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St. Louis Cardinals Top 20 Prospect List

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Three Cardinals
(Anthony Reyes photo by AP)

  1. Anthony Reyes, RHP, B+
  2. Chris Lambert, RHP, B
  3. Cody Haerther, OF, B
  4. Brad Thompson, RHP, B-
  5. Adam Wainwright, RHP, B-
  6. Stuart Pomeranz, RHP, B-
  7. Donnie Smith, RHP, B-
  8. Blake Hawksworth, RHP, C+
  9. John Gall, 1B, C+
  10. Brennan Ryan, SS, C+
  11. Chris Duncan, 1B, C+ (grade change)
  12. Mike Ferris, 1B, C+
  13. Justin Garza, RHP, C+
  14. Eric Haberer, LHP, C+
  15. John Nelson, SS, C+
  16. Mark Worrell, RHP, C+
  17. Calvin Hayes, 2B, C+
  18. Skip Schumaker, OF, C
  19. Jarrett Hoffpauir, 2B, C
  20. Mike Parisi, RHP, C
A weak system. It would look better if Daric Barton were still around, and there is potential for quick improvement early in 2005. Brad Thompson, Adam Wainwright, and Blake Hawksworth all have the ability to be B+ prospects, if not A-. I've rated Wainwright in particular among the best pitching prospects in the game at times. But all three of them have serious questions about their health. If their arms are OK, they could all be fine pitchers, but it is a big IF.

Anthony Reyes is the flip side of that: he spent three years suffering from assorted arm woes in college, but was finally healthy last year and pitched great.

Stuart Pomeranz is only 20 years old, but made progress with his command last summer and has always had a good arm. I see him as a breakthrough candidate in '05. Donnie Smith is a fastball/slider pitcher who posted a 41/5 K/BB in his first 46 pro innings last summer.
Justin Garza and Mark Worrell are relief prospects who have live arms and have pitched well at the A-ball level. Eric Haberer and Mike Parisi, college pitchers from the '04 class, also have good fastballs but will have to show their command is up-to-snuff.

Hitting is very thin. With Daric Barton traded, the Cards don't have anyone who is a sure-fire impact hitter. Cody Haerther is overlooked and has a career average of .322 in 149 games at the A-ball level, but has yet to develop much power. Brennan Ryan is similar: he's hit .318 in 158 career games and has some defensive value, but lacks home run pop. John Gall is a Triple-A favorite looking to be the next Ron Coomer. John Nelson has a very strong shortstop arm, but an erratic bat. Skip Schumaker is another guy who hits for average and can field, but doesn't have a big thumping bat, projecting as a reserve outfielder. Calvin Hayes and Jarrett Hoffpauir provide some middle infield depth, but both are a long way from being ready to help at the major league level. University of Miami-Ohio slugger Mike Ferris was devastating in college ball, but hit just .199 with the wooden bat in the New York-Penn League.

A big wild card is Chris Duncan. I gave him a Grade C in my book, but am bumping him up to C+. His track record is the epitome of erratic. He had his best pro season last year, hitting .289 with 16 homers, .393 OBP, .473 SLG in Double-A at age 23. The previous year, he'd hit just .254 with 2 homers in Class A. The Cards believe he made real progress, and he's young enough that it could be true, but I want to see more.