St. Louis Cardinals Top Hitting Prospects | Touch’em All 2012

The St Louis Cardinals are a great organization from top to bottom.  They have a tremendous pitching staff in the minors, however I don’t think they get the credit the deserve for the great hitting they have throughout all levels.  Each year you hear those who jeer or mock the Cardinals selections of hitters in the draft, yet time and again they keep producing.  These kids are fun to watch and there should be more than a few good major leaguers out of this crop.  Here’s the report.

AAA Memphis Redbirds

Matt Adams 1B – Age 23 – Adams made his major league debut on May 20th and spent about a month with the Cardinals.  He hit .244 with 2 HRs, 13 RBI, and 8 Runs to go with a 24/5 K/BB ratio over 86 at bats while in the majors.  He’s hitting .357 with 13 HRs, 36 RBI, 28 Runs, and 2 SB along with a 30/9 K/BB ratio 168 at bats.  The Cardinals want him to work the count and take some walks.  Over his last 10 minor league games he’s hitting a monstrous .487/.475/1.077, but hasn’t taken a walk.  He will be back in the majors, to stay, very soon.

Ryan Jackson SS – Age 24 – The 2009 5th round pick patiently waits for his call to the majors.  He’s hitting .290 with 5 HRs, 25 RBI, 41 Runs, and 1 SB to go with a 55/31 K/BB ratio over 297 at bats on the season.  He’s versatile enough to play all over the infield and has a very good glove.  His bat has been improving and has a shot to stick at SS.  It would be safe to say he should have a nice career as a utility infielder at minimum.

Cedric Hunter OF – 24 – Hunter made it to Triple-A Tucson for the Padres last season, only to have his season come to end in July with a groin injury.  Now with the Cardinals organization, Hunter is hitting .278 with 4 HRs, 3 Triples, 11 Doubles, 29 RBI, 20 Runs, and 4 SB to go with a 29/21 K/BB rate over 205 at bats.  He found a brief 4 at bats with the Padres in 2011, there’s a good chance that he could find a little more than that with the Cardinals later this summer.

Zack Cox 3B – Age 23 – Cox is hitting .247 with 5 HRs, 19 Doubles, 20 RBI, and 17 Runs along with a 55/12 K/BB ratio 227 at bats.  He’s really turned the corner as of late, posting a triple slash of .400/.462/.543 over his last 35 at bats.  He was hitting just .187 on May 15th, so he’s coming along.  He should make his mlb debut in 2013.

AA Springfield Cardinals

Oscar Taveras OF – Age 20 – Barely 20, this kid is making noise in the baseball prospect and baseball card worlds.  He’s hitting .322 with 15 HRs, 4 Triples, 22 Doubles, 53 RBI, 42 Runs, and 6 SB to go with a 40/23 K/BB ratio over 283 at bats on the season.  We took notice of him as a 16-17 year old in 2009 in the DSL and said this was a kid we wanted to see state-side.  He hasn’t disappointed.  Don’t be shocked if he gets a look in the St. Louis at the end of the season.

Kolten Wong 2B – Age 21 – While Taveras is sucking up all the awesome prospect air in Springfield, Wong has been excellent in his own right.  He’s hitting .300 with 7 HRs, 4, Triples, 8 Doubles, 32 RBI, 42 Runs, and 13 SB along with an excellent 37/27 K/BB ratio over 277 at bats.  He’s in a 9 for 35 semi-funk at the moment, but had 2 hits in last nights post -AA All-star game back.  Memphis is calling and Wong will be on the move sometime this summer.

A+ Palm Beach Cardinals

Mike O’Neill OF/DH – Age 24 – Though he doesn’t offer any power and not much speed, O’Neill has hit at every level with the Cardinals.  The problem is that he is way behind the curve.  Still, hitting .345/.435/.406 with a ridiculous 14/39 K/BB ratio over 249 at bats in the pitcher friendly FSL is worth mentioning.    The Cardinals should give him a chance to sink or swim at a higher level later this summer.  He just might find his way as a reserve outfielder.

Starlin Rodriguez 2B/OF – Age 22 – Roger Dean Stadium has produced some hidden gems in the past and Starlin Rodriguez just might be the next one.  He’s hitting .307 with 2 HR, 5 Triples, 12 Doubles, 24 RBI, 35 Runs, and 11 SB to go with a 53/29 K/BB ratio over 225 at bats this season.  We think he comps to Alfonso Soriano.  Tom Belmont says the bat speed is there, despite still being raw.  Check out the video that Tom took of Rodriguez recently at the Dean:

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Tyler Rahmatulla 2B/3B – Age 22 - We talked about the 2011 34th round pick back in the fall in our 2011 draft season in review articles.  After a nice debut in 2011 in the Appy, Rahmatulla hit .322 with 7 HRs, 2 Triples, 16 Doubles, 42 RBI, 37 Runs, and 2 SB to go with a 36/17 K/BB ratio over 183 at bats in the MWL before his recent promotion to the FSL.  He’s off to a slow 7 for 37 start with Palm Beach, but he should adjust just fine.  He’s a nice fall back to Kolten Wong and could very well be his backup some day in the majors.

James Ramsey OF – Age 22 – Despite being drafted as a college junior last season by the Minnesota Twins, Ramsey turned down the guaranteed money to play as a senior at Florida State.  He hit .378 with 13 HRs and 11 SB to go with a 42/63 K/BB ratio over 233 at bats, his best season with FSU.  Despite being a senior, the 2012 23rd overall pick was able to sign close to slot value on Friday with the Cardinals.  He’s suppose to start his pro career in the FSL.

A- Quad City River Bandits

Luis Mateo 2B – Age 22 – Mateo is hitting .299 with 8 HRs, 1 Triple, 18 Doubles, 41 RBI, 46 Runs, and 15 SB to go with a 54/14 K/BB ratio over 231 at bats.  Injuries and poor played slowed his development down the past 2 seasons, but he’s displaying the skill set that he showed in 2009 and is due for a promotion to the FSL.  It may not happen this season though as there’s a log jam at 2B at AA and A+.

Stephen Piscotty 3B – Age 21 – I saw Piscotty and the Stanford Cardinals when they came to Seattle for a 3 game series with the Washington Huskies in early April.  The 36th overall pick in the 2012 draft is going to be a solid hitter, but a move to a corner outfield spot seems likely.  I’m not sure he’s going to have the range to stick at 3B.  He’s off to a 2 for 8 start in his very young pro career.   He could see time in the FSL later this summer.

Anthony Garcia OFAge 20 – In his 4th season of pro ball, the native of Puerto Rico is starting to get noticed.  He’s hitting .290 with 9 HRs, 3 Triples, 22 Doubles, 44 RBI, 38 Runs, and 3 SB to go with a 56/23 K/BB ratio over 231 at bats with the River Bandits.  They have yet to rush him and I don’t see that changing.  Expect him to hit the FSL in 2013.

Colin Walsh DH – Age 22 – Walsh isn’t regarded as a prospect to watch, but we can’t ignore the season that he’s having, despite the fact that he’s too old to be in the MWL.  He’s hitting .317 with 16 HRs, 4 Triples, 14 Doubles, 61 RBI, 56 Runs, and 3 SB along with a very nice 40/49 K/BB ratio over 262 at bats.  He’s got a .267 ISoP and needs to be sent to the FSL to see if he can deal with the nasty off speed pitches.

Juan Castillo C – Age 22 – In his 6th season with the Cardinals organization, The Dominican catcher has always hit for a respectable average, but now he’s finding a little more power that you’d like to see from a catcher.  Now if he could catch up to the curve as far as development time.  Catchers need not be rushed, but before we suggest him as a player to watch, he needs to hit High-A pitching.

SS Batavia Muckdogs

Patrick Wisdom 3B – Age 20 - The 52nd overall pick from the 2012 draft is off to a 2 for 18 start to his pro career.  This season with St. Mary’s he hit .262 with 9 HRs, 24 RBI, 39 Runs, and 4 SB to go with a 43/37 K/BB ratio over 191 at bats.

Matthew Young OF – Age 21 – The 2012 20th round draft pick from Cal State – Dominguez Hills is 9 for 30 with 1 HR and 2 Doubles in the early going.

Jesus Montero C – Age 21 – No, not that Jesus Montero.  This one is also a catcher and is also from Guacara, Venezuela, but is about a year and a half younger.  He’s hitting .378 with 3 HRs, 6 RBI, and 9 Runs to go with a 10/2 K/BB ratio over his 1st 37 at bats in the NYP.  Is the power for real?  Hard to believe so based on the fact that he has just ONE career home run coming into this season and it was way back in 2008.

David Washington 1B – Age 21 – Entering his 4th season in pro ball, the 2009 15th round pick has struggled in 3 seasons of Rookie ball.  He’s off to a great start in 2012 though.  He’s hitting .368 with 1 HR, 9 RBI, and 5 Runs.  The 16/3 K/BB ratio in 38 at bats is ugly though.

Breyvic Valera 2B – Age 19 – The 2009 signee from Venezuela struggled in the GCL, but found his game in the APPY in 2011.  He’s hitting .345 with 1 Triple, 5 Doubles, 3 RBI, 9 Runs, and 1 SB to go with a 6/2 K/BB ratio over 55 at bats in the NYP this season.  He offers no power, but does have a little speed.

R Johnson City Cardinals

Carson Kelly 3B – Age 17 – The Oregon teen was taking by the Cardinals with the 86th overall pick in the 2012 draft.  He skipped over the GCL and is off to a 6 for 39 start in the APPY.  The Cardinals obviously think highly of Kelly as they gave him over $1 million above slot.

Steve Bean C – Age 18 – The 59th overall pick in the 2012 draft from Rockwall,TX is off to a 4 for 24 start to his pro career.  Could stick at C long-term.

C.J. McElroy OF – Age 19 – The Cardinals 2011 3rd round pick got his feet wet with 79 at bats in the GCL last season.  He opens up the 2012 campaign in the APPY.  He’s hitting .349 with 1 Triple, 3 Doubles, and 2 SB to go with a 6/2 K/BB ratio over his first 43 at bats.  He could be someone who creeps onto radars very soon.  Keep an eye on him.

Lance Jeffries OF – Age 19 - The 2011 10th round draft pick displayed some wheels in his 125 at bats in the GCL in 2011 by stealing 12 bases.  He’s off to a 10 for 31 start with 2 SB with Johnson City this season.  A potential lead off type.

Trevor Martin 2B – Age 20 – The 2010 2oth round draft pick was injured in the first game of the 2011 season and missed the rest of the season.  He’s off to a 7 for 21 start and has made it all the way to his 6th game, so things are looking up for him.

Ildemaro Vargas 2B – Age 20 – Vargas got 7 game jump on the rest of the competition in the Appalachian League.  He hit .364/.462/.500 in 22 at bats in the FSL before heading to the APPY.  He’s hitting .364 with 4 Doubles and 3 SB to go with a 2/2 K/BB ratio over 44 at bats with Johnson City.

Bruce Caldwell 2B – Age 20 – The 2012 15th round draft pick from Spartanburg Methodist College is off to a 1 for 14 start in the Appy.

Jeremy Schaffer 1B – Age 22 – The 2012 18th round pick out of Tulane is off to an 8 for 40 start.  He hit .326 with 9 HRs and 5 SB to go with a 32/41 K/BB ratio over 218 at bats as a senior.

R Gulf Coast League Cardinals

Rowan Wick C – Age 19 - After graduating from high school in Vancouver, BC, Wick spent a year at Cypress CC in California.  He was taken in the 9th round of the 2012 draft as a sign-ability pick.  The Cards got him for well below slot price at $75,000.  He’s off to an 0 for 4 start.

Brett Wiley SS – Age 20 – The 2012 13th round pick is off to a 6 for 28 start to his pro career.

David Popkins OF – Age 22 – Popkins hit .276 with 5 HRs and 7 SB over 181 at bats this season as a senior with UC Davis.  His potential draft stock dropped each season since his sophomore year.  The non-drafted free agent is off to a 5 for 12 start in the GCL, but is clearly behind the curve at age 22.  The clock is against him.

Joseph Almaraz 3B – Age 20 – The 2012 21st round draft pick from Angelina College  is off to a 2 for 13 start.

Jhohan Acevedo OF – Age 19 – The 2009 signee from Venezuela makes his way state-side after a season in the VSL and then a season in the DSL.  He’s off to a 5 for 18 start in the GCL.  He doesn’t have any pro HRs yet, but there may be a little power hidden in that 6’1″ 173 pound frame.

R Dominican Summer League Cardinals

Luis Cruz C – Age 19 – The Dominican catcher is hitting .367 with 1 HR, 6 Doubles, 6 RBI, 17 Runs, and 2 SB to go with a 13/14 K/BB ratio over 79 at bats.

Carlos Torres OF – Age 19 - The Venezuelan is hitting .282 with 1 HR and 5 SB to go with a 20/11 K/BB ratio over 78 at bats.

Leobaldo Pina SS – Age 18 - The Venezuelan is hitting .270 with 6 SB and has a 15/7 K/BB ratio over 89 at bats.

That’s it for the Cardinals hitting report.  Of note, the Cardinals still haven’t signed Alex Mejia SS from Arizona.  Thanks for stopping by.

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