2006 Ranking: 6
School: Baylor University
Cardinal: Selected in the supplemental first round (43rd overall) of the
June, 2005 First-Year Player Draft as compensation for the Red Sox' signing of
free agent Edgar Renteria. Received an $800,000 signing bonus.
Jason Scott (17): McCormick dropped 10 spots in my personal rankings this year. If the rankings were based on potential alone, McCormick would definitely be near the top of the list. Injuries and control problems, however, have created doubt as to whether McCormick will ever reach his full potential. He made just 13 starts in 2006, allowing 41 walks in 56.1 innings. His control will definitely need to improve, but with a mid-to-upper 90s fastball and a pretty good curve, he is a pretty exciting prospect. He will most likely return to Palm Beach in 2007.
Leonda Markee (14): After being named The Birdhouse's sixth-ranked prospect in 2005, McCormick drops to 11th this year. I dropped him from seventh in 2005 to 14th now. McCormick is my eighth-ranked pitching prospect. He averaged 10.9 strikeouts per game in 2006 and no full-season starter in the system did better. But McCormick walked an average of 6.94 a game and no full-season starter did worse. Therein lies the tale of Mark McCormick. He has so much potential and so little control. To top it off he missed over two months with right shoulder tendinitis, encompassing two separate stints on the disabled list. McCormick's upside is so great that he will be given every opportunity to get it together. Just cross your fingers. Look for him to start 2007 in Palm Beach.
Ray Mileur (11): McCormick finished at 2-4, 4.31 in 13 starts combined between Swing of the Quad Cities in the Midwest League and Palm Beach in the Florida State League. He posted a 68/41 K/BB in 56 innings, allowing just 43 hits. He was hit hard in his two games for High-A Palm Beach. In two games, in just four innings, McCormick gave up five hits and five earned runs adding up to a 11.25 ERA albeit a small sample size.
In 2005 his 10.17 strikeouts per nine innings led all Cards' minor league starters contributing to him being rated the 5th-best Cardinals prospect in 2006 by Baseball America.
In 2006 McCormick was hampered by control problems and nagging injuries. McCormick was 2-4 with a 3.72 ERA in 10 starts before the bone bruise in the shoulder injury that landed him on the DL for a month in early June and then again for a second time in July. Prior to being placed on the DL, McCormick was holding opposing hitters to a .201 batting average while striking out 59 and walking 38 in 48.1 innings of work. So he started off on the right track (if you ignore the walks) before he was injured and I don't think he was ever 100% throughout the season.
He has a fastball timed between 91 and 96 MPH, as well as a big-breaking curve that at times can be too slow. His stuff is excellent, but he has problems with command and control, and will overthrow at times. He has to cut down on those free passes.
He has excellent stuff and potential, but he isn't as refined as one might expect and he may not advance as quickly as other college-trained pitchers. I said it last year and it bears repeating again, McCormick's future is probably as a reliever, potentially a closer.
The Cardinals still think Mark is one of their better prospects and he'll likely spend most of the '07 season at Palm Beach. I'm expecting a breakout year for him this season.
Brian Walton (7): I remain more optimistic about McCormick than most, including my peer staffers. I still see an awful lot of upside potential here, despite him having to return to Quad Cities for a second consecutive season for much of 2006.
McCormick possesses a plus fastball that can reach the upper 90's and plus curveball at times, but like so many, seems to have trouble finding the strike zone. His strikeout to walk ratio doesn't look as bad as it could due to all the strikeouts – 68 to 41 in 56-1/3 innings.
Whether or not McCormick can achieve that potential remains the big question for the Cards' supplemental first-rounder from 2005. Will his mechanics do him in or can he remain healthy and locate his pitches after shoulder ailments limited him to just 13 appearances in 2006?
STAFF COMMENTS KEY: Staff Member (Individual Ranking), NR = Not Rated
To see our entire list of 40 prospects as they are unveiled daily, click here.
© 2006 stlcardinals.scout.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed.