As those who followed our Top 40 Prospects countdown over the last month and a half know, the selection of the final list was a melding of the individual views from four of us here at stlcardinals.scout.com.
As a result, a handful of deserving players on each of our personal lists did not make the consolidated Top 40. This is the
second of four articles where each of us will highlight those prospects – the best of the rest, so to speak.
As a reminder, here is the overall Top 40, with my list next to it. Highlighted are the names unique to each list.
The three players that made the staff’s top 40 rankings
that failed to make mine were Donovan Solano, Skip Schumaker and Thomas Pham.
Even though I have already explained the reasoning behind their absence, I will
refresh your memory.
Pham just missed my top 40, coming in at No. 41. With
Solano, I just believe that he may be a bit overrated. Not to say that he isn’t
a talented player, as that is far from what I think, but
I reported in 2005 that I was told by Jeff Luhnow that he had talked to a scout
in Colombia who believed Solano was better than Edgar Renteria at the same age.
And since then, it seems everyone wants to compare him to the five-time
All-Star. I believe that is unfair and hope I haven’t set Solano’s bar too high
in people’s minds by reporting that. For me, he has just not hit enough to
justify ranking him among the Cardinals top 40 prospects, as I did in 2006.
Schumaker, however, would have
definitely made my rankings had I realized he was still eligible. While he has
exceeded the forty-five days of Major League service time, spending time with
the Cardinals each of the past two seasons, he is still 52 at-bats short of the
minimum requirement of 130 to be considered a rookie/prospect.
Now, on to the next set of players.
The three players that failed to make the staff’s top 40, but were ranked by me,
are Adam Daniels, Travis Hanson and Reid Gorecki. The two players separating
Daniels from the other two were Amaury Marti and Cory Meacham.
At 24, Daniels is a bit old for the Midwest League, but he
pitched most of the 2006 season at the age of 23. A left-hander, Daniels spent
the entire season with Quad Cities. He made 24 starts, posting a 3.07 ERA and
striking out 128 in 137.2 innings.
Selected in five consecutive drafts, Daniels signed with
the Cardinals as a 15th round pick out of Oklahoma State in 2005. He
throws a fastball that sits in the low-90s as well as a plus slider.
Coming in at No. 39 on my list was Travis Hanson.
After missing half the 2004 season with a broken ankle,
everything seemed to go right for Hanson in 2005. He was very good in his first
taste of Double-A, hitting .284 with 20 home runs and 94 RBI. He was named the
Cardinals Minor League Player of the Year, selected to play in the Arizona Fall
League, selected to play for Team USA in the Olympic qualifying tournament,
added to the Cardinals 40-man roster and ranked as the Cardinals No. 9 prospect
by the Birdhouse. Can it get any better than that?
Maybe not, but it can definitely get worse. And worse it
did in 2006. Beginning the season with Triple-A Memphis, Hanson hit just
.220/.282/.291 in 67 games and was sent back down to Springfield he spent the
remainder of the season, hitting .226 in 66 games. And then he doesn’t even
appear in the Birdhouse top 40 prospects. Can it get any worse than that? I
don’t think so.
The final player on my list was Reid Gorecki.
If I had realized Schumaker was eligible, Gorecki would not
have even made my list. But looking back, having submitted by rankings over a
month ago, he would most likely miss the cut even if I re-did them today. I
would probably go with Pham instead.
I just think I was being too generous with the 26-year-old
outfielder. He was named the Cardinals Minor League player of the Year in 2004,
but that is mainly due to the fact that the Cardinals traded Daric Barton
shortly before the announcement and they wanted to keep it with a homegrown
player. And Gorecki, who hit .277/.343/.398 for Palm Beach, was the best they
He began the 2005 season with high expectations and was
pretty much looked upon as the face of the Cardinals new Double-A Springfield
franchise. But after hitting just .182 in 46 games he was sent down to high
Class A Palm Beach and went on the disabled list in late June with a stress
fracture in his left foot and remained there for nearly a month. He finished the
season strong, however, hitting .286/.374/.457 with six home runs and 41 RBI in
Gorecki split the 2006 season between Double-A Springfield
and Triple-A Memphis, hitting .251 with 16 home runs and 51 RBI, earning
selection as a mid-season Texas League All-Star. He experienced difficulty,
however, in his first taste of Triple-A competition, hitting just .162 in 74
Jason Scott can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
© 2007 stlcardinals.scout.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed.