As we lead up to both the start of the 2008 season and our “Diamond Cutter” top 100 prospects list, I will be taking a look at the top five prospects from every single Major League team. Each team will have its top five prospects along with a brief scouting report on each player that I have pulled from my scouting notes. Today we wrap up the NL Central with the St. Louis Cardinals. As always, let me know how you feel about the rankings in the comments section below or via email.
1.) Colby Rasmus, OF: Colby Rasmus projects all plus tools and is the superior, impact-type prospect the St. Louis Cardinals organization has been waiting for ever since Albert Pujols was plucked from it. Rasmus is a perfect example of a five-tool player as he can run, throw, field, hit, and hit for power. He has very quick hands which gives him excellent plate coverage. Projects to have plus power and should be able to put up a fantastic stat line. Excellent bat speed, good pitch recognition, and plus runner. Not sure how much St. Louis will allow him to run once he reaches Majors but could have 20+ stolen bases per year. He’s doing an excellent job on his move to center field which is where the Cardinals desperately need someone ever since Jim Edmonds departure.
2.) Chris Perez, RHP: Chris Perez projects to be the future closer for the St. Louis Cardinals. Perez has a fantastic mid-90’s fastball with good sinking action on it. He also offers up a plus slider that reaches the mid to upper 80’s. This combination of pitches is perfect for a power closer and should make it much easier for him to be successful. The problem however is that when Perez makes mistakes, he makes them up in the zone which leaves his pitches very vulnerable and can get hit very, very hard. He needs to work on keeping the ball down (especially in a crucial save situation where you only have a one to three run cushion) and if he can he will make a solid closer.
3.) Jamie Garcia, LHP: Garcia is an excellent athlete who has run into some elbow injury problems recently. Garcia has a plus curveball that he tends to get a little curveball-happy with and it started wearing on his arm (may miss most or all of 2008). He will need to cut back a little bit on his curve and start relying more on his change-up and plus fastball with great sinking action that sits in the low to mid-90’s. The sinking action is so solid on his fastball that he has made himself one of the best ground ball pitching prospects in baseball. If not for his injury and the upcoming significant time he will miss, he would probably be in the number two spot on this list.
4.) Bryan Anderson, C: Bryan Anderson is a few ticks above average as a catcher with some areas to work on. Overall he’s decent but he does have some polishing to do in terms of his game. On one hand he is improving on calling a game and has a strong arm but he does need to work a little on blocking balls in the dirt. Offensively he has a nice, smooth left handed swing which generates a lot of line drives. He doesn’t have much power to speak of but then again he won’t ever really be thought of as an offensive catcher.
5.) Adam Ottavino, RHP: Ottavino looks to have a very strong set of developing pitches in his repertoire. Currently he has a plus fastball that sits in the low to mid-90’s (at times can crank up to 98 mph) and a set of developing pitches including a quality slider (on the brink of being a consistent plus pitch) and curve. One of the biggest things holding him back right now with these pitches is his control. He tends to struggle a bit with this and might be able to clean it up with some work on his mechanics. If he’s able to fix his control problems, he projects to be a high as a number two starter but my guess is he’ll be more of a mid-rotation type guy.
Catch my column “Twins Killings” every day only on the Most Valuable Network.