Its that time again gang. Last year I bombed pretty bad on a number predictions but that doesn’t scare me away from doing it again! Who will win the World Series? Who will take home the Cy Young Awards? Who do the ROY honors go to? Without further ado…
In addition to the 40 man roster, major league teams typically invite other players in their organization to participate in Spring Training as non-roster invites. The Cardinals have invited 19 additional players to Jupiter. The 2011 list includes 10 pitchers, 5 catchers, 4 infielders, and no outfielders.
Teams also usually invite a large number of catchers from the organization because they have a lot of pitchers needing to get their work in.
The Cardinals have also invited RHP Carlos Martinez and OF Oscar Taveras along with OF Lance Jeffries, OF C.J. McElroy, OF Charlie Tilson, and IF Kenny Peoples-Wall to report early for major league camp.
Pitchers: LHP John Gast, LHP Nick Greenwood, RHP Tyrell Jenkins, RHP Joe Kelly, RHP Victor Marte, RHP Shelby Miller, RHP Trevor Rosenthal, LHP Kevin Siegrist, RHP Jordan Swagerty, and LHP R.J. Swindle.
The UCB is doing a Top 7 Prospect listing so I thought I would throw in my 2 cents. The Cards prospects have taken a big step forward this year with so many prospects taking a big step forward and some jumping from the lower minors to AA and beyond. Narrowing down to the Top 7 wasn’t easy and to me there can be an major argument for many players from #5-7. I will talk about my ranking philosophy, explain my Tier system and then get into my prospect ranking.
Prospect Ranking Philosophy
I have always been someone that values upside over readiness but not to the extreme. There is a lot to be said for producing in the upper minors. I take a look at all the tools, performance, video, respected analyst and scout opinions and then my personal “gut” feeling. I ranked CMart my #2 prospect over Cox coming into the season and have spoken extremely highly of Taveras for a year and a half now. I have gotten a lot of criticism for those 2 things but I stick with my guns.
Prospect Tier System
I use a Bird(s) system to explain my Prospect Tiers and the Cards overall system. I started doing this near the end of last year to give a fair representation to prospects acrossed organizations and to look back at Cards prospects from past years to have an easier system to compare them to the recent crop of prospects.
2011 Cards End of Year Top 7 Prospects
Now to what everyone is waiting for…the always talked about prospect ranking! After the name of the prospect in parenthesis was my beginning of the year ranking and after his position is his Bird Tier Rating. I also excluded any prospect that was promoted prior to September (Sanchez, Lynn, etc) even though technically many still qualify. Let’s jump right in…
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.
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!