August 1, 2008

Cardinals' farmhands to watch

4thebirds... is not a blog to go saber on you, and would prefer to analyze actions than numbers, but in order to map out a few of the more notable prospects amongst the Cardinals' minor league affiliates, we'll have to refer to pure data, and a little bit of selective eavesdropping.

Starting with Low-A ball, the River Bandits currently possess the Cardinals' number one draft pick, Brett Wallace. He has a couple hundred less ABs then most of the regulars, but his hitting is preceding his reputation. If you forgive the low quantity of plate appearances, Wallace leads the team in batting average at .341. He has accumulated 11 extra-basehits so far this season, four of those being home runs. His RBI tally is 51. He also has a respectable on-base percentage at .434 and decent .560 slugging percentage.

Stepping up a notch to High-A, Curt Smith of the Johnson City Cardinals is currently leading that squad with a .349 batting average.

Notable batsmen from the Class AA Springfield Cardinals include Brayn Anderson's .388 and Shane Robinson's .352. Unlike some of his teammates, Allen Craig did not get promoted, and remains on the AA-Cards with a .301 batting average and team-leading 19 home runs. Of the promoted, Jon Jay held a .306 batting average with the AA-Cards with 11 round-trippers. Tyler Greene had a lower .257 average, but displayed some extra-basehit power with 15 doubles and 16 homers.

Now on the Class AAA Memphis Redbirds, Jay has only 11 at-bats so far, but has five hits, one of them a home run to go with his .455 batting average. Anderson possesses a .313 batting average.

There are some other big hitters on the Memphis squad you might not be familiar with, unlike teh recent call-ups, Nick Stavinoha and Joe Mather, who are getting their respective shots at the Bigs right now.

Lesser known outside of Tennessee, perhaps, but carrying proven weight are hitters like David Freese and Josh Phelps. Both are hitting smidgen below .300, but their power is substantial, even on the Triple-A level.

Freese has accumulated 20 doubles, three triples, and 19 home runs, while Phelps has 24 doubles, one triple, and a team-leading 25 home runs. You might at least see Phelps on the parent squad when September rolls around, and possibly Freese as well.

There are also some pretty good arms besides those we've seen get stints with the St. Louis club.

Currently on the Springfield squad, Fernando Salas has tallied 19 saves while starter Jess Todd carries a 3.12 ERA. The records don't mean as much when sizing up minor league pitchers, but a couple stats that mean something for Todd are that he has only walked 21 while striking out 70, giving him a strikeout to walk ratio of almost 4-to-1.

Class AAA standouts are John Wasdin, P.J. Walters, and Jason Motte. Wasdin and Walters are workhorses, with about 90 innings pitched already. Wasdin is another hurler with a good strikeout to walk ratio, with 17 free passes to 84 strikeouts. Walters is bit higher on the walks with 40, but has 86 strikeouts. Maybe more impressive is Motte's 21 walks given to 88 strikeouts, accomplished in a little over 50 innings or work.

Who gets a September callup? There are clearly many to choose from, and in the case of the parent club Cardinals, a few of them may be in St. Louis for more then the splinters, considering how deep into the Triple-A squad they've been already.