In what appears to me to be a bit of a down year for the Texas League, four Cardinal prospects ranked in Baseball America’s top twenty. Jess Todd ranked 7th, Daryl Jones 13th, Jon Jay 16th, and Fernando Salas 18th.
For whatever hand-wringing we were doing about Todd’s velocity, BA’s scouting report has him topping at 94. They seem to be fairly sold on him becoming a starting pitcher in the big leagues despite his size and they praise his strike-throwing ability and how he does a good job of keeping the ball down. Four pitch mix with fastball, slider, sinker, and a “squirrely” circle change. Todd was the third starting pitcher in the top twenty, with Vin Mazzaro (A’s) and Daniel Cortes (Royals) ranking just ahead of him.
Jones was omitted from the FSL top twenty, but again he came in 13th overall here. They praise the strides he has made in patience, power and base-stealing ability, but knock him for having a noodle of an arm and lack of instincts to play center field.
What BA liked about Jon Jay is his hands and ability to get the bat through the zone quickly, along with his solid center field defense. They again bring up his unorthodox approach but don’t seem to be concerned. With Colby and Ankiel ahead of him in the depth chart, he may need to move over to left field, where his power (or lack thereof) doesn’t profile well.
I was somewhat pleasantly surprised to see Salas at the back of the list, but I think I like Allen Craig better as a prospect. They say Salas gets by more by being a strike thrower then by being overpowering, although with his short arm delivery his 91-92 MPH fastball can sneak up on hitters. His curve is also an effective weapon, but certainly not isn’t a devastating pitch. He ranked sandwiched between Kevin Jepsen, who is on the Angels playoff roster, and Casey Weathers, the 8th overall pick in 2007.
While I’ve belly ached about some of the rankings this year, I do look forward to reading them as they come out. Agree or disagree with them, they do get us talking.