St. Louis Cardinals Top-15 Prospects of 2009, No’s 6 – 15
For an overview of the process used to grade players, the factors used to determine where a player ranks, and other frequently asked questions, please click here. All grades are subject to change based on any new information I receive before the start of the season. If you disagree, you can make your case by contacting me or you can make a comment below at the bottom of the page.
You can find a full listing of each team’s top prospect list in the Top Prospect List Archive Page. Also, each team will have their Team Page published when their top prospect list becomes available. Team pages include team rosters, stats, payroll and front office information, past Baseball-Intellect articles related to that team, and links to some of the team’s best fan sites. We round out the NL Central with reports on prospects 6 – 15 in the St. Louis Cardinals organization…
Also See: St. Louis Cardinals, Prospects 1 – 5
6. Jess Todd | RHP | Triple-A Memphis | Age – 23 | Drafted – Round 2 (82), 2007
Click here to read an in-depth take on Todd…
7. Jaime Garcia | LHP | Triple-A Memphis | Age – 22 | Drafted – Round 22, 2005
Body Type – More of a small and somewhat stockier pitcher
Fastball – low – mid 90′s with late sink…spots to both sides of the plate when he’s going well, but struggles to command it when he’s not. The pitch has a tendency to rise on him and he gets hit hard when he leaves it up and center
Curveball – hard, late breaking pitch generates plenty of swings and misses though he has to work on being able to throw it for strikes
Change-Up – good feel for the pitch, projects out to be a major league average pitch
Garcia would have rated higher on this list — possibly as high as No. 3 or No. 4 overall — had it not been for him succumbing to Tommy John surgery last August.
When he’s healthy, Garcia has the ability to miss bats and generate a high percentage of ground balls. He’s not as consistent with his command and control, but he gets himself out of trouble by getting double plays at the right time.
Garcia has had problems getting left handed hitters out. His command suffers, his GB% drops, and his HR-rate rises. It’s something he will have to improve going forward.
*Credit to Minor League Baseball
Garcia’s mechanics are interesting. He generates an excellent amount of separation between his hips and torso, and displays really good scapular loading. Where it gets sketchy is when the arm is to be externally rotated, the forearm bounce (where it looks as if the forearm is laying down) occurs behind his head. My guess is that causes extra stress to be put on the elbow and along with his major propensity for throwing curveballs, this may have contributed to Garcia’s injury.
Either way, Garcia will look to return by the end of next year with an eye on the Cardinals’ rotation in 2010.
Best Case Outcome – Borderline No. 3 starter
More Likely Outcome – No. 4 starter…could potentially thrive in a bullpen role as well
8. Jon Jay | OF | B – L | Triple-A Memphis | Age – 24 | Drafted – Round 2 (74), 2006
Body Type – squatty type of build
Jay bounced back after a down last year in which he battled injuries. He showed improvement in power and excellent plate discipline, making consistent contact and showing his ability to get on base.
He doesn’t have any plus tools but he brings a lot to the table. He can play all three outfield spots, has solid-average speed and good instincts on the base paths.
He has an unusual set-up at the plate and I think readers should check out a piece done by Jeff Albert for Viva El Birdos, that breaks down Jay’s swing.
Best Case Outcome – Average everyday center fielder…this role won’t be with the Cardinals, however
More Likely Outcome – Good 4th outfield type
9. Bryan Anderson | C | B – L | Triple-A Memphis | Age – 22 | Drafted – Round 4, 2005
Body Type – average build, not all that big
For years scouts have predicted Anderson’s power will eventually come. Estimates of his potential power have dropped in each successive year the power has not manifested itself. Scouts still think his power will come, but they now say it projects to be just gap power.
Anderson uses a line drive-oriented stroke that is conducive to putting balls in the air, but he’s also a very handsy hitter as he lets his hands get out in front, which is not conducive to power.
Just because he likely won’t hit for anything more than gap power, Anderson can still be a useful player. He should be able to hit for at least a decent average, especially if he’s able to make consistent contact. He walked a lot more last year than in season’s past and shows a good understanding of the strike zone.
Anderson is a solid receiver at the plate and does well blocking balls in the dirt. While he doesn’t have the strongest arm in the world, his footwork, accuracy, and quick release make up for it. He’s also praised for his leadership and game calling abilities.
Best Case Outcome – Average everyday catcher
More Likely Outcome – Below average offensive everyday catcher
10. Adam Reifer | RHP | Batavia (SS) | Age – 22 | Drafted – Round 11, 2007
Reifer is a major sleeper candidate for 2009 and could rocket up this list with another successful season. His upside is limited because he’s strictly a reliever, but he’s got big time stuff including a fastball that reaches the mid – upper 90′s and a late, hard breaking slider. He’ll also throw a change-up into the mix every once in a while.
Even though his control needs work, Reifer is aggressive, going right after hitters. His bulldog mentality is well-suited for the bullpen, which is actually where he prefers to be anyway.
Reifer is an excellent athlete and he’s been able to make some mechanical adjustments to both increase velocity and lessen his overall risk of injury. The clips below are missing frames, which is why there is a big difference between the starting points. They are not synchronized to release, clearly. Reifer’s draft video is on the left and the 2008 version is on the right:
First thing he did was get rid of the tall-and-fall mechanics. Instead of pausing at his balance point (where the knee reaches its uppermost point) and then falling toward home plate, he’s now drifting through his balance point. To allow his body to drift, he brings his leg up in a more circular fashion…he lifts the leg and brings it close to his body before dropping the leg and then extending for a very long stride.
Two other big mechanical changes: he’s not throwing across his body any longer and he’s cleaned up his front side mechanics.
Reifer adjusted the path of his stride to land more on his glove side. As for the front side mechanics, Reifer kept the glove more out in front of his chest rather than down by his side, next to his hips. I’ve explained the benefits of this before, but to sum it up, proper front side mechanics make it easier to keep the front shoulder closed (good for control/command), get better extension on your pitches (better deception), and give the arm a longer room to decelerate (better for injury prevention). He’s also not landing as stiffly as he once was.
Reifer could move very, very quickly if he’s able to keep his mechanics in order and stay healthy.
Best Case Outcome – Closer
More Likely Outcome – Set-up man with a power arm
11. Niko Vasquez | SS | B – R | Low-A Quad Cities | Age – 20 | Drafted – Round 3 , 2008
Vasquez is another player I compiled a scouting report on earlier in the Summer. Lots of diverging opinions on the young shortstop, but he plays a premium defensive position, has considerable offensive upside, and put up very good numbers in rookie ball. The contrarian in me says he may have to move off of shortstop to second or third base, he struggled upon his promotion to a better league, and he has a couple of worrisome peripherals. But as a whole, there is a lot to like about Vasquez and at least for now, I’m on the bandwagon.
Grade – C+
ETA – 2013
12. Peter Kozma | SS | B – R | Low-A Quad Cities | Age – 21 | Drafted – Round 1 (18), 2007
Kozma is a light hitting shortstop with a solid glove that should carry him as at least a utility fielder to the big league level. His power is below average and he’s not a physically big player. His swing is handsy and not conducive to power though his bat does stay in the hitting zone for a long period of time, which should help his contact rate. If there is one thing at the plate that he can hang his hat on is the ability to work the count and take a walk. That alone will help him greatly as he reaches higher levels of competition.
I don’t think he has enough thunder in the bat to make an impact offensively. He could be a solid utility player down the road.
Grade – C+
ETA – Late 2011
13. Allen Craig | 3b | B – R | Double-A Springfield | Age – 24 | Drafted – Round 8, 2006
Craig is really in a bind because he’s behind Cardinals starter Troy Glaus, top prospect Brett Wallace, and good prospect David Freese. He’s also an older prospect and while he was productive last year, he didn’t do enough to really stand out as a player.
Craig does a lot of things pretty well, but nothing great. He’s solid at making contact, he’ll take a walk, but he’s not an on-base machine (it’s worth noting he’s improve in this regard over the past couple of years) . He makes solid contact, but it’s not consistently hard, and his best tool (power) grades out as slightly above average at best. He’s an older prospect and will have to keep hitting to get a legit chance to carve out a role at the major league level. I think he’ll carve out a role in this league as a four-corners back-up getting maybe 350 ABs a year.
Grade – C+
ETA – 2009
14. Lance Lynn | RHP | Low-A Quad Cities | Age – 21 | Drafted – Round 1A (39), 2008
I profiled Lynn last Summer, which you can read here. He pitched just 26 professional innings last season and more than held his own. He could move quickly given his advanced feel for pitching and projects as a potential No. 4 starter.
Grade – C+
ETA – 2011
15. Mitchell Boggs | RHP | Triple-A Memphis | Age – 25 | Drafted – Round 5, 2005
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Other C+ Prospects (in no particular order): Fernando Salas (middle reliever with excellent peripherals), Deryk Hooker (right handed pitcher is a major sleeper for next year), Clayton Mortensen (unimpressed the couple of times I saw him…probably makes for a better middle reliever), PJ Walters (overachiever could profile as swing man), Richard Castillo (solid middle relief prospect)
Honorable Mentions (in no particular order): Anthony Ferrara, Aaron Luna, Francisco Samuel, Roberto De La Cruz, Jermaine Curtis, Shane Peterson, Scott Gorgen, Adam Ottavino, Tyler Henley, David Kopp, Tyler Herron
Also See: St. Louis Cardinals Team Page
Up Next: Los Angeles Angels, Prospects 1 – 5
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