Cardinals Young Pups Report – August

The Cards newest member to the Organization is their 2nd Round Pick Charlie Tilson who signed at the deadline on August 15th for well over two times the recommended slot.  He is one of the more exciting picks we made in the 2011 Draft.  Welcome to the Cards Organization young man!

As the Minor League seasons are coming down the home stretch for 2011 Cards fans have to be very pleased with our system overall.  We have had a very few major disappointments and so many guys that have taken a huge step forward.  For the ranking nerds it is highly likely that the Cards system will be a Top 10 system going into 2012 which is a huge jump forward.  Let’s highlight a few of the guys on both ends of the spectrum.

The Bad:

1)  Seth Blair – RHP – The biggest disappointment in the 2011 season has to be Seth Blair and his inability to show any level of control of his pitches.  As a high draft pick you are have some many eyes on you at all times.  Blair has just over 74IP and a astounding 61BB, 11WP and 14HBP to go along with his over 5 ERA.  If you want to have a glass is half full approach then you will look at his 67K’s and convince yourself that with all the BB, WP and HBP it is remarkable he only has a 5 ERA.  Reality is he has had a TERRIBLE year.

2)  Adam Reifer – RHP – Reifer had a breakthrough 2010 campaign and showing why so many Cards prospect nerds were so high on his stuff.  Unfortunately he only had the opportunity to pitch 6+ innings in 2011 before injuring his knee and having season ending surgery.  In a year our bullpen REALLY needed some help it would have been great to have him as an option mid-year.

3)  Deryk Hooker – RHP – After a dynamite 2010 where Hooker had an ERA of just under 3 and over a K/IP he follows that up with a terrible 2011 season.  He has given up way too many hits and given up too many free passes.  That combine has lead to just under a 5.50 ERA and only 1 win.  To his credit injuries have played a part in his bad season.  I had him as being right behind Shelby Miller in the predictions of the Cards Minor League Pitcher of the Year award for 2011…DOH!

The Good:

1)  Shelby Miller/Carlos Martinez – RHP’s – Its official:  These guys are REALLY good!  Yes Yes…Miller is suspended for some event that happened at an apartment with an altercation and alcohol and Martinez is showing signs of wearing down.  But the fact remains what these guys have done on the field is getting them props throughout the industry.  The future is bright for both of these guys.

2)  Oscar Taveras – OF – The only thing about Oscar’s season that hasn’t been outstanding was 2 stints on the DL.  Other than that all he does is hit, hit and hit some more.  By far the most exciting hitting prospect in the Cards system as he can play all 3 OF positions and reports are saying he is always squaring up the ball.  I can’t wait to see him next year against better competition.

3)  Zack Cox – 3B – All eyes have been on Cox this year and he has shown great consistency.  Believers will say there is more power in there somewhere to make his .300+ avg look even better as he plays adequate 3B.  Doubters will say he will be a good singles and doubles hitter and be no better than a below avg defender at 3rd.  I sit somewhere in the middle as I think more power will come but not a ton (15-20 HR power at most).  But if he hits .320 with 15 bombs and 35 doubles and plays an adequate 3B isn’t that quite attractive?

4)  Matt Adams – 1B – All he does is hit and hit for power all day long.  He is definitely only a 1B so his value will hinge a lot on the Pujols situation in the offseason but worst case scenario we have a very good trading chip.  .316 AVG, 22 Doubles, 28 Bombs and 90 RBI’s….Any questions?

5)  Maikel Cleto – RHP – A guy I still see as a back of the bully type he is trying to prove me wrong.  Less than 3.50 ERA and a K/IP is quite promising.  He is still walking way too many for my liking though.

6)  Ryan Jackson – SS – Why am I naming a .278 hitter with 10 bombs and less than a .340 OBP in “The Good” section?  I’m glad you asked!  2 things:  1st the Cards have not had a legit SS prospect in quite some time.  2nd so many people including myself thought he had no chance of hitting enough in the upper minors to be anything more than a utility player.  Jackson is a super smooth fielding SS and so if he can hit .280 and get 30+ doubles and 10 HR’s a year I will take that every year.

7)  Kolten Wong – 2B – The Cards 2011 1st Rd pick has shown that his scouting report leading up to the draft might have been underselling his hit tool a touch.  In limited time in pro ball he has put up a .327 AVG with 13 Doubles.  He could be a nice MI tandem with Jackson moving through our system.

8)  Trevor Rosenthal – RHP – Rosenthal is a Top 5 pitching prospect in our system with the season he has had.  A low 3 ERA with well over a K/IP to go along with 3.6 K:BB Ratio which is remarkable.  Some say they see him moving to the pen by the time he hits the majors…I disagree and I think next year he will show that against much better competition.


I could go on and on about other really good season by our Young Pups but I think you get the point.  With so many players taking such a step forward and a pretty good 2011 Draft Class there is plenty to be excited about in our system.  Let’s hope everyone keeps progressing!