The Surprise Rafters will open their Arizona Fall League play this week on October 12th. The team features 8 Cardinals prospects:
- Brian Broderick
- Ramon Delgado
- Blake King
- Jordan Swagerty
- Tony Cruz
- Zach Cox
- Pete Kozma
- Adron Chambers
Obviously the big name there is Zach Cox as his performance in the AFL could have a direct impact on where he starts his 2011 play. Keep an eye on Brian Broderick and whether his one-dimensional pitching repertoire can handle more talented hitters. Jordan Swagerty also gets his first taste of professional baseball. Swagerty will be blogging about his experience here.
We’ve also got a slew of Baseball America Top 20 Rankings to catch up on. The first is the Appy League featuring the Cardinals Johnson City affiliate.
- Oscar Taveras, #4
- Cody Stanley, #14
From the chat about the Appy League Top 20, Matt Eddy had some comments on both Taveras:
More concerned with his funky hitting mechanics and probable move to right field, but I’ll give Taveras a pass for his walk rate this season.
If he can become just an average catcher, he could have a long career in the big leagues.
Those are just a taste of the chat (subscribers only) but the Stanley conversation consistently feels like the same one we’ve had since 2005 about Bryan Anderson. Unless the Cardinals change their predilection for great defensive catchers with little consideration for their offense, Cody Stanley could become a frustrating point of contention for fans. I’m getting ahead of myself though.
For the NY-Penn Leauge, only one player makes the list:
- Nick Longmire, #8
From the NY-Penn Leauge chat, Aaron Fitt name dropped Justin Edwards (not positive), Zach Russell (positive but very raw) and John Gast:
He has a 50 or 55 fastball and showed good feel for his changeup this summer, but I’m not as sold on the curveball or the projection.
Personally, I’m a believer in Nick Longmire. I’m encouraged by the reports on his centerfield defense and I think concerns about his arm strength are overblown. (I generally find outfielder arm strength to be overvalued.) He’s got power but he needs to remain patient at the plate and not go after bad pitches. Of the short season position players, Longmire might be tops on my list.
The Midwest League is home to the Cardinals current crown jewel of the minor league system: Shelby Miller. He didn’t disappoint on BA’s Top 20 List for the Midwest League:
- Shelby Miller, #2
Jim Callis has some words about a recent topic here, Matt Adams, in his MWL chat:
He has a legitimate bat but the rest of his tools are well below-average. I think he can hit his way to the majors, but probably won’t hit enough to be a regular.
The Cardinal who got the most mentions was Kevin Thomas. He sat at 90-92, although he touched 94 while showing a nice sinker he could work to both sides of the plate. But he needs to improve his command and refine his secondary pitches.
Other names that come up include Casey Mulligan, Niko Vasquez and Tommy Pham.
Kevin Goldstein takes a look back at his 2010 Top 11 lists and notes that “omitting Matt Carpenter was a flat-out mistake.”