In our third installment of the Prospects by Position series we look at a position that has been a weak point of development for the Cardinals (unless you really like Bo Hart) in recent years. Adam Kennedy came up through the Cardinals system and he was a useful 2B for the Angels for a few years, although he was mostly a shortstop until his second year at AAA. Otherwise the Cardinals system has been (and still is) pretty thin at second base. Currently they’ve got a guy in AAA that many of us would like to see playing in St. Louis and then there are a whole bunch of question marks. The rundown of all the second basemen is after the jump.
Jarrett Hoffpauir – Hoffpauir fits into the prototype of Cardinals middle infielders like Eckstein, Miles and Kennedy in that he isn’t the biggest guy around at 5’9″ 165lbs. If you look at his cumulative numbers in the minor leagues, they even match up really well with Eckstein’s numbers. Here are Hoffpauir’s “slash” stats in his 520 minor league games: .287/.371/.407 and here are Eckstein’s numbers over his 473 minor league games: .293/.392/.390. Hoff has a little more pop, while Eckstein had a little more patience. Almost a wash. Leaving it at that, wouldn’t you take the 25 year old version of Eckstein as the starting second baseman for the Cardinals at the league minimum? But it might be even better than that. Eckstein’s numbers are were strongest at A+ and AA and then fell off once he faced better competition at AAA (they were closer to the numbers he put up in the big leagues). Hoffpauir, on the other hand, has had his numbers get better as he has moved up the ladder in the minor leagues. It is not inconceivable that the 25 year old version of Eckstein is Hoffpauir’s floor and the Cardinals could get something even more valuable. If they ever give him the shot.
Brian Barden – The Cardinals haven’t tried him at second base, but he has played in 87 minor league games at the position. He’s working on his fourth full season at AAA, so if he doesn’t get a shot soon, he may never get a shot.
Jose Martinez – Jose wasn’t one of my favorites coming into the season because of his inability to take a walk. There can be a place in a major league lineup for a free-swinger that doesn’t get on base a lot, but those guys usually hit for power (Martinez’ career SLG: .398) or save runs in the field (Martinez is projected to be average at best in the field). Jose is really struggling at Springfield this year, putting up a .237/.280/.316 line.
Casey Rowlett – Casey isn’t really much of a prospect, but he is a useful guy to have in the organization because he can probably play just about anywhere on the field when needed (he’s played every position except catcher and first base in his minor league career). It is extremely unlikely that he’ll ever see the major leagues.
Daniel Descalso – Descalso was the Cardinals third round pick in 2007 out of UC-Davis. He was a third baseman in college and he split time between third and second after signing last year, but this season he has been almost exclusively a second baseman. In college he hit a ton of doubles and was very selective at the plate, but those skills have not translated in the minors to this point. He is still only twenty-one years old, but he’s struggling at Palm Beach this season, putting up a .229/.291/.351 line to this point. It is too early to make a call yet on his prospect status, but I would have liked to seen more from our third round pick by this point.
Donovan Solano – Solano is more of a shortstop (and I’ll discuss him in greater detail when I get there), but he has played some second base and with Kozma coming up and Descalso struggling, who knows? Solano is a year younger than Descalso and, while he hasn’t shown much pop, he has been respectable this year in his slash stats: .291/.350/.371.
Mike Folli – Folli was an UDFA out of the University of Buffalo signed in 2007. He’s bounced around the lower levels over the past two years and hasn’t shown much of anything to suggest that he’s a prospect.
Oliver Marmol – Like Solano, he’s more of a shortstop at this point. Unlike Solano, he hasn’t shown much offensively anywhere he’s gone.
Jose Garcia – Garcia is another guy that has shuffled around the infield a bit in the low minors over the last couple of years. He is only twenty years old, so it is hard to say what the Cardinals have in him. He has put up decent numbers this year at Batavia, but struggled while at Quad Cities.
Ross Oeder – Ross was a 28th round pick in 2007 out of Wright State. He has played sporadically over the last two years and hasn’t played particularly well when given a chance. Casey Rowlett‘s career might be his upside.
Nicholas Peoples – Peoples was a 19th round pick out of Texas in 2007 and has played all of the outfield positions and a handful of games at second. His good average and on base percentage in college has not quite translated to the minors, but he has maintained his lack of power.
Colt Sedbrook – Colt was our 22nd round pick this year out of Arizona. In college he was a solid all-around hitter. His line for his senior year in college was .335/.431/.427 (his slugging percentage was a full 100 points lower than in his junior year). He has played ok thus far in his first 25 games at Batavia with a .267/.389/.344 line to this point. Because he’s already 22, I’d like to see him moved up pretty quickly to see what we’ve got in him.
Brett Lilley – Brett is another guy hit for a good average and high on base percentage in college, but his power is a bit lacking. He was the Cardinals 29th Round pick out of Notre Dame and has the typical size issues of the standard MI in the organization. He has lived up to billing so far at Johnson City with a .309/.440/.338 line over his first 18 games.
Guillermo Toribio – Toribio is a 21 year old that is spending his second year playing all over the infield in rookie ball. Last season he slapped the ball around and took a lot of walks and this year his walks are down a bit and his average is propped up by a .414 BABIP, but it’s really too early to know what we’ve got here.