With the benefit of a year of hindsight since the 2010 St. Louis Cardinals top 40 rankings first appeared, following are my views of some of our most notable individual picks and pans.
Best 2010 pick – Mattison – Adam Reifer - #12
Dustin was the one who had the most confidence in Reifer one year ago despite the 24-year-old coming off a rough showing in the Arizona Fall League. The right-handed reliever justified the pick with a leap to #13 on the group list this year, up from #20. Ironically, Reifer dropped two spots in Dustin’s 2011 personal ranking, perhaps an indication of the system’s rising tide.
Best 2010 pick – Community – Daniel Descalso - #9
While we were all bullish on the man who would become the Triple-A All-Star second baseman in 2010, the message board community placed Descalso closest to the top. As most know, the 24-year-old made his MLB debut in September in a surprise role as the Cardinals’ fill-in third baseman and performed credibly. He should be in the hunt for a reserve role with St. Louis in 2011.
Best 2010 pick – Walton – Eduardo Sanchez - #4 and Jon Jay - #11
Sanchez’ right arm is far too impressive to have been kept down very far on this list. While he is now the collective #4 prospect, I was the only one that high on the 21-year-old Venezuelan one year ago.
Jay did not place better than #14 on the other two lists in 2010. His .300 rookie year with St. Louis was actually better than any of us might have predicted, but I was most bullish.
Top 2010 pan – Mattison – Richard Castillo - #26
Dustin took a more realistic stance on the youngster (pictured), while the rest of us had Castillo in our top 20. When Castillo took a step backward as his ERA leapt from under four in 2010 to over five in 2011, Dustin’s caution was underlined. Castillo still just turned 21 in October, so it is far too early to give up on him.
Top 2010 pan – Community – Robert Stock - #11
While none of us predicted the terrible year the 2009 second-rounder would experience with the bat at Class A Quad Cities, where he hit just .213 with one home run in 310 at-bats, at least the community did not have Stock in their top ten like the rest of us.
Top 2010 pan – Walton – Adam Ottavino - #17
#17 wasn’t a terrible ranking, but the other two voters had greater expectations for the former first-rounder in 2010. Ottavino had an uneven stint with St. Louis followed by a shoulder injury. He will surely come to camp with a plan to redeem himself and earn his way back onto the 40-man roster.
No one’s predictions will be 100 percent accurate. Here are our highest-profile misses from last year’s rankings.
Top 2010 miss – Mattison – Jaime Garcia - #2
You might think this is an odd choice, but Dustin’s ranking of Garcia coming into the season was more aligned with many from the outside. Both the message board community and I pegged Garcia on top however, ahead of still-learning Shelby Miller. The lefty Garcia rewarded us with 13 wins, a 2.70 ERA and a third-place showing in the National League Rookie of the Year race. Miller had a very nice year, but remained down in Single-A, four levels below St. Louis.
Top 2010 miss – Community – Nick Additon - #19
Stepping up to Double-A Springfield for the first time, the 23-year-old lefty didn’t have a bad year, nor was it good enough to remain on the consolidated top 40 after having ranked #23 and #21 overall the past two years. Additon had nine wins in 28 Texas League starts, a 4.43 ERA and 109 strikeouts to 53 walks in 150 1/3 innings.
Top 2010 miss – Walton – Roberto De La Cruz - #18
I think I had dollar signs covering my eyes when I placed the now-19-year-old third baseman in my top 20 one year ago, despite him having hit just .224 in the Gulf Coast League. While De La Cruz, a $1.1 million signing in 2008, led the GCL in home runs in his second tour in 2010, he still did not show enough overall to crack the group’s top 40.
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.
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Brian Walton can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.
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