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St. Louis Cardinals Top 20 PRE-SEASON Prospects in Review

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St. Louis Cardinals Top 20 Pre-Season Prospects in Review

This list was originally published January 4th, 2009. This is a REVIEW of the PRE-SEASON list for 2009, not a revision of that list. This is a REVIEW of the old list. The first grade listed is the OLD GRADE.

1) Colby Rasmus, OF, Grade A-: Hitting .246/.304/.412 for the Cardinals. He's just scratching the surface and I think he's going to be excellent in the medium and long runs.

2) Brett Wallace, 3B, Grade A-: Traded to Oakland, hitting a combined .285/.360/.426 this year between Double-A  and Triple-A. Power production has been less than expected, but I still believe in his bat overall.

3) Chris Perez, RHP, Grade B+:  4.17 ERA with 44/20 K/BB in 37 major league innings. Traded to Indians. Could still be a closer if he can sharpen his command a bit more.

4) Daryl Jones, OF, Grade B: Hitting .283/.367/.376 for Double-A Springfield. Power has disappeared this year, reducing his stock somewhat though tools and youth still positives.

5) Jess Todd, RHP, Grade B-: 2.04 ERA with 66/13 K/BB in 53 innings, 40 hits in Triple-A. Traded to Indians. Nice relief combination with Perez.

6) Jon Jay, OF, Grade B-: Hitting .266/.329/.363 with 17 steals in Triple-A. BABIP is lower this year, and a lot of his value is tied up in batting average.

7) Jason Motte, RHP, Grade C+: 5.67 ERA with 34/18 K/BB in 40 innings in the major league pen. He is capable of better.

8) Bryan Anderson, C, Grade C+: Hitting .243/.293/.399 in Triple-A. I was worried about Sean Burroughs Disease and it looks like that could be happening here. Season ended early due to shoulder surgery.

9) Mitchell Boggs, RHP, Grade C+: 4.83 ERA with 58/32 K/BB in 76 innings in Triple-A, but 3.29 ERA with 25/16 K/BB in 27 major league innings. Good arm, but command remains wobbly and that ERA is better than the components, which won't last.

10) Jamie Garcia, LHP, Grade C+: Rehabbing from Tommy John.

11) Pete Kozma, SS, Grade C+: Hitting .215/.287/.286 for Springfield, struggling with Double-A transition. Lack of power is hampering him. Still young enough to improve.

12) David Freese, 3B,Grade C+: Hitting .290/.356/.439 in Triple-A, coming back from injury. Could still be a good player.

13) Adam Reifer, RHP, Grade C+: 5.03 ERA with 43/19 K/BB in 39 innings for Class A Palm Beach, 15 saves. Still has good K/IP ratio, but command hasn't been great and he's giving up a lot more hits this year.

14) Allen Craig, 3B, Grade C+: Hitting .309/.364/.513 in Triple-A. Continues to mash the ball.

15) Lance Lynn, RHP, Grade C+: 3.13 ERA with 83/35 K/BB in 104 innings in Double-A. Living up to expectations so far.

16) Niko Vasquez, SS, Grade C+: Ugh....197/.295/.250 for Quad Cities, .205/.297/.280 for Batavia in the NY-P. Totally failing to live up to expectations following strong '08 debut.

17) Clayton Mortensen, RHP, Grade C+: 4.11 ERA with 87/41 K/BB in 116 innings in Triple-A. Traded to Oakland. Still looks like inning-eater type.

18) Francisco Samuel, RHP, Grade C+: 5.83 ERA with 50/40 K/BB in 42 innings in Double-A, 32 hits, 22 saves. Strong K/IP and low hit rate demonstrate good stuff, but command has been poor.

19) Fernando Salas, RHP, Grade C+: 6.59 ERA with 9/6 K/BB in 14 innings after being promoted to Triple-A. Overall numbers at three levels are 4.85, 17/8 K/BB in 26 innings. Undistinguished performance after excellent numbers in Double-A last year.

20) Richard Castillo, RHP, Grade C+: 4.17 ERA with 82/59 K/BB in 119 innings, 131 hits in the Florida State League. Sleeper pick not really impressing at this point.

21) Deryk Hooker, RHP, Grade C+:  4.01 ERA with 36/14 K/BB in 43 innings, 34 hits in the New York-Penn League. Mediocre performance, still very young.

22) Roberto De La Cruz, 3B, Grade C+: Tools monster hitting .202/.250/.250 in the Gulf Coast League. Cost $1.1 million, and so far is failing to live up to reputation as a player with offensive polish. Very young of course at age 17.

23) Shane Peterson, OF, Grade C+: Traded to Oakland. Hitting combined .299/.365/.434 on the season between Palm Beach, Springfield, and Midland. Showing some speed with 12 swipes in 13 attempts but not a ton of power.

24) P.J. Walters, RHP, Grade C+: 4.24 ERA with 91/29 K/BB in 91 innings in Triple-A, has a 9.56 ERA in the majors with a 14/9 K/BB in 16 innings, 21 hits, and a 1.62 GO/AO. Strikeout/ground ball combination is interesting.

Trades have reduced the talent depth in the system this year and the 2010 list will look a lot different than this one. Large mass of Grade C+ types producing mixed results, which is to be expected. Lynn looks like I underrated him a lot, while I overrated Jay and Reifer. I'm growing increasingly concerned about the bats of Kozma and Anderson.