Scout.com Cards Players of Year: Springfield

Third in a ten-part series where our local correspondents identify the top starting pitchers, relievers and position players by level from the St. Louis Cardinals system during the 2007 season. This time, we review the best from the talent-rich Springfield Cardinals.

Editor's note: Check back here through November 25 as our local writers call out the top players – starter, reliever and position player - at each level of the St. Louis Cardinals minor league system. We'll conclude the series with the top three players across the entire organization – our 2007 Scout.com Cardinals Players of the Year.

 

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How do you pick a Springfield Cardinals player that stands out among a team that played so well as a group that they were good enough to win the Texas League Northern Division Championship in only their third year of existence? No 20-game winning pitchers, no 50+ home run hitters, no outstanding baserunners, not many make-the-highlight-catches in the outfield. But, still, the best Double-A baseball "team" in Missouri, Kansas and Arkansas.

I suppose if I had to (and I have been given the honor, so I must) select two pitchers and a position player, it would have to be Mitchell Boggs on the starting mound, with the relief pitcher award going to Jason Motte, and the position player nod, almost a no-brainer, lands in the glove and off the bat of Colby Rasmus - perhaps the St. Louis Cardinals' best hope for the future.

Boggs, who was obtained by the Cardinals in the fifth-round (170th overall) in the June, 2005 First-Year Player Draft, finished the second half of the 2007 season in the Texas League top ten with an 11-7 record with a 3.84 ERA, pitching 152.1 innings, allowing 167 hits, recording 62 walks and a league leading 117 strikeouts. 

 

Boggs caught the attention of the St. Louis front office in 2006 while playing for Palm Beach when he carried a perfect game into the ninth inning at Jupiter, and wound up settling for a one-hit shutout while fanning 11 in a
4-0 win.

Jason Motte, a former catcher who was converted to a pitcher in May of 2006, is a 6-foot, 198 pound right-hander, and was the Cards' 19th round selection in the 2003 First-Year Player Draft . Motte finished the season with a record of 3-3, and a team-best ERA of 2.20, 63 strikeouts, 22 walks, and eight saves in 49 innings pitched, giving up just three home runs.

Motte changed positions after playing the first three years of his career behind the plate. He also finished the 2007 season with a .500 batting average, having two appearances at the plate in which he recorded a double and a strikeout. Motte makes his home in Johnson City, Tennessee, home of the Johnson City Cardinals. Like Boggs, he is currently pitching for the Mesa Solar Sox of the Arizona Fall League.

Another Alabama native is Colby Rasmus, who was obtained in the first round (28th player overall) in the June 2005 Amateur Draft. In 2007, Rasmus led the Texas League in home-runs with 29, was number four in doubles with 37, number two in slugging percentage at .551, number one in extra base hits with 64, and number one in runs scored with 93. He also had three triples and 72 RBI. He finished the season with a .274 batting average.

 

The 21-year-old Rasmus was named the St. Louis Cardinals' organizational Player of the Month for August and was named the Texas League Player of the Week for the second time in 2007 during the month of August.

Rasmus came to the Cardinals with an illustrious baseball background. In 1999, he pitched and played third base for
Phenix City, Alabama in the Little League World Series. He finished the series batting .417, and pitched to a 0-1 record with seven strikeouts. In his senior year at Russell County High School in Alabama, he hit 24 home runs to pass Bo Jackson for second all-time in the state for home runs in a season by a high school player.

Though Rasmus did not figure into the top five in Texas League stolen bases in 2007, he certainly has the potential to be a threat on the running pads. In high school he ran 60 yards in 6.7 seconds. His arm was also clocked at 94 miles an hour throwing in from centerfield.

Perhaps the thing that had the greatest bearing on choosing Rasmus as 2007 Position Player of the Year was what one of the most respected men in baseball told me on opening day of the Springfield Cardinals' 2007 season. I was sitting in the press box at Hammons Field next to someone I have admired and looked-up to since I first became a Cardinal fan at the tender age of 10.  That man was Red Schoendienst, who I have watched play, coach and manage the
St. Louis Cardinals over the years.

 

Watching the field intently for several minutes, Mr. Schoendienst leaned over to me and whispered. "I like that centerfielder. I like the way he takes charge out there." That centerfielder was Colby Rasmus - this year's Springfield Position Player of the Year.

Scout.com Position Player Starting Pitcher Relief Pitcher
Cards Players
of the Year
Memphis (AAA)
Springfield (AA) Colby Rasmus Mitchell Boggs Jason Motte
Palm Beach (A+)
Quad Cities (A)
Batavia (SS)
Johnson City (SS) Beau Riportella Brian Broderick Eduardo Sanchez
Gulf Coast (SS) D'Marcus Ingram Carlos Gonzalez Reynier Gonzalez
Domincan (SS) Juan Mosquera Arquimedes Nieto  Angel Tapia
Venezuelan (SS) Ismael Cardona  Richard Castillo  Carlos Oraa

(Click on the team name highlighted above to be taken to that detailed article.)

Next up: Batavia Muckdogs of the short-season Class-A New York-Penn League.



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