2008 ranking: #25
School: Keller (TX) High School
Became a Cardinal: Selected in the 14th round of the June, 2006 First-Year Player Draft.
Selected 2008 stats
Staff comments (individual rankings in parens)
Dustin Mattison (35): Finally, Edwards' enormous tools translated to production on the field. Starting the year in Batavia, he had six home runs and slugged .559 in just over 100 at bats before being promoted. At the time of his promotion, both numbers were among the best in the New York-Penn League.
The 20-year-old held his own in the tough Midwest League. In 78 at bats, he hit four long balls and slugged .462. The 6-foot-5, 230 pound right fielder possesses above average power and arm strength. To continue to move up the ladder, Edwards is going to have to cut down on his strikeout rate. In 180 at bats, the Chicago native struck out 61 times.
If he is able to start making more consistent contact, he could become a very interesting prospect due to his size/power combination.
Ray Mileur (37): My ranking of Edwards was the lowest of the group. Jon split playing time between Batavia (31 games) and Quad Cities (22 games), hitting a combined .289 (52-for-180) with nine doubles, 10 home runs and 29 RBIs. Before being promoted to Quad Cities, Edwards led the Batavia in slugging percentage, on-base percentage and home runs. Ranked as high as #15 in the Birdhouse 2007 rankings, Jon, who turns 20 in January of 2009, appears to be on his way back after a solid 2008 campaign.
Message board community (34): Edwards is another player where expectations may have overshadowed his actual performance. Despite having his best year since joining the Cardinals organization (a .986 OPS at Batavia and .906 OPS overall), Edwards actually fell in this year's rankings.
Of course, he was starting his third year in short season ball and the expectations for him have been incredibly high. Edwards did perform decently in his first look at full season ball after being promoted to Quad Cities of the Midwest League, where he had a .798 OPS in just under a 100 AB's. Cardinal fans clearly remember that Joe Mather spent three years in short season ball before eventually becoming a top prospect and many hope that Edwards is on a parallel path. - CariocaCardinal
Brian Walton (23): Déjà vu all over again. If I had my way, we'd be discussing Edwards in about two weeks, not now. I am again the outlier here, basically not dropping Edwards like the others. I had him #22 on my list last winter, also higher than the other voters. I just can't see booting Edwards almost off this list.
Heck, the guy really stroked the ball this year! I saw Edwards play at three different junctures this season, in Spring Training, Extendeds and with Batavia. Even during one season, I could see marked improvement with the bat as Edwards was clearly the best hitter on the Muckdogs.
No matter how you cut it, a .906 OPS season at the age of 20 is outstanding. 40% of Edwards' hits were for extra bases.
I noticed the Mather comparison above with interest. In his third pro season, also at age 20, Mather's OPS was .646. Joey Bombs never even sniffed .800 until his breakout 2007 season in Double-A at the age of 24.
At this point in his career, Edwards is also ahead of another high school draftee with a big bat, Chris Duncan. In fact, Duncan's best OPS as a minor leaguer was .866 in Double-A at the age of 23.
While there is a long way to go, I see Edwards' potential considerably higher than either Duncan or Mather as he could become the best power bat to come up through the system in years. In an organization seemingly overflowing with short, scrappy outfielders, how many others on this list can we even whisper that about?
Though a year older and two levels higher, Daryl Jones posted an .889 OPS in his 2008 breakout and became the Player of the Year in the system as a result. Taking nothing away from Daryl, who adds the important element of speed to his game, but I believe that Edwards is capable of opening the same eyes in 2009.
To see our entire list of 40 prospects, click here. You can also read each of the voters' philosophies in making their selections.
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