2008 Cardinals Prospect #7a – Brian Barton


Posted Jan 1, 2008


FREE preview today – Happy New Year! The 25-year-old outfielder, claimed from Cleveland in the Rule 5 draft, enters our list highly-ranked among Cards prospects. It will be boom or bust as he needs to make the 25-man roster or be offered back to the Indians. Will he stick?

Editor’s note: This top 40 prospect list was compiled in November, prior to the Rule 5 draft. As a result, after the fact, each of the four voters identified where they would have placed Brian Barton on their individual top 40 lists if he had been with the Cardinals back in November. Same goes with the recent acquisition of third baseman David Freese. With the four lists consolidated, Barton would have ranked between number seven and number eight on our master list, hence his assignment here as “7a”.

Scout.com Player Profile (including links to 2007 and career stats)

2007 Ranking: NA

Position: OF

DOB: 4/24/1982

Height: 6-foot-3

Weight: 190

Bats: R

Throws: R

School: University of Miami (FL)

Became a Cardinal: Selected in the December, 2007 Rule 5 draft from the Cleveland Indians.

2007 stats

Tm

AVG

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

SO

SB

OBP

SLG

OPS

AKR

0.314

389

56

122

18

2

9

59

41

99

20

0.416

0.440

0.856

BUF

0.264

87

9

23

3

0

1

7

7

18

1

0.333

0.333

0.667

Tot

0.305

476

65

145

21

2

10

66

48

117

21

0.402

0.420

0.822

Staff Comments (individual rankings in parens)

Leonda Markee (6a): It says something about the overall quality of the Cardinals’ minor league system when a player obtained in the Major League portion of the Rule 5 draft goes into the Top 10 of our countdown. (And that is not a positive statement.) In fact I ranked Barton as the third-best position prospect. That does not mean he has more projected upside than some ranked below him but, if he sticks, he will certainly be contributing to the big club in 2008. That weighs heavily in his favor.

Where I slotted Barton came down to a comparison between Joe Mather and him. Barton is three months older than Mather so the age issue is a wash. Mather has more professional experience and more pop to his bat. However, Barton is far more flexible defensively and brings the speed component to his game which Mather simply does not have. Barton got the overall nod. The big question is how Barton will rebound from off-season knee surgery. If his recovery is successful Barton will be an excellent pick-up.

Dustin Mattison (9a): The Cardinals selected Barton in the Rule 5 draft in Nashville during the Winter Meetings. Some thought he could be the first pick in that draft while others were scared off due to him just coming off knee surgery. If healthy, I believe the Cardinals will carry him all year, but if the knee is still bothering him, he’ll go back to Cleveland.

Barton went undrafted out of the University of Miami because teams thought he was not serious about baseball and that he wanted to pursue a job in the field in which he obtained his degree, aerospace engineering. Of note, even though he did go undrafted, the Indians gave him a $100,000 bonus along with $100,000 in college funds.

The 25-year-old is an intriguing prospect with a great mix of power and speed. Admittedly, his power numbers have dropped since his 2006 Double-A debut. There he posted an isolated power number of .152, followed by .126 at Double-A in 2007 then an abysmal .069 at Triple-A. Most believe his drop off was due to his knee. Barton still got on base and that is when he causes a lot of trouble. He stole 21 bases in 2007 after 39 thefts in 2006.

In the field, Barton displays above-average range and has improved his arm strength as well as his accuracy in each of his professional seasons.

Ray Mileur (18a): The 25-year-old Barton was considered one of the top picks at the Winter Meetings. There was talk that he would go first, so I was a little surprised that he was still available for St. Louis. Last season he hit .314 with nine homers, 59 RBIs and 20 stolen bases in 106 games at Double-A Akron. At Triple-A Buffalo, he hit .264 with seven RBIs in 25 games.

Signed as a non-drafted free agent out of the University of Miami in 2004, Barton had surgery on his right knee after the season. If he fully recovers from the knee surgery, the underrated outfielder has plus power and plus speed and should be able to stick on the 25-man roster as the Cardinals' fifth outfielder.

Brian Walton (6a): According to our partners on the Cleveland Scout.com site, Barton would have ranked fifth on their organizational prospect list this winter. When looking at Cardinals outfield prospects, it was relatively easy for me to place Barton ahead of ranked peers Jon Edwards, Nick Stavinoha and Cody Haerther and behind Colby Rasmus. That includes Joe Mather, against whom Leonda measured Barton above.

That leaves Jon Jay, who coincidentally was Barton’s teammate at the University of Miami during the 2004 season, Jay’s sophomore and Barton’s senior year. Overall, comparing the two’s Miami careers, Barton outslugged Jay by 24 points though the younger Jay posted a higher average and OBP. When push came to shove, I went with the professional experience and success of the older Barton, ranking him slightly ahead of Jay (6a versus 11).

Key: NR = not ranked, NA = not applicable

If you haven’t yet joined stlcardinals.scout.com, there is no better time to do so than right now. Upon subscribing, you will receive access to all four Deric McKamey Cardinals prospect articles as well as the details behind each our Cardinals prospect rankings in this series, “Forty Days, Forty Nights, Forty Cardinals Prospects”.

In addition, if you select our annual Total Access Pass(tm), you’ll also receive the 84-page 2008 Scout Prospect Guide, the perfect hardcopy, glossy companion to “Forty Days”, expanded to include the top prospects from all 30 MLB organizations, 56 issues of Sports Illustrated magazine, a $39.95 value, and much more!



© 2008 stlcardinals.scout.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed.


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