Best Pro Debut: OF Nick Stavinoha (7) immediately became one of the most feared hitters in the low Class A Midwest League, batting .344-14-53.
Best Athlete: OF Daryl Jones (3) had NCAA Division I-A football offers as a wide receiver, and he was thought to be a tough sign because he committed to Rice. But St. Louis got him for $450,000, the equivalent of second-round money. OF Colby Rasmus (1) isn't as fast as Jones, but he's a better hitter and another five-tool center fielder. And SS Tyler Greene (1) is a five-tool shortstop.
Best Pure Hitter: Rasmus, who hit .296-7-27 with 13 steals at Rookie-level Johnson City, has a higher ceiling than Stavinoha.
Best Raw Power: Stavinoha over Rasmus. Jones is just scratching the surface of his power potential, but both of his longballs at Johnson City were bombs.
Fastest Runner: Jones runs the 60-yard dash in 6.4 seconds, and OF Malcolm Owens (13) is just as quick. Rasmus and Greene are plus runners.
Best Defensive Player: Greene can be inconsistent, but he has the above-average arm and range to be a good shortstop. Rasmus has very good instincts in center field.
Best Fastball: RHP Mark McCormick (1) hit 98 mph during the spring and pitched at 91-96 mph through instructional league. RHP Nick Webber (2) has a 91-94 mph fastball that's more notable for its sink than its velocity. One scout compared its movement to a Wiffle ball's. RHPs Tyler Herron (1), Josh Wilson (2), Mitch Boggs (5), Jason Cairns (8) and Kenny Maiques (37) all have touched 94.
Best Breaking Ball: McCormick, Herron and LHP Jaime Garcia (22) all have good curveballs at times. Maiques has a hard slider when healthy.
Most Intriguing Background: OF Wilfrido Pujols (6) is the cousin of Cardinals superstar Albert Pujols. 1B A.J. Van Slyke's (23) father was a former Cardinals first-round pick and a big league all-star, and his brother Scott was a 15th-round pick of the Dodgers. Unsigned 2B Jesse Schoendienst's (40) great uncle Red is a Hall of Famer who played for and managed the Cardinals. Rasmus led Russell County High (Seale, Ala.) to the 2005 national title. LHP Josh Schwartz (42) won the final 37 decisions of his Rowan (N.J.) career, setting an NCAA record. Boggs played quarterback at Tennessee-Chattanooga and Stavinoha was a long snapper at Houston before both transferred to focus on baseball.
Closest To The Majors: Webber's sinker and his role as a reliever make him the frontrunner.
Best Late-Round Pick: The Cardinals thought they'd have to take Maiques in the supplemental first round until he blew out his elbow and needed Tommy John surgery. Garcia is a real sleeper, a former Mexican junior national team performer who had a 90-91 mph fastball and a nice curveball before he got out of shape.
The One Who Got Away: LHP Miers Quigley (19) had a 92-94 mph fastball before coming down with biceps tendinitis. He didn't bounce back enough for St. Louis to meet his asking price, so he's now at Alabama.
Assessment: After the Cardinals failed to sign a high school player in 2004, first-year scouting director Jeff Lunhow orchestrated a fine blend of collegians and prepsters, hitters and pitchers. The position players were especially welcome in a system with few who project as big league regulars.
like they said, seems like a really good mix of prospects.
11/15/2005 11:02 PM ET Pitching prospects progressing for Cards Reyes, Worrell tops among corps of young mound talent By Jonathan Mayo / MLB.com
After an injury-plagued 2004 season, Adam Wainwright led all Cardinals' Minor League hurlers with 147 strikeouts in 2005. (Joel Page/AP)
Before the 2005 season began, MLB.com took an in-depth look at every big league team's Minor League system. Now, it's time to recap all 30 organizations, from top prospects to the recent draft class.
Looking at how the Cardinals' affiliates fared in 2005, it's hard to get a real gauge of how much talent is there. Sure, Palm Beach won the Florida State League title, but the Cardinals finished under .500 for the year. No club ended the season more than five games over .500, but the overall winning percentage of .492, while down from 2004, isn't awful.
On an individual level, most of the talent comes on the mound. Adam Wainwright somewhat returned to form after an injury-plagued 2004 season, Anthony Reyes continued to be the top pitching prospect in the system and several other arms began to step forward as well.
But there was some improvement at the plate. While there might not be the next Albert Pujols -- or even the next Yadier Molina -- waiting in the wings, position players like Travis Hanson, Cody Haerther and, yes, even Rick Ankiel, took steps forward to the point that there may be some offensive help on the way as well.
At the start of the season, MLB.com identified five prospects to keep an eye on. Here's how they fared in 2005:
Adam Wainwright, RHP Compared to his 2004 season -- his first in the organization -- Wainwright's 2005 was a smashing success. First and foremost, he was healthy, proving to be a workhorse for Memphis with 182 innings pitched. While his ERA was a touch high (4.40) and he allowed a lot of hits (204), he still showed good stuff and a decent K rate (147 led the organization). After starting strong and struggling in the middle months, Wainwright finished well, yielding six earned runs over his final four starts (26 IP) for a 1.62 ERA to go with 31 Ks and seven walks. He got a brief taste of the bigs in two relief appearances. Audio: Wainwright induced a weak swing and a miss for strikeout No. 7
Anthony Reyes, RHP Reyes continued riding the fast track, spending most of his second season of pro ball in Triple-A and helping out the big club with four appearances, including one impressive emergency start. With Memphis, the right-hander out of USC went 7-6 with a 3.64 ERA, striking out 134 and walking just 34 in 128 2/3 IP. For the record, Reyes now has a 5.03 K/BB ratio in his Minor League career. Listen to Reyes close out his one-hit gem Audio: Reyes sets a club record with his 15th K of the game
Brad Thompson, RHP Thompson made a seamless transition to a relief role, spending most of the year in St. Louis as a middle man. In 55 big league innings, he posted a 2.95 ERA, yielding just 46 hits for a .227 opponents' batting average. Keeping the ball down, he also had a very impressive 2.58 ground ball out-to-fly ball out ratio and looks like he should settle nicely into the Cards' bullpen for the foreseeable future. Audio: "Split it in half with a fastball!"
Stu Pomeranz, RHP The 20-year-old 6-foot-7 right-hander began the year with Palm Beach, but after a 3.35 ERA in eight starts, the Cardinals pushed him to Double-A Springfield. While he finished with a 5.29 ERA and too many walks (40) in 18 starts there, it should be noted he went 3-2 with a 3.00 ERA over his final six starts in August, holding Texas League hitters to a .226 average in 39 IP. Video: Stu gets a strikeout with a 12-to-6 knuckle curve
Reid Gorecki, OF After a strong 2004 Fall League campaign that landed him on the 40-man roster, Gorecki seemed poised to move up to Double-A in his slow but steady climb to the big leagues. But the center fielder hit just .182 in 159 at-bats with Springfield, forcing a demotion back to Palm Beach. Gorecki rebounded by hitting .286 with 24 steals and a .374 OBP in the FSL, but considering he played the year at age 24, he's now considerably behind the curve. A superb defensive outfielder, the Cards will have a decision to make in terms of whether they keep Gorecki on the 40-man.
Juan Lucena, SS Lucena put himself on the map in his United States debut in 2004, leading the Appy League with a .332 average and then excelling in the Venezuela over the winter. Playing in full-season ball for the first time, Lucena was part of a middle infield rotation of sorts, so the 21-year-old shortstop got just 332 at-bats, but continued to hit for a high average. He finished with a .301 mark -- mostly on singles -- thanks largely to a .400 average in June. He also stole nine bases. Lucena continued to put just about everything in play, with just 12 walks and 11 strikeouts. He headed back to his native Venezuela to get some more playing time against advanced competition.
Quick hits on players who made more of a name for themselves with a big 2005 season.
Cody Haerther, OF: Sure, Haerther had a .322 average heading into the 2005 season, but he also had eight total home runs and had never gotten more than 326 at-bats in a season since being drafted in 2003. He turned 22 in July and by that time he had been promoted from Palm Beach to Double-A Springfield. He picked up 381 at-bats between the two levels and easily set career highs with 18 home runs, 67 RBIs and a .538 SLG, all while keeping the average up at .307 overall. He went on to the AFL, clearly in the Cardinals' future plans. Video: "This one is on top of the Cardinal clubhouse!"
Aaron Herr, 2B: In his five seasons with the Braves since being a 2000 supplemental first-round pick, Tommy's son never hit higher than .272, hit more than 13 homers or drove in more than 46 runs in a season. Then, in his first year with the Cardinals, the second baseman tied for the organization lead with 21 homers, drove in 81 runs and hit .298 with Springfield. Now a free agent, the 24-year-old is sure to land an NRI with someone.
Rick Ankiel, OF: Maybe the position switch is going to work after all. The former pitching phenom went all the way down to Low-A to learn how to swing the bat and finished tied for the organization lead with 21 homers. He hit 11 in 51 games with Quad Cities while batting .270, so the Cards pushed him all the way up to Springfield. The average dropped -- to .243 -- but he added 10 long balls in just 34 games to finish with a .514 combined slugging percentage. He'll need some work on plate discipline, with six walks and 66 strikeouts in 321 at-bats, but it does look like there's something there.
Travis Hanson, 3B: Hanson has been on the Cards' radar for a while but mostly because of his defensive prowess and an ability to make contact. But he had 15 career homers, a .399 SLG and .278 average entering his first Double-A season. Moving back to third, Hanson erupted with 20 homers, 97 RBIs, drew a career-high 54 walks, struck out just 99 times and hit .284. Moved to second a while ago because of Scott Rolen's presence and the fact his bat played better up the middle, it now looks like Hanson might hit enough to handle the hot corner, at least offensively.
Mark Worrell, RHP: A starter with an unorthodox delivery in high school and through two years of college, the Cards turned the right-hander into a reliever. He pitched well in his debut in 2004, with a combined 2.37 ERA, though he stumbled a bit when he moved up to Peoria (4.30 ERA). St. Louis continued to push him, sending him to Palm Beach this season, and Worrell was arguably the best closer in the Minors. He topped all relievers with 35 saves. The 22-year old had a 2.25 ERA, yielded just 38 hits and 19 walks in 56 IP while striking out 53. Audio: Worrell puts the Cardinals into the FSL Championship
2005 draft recap
1. Colby Rasmus, OF The Cards mixed college players and high schoolers in their draft this year; Rasmus represents one of the better prep players taken. He hit .296 with seven homers, 27 RBIs and 13 steals in 62 games. He really found his power stroke in August, hititng all seven of his homers (as well as five doubles and four triples for 16 extra-base hits) and collecting 19 RBIs in just 95 at-bats.
2. Tyler Greene, SS The Georgia Tech product had a nice debut, hitting .261 with 13 steals (in 14 attempts) in 138 at-bats with New Jersey. He then jumped a level to Palm Beach and hit .271 in 85 ABs with six more steals thrown in for good measure (for the year, he went 19-for-20 in stolen-base attempts). He won his first ring with Palm Beach, though he hit just .162 during the playoff run. Audio: Greene smacks an RBI single in Game 3 of the FSL Finals
3. Mark McCormick, RHP Few would argue with you if you said McCormick had the most electric arm coming out of the draft. It's just that he doesn't always know where it's going. He made two starts with New Jersey before spending the rest of the summer with Quad Cities, combining for a 4.81 ERA and 55 strikeouts in 48 2/3 IP. He only allowed a total of 42 hits but walked 31, hit five batters and uncorked five wild pitches. He was throwing around 95-96 mph through instructional league play, so there's no question about arm strength. If he can learn a little command, he's an ace in the making or a short reliever in the Bobby Jenks mold.
4. Tyler Herron, RHP The high schooler went to Johnson City in the Appalachian League and was quite inconsistent. Over 49 2/3 IP, the right-hander posted a 5.62 ERA, though he allowed just 47 hits and struck out 49. In July, he was awful, with a 9.39 ERA in five outings. But he rebounded in August with a 3.95 ERA and a .224 opponents' average. He'll have to work on the walk rate (27 BB), but that hopefully will come in time.
5. Josh Wilson, RHP Another high-school righty who went to Johnson City, Wilson was like the anti-Herron. He pitched well in July (2.57 ERA) and struggled in August (5.33). Throw in two late-June outings and Wilson went 2-2 with a 4.22 ERA overall in 53 1/3 IP, allowing 49 hits and 23 walks while striking out just 32.
2004 draft recap
1. Chris Lambert, RHP Lambert, a college pitcher with a high ceiling because of his lack of experience on the mound (he was a hockey star in an earlier life), had an up-and-down first full year in pro ball. He was extremely sharp with Palm Beach, going 7-1 with a 2.63 ERA through May. That earned him a trip to the Texas League, where the hitters aren't quite as kind. Lambert went 3-8 with a 6.35 ERA for the rest of the season, taking his lumps to the tune of a .291 batting average against. He went on to pitch pretty poorly in the Arizona Fall League but shut out Guatemala in Team USA's opener in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
2. Mike Ferris, 1B Ferris has been a bit of an enigma so far as a pro. Drafted as an advanced college bat that could move quickly, he had trouble adjusting in his first summer and couldn't find any consistency in his first full year. The left-handed first baseman hit 16 homers and drew 69 walks (power and patience were supposed to be his calling cards), but he batted just .230 with the Swing. He did finish fairly strongly, hitting .279 with three homers and 15 RBIs over his final 31 games.
3. Eric Haberer, LHP Haberer did nothing but augment his reputation as one of the better left-handed pitching prospects in the system in his first full season. Between Quad Cities and Palm Beach, he went 12-8 with a 3.12 ERA. He struck out only 91 but showed better command than he did last summer by walking 51 in 150 innings. A college lefty with command, Haberer could continue to move quickly up the ladder in 2006. Audio: "Beauty of bender from Eric Haberer"
Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.
1. Anthony Reyes RHP…..24…..2003 (15) USC Strengths: Plus 77-81 MPH curveball, 87-93 MPH two-seam fastball, and 72-75 MPH change-up. Pitchability. Plus command. Repeats delivery Weaknesses: Stamina (elbow/shoulder) Comments: Has dominated since inception into professional baseball with a plus curveball and sinker that rarely peaks above belt. Pitches aggressively and knows how to use repertoire. Minor injuries (sprained shoulder in 2005) have plagued him almost every season, so will need monitored. Opens 2006 season as fifth starter. 2006 MLB Role: Fifth starter Potential: Number two starter
2. Colby Rasmus OF…..L/L…..19…..2005 (1-C) high school (AL) Strengths: Athleticism/speed. Plus bat speed/power to all fields/BA ability. Arm strength. Range Weaknesses: Strike zone judgment Comments: Prototypical rightfielder, with excellent bat speed and power to all fields. Covers plate well and makes contact, so should hit for BA, though will need to tighten strike zone. Runs bases well with above average speed and has the range and arm strength to be an above average outfielder. MLB Debut: 2009 Potential: Starting RF
3. Tyler Greene SS…..R/R…..22…..2005 (1) Georgia Tech Strengths: Athleticism/speed (4.2). Average bat speed/moderate power. Arm strength. Range. Soft hands. Aggressiveness Weaknesses: Contact/BA ability. Pull-conscious. Plate discipline Comments: Inside-out swing gives hit moderate power to opposite field, though a lack of plate discipline, reluctance to use whole field, and contact ability will cost him in BA. Solid runner underway and will steal a base in right situation. Steady defender at SS, with his bat determining what role he has in Majors. MLB Debut: 2008 Potential: Starting SS
4. Chris Lambert RHP…..22…..2004 (1) Boston College Strengths: 86-94 MPH two and four-seam fastballs, 76-80 MPH slider, and 75-79 MPH change-up. Compact delivery. Aggressiveness Weaknesses: Average arm action. Repeating ¾ arm slot. Overall command. Slow to plate (1.6) Comments: Lost movement to fastball and strikeout rate plummeted. Pitches backwards, using slider to set-up fastball, and started dropping change-up on LH batters. Walks too many hitters and is slow to the plate, giving him trouble at holding runners. Move to bullpen might improve fastball velocity/movement. MLB Debut: 2007 Potential: Number three starter/setup reliever
5. Adam Wainwright RHP…..24…..2000 (1) high school (GA) by Atlanta Strengths: 87-92 MPH fastball, 74-75 MPH curveball, and 80-81 MPH change-up. Command. Athleticism. Fluid, overhand delivery Weaknesses: Pitching inside. Repeating delivery. Stamina Comments: Tall with downward plane to plate, enhancing look of pitches. Pitched more to contact and became more efficient, though experienced a drop in strikeouts. Increase in velocity that was projected of him hasn’t materialized, but has all pitches in average range. IP were a career high, though he tired late in season. 2006 MLB Role: Fifth starter/middle reliever Potential: Number four starter
6. Mark McCormick RHP…..22…..2005 (1-S) Baylor Strengths: 90-97 MPH four-seam fastball and 77-81 MPH curveball. High ¾ slot. Athletic/projectable frame Weaknesses: Rotation of 81-84 MPH slider. Deception of 80-81 MPH circle-change. Command. Efficiency. Setting-up pitches Comments: Exceptional movement to fastball and high ¾ slot provides downward plane for curveball, but struggles to throw strikes. Doesn’t trust slider and circle-change, and will revert to fastball when in trouble. Mechanics get fouled-up easily and tends to throw across body. MLB Debut: 2008 Potential: Number three starter/closer
7. Jose Martinez 2B/SS…..R/R…..18…..2004 FA (Venezuela) Strengths: Athleticism/speed. Bat speed/contact ability. Plate discipline. Arm strength. Soft hands. Range Weaknesses: Hitting for power. Base stealing proficiency. Need to add strength Comments: Ability to hit for BA was no fluke and supplemented offense by adding power. Plate discipline is outstanding for experience level, ensuring solid OBP. Experience should make him better baserunner adding to his good speed. Raw defensively, but has the tools to be above average 2B. MLB Debut: 2009 Potential: Starting 2B
8. Cody Haerther OF…..L/R…..22…..2002 (6) high school (CA) Strengths: Bat speed/contact ability/moderate power. Average arm strength Weaknesses: Strike zone judgment. Average speed. Range Comments: Confident approach paid dividends, improving contact rate and ability to drive baseball. Inside-out swing suppresses HR production, but can hit gaps with regularity. Drop in batting eye in Double-A is somewhat concerning. Adjustment to outfield has been slow, needing to get better jumps and take proper routes. MLB Debut: 2007 Potential: Multi-position reserve (OF/1B/3B)
9. Nick Webber RHP…..21…..2005 (2) Central Missouri State Strengths: 89-94 MPH two-seam fastball and slider. Command. Arm strength. Tall/projectable frame. Durability Weaknesses: Deception of change-up. Setting-up pitches Comments: Fastball that explodes low in strike zone and can put hitters away with slider that he throws off the plate. Showed impressive command, ability to induce groundballs, and aggressively comes after hitters. Resilient arm that is able to come-back on successive days and only needs to set-up pitches and develop change-up. MLB Debut: 2007 Potential: Setup reliever/closer
10. Blake Hawksworth RHP…..23…..2001 (28) high school (WA) Strengths: Plus change-up and 90-94 MPH four-seam fastball. Plus command. Arm strength/action. Projectable frame Weaknesses: Rotation of curveball. Setting up pitches Comments: Labrum surgery cost him most of last two seasons and struggled upon return in August. Projectable pitcher with movement to fastball, a plus change-up, and plus command, adept at getting strikeout and groundball out. Repeats arm speed well and arm action is fluid, making injury problems a mystery. MLB Debut: 2008 Potential: Number three starter
11. Nick Stavinoha OF…..R/R…..23…..2005 (7) Louisiana State Strengths: Bat speed/power/BA ability. Strike zone judgment. Arm strength Weaknesses: Speed. Range Comments: Advanced hitter whom STL challenged with full-season league. Strong build with power to all fields and strike zone judgment, positively affecting BA. Knack for driving-in runs due to good situational hitting. Arm enough for RF, but range will be limited. MLB Debut: 2008 Potential: Platoon outfielder
12. Stuart Pomeranz RHP…..21…..2003 (2) high school (TN) Strengths: 88-92 MPH two-seam fastball and knuckle-curve. Command. Deceptive, low ¾ slot. Power-pitcher build Weaknesses: Deception of change-up. Repeating arm speed. Arm action Comments: Tall/wide-hipped pitcher, but doesn’t pitch to height with low arm angle. Sinker and knuckle-curve are best pitches and throws strikes, but strikeout rate dropped drastically. Very efficient with pitches and gets groundball out, but needs to change speeds better and improve command within strike zone. MLB Debut: 2008 Potential: Number four starter
13. Brendan Ryan SS…..R/R.....24.....2003 (7) Lewis-Clark State Strengths: Athleticism/speed. Bat speed/contact ability. Pitch recognition. Arm strength. Soft hands Weaknesses: Hitting for power. Defensive consistency Comments: STL needed to push him based on age and held his own with mid-season promotion to Double-A. Athletic player with solid bat speed, contact ability, and plate discipline, which allows him to hit for consistent BA. Lack of strength will lower power production. Inconsistent defense may push him to utility role. MLB Debut: 2007 Potential: Utility infielder
14. Travis Hanson 3B…..L/R…..25.....2002 (9) Portland Strengths: Moderate power. Arm strength. Soft hands. First-step quickness Weaknesses: Contact/BA ability. Plate discipline. Speed (4.4) Comments: Power and BA are beginning to show signs of life, but has taken time to advance through minors. Bat speed is average at best and lacks plate discipline, projecting to below average bat for corner player. Excellent defense at 3B, with plenty of arm strength and range. MLB Debut: 2007 Potential: Utility infielder
15. Eric Haberer LHP…..23…..2004 (3) Southern Illinois Strengths: 87-92 MPH two-seam fastball, cut-fastball, and circle-change. Command. Deceptive, ¾ slot. Keeping ball down. Power-pitcher build. Aggressiveness Weaknesses: Rotation of curveball. Arm action. Strikeout rate Comments: Able to keep ERA down despite low strikeout rate, but command is impeccable, hides baseball, and is stingy with long-ball (two HR in 150 IP). Mixes four pitches, trading slider for cutter, and gets movement to fastball. Physically, he doesn’t project more velocity, so must continue to out-think hitters. MLB Debut: 2007 Potential: Number four starter