Here we are at the 45th and second-to last article in our Top 40 Cardinals Prospects for 2010 series. The subject here is the top St. Louis Cardinals minor league prospects by position.
The selection process is most straightforward. We have already unveiled our Top 40 Prospects in the system via the “Forty Days, Forty Nights, Forty Prospects” series. Putting together this year’s All-Prospect Team is as simple as culling the top-ranked player at each position from that Top 40.
As always, the 2010 The Cardinal Nation/Scout.com St. Louis Cardinals All-Prospect team consists of eleven players – eight position players, including two corner outfielders considered as one group, plus three pitchers – left and right-handed starters and a reliever. Included are each player’s overall ranking, age during last season and highest level played.
The Cardinal Nation/Scout.com St. Louis Cardinals 2010 All-Prospect Team
In an indication of the rate of churn in the top prospect rankings, only three of the eleven featured players are holdovers from last year (bolded above), while six are new to the All-Prospect Team and two, first baseman Mark Hamilton and Allen Craig, the latter now an outfielder but then a third baseman, return after a year away.
TCN/Scout.com St. Louis Cardinals All-Prospect Teams – 2006 through 2009
The 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 winners are listed for comparison purposes with our TCN/Scout.com Cardinals Minor League Pitcher and Player of the Year in those past years listed in bold. The current winners are Lance Lynn and Allen Craig, respectively.
* It seems each year that one of our top award winners is not the highest ranked player at his position. This year, Lynn is ranked behind right-handed pitcher Shelby Miller. Last year, top draft pick Brett Wallace out-ranked our 2008 Player of the Year David Freese and the year prior, our 2007 Pitcher of the Year was P.J. Walters, but Adam Ottavino placed higher in the prospect rankings.
Centerfielder Colby Rasmus, second baseman Jose Martinez and catcher Bryan Anderson left the team in 2010 after each having appeared for four consecutive years. Rasmus was promoted to the majors, while Martinez missed the entire season and Anderson slipped behind second-round pick Robert Stock.
Two members of last year’s squad were traded, Brett Wallace and Jess Todd. After Curt Smith took over first base for one year, Hamilton recaptured the spot for the third time in four years, but may be an outfielder in the summer of 2010. Jason Motte graduated to St. Louis while Nick Stavinoha was passed by Daryl Jones, making his first appearance on the All-Prospect Team despite having been drafted back in 2005.
Freese becomes the fifth different third baseman on the All-Prospect team in five years, the position with the highest level of turnover over time. Now in his fourth consecutive year as the top left-handed pitcher in the system, Jaime Garcia becomes the dean of the 2010 All-Prospect squad. Outfielder Jon Jay has made the team three years straight, the first two as a corner outfielder.
Age and experience
The All-Prospect Team has an amazing spread in ages, from Shelby Miller at 18 years old to Freese at 26 last season, and at least one player at every age in between. A year after the average age and level reached by the players on the top 11 increased, showing an aging of the top level of prospects, ages remained roughly flat this year.
Interestingly, the average level of the All-Prospect Team dropped one notch from Triple-A to Double-A, brought down by Miller and Stock who actually only had a handful games at the A level. Six of the 11 prospects played in Triple-A during last season compared to seven the year before.
Note that not a single Palm Beach (A-Advanced) player made the 2010 Top Prospect Team and none from Quad Cities either, other than short-timers Miller and Stock. This is a clear indicator of how the middle levels of the system appear to be short of top talent.
In a reminder how the Cardinals top prospects have aged, three years ago, eight of the 11 members of the Top Prospect Team had yet to play a single game at the Double-A level. This year, only Miller and Stock can make that claim.
Next up: In tomorrow’s final installment, we will dive into the numbers behind the 2010 The Cardinal Nation/Scout.com Top 40 Prospect List in terms of sourcing of players and distribution by position with comparisons to recent years.
To reference our entire list of top 40 Cardinals prospects for 2010 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.
There's more! Want access to the all details behind our Cardinals prospect rankings in our “Forty Days, Forty Nights, Forty Prospects” feature here at The Cardinal Nation?
Subscribe now to our annual Total Access Pass(tm) and receive in the spring the FOX Fantasy Guide / Scout Prospect Guide, the perfect hardcopy companion to “Forty Days”, including the top prospects from all 30 MLB organizations and much more. We author the Cardinals section of the guide as always. (New TAP subscribers after 1/08/10 will receive the 2011 Guide next year but you can also purchase a copy of the 2010 Guide locally once they reach newsstands this spring.)
Brian Walton can be reached via email at email@example.com. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.
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