School: Rice University
Selected 2009 stats
Staff comments (individual rankings in parentheses)
Dustin Mattison (22): To me, Luna is one of the most interesting players in the system. If he can play second base, he could be an offensive threat and a very valuable commodity. If not and he is stuck in left field, he loses quite a bit of value.
Drafted out of Rice, Luna doesn't hit for much average but is quite impressive in the OPS department. In the pitcher-friendly Florida State League, he posted an OPS of .858 and went on to post a .782 mark at Springfield. With those numbers, he would have paced the FSL and ranked fourth in the Texas League among second basemen with a minimum of 30 plate appearances. Between the two stops, he hit 11 home runs total and his eight long balls at Palm Beach was the third best total among Florida State League second basemen.
Luna has fantastic pitch recognition and plate discipline. He has slightly above-average speed on the bases to go along with an average arm. Defense is the key to Luna's development. If he is able to stick at second, he could be a top 10 prospect this time next season.
Message board community (24): Aaron Luna clocked in at 24 with the community, just as with this combined ranking. He rose a lot from his #41 ranking in the community last year. Luna has shown promising power. He was second on the Palm Beach squad in home runs with eight. Curt Smith popped ten, but Luna took only 186 AB's to Smith's 371. His overall SLG this year was .450. And he was able to get on base, too, posting OBP's of .374 at Palm Beach and .361 in the Texas League (in 69 AB's). He doesn't like singles so much, with only 34 of them, compared to 31 extra base hits and 35 walks spread across three levels. He reached Double-A at age 22 in his first full minor league season, having been picked in the ninth round in 2008.
The community raised three questions. One was his batting average, which is a combined .228 across his two minor league seasons, and maxed out at .253 in the FSL this year. A second was his durability. He only had 271 AB's this year. A third was whether he has a position. He's not getting much time at 2B. Will his bat be enough for a corner OF? If he can keep getting on base and hitting the ball hard, he just might. - Gagliano
Brian Walton (34): There is no doubt that Luna belongs in the top 40, but the difference between the other voters' views and mine is entirely based on his defensive assignment. As a corner outfielder or utility guy, Luna should be around where I pegged him, behind a number of others in the system with similar attributes. As a legitimate second baseman, I could easily get behind the low-20's ranking of Dustin and the message board community.
Here's the problem. Luna isn't Skip Schumaker. What I mean is that he didn't make the position change without looking back. In fact, Luna played up the middle less than one-third of the time in 2009, with the rest at the corner outfield positions and as designated hitter. At the latter "position", with no defense to worry about, his OPS was an eye-popping 1.150.
Unfortunately, there can be no DH in St. Louis, at least not yet, and they can't play a half-dozen undersized, underpowered corner outfielders at the same time, either.
Our 2010 top 40 countdown continues: To see our entire list of 40 Cardinals prospects, click here. You can also read each of the voters' philosophies in making their selections.
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