Cardinal70 recently asked me to participate in the latest “United Cardinal Blogger” collaboration, a project that I could not say no to. The project: Name your Top 7 Prospects, as inspired by our esteemed beat writer Mr. Derrick Goold. The regular minor league season just finished and it seems like it wasn’t long ago we were talking draft, and here we are already ranking players. Time flies.
NOTE: This is NOT our official list that we will be rolling out later. This is more or less my off the cuff rankings as things stand at the moment, and it’s still pretty fluid right now.
1. Colby Rasmus – Rough season or not, Colby’s tools have not gone anywhere. As rough as his start was, Colby finally started looking like the Razzle of old when he hit .333/.441/.535 for the month of June and was named to the Olympic national team, only to miss Beijing due to a sprained right knee. It was a rough season, but Colby still is a monstrous talent. As excited as I am about his offense, I am also pretty darn excited about his defense.
2. Brett Wallace – I’m getting about as sick about hearing about his defense (or lack thereof) as I am hearing the television talking heads gab about Sarah Palin. When you project to hit .300/.400/.520+ at the major league level, you can afford to be a minus ten at the hot corner. He is a lot more athletic than his pear shape dictates, and as I said, the fact that he can rake causes me to overlook the defensive liabilities.
3. Chris Perez -He’s had a few hiccups this year, but that’s not completely unexpected. Should continue to be a solid MLB closer…er, Duke of the Ninth.
4. Daryl Jones – If Jones played on an East Coast team, would prospect watchers be more excited about him? Think about how nuts people went over Austin Jackson last year when he turned his tantalizing tools into game usable skills. I’m not saying their breakouts are perfectly comparable, as Jones played mostly at the High A level, but Jones carried over his success in Double A. Hit a cumulative .316/.407/.483 line with 23 steals and profiles as a 20-20 outfielder in the majors.
5. Bryan Anderson – Young catchers can tire, and that is what I think happened to Anderson. He hit .388/.412/.525 in AA and was promoted in late April to Triple A. Before the all-star break in Memphis he hit .320/.396/.433; the second half: .212/.317/.282. Hopefully he grows in stamina and stops the trend of having second half swoons. What catches my eye is how Anderson considerably improved his defense. In 2006 he allowed 17 passed balls, in ’07 he allowed 15, this past season only ten. He also caught 37.6% of would be basestealers, up from 26.8% last season. Matheny factor?
And here is where it gets dicey, at least for me, anyway. Garcia would have been my number five had it not been for him needing Tommy John. Now I’m not sure where to put him, being he will be of no use to the club until 2010.
6. Jason Motte – All I have seen so far is a pretty intimidating force on the mound, and from what little I’ve seen, his secondary stuff is not as bad as advertised, although I did read somewhere hearing that he had been developing a hard slider/cutter pitch. Secondary stuff or no, the man throws freakishly hard. He and Perez look to be a pretty nice 1-2 punch in the back of the bullpen, and it’s hard for me not to root for a guy who not long ago was struggling to hit as a catcher.
7. Niko Vasquez – It is interesting to see Vasquez leap over Kozma despite being picked in the third round and Kozma in the first last year. I sort of question myself putting Vasquez over Kozma here. Vasquez had a better pro debut than Kozma; for that matter he had a better pro debut than a lot of players drafted much higher than himself. I guess when I boil it all down, if you would ask me to take the less athletic SS with the power bat or the solid athlete with the ability to handle the bat but not hit for much power, I’d be a more apt to take the slugger.
Near misses: Todd, Kozma, Garcia. Todd is about as a near of a miss as I can think of given his great season.
Head on over to some of the other Cardinal blogs to read and discuss their rankings:
Be sure to tune into Bird Land later for his take on the project.