3 13.1 0.200
SPR (TEX) 11-4 2.92 126.1 1.9 7 0.251
MLE: 11-4 3.18 126.1 1.8 6.2 0.255

Strengths: 88-92 MPH two-seam sinking fastball and 72-77 MPH curveball. Command. Tall/strong frame
Weaknesses: Rotation of 80-84 MPH slider. Deception of 80-81 MPH change-up. Repeating ¾ slot and release point
Comments: Tall/strong-framed pitcher overpowers hitters with power sinker and CB that he pinpoints with precision. Does not always repeat ¾ slot/release point, which tips-off CU and flattens SL - though both offerings were improved in 09. Pitchability allows his stuff to play-up and has the durable arm to chew-up innings.
2010 MLB Role: September rotation candidate
Potential Rating: 8D

5. Scott Bittle (RHP)....Age: 23....6'2", 195#....2009 (4) Mississippi.
*Did not pitch in the minor leagues in 2009*
Strengths: 84-88 MPH cut-fastball. Change-up.
Weaknesses: Lack of overpowering FB. Stamina.
Comments: Consistent college closer, but also started on occasion. Had one of the best pitches in college baseball - an 84-88 mph cut fastball that has excellent late break to it. High arm slot helps create deception. Also has good change up and 4-seam fastball that tops out at 92 mph. In 08 he struck out 130 batters in just 71 IP and he followed that up with similar numbers in 09. Rotator cuff/shoulder issues could his future, but the upside is very nice.
MLB Debut: 2011.
Potential Rating: 8D

6. Robert Stock (C)....B/L....T/R....Age: 19....6'0", 175#....2009 (2) USC.

JC (APP) 149 0.322 0.386 0.550 7 0 0.39
QC (MID) 21 0.095 0.208 0.095 0 0 0.40

Strengths: Power. Athleticism. Arm strength.
Weaknesses: Contact ability. Pitch recognition.
Comments: Graduated from high school early to attend USC as a 17-year-old. Failed to develop offensively at USC and this year was moved into Trojans starting rotation. Drafted by the Cardinals as a C. Showed improved offense, hitting .322/.386/.550 in SS ball. Moves well defensively and has a plus arm (95MPH fastball at USC) and should have enough to stay behind the plate. Offensively has good power potential but might not hit for enough average.
MLB Debut: 2012.
Potential Rating: 8D

7. David Freese (3B)…..B/R…T/R…..Age: 26…..2006 (9) South Alabama by San Diego. (#12 top MLB third base prospect)

CAR (GCL) 11 0.455 0.500 0.909 1 0 0.33
SPR (TEX) 16 0.375 0.444 0.625 1 0 1.00
MEM (PCL) 200 0.300 0.369 0.525 10 1 0.43
MLB 31 0.323 0.353 0.484 1 0 0.29
MLE: 216 0.247 0.303 0.409 7 1 0.38

Strengths: Strength. Bat speed/moderate power. Arm strength
Weaknesses: Strike zone judgment. Speed/agility. First-step quickness
Comments: Strong hitter with improved bat speed and contact ability. Had a chance to win the starting job in STL this spring, but broke his ankle in a car accident. Impressed when he returned to action. Plate discipline is mediocre and could get exploited by better pitching, but the power is legit. Below average speed and agility, but has a strong arm and soft hands to make him an average defender. Could get a chance to win the starting 3B job in STL in 2010.
2010 MLB Role: Starting 3B
Potential Rating: 8D

8. Bryan Anderson (C)…..B/L...T/R…..Age: 23….6'1", 200#.....2005 (4) Thousand Oaks, CA.

CAR (GCL) 16 0.313 0.450 0.500 1 1 1.00
MEM (PCL) 163 0.245 0.293 0.399 4 1 0.24
MLE: 163 0.215 0.251 0.331 3 1 0.25

Strengths: Moderate bat speed/BA ability. Plate discipline. Average arm strength
Weaknesses: Hitting for power. Receiving skills. Speed/agility
Comments: Athletic catcher with good bat speed and plate discipline, giving him doubles power and BA ability. Struggled mightily in 09, hitting just .251 with 5 home runs before being shut-down for shoulder surgery. He was back active in the AFL, but the power just has not developed. Improved defensively, but it might not be enough to keep him behind the plate as the Cards have better defensive options. Average arm strength and quick release (1.95) helped stop 38% of attempted runner, but still needs work on receiving skills.
2009 MLB Role: Reserve catcher
Potential Rating: 8B

9. Jon Jay (OF)…..B/L...T/L…..Age: 25…..5'11", 200#....2006 (2) Miami-FL.

MEM (PCL) 505 0.281 0.338 0.394 10 20 0.53
MLE: 505 0.236 0.273 0.317 7 15 0.51

Strengths: Athleticism/speed (4.15). Moderate bat speed/BA ability. Plate discipline. Range
Weaknesses: Hitting for power. Arm strength
Comments: Fluid athlete with above average speed, contact ability, and plate discipline. OBP was solid at the top of the order and power improved slightly even though he uses the middle and bat plane is flat. Possesses good range, but arm strength is a tick below average. Power output in the PCL doesn't suggest enough upside to start.
2010 MLB Role: Reserve outfielder
Potential Rating: 7B

10. Blake Hawksworth (RHP)…..Age: 27…..6'3", 195#....2001 (28) Bellevue CC (WA).

Team (LG) W-L ERA IP CMD K/9 oppBA
MEM (PCL) 5-4 3.58 73 2.9 7 0.222
MLB 4-0 2.03 40 1.3 4.5 0.209
MLE: 5-4 4.19 73 2.4 5.9 0.245

Strengths: Plus 79-82 MPH change-up and 88-93 MPH four-seam fastball. Command. Arm strength/action. Athletic/projectable frame
Weaknesses: Rotation of 72-74 MPH curveball and 79-81 MPH slider
Comments: Athletic pitcher remained healthy and had a nice professional debut. Repeats ¾ delivery with gives him above average command and ability to change speeds. Fastball has velocity, but stayed straight and curveball was inconsistent. Will have to learn to pitch to contact and limit walks, but things are looking up.
2010 MLB Role: Spot starter/middle reliever
Potential Rating: 8D

11. Allen Craig (OF)…..B/R…T/R…..Age: 25…..6'2", 210#....2006 (8) California.

MEM (PCL) 472 0.322 0.374 0.547 26 3 0.39
MLE: 472 0.267 0.307 0.430 18 2 0.35

Strengths: Strength. Moderate bat speed/moderate power. Arm strength
Weaknesses: Contact/BA ability. Strike zone judgment. Speed. Range. Stiff hands
Comments: Strong/athletic hitter sustained offense with his moderate bat speed, compact swing, and improving plate discipline. Uses whole field and improved ability to turn on pitches. Defense is slightly below average with poor footwork and range, which resulted in a move to the OF despite organizational need at 3B. Bat should play decently in the majors, but STL OF is crowded.
2010 MLB Role: Reserve OF
Potential Rating: 8D

12. Steven Hill (C)…..R/R...T/R…..Age: 24…..5'11", 210#....2007 (13) Stephen F. Austin State.

SPR (TEX) 464 0.282 0.333 0.470 19 1 0.34
MLE: 464 0.236 0.278 0.374 13 1 0.32

Strengths: Strength. Bat speed/moderate power/BA ability. Arm strength
Weaknesses: Plate discipline. Speed/agility. Range
Comments: Strong hitter with good bat speed and plate coverage, giving him power to all fields. Plate discipline is inconsistent, but doesn't seem to affect BA. Plays the game hard with good instincts. Moved behind the plate in 09 and the results were impressive - both offensively and behind the dish. Will not be a plus defender, but the bat might play nicely.
MLB Debut: 2011
Potential Rating: 8D

13. Richard Castillo (RHP)…..Age: 20…..5'11", 165#....2006 NDFA (Venezuela).

Team (LG) W-L ERA IP CMD K/9 oppBA
PMB (FSL) 6-13 3.87 148.2 1.6 6.4 0.270

Strengths: Athletic projectable pitcher. 87-92 fastball with good late movement. Plus curveball. Maturity. Command of fastball.
Weaknesses: Short/slender stature. Concerns about stamina. Change-up needs improvement.
Comments: Short/athletic pitcher had mixed results in the FSL. Generates tremendous pitch movement via quick arm action and dominance improved as his curve became more prominent in game plan. Commands plate and mixes pitches well, and was always poised on the mound, but lacked DOM he showed in 08.
MLB Debut: 2011
Potential Rating: 8D

14. Daniel Descalso (2B)….B/L….T/R….Age: 23….5'10", 190#....2007 (3) UC Davis. (#13 top MLB second base prospect)

SPR (TEX) 288 0.323 0.396 0.531 8 0 0.76
MEM (PCL) 150 0.253 0.327 0.320 2 3 0.76
MLE: 438 0.263 0.320 0.384 7 2 0.77

Strengths: Athleticism. Bat speed/power/BA. Plate discipline. Arm strength
Weaknesses: Speed. Stiff hands
Comments: Offensive-minded college hitter with bat speed and strike zone judgment. Showed improved power and plate discipline in Double-A and could work his way into the Cardinals plans. Hits pitching from both sides and will use whole field. First-step quickness and arm strength are fine for 3B, but stiff hands makes his defense play average.
2010 MLB Role: Utility infielder.
Potential Rating: 8D

15. Adam Ottavino (RHP)…..Age: 24…..2006 (1) Northeastern.

Team (LG) W-L ERA IP CMD K/9 oppBA
MEM (PCL) 7-12 4.75 144 1.5 7.4 0.261
MLE: 7-12 5.38 144 1.3 6.4 0.271

Strengths: 88-93 MPH two and four-seam fastballs and 77-79 MPH slider. Command. Arm strength/action. Drop-and-drive ¾ delivery. Aggressiveness Weaknesses: Rotation of 72-75 MPH curveball. Deception of 78-81 MPH change-up. Getting out LH batters Comments: Projectable pitcher with solid arm strength/action and downhill plane. Continued problems with control and command limit once promising potential. May need to move to a relief role to reach the majors and can still be overpowering with FB/SL combination. Potential is still there if mechanical adjustments can be made. Potential Rating: 8D

Player Potential Rating - a player's upside potential on a scale of 1-10

10 – Hall of Fame-type player
9 – Elite player
8 – Solid regular
7 – Average regular
6 – Platoon player
5 – Major League reserve player
4 - Top minor league player
3 - Average minor league player
2 - Minor league reserve player
1 - Minor league roster filler

Probability Rating - a player's realistic chance of achieving his potential on a scale of A-E

A - 90% probability of reaching potential
B - 70% probability of reaching potential
C - 50% probability of reaching potential
D - 30% probability of reaching potential
E - 10% probability of reaching potential

In Part two, we will analyze the Minor League Analyst's organizational ratings for the National League Central Division clubs with scoring of each in the areas of hitting, pitching, top-end talent, depth and overall and compare them to recent past seasons.

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