Not speaking for the whole FR crew, just myself.
Getting right down to it, I’ll go 1-17. 17 because Miller makes the list in spite of still being unsigned (still too early to worry about that) and one of these guys is likely a future Indian.
- Brett Wallace – Seems to have made the adjustment to Triple-A.Would like to see more in the power department, but the whole best pure hitter of the ’08 draft tag seems to be sticking well. Caveats about his defense aside, easy #1 for me.
- Shelby Miller – Assuming he signs. I’m less worried about his secondary pitches than some, he has breaking stuff, he just abandoned it in order to impress scouts with gun readings. High risk, very high reward.
- Daryl Jones – Hello people, scouts, gentleman and miscreants. He’s not been even close to 100% all year, in spite of a recent slump, he still looks like a future lead-off hitter with good defense. Not prototypical power from a corner guy, but Colby in center sort of cancels that out.
- Wagner Mateo – Headline maker because of the bonus. Money talks, and it says the Cardinals are big believers in the bat.
- Clayton Mortensen – Lanky sinker-baller with a three pitch mix. Performing nicely, with a 4.18 tRA* in Triple-A.
- Jaime Garcia – Yet to see if he can come back successfully from Tommy John, but the success rate is mostly good. For me, Garcia and Mortensen are the only pitchers in the system that have some #3 upside. Sign, Shelby, sign.
- Daniel Descalso – Has taken a big step up as a hitter and from what I gather, scouts believe in he’ll be average defender or a tad better at 2B.
- Jess Todd – I still can’t get his “eh” Futures Game appearance from last year out of my head, no matter how hard I try, but it’s just too hard for me to argue with numbers — 3.27 MLE FIP. Only Ryan Franklin has better FIP in the big club’s bullpen. I keep flip-flopping on Todd, I admit it.
- Lance Lynn – Big Hoss looks to be LAIM. League Average Innings Muncher. Nothing wrong with that. Minor league equivalent FIP is 4.79, which makes his VOTC (Value over the Colonel) about half a win.* *not quite.
- Pete Kozma – It’s the 1st rounder that everyone loves to hate. He’s the homely infielder who doesn’t do anything really well but play steady defense, and that has come into question due to high error totals. Errors are overrated. He still has plenty of time to develop, and shortstops don’t have to be the world’s greatest hitter to be above average. Questionable rush-job by the FO to put him in AA, but for what it’s worth, when you neutralize his stats for luck/park at MinorLeagueSplits.com, you get a .282/.340/.382 line. If he can eventually hit that well in the majors, and be a +5-+10 run defender, then you have a very valuable player. Perfect world scenario, I know, but it seems semi-possible.
- Adam Reifer – Victim of .414 BABIP. Shouldn’t be getting hit this much with a 70 grade fastball/60-70 slider, peripherals close to the same as last season. (3.38 FIP in ’08, 3.38 FIP in ’09. Weird.) Man-crushes die hard.
- Francisco Samuel – Stuff on par with Reifer’s, has stuff to close in big leagues now, but seems to have no idea where the ball is going once it leaves his hand. 19% BB/PA.
- Eduardo Sanchez – Mid-nineties heat with a nasty breaking ball. Upside isn’t quite the same as Samuel’s or Reifer’s but has very good idea where ball is going – 6.7% BB/PA.
- Roberto de la Cruz – Terrible, terrible start in the GCL after getting talked up by Luhnow and Co. about possibly starting at Johnson City. That aside, we’re talking about a 17-year old that was considered the best pure hitter out of the Dominican last year. Again, bonus $ talks at this stage, for me at least.
- Robert Stock – Thought to be a slam dunk 1st rounder at just 15 years old, graduated early to go to USC and bat conked out. Just 19, and hitting just fine in the Appy. .302/.434/.465. Still can pitch should bat stall again.
- Tyler Henley – Can field well at all three outfield positions, makes excellent contact.
- Shane Peterson – Cut down on the K’s, but what happened to the walks? OBP was a big reason he was drafted in the 2nd round (.506+ in college) With odd swing, questionable power seems sort of “tweenerish”, but the end results have been good so far.
HM (in no particular order): David Kopp, Adam Ottavino, Bryan Anderson, Jon Jay, Aaron Luna, Joe Kelly, Scott Bittle, Ryan Jackson, Tyler Norrick, Blake King, Charlie Cutler.
Kopp has been hurt. Ottavino could benefit a change of roles. Anderson still is young and it’s not his fault the organization prefers no-hit catchers. Kelly could be another Reifer. Bittle can’t stay healthy but has an absolutely sick cutter. Norrick is striking guys out at a furious pace since getting moved to the ‘pen and could be more than just a LOOGY. Jackson has the whole Adam Everett thing working for him. King seems to be slowly figuring things out. Aaron Luna is my new favorite heart-throb. Looks like a TTO second-sacker, does have a ways go defensively at the keystone, and has some holes in his swing, but pretty tremendous power — .283 ISO…in Palm Beach!
Debate away, but dissension with these rankings only reveals your ignorance. Unlike other prospect rankings, this one completely objective and bias free.