2011 Top Cardinals Prospects: The Final Tally

Pulling all the votes together on the St. Louis Cardinals' top minor league prospects for 2011.

As our yearly 40 Days, 40 Nights, 40 Prospects series nears its close, this article brings together the voting of the three participants from The Cardinal Nation, Dustin Mattison (DM), me - Brian Walton (BW) and the members of our Scout.com St. Louis Cardinals message board community (Cm)*.

* (Cm) represents the collaborative effort among a group of very knowledgeable Cardinals fans from our Message Board. While that group ranked 50 players, not 40, I limited their list in this article to 40 for consistency. Click here to see the entire community list and their reasoning behind it.

The far left column of the table below is the aggregate ranking. To the right of the players' names are our individual votes. (Note that we each ranked 45 players to ensure we had at least two votes for each of the group's top 40.) Next are the 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007 and 2006 rankings of the players in the new 2011 Top 40.

Rk Group DM BW Cm 10 09 08 07 06
1 Shelby Miller 1 1 1 2 NA NA NA NA
2 Zack Cox 2 2 2 NA NA NA NA NA
3 Lance Lynn 4 3 4 3 18 NA NA NA
4 Eduardo Sanchez 5 4 3 6 NR NR NR NA
5 Carlos Martinez 3 7 9 NA NA NA NA NA
6 Matt Carpenter 7 8 5 NR NA NA NA NA
7 Allen Craig 6 9 10 7 14 11 NR NA
8 Daniel Descalso 13 10 7 10 NR NR NA NA
9 Tyrell Jenkins 19 6 6 NA NA NA NA NA
10 Seth Blair 8 11 13 NA NA NA NA NA
11 Oscar Taveras 23 5 8 NR NA NA NA NA
12 Bryan Anderson 15 12 12 13 3 2 4 9
13 Adam Reifer 14 13 14 20 22 NR NA NA
14 Fernando Salas 12 15 17 28 24 NR NA NA
15 Adron Chambers 17 18 18 29 NR NR NA NA
16 Tony Cruz 9 16 29 NR NR NR NA NA
17 Pete Kozma 24 14 16 14 12 16 NA NA
18 Deryk Hooker 10 23 23 NR 27 32 NA NA
19 Tommy Pham 11 26 19 40 NR NR 39 NA
20 Mark Hamilton 29 17 11 19 NR 12 18 NA
21 Nick Longmire 21 24 20 NA NA NA NA NA
22 Aaron Luna 28 21 21 24 NR NA NA NA
23 David Kopp 25 22 26 NR NR 36 NA NA
24 Jordan Swagerty 22 25 32 NA NA NA NA NA
25 P.J. Walters NR 19 15 16 23 10 NR NA
26 Cody Stanley 27 29 28 NA NA NA NA NA
27 Joe Kelly 18 34 33 32 NA NA NA NA
28 John Gast 16 33 37 NA NA NA NA NA
29 Anthony Garcia 42 20 24 NR NA NA NA NA
30 Rainel Rosario 32 28 30 NR NR NR NR NA
31 Steven Hill 26 NR 22 26 29 40 NA NA
32 Adam Ottavino 35 32 27 11 13 5 5 NA
33 Matt Adams NR 27 25 38 NA NA NA NA
34 Ryan Jackson 20 NR 38 35 NA NA NA NA
35 Francisco Samuel 33 36 35 22 19 NR NR NA
36 Tyler Henley NR 31 36 17 NR NR NA NA
37 Daryl Jones 37 45 31 5 5 NR 17 NR
38 Bryan Martinez 45 35 34 NR NA NA NA NA
39 Robert Stock  31 38 NR 9 NA NA NA NA
40 Niko Vasquez 36 40 40 34 16 NA NA NA
Rk DM BW Cm 10 09 08 07 06
NA=not applicable
NR=not ranked

Summarizing the numbers

There was considerable turnover on the 2011 top 40, with 40 percent change from 2010. Of the 16 players that left the list, five graduated to St. Louis, while 11 dropped off. The departing individuals are listed below with their rankings over the previous five years.

Graduated 10 09 08 07 06
Jaime Garcia 1 9 3 3 36
David Freese 4 6 13a NA NA
Blake Hawksworth 8 NR 23 2 28
Jon Jay 12 10 19 9 NA
Tyler Greene 15 17 17 16 8
Dropped off 10 09 08 07 06
Richard Castillo 18 15 NR NA NA
Scott Bittle 21 NA NA NA NA
Nick Additon 23 21 NR NR NA
Roberto De La Cruz 25 35 NA NA NA
Arquimedes Nieto 27 38 NR NA NA
Kyle Conley 30 NA NA NA NA
Casey Mulligan 31 NR NR NR NA
Anthony Ferrara 33 NR NA NA NA
Scott Gorgen 36 26 NA NA NA
Scott Schneider 37 NA NA NA NA
Michael Swinson 39 NR NA NA NA

Incredible to me is that half of the new top ten is made up of players not ranked one year ago. Three were from the 2010 draft class, one was an international signee and the other was the system's Player of the Year, Matt Carpenter.

Overall, for the second consecutive year, a full one-fifth of the list, eight players, make their initial appearance in their first year of eligibility. Seven are new draftees into the organization with that Latin American addition, Carlos Martinez.

Continuing the high level of turnover on the top 40, another six players previously in the organization made the list for the first time. Two others, Deryk Hooker and David Kopp, returned to the top 40 after missing out in 2010.

New members Top ten 11-40 Total
2010 Drafted 3 4 7
2010 Signed 1 0 1
1st Timers 1 5 6
Returning 0 2 2
Total 5 11 16

The traditional positional split had been in favor of pitching, but this year continued its annual erosion to the point position players now are in their greatest majority since we started these lists, 23 to 17. Of the 23 non-pitchers, up from 21 the year prior, eight are infielders, a whopping six are catchers, doubling last year and another nine are outfielders, same as in 2010.

Yet pitching remains dominant at the very top of the list as three of our top five-ranked prospects are pitchers, down from four of the top six one year ago.

Of the 17 hurlers on the list, five are relievers while only 12 are starters, the smallest number since we began ranking. In a further erosion of a major problem area, just one is left-handed, the worst showing by portsiders ever. A deeper dive into the numbers will be provided in the final article in this series.

Movers and shakers

Top debut – Zack Cox - #2
(next – Carlos Martinez - #5)

Not surprisingly, the Cardinals' first-rounder debuted at #2, but was surprising is that the same thing happened for the third consecutive year, with Shelby Miller and Brett Wallace before him also coming in at second their first years in the system.

Cox is a player to watch very closely this year with a major league contract and an advanced bat along with a shaky situation at third base in St. Louis. The 19-year-old Dominican sensation Carlos Martinez opened at #5.

Fastest riser – Matt Carpenter – non-ranked to #6
(next – Oscar Taveras - NR to #11 and Tony Cruz – NR to #16)

As mentioned above, all Carpenter did in 2010 was put together the top season by a position player in the system despite not even reaching the top 40 coming into the season. That is a good reminder of how difficult the projection process can be. Neither Taveras nor Cruz was previously ranked. The catcher made the top 40 (in fact the top 16) for the first time in his fourth year in the organization, an unusual feat.

Biggest fall – Daryl Jones - #5 to #37
(next – Richard Castillo - #18 to out of the top 40)

The long and hard fall of the organization's 2008 Player of the Year in Jones continued with another disappointing season at Double-A Springfield. The fall brought his removal from the 40-man roster with no takers in the Rule 5 draft. In his second full-season (and third partial season) with Palm Beach, 21-year-old Richard Castillo regressed, but there is still time.



To reference our entire list of top 40 Cardinals prospects for 2011 and read about each individual player, click here. You can also learn more about each of the voters' philosophies in making their selections and much more.

Next up: This article series continues as the voters highlight the players on our personal lists that did not make the 2011 combined top 40. We move on to our All-Prospect Team, the highest-ranked players at each position, a dive into the numbers behind the top 40 and finally a look at the best and worst picks from the 2010 top 40.



There's more! Want access to the all details behind our Cardinals prospect rankings in our "Forty Days, Forty Nights, Forty Prospects" feature here at The Cardinal Nation?

Subscribe by January 21 to our annual pass and receive in the spring the 2011 FOX Fantasy Guide / Scout Prospect Guide, the perfect hardcopy companion to "Forty Days", including the top prospects from all 30 MLB organizations and much more. We author the Cardinals section of the guide as always.



Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnationblog.com. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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