Best of the Rest… of the Prospects – Scott

The second of four looks at top St. Louis Cardinals prospects that just missed our Top 40 countdown

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.

Group Top 40     Scott Top 40
1 Colby Rasmus   1 Colby Rasmus
2 Blake Hawksworth   2 Blake Hawksworth
3 Jaime Garcia   3 Josh Kinney
4 Bryan Anderson   4 Jaime Garcia
5 Adam Ottavino   5 Chris Narveson
6 Chris Narveson   6 Bryan Anderson
7 Stuart Pomeranz   7 Stuart Pomeranz
8 Chris Perez   8 Adam Ottavino
9 Jon Jay   9 Chris Perez
10 Nick Stavinoha   10 Jon Jay
11 Mark McCormick   11 Dennis Dove
12 Cody Haerther   12 Andy Cavazos
13 Josh Kinney   13 Daryl Jones
14 Chris Lambert   14 Cody Haerther
15 Jon Edwards   15 Nick Stavinoha
16 Tyler Greene   16 Tyler Greene
17 Daryl Jones   17 Mark McCormick
18 Mark Hamilton   18 Mike Parisi
19 Brendan Ryan   19 Mark Hamilton
20 Tyler Herron   20 Tyler Herron
21 Mitchell Boggs   21 Nick Webber
22 Blake King   22 Mitch Boggs
23 Amaury Marti   23 Chris Lambert
24 Mark Worrell   24 Mike Sillman
25 Mike Parisi   25 Brendan Ryan
26 Nick Webber   26 Randy Roth
27 Andy Cavazos   27 Jon Edwards
28 Mike Sillman   28 Blake King
29 Eric Haberer   29 Eric Haberer
30 Jose Martinez   30 Gary Daley
31 Tyler Norrick   31 Eddie Degerman
32 Eddie Degerman   32 Tyler Norrick
33 Dennis Dove   33 Mark Worrell
34 Randy Roth   34 Isa Garcia
35 Gary Daley   35 Jose Martinez
36 Donovan Solano   36 Adam Daniels
37 Isa Garcia   37 Amaury Marti
38 Skip Schumaker   38 Cory Meacham
39 Thomas Pham   39 Travis Hanson
40 Cory Meacham   40 Reid Gorecki

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 could offer.

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 61 games.

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 at-bats.
 

Jason Scott can be reached via email at jasonscott@thecardinalnation.com.

© 2007 stlcardinals.scout.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed.