A pair each of Class A infielders and outfielders are changing addresses on Wednesday…
School: University of Miami (Florida)
Selected 2010 stats
Staff comments (individual rankings in parentheses)
Dustin Mattison (20): When Ryan Jackson was a draft eligible junior at the University of Miami, he was a player that I had my eye on for the Cardinals in the first round. Obviously, Jackson did not hit that spring and fell to the team all the way in the fifth round. I believe getting a player like Jackson in the fifth round is an absolute steal.
The shortstop is the top defender in the organization and his glove appears to be major league ready. But the question remains if he will hit. If 2010 is any indication, the answer appears to be ‘yes'. The 22-year-old got off to a slow start before picking it up at the Quad Cities. He was then sent to Palm Beach where he was solid in a well-known pitchers' league.
I would not be surprised to see him start 2010 in Springfield and I feel he has supplanted Pete Kozma as the team's shortstop of the future.
Message board community (38): Ryan Jackson's was the number 38 ranked prospect by the community and it was one of the most consistent rankings I can remember. There were a few votes for him earlier but not many and I felt that not many people thought he should fall farther than he did. Jackson's possession of a strong glove that many believe is near major league ready already (and at a premium defensive position) keeps his floor high while a stronger than expected offensive season raised his standing even further.
After hitting well at Quad Cities, Jackson earned a promotion to Palm Beach where he improved his hitting even more. What was most surprising was his improved power. After getting only 5 extra base hits in 245 AB's in 2009, Jackson cranked out 29 in 450 AB's in 2010. He was able to do this with almost no change to K:BB ratio as well. If Jackson can continue to post an OPS near 2010's .721 as he moves up the ladder, that combined with his solid glove will allow him to continue to rise in the prospect rankings.- CariocaCardinal
Brian Walton (NR): I had Jackson at number 47 in my personal rankings but even before reading the assessments above, I wondered if I had unfairly overlooked his improvement with the bat in 2010.
Though Jackson was a college player and Kozma a high school draftee, it is only natural to compare the two. After all, they play the same position one level removed in the system. In terms of age, they were born less than a month apart in 1988, perhaps giving us a test case for development of a player through the minors versus by playing college ball.
Like Jackson in 2010, Kozma had previously split a season between Quad Cities and Palm Beach. Unlike Jackson, Kozma did not do well in his A-Advanced debut, but the next spring, put up a .765 OPS before a quick promotion to Springfield, where his progress again stalled. The difference is that Kozma was two years ahead of Jackson at the time, with his split season back in 2008.
With a fast start by Jackson in 2011, the gap between the two may be closed to one year. After all, though ahead of Jackson, Kozma has yet to post a .721 OPS season at any level as Jackson did in 2010. Pete's career-best was .702 this past season with Springfield.
Though errors are an imperfect measurement of defensive prowess, I did notice that Jackson committed 27 miscues in 2010. In comparison, Kozma had just 22 in his A-A Advanced split season, but as you may know, his error totals accelerated to 34 in both 2009 and 2010.
If Jackson can continue his progress in 2011, he could be right on Kozma's tail very soon. If so, he will be reminding me that my placement of him on this list was just not good enough.
Our 2011 top 40 countdown continues: To see our entire list of 40 Cardinals prospects, click here. You can also read each of the voters' philosophies in making their selections.
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