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Rookies on the Playoff Teams: St. Louis Cardinals
Here is a look at rookies and prospects who played for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2012.
Matt Adams, 1B: Age 24, minor league masher hit .329/.362/.624 with 18 homers in just 67 games in Triple-A, then .244/.286/.384 in 86 at-bats in the majors, not seizing opportunity to sub for Lance Berkman. Season ended early with elbow injury. He's got some flaws but given his overall track record he deserves more chances. Drafted in 23rd round in 2009 from Slippery Rock.
Bryan Anderson, C: Age 25, former top prospect has stagnated, hit .225/.302/.317 with 36 walks, 89 strikeouts in 347 at-bats for Triple-A Memphis, 2-for-8 in the majors. At this point it is hard to see much of a future, he's been in Triple-A for four years. Drafted in fourth round in 2005 from high school in Simi Valley, California.
Barret Browning, LHP: Age 27, 1.73 ERA with 38/18 K/BB in 42 innings in Triple-A, 5.12 ERA with 11/7 K/BB in 19 major league innings. Held lefties to .184 average and fits LOOGY profile. Originally drafted by Angels in 28th round in 2006 from Florida State University.
Matt Carpenter, 1B-3B-OF: Age 26, hit .295/.366/.466 with 34 walks, 62 strikeouts in 292 at-bats for the Cardinals, overcoming skepticism of scouts. Jack of all trades type with a solid line drive bat. Fits Cardinals profile of a successful college hitter dissed for his lack of tools by traditional scouts but who proves he can hit in the majors. Drafted in the 13th round in 2009 from Texas Christian University.
Adron Chambers, OF: Age 25, hit .319/.405/.403 with 51 walks, 80 strikeouts, 13-for-17 in steals in 357 at-bats in Triple-A, .220/.304/.300 in 50 at-bats in the majors. Line drive hitter without big power, but he can control strike zone, swipe a base, and play defense. Drafted in the 38th round in 2007 from Pensacola Junior College.
Maikel Cleto, RHP: Age 23, posted 5.37 ERA with 66/22 K/BB in 54 innings for Memphis, posted a 7.00 ERA but with a 15/2 K/BB in nine innings for the Cardinals. Can hit 100 MPH and has made some progress with his command, lack of consistent off-speed pitch remains an issue. Signed by the Mets out of the Dominican Republic in 2006.
Tony Cruz, C: Age 26, hit .254/.268/.369 in 122 at-bats serving as reserve catcher. He can hold that job awhile but won't hit enough to start regularly. Drafted in the 26th round in 2007 from Okaloosa-Walton College.
Brandon Dickson, RHP: Age 27, posted 3.63 ERA with 104/27 K/BB in 141 innings for Memphis, 151 hits. Got 6.1 relief innings for the Cards, allowing seven runs, fanning six. Ground ball guy with average stuff, throws strikes, fringe guy who will be on AAA/ML border for several more years. Signed as non-drafted free agent from Tusculum in 2006.
Sam Freeman, LHP: Age 25, posted 1.89 ERA with 39/16 K/BB in 48 innings between Double-A and Triple-A, 5.68 ERA in 19 major league innings with 17/10 K/BB. Live arm, can hit mid-90s, has relief potential. Drafted in 32nd round from University of Kansas in 2008.
Steven Hill, 1B-C-OF: Age 27, minor league slugger, hit .266/.326/.488 with 17 homers, 25 walks, 74 strikeouts in 301 at-bats for Memphis, went 2-for-10 in majors. Aggressive, good power, can play multiple positions. Drafted in 13th round in 2007 from Stephen F. Austin State University.
Ryan Jackson, SS: Age 24, hit .272/.334/.396 with 10 homers, 43 walks, 75 strikeouts in 445 at-bats for Memphis, 2-for-13 in the majors. Defensive specialist with some pop in his bat, has always struck me as a guy who could blossom late. Drafted in the fifth round in 2009 from the University of Miami-Florida.
Joe Kelly, RHP: Age 24, 2.86 ERA with 45/21 K/BB in 72 innings in Triple-A, then 3.53 ERA with 75/36 K/BB in 107 innings in the majors, 112 hits, 1.41 GO/AO. Hits 99 MPH and get some grounders, I can see him succeeding as either a starter or reliever. Drafted in the third round in 2009 from UC-Riverside.
Pete Kozma, SS: Age 24, hit .232/.292/.355 with 11 homers, 41 walks, 74 strikeouts in 448 at-bats for Memphis, .333/.385/.580 in 69 at-bats for St. Louis but with 18 strikeouts. Based on the totality of his track record, he hit over his head in the majors. Good glove, and anything he contributes offensively will increase his playing time. Drafted in the first round in 2007 from high school in Owasso, Oklahoma.
Lance Lynn, RHP: Age 25, went 18-7, 3.78 ERA with 180/64 K/BB in 176 major league inning, 168 hits. The Cardinals could not have asked for more from a rookie pitcher, and I'm glad he was given a full opportunity to prove himself as a starter. As long as he maintains his health, I think he can improve further. Drafted in the supplemental first round in 2008 from the University of Mississippi.
Shelby Miller, RHP: Age 21 (22 next week), struggled early in Triple-A but improved as season progressed, posted 4.74 ERA with 160/50 K/BB in 137 innings, 138 hits. Fanned nine with two walks in 7.2 major league innings. Despite his erratic season, he looked great late in the year and he remains an elite pitching prospect. Drafted in the first round in 2009 from high school in Brownwood, Texas.
Shane Robinson, OF: Age 27, hit .247/.305/.352 with 14 walks, 32 strikeouts in 162 at-bats over 101 major league games. Good defender, some line drive hitting ability but lacks power, will hang around the fringes as a reserve. Drafted in the fifth round in 2006 from Florida State University.
Trevor Rosenthal, RHP: Age 22, 2.97 ERA with 104/42 K/BB in 109 innings between Double-A and Triple-A, posted 2.78 ERA with 25/7 K/BB in 23 major league innings. Up to 100 MPH out of the bullpen, but does he start or relieve in the run? His development over the last year has been outstanding and he is still rookie-eligible entering 2013. Drafted in the 21st round in 2009 from Cowley County Community College in Kansas.
Eduardo Sanchez, RHP: Age 23, suffered with serious command problems, resulting in 6.60 ERA with 13/13 K/BB in 15 major league innings, and 5.86 ERA with 26/21 K/BB in 28 Triple-A innings. Actually threw harder this year than last, but with weaker command. Signed out of Venezuela in 2005.
The Cardinals ran a bunch of rookies through the roster, with David Carpenter (1.6 WAR) and Pete Kozma (1.1 WAR) providing the most benefit on the positional side. Lance Lynn (3.0 WAR) was an extremely valuable component for the pitching staff, with Joe Kelly (1.0) also providing some value. Trevor Rosenthal and Shelby Miller also look like key assets going forward.