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.
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,
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
|of the Year
|Palm Beach (A+)
|Quad Cities (A)
|Johnson City (SS)
|Gulf Coast (SS)
(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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