School: University of California - Davis
Selected 2010 stats
Staff comments (individual rankings in parentheses)
Dustin Mattison (13): Though I am not convinced that Descalso could not handle the rigors of second base, it appears that the Cardinals field management doesn't think he is up to the task. Of the nine games he started in his September call-up, all were at third base. The only other position he played was a one-inning appearance at shortstop. Descalso has been touted as a utility option for the 2011 Cardinals but if Tony La Russa feels he can only handle third, I don't know how he can be an option.
The 24-year-old put together a solid line of .282/.350/.421 with nine home runs and 71 RBIs. He shows good polish at the plate with the ability to hit the ball to all fields. At this point and time, I honestly don't know what to think of Descalso. Though I think he might be able to be an average second baseman, I am not sure the current staff does. If they don't feel Descalso can handle the keystone, he might be back at Memphis and possibly lost in the shuffle.
Message board community (7): Daniel Descalso was the community's seventh pick, up from ninth on our list last year. The former third round pick debuted in the majors at the age of just 23 (turning 24 last October). He climbed the system rapidly, skipping from Batavia to Palm Beach, and posting fewer than 500 plate appearances each at Palm Beach and Springfield.
In his 2009 debut at Memphis, Descalso posted only .327 OBP, .320 SLG in 172 plate appearances. That climbed to a solid .350/.421 in 531 plate appearances there in 2010. He hit lefties (.809 OPS) and righties (.755) pretty similarly. Descalso did hit much better in the daylight (OPS of 1.013) than at night (.692), but I'd want to see that again before I think too much about what it could mean. His hitting in St. Louis was very close to his 2009 Memphis numbers, .324/.324 in 37 plate appearances.
As a second baseman who has been able to rise quickly through the system and handle Triple-A pitching (and who wasn't embarrassed in his MLB stint), Descalso could become a very important part of the Cards next year if Schumaker can't improve on last year's performance. - Gagliano
Brian Walton (10): Descalso didn't move in my personal rankings from last year despite answering my concerns that his standout first-half 2009 might have been driven by playing in the offensively-oriented Texas League. Though he posted unexciting results with both Team USA and in the Arizona Fall League afterward, Descalso stepped up with Memphis this season before losing a month as the result of a hairline fracture of his collarbone suffered in a collision with teammate Tyler Greene. Among his awards was being named the all-star second baseman across both Triple-A leagues this season.
I consider Descalso's time at third base with St. Louis in September to have been a statement about the desperation of the club at the position, not an indictment of Descalso as a second baseman. Having said that, I wonder if Descalso will see much of any time at second in 2011 either, as sheltering Skip Schumaker's hold on the job seems important to the organization. Daniel may have to bide his time until 2012 or longer to get a full shot at a starting role.
In fact, Descalso will need to fight and receive some luck just to make the 2011 Cardinals as a utilityman. Allen Craig is being moved back to be the reserve third baseman. Greene will likely serve as the back up at short and has been playing second base in winter ball. Ryan Theriot can also play second. Descalso's immediate future may depend on whether or not a Felipe Lopez-type is signed this spring. The rumored addition of another veteran infielder would likely bump him off the 25-man roster.
If Descalso does return to Memphis, I hope the Cardinals wise up and move him around the infield. What sense did it make to tether him to second in Triple-A as they did in 2010, only to deploy him 100 percent of his MLB time at an unfamiliar postion, third base? After all, it wasn't a secret the major league club was having problems at the hot corner. Better organizational preparation and coordination seems desirable.
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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