As our yearly Forty Days, Forty Nights, Forty Prospects series nears its close, this article brings together the voting of all four participants from The Birdhouse, Leonda Markee (LM), Dustin Mattison (DM), Ray Mileur (RM) and me, Brian Walton (BW). The far left column of the table below is the aggregate ranking. To the right of the players’ names are our individual votes.
Next are the 2007 and 2006 rankings of the players in the new 2008 Top 40, or as I should more accurately say, Top 42. New Cardinals Brian Barton and David Freese, added to the organization via Rule 5 Draft and trade, respectively, were inserted into the list after it had been compiled.
Seven players make their initial appearance on the list for 2008 in their first year of eligibility, with six as new draftees into the organization and one, D’Marcus Ingram, a draft-and-follow from the previous draft. Ten others make the list for the first time, though they were previously in the organization.
Not surprisingly, the split is in favor of pitching, though position players gained ground thus year, now holding down 19 of our 42 spots. Eight are infielders, three are catchers and eight are outfielders.
Four of our top six are pitchers. Of the 23 hurlers on the list, eight are relievers while 15 are starters. Of the latter group, three are left-handed.
In addition, you will see a column labeled “Comm” on the far right. That is the results of a collaborative effort among a group of very knowledgeable Cardinals fans from our Message Board. While that group is ranking 50 players, not 40, I limited their list in this article to 40 for consistency. Click on this link to see the entire community list and their reasoning behind it.
Now, here’s my view as to some of the movers and shakers this year.
Top debut – Clayton Mortensen - #9
(next – Pete Kozma - #16 and Jess Todd - #18)
The Cardinals’ 2007 supplemental first-rounder quieted his skeptics with a solid partial season on the mound, his first as a professional. Top pick Pete Kozma is here for his potential and second-round closer Jess Todd stood out with Batavia.
Fastest riser – Joe Mather – non-ranked to #8
(next – P.J. Walters - NR to #10 and Allen Craig – NR to #11)
Joe Mather’s meteoric rise was totally unexpected, as he did not receive a single vote one year ago. P.J. Walters and Allen Craig each stepped up with standout sophomore campaigns to leap onto our prospect map.
Biggest fall – Nick Stavinoha - #10 to #38
(next – Daryl Jones from #17 to non-ranked)
Outfielder Nick Stavinoha seemed to plateau out in 2007 after a great 2006 while Daryl Jones can’t yet seem to get a handle on those five tools that are seemingly rusting away in his kit bag.
Next are my views of some of the top individual picks and pans looking back at what we voters said one year ago.
Top 2007 pick – Markee – Brendan Ryan #16 (pictured)
Leonda was one of two voters that had Ryan in the teens one year ago, correctly anticipating his contributions at the Major League level during 2007.
Top 2007 pick – Mileur – Mitchell Boggs - #17
Ray saw the potential in Boggs a year earlier than the rest, putting this year’s #13 at #17 last year when the rest still had him in the 20’s.
Top 2007 pick – Walton – Jose Martinez - #17
One year ago, I ranked Martinez at #17, considerably more aggressive than the other voters, all three of whom had Martinez between 30 and 40. Martinez lived up to the projection, coming in at #7 this year, as everyone has now hopped onto the bandwagon. There’s plenty of room!
Top 2007 pan – Markee – Tyler Greene - #23
Of the four of us who ranked, Leonda was the least optimistic about shortstop Tyler Greene, who would suffer through an injury-racked 2007.
Top 2007 pan – Mileur – Jon Jay - #12
Ray was the least high on Jay of the four voters, with his #12 ranking coming into the season closest to where he would end up one year later.
Top 2007 pan – Walton – Stuart Pomeranz - #12
I was the only voter that didn’t place the oft-injured Pomeranz in last year’s top ten. 12 months later, he was left unprotected in the Rule 5 Draft and dropped to #29 on this count.
No one’s predictions can be 100% accurate. Here are our highest-profile misses from last year’s rankings.
Top 2007 miss – Markee – Nick Stavinoha - #8 (pictured)
Leonda thought Stavinoha would make the big step forward, but it didn’t happen as the outfielder had a middling season with Memphis and almost disappeared from our 2008 list entirely. In fact, Leonda did drop him completely off her list this time around.
Top 2007 miss – Mileur – Cody Haerther - #7
It is difficult to forecast injuries, but Mileur surely didn’t see Haerther’s lost 2007 season coming when he placed the outfielder in his personal top ten. In a wild ride in November, Haerther was removed from the 40-man, claimed by Toronto, waived and re-claimed by the Cardinals.
Top 2007 miss – Walton – Mark McCormick - #7
It is easy to fall in love with the heat, and this voter bet that good health would finally come for the right-hander. Wrong. There’s always 2008 I guess, though McCormick slid to number 20 overall this year.
Over the next four days, look for the final articles of this series coming from Leonda Markee, Dustin Mattison, Ray Mileur and myself, Brian Walton. Each of us will highlight deserving players on each of our personal top 40 lists did not make the consolidated one.
To reference our entire list of top 40 Cardinals prospects for 2008 and read about each individual player, click here. You can also learn more about each of the voters’ philosophies in making their selections and much more.
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