Earlier today, Baseball America released its list of the Top 100 Prospects throughout baseball, two weeks after ESPN and three weeks after MLB.com released their rankings. The Cardinals again had six players on this Top 100 List, although the rankings differed between the publications. Baseball America is a well-respected magazine/website that goes in-depth about all aspects of the game, particularly prospects. Here are some notes about the Baseball America Top 100 prospects:
-Cardinals Top Prospect OF Oscar Taveras was again found in the #3 slot in Baseball America’s Top 100 List, as he was on MLB.com, behind Texas INF Jurickson Profar and Baltimore RHP Dyaln Bundy. ESPN rated him at #2, above Bundy.
-The greatest difference between the Baseball America rankings and the others came for RHP Shelby Miller. Today, Baseball America rated him as the #6 Prospect in all of baseball, while ESPN had ranked him #21 and MLB.com had previously rated him as low as #25.
-Two Cardinals farmhands ranked in consecutive slots, with RHP Carlos Martinez at #38 and RHP Trevor Rosenthal at #39 in Baseball America’s ratings. Martinez was rated at #33 by MLB.com and #39 by ESPN. MLB.com rated Rosenthal #43, while ESPN had him all the way down at #57.
-RHP Michael Wacha was ranked the # 76 Prospect in baseball by Baseball America and the #83 Prospect by MLB.com. He was left completly off the Top 100 list by ESPN.
-2B Kolten Wong got the most wide variety of reviews. Baseball America ranked him in the middle of the three at #84. MLB.com had Wong as high as #79, while ESPN dropped him all the way down to #96 overall.
No matter who is ranking the Top Prospects for this upcoming season, it is clear that these six belong in the Top 100. Taveras and Wong are expected to be in the starting lineup for the Redbirds this season, and 2-3 of the pitchers could see some innings in Memphis as well.
It should be an exciting season at AutoZone Park in 2013!
The St. Louis Cardinals signed outfielder Chad Huffman to a minor league contract on Monday morning, with no invite to Spring Training. The 27 year-old Huffman was immediately assigned to Triple-A Memphis. He batted .282 with six home runs and 33 RBIs in 67 games last season for Triple-A Columbus in the Cleveland Indians’ system. Huffman has not appeared in the Major Leagues since 2010, when he made his debut on the big stage with the New York Yankees.
Huffman was originally selected by San Diego in the 2nd round of the 2006 June draft and was the Padres’ #7 prospect entering the 2007 season. He also won the 2009 Triple-A Home Run Derby at Portland’s PGE Park while playing for the hometown Beavers.
As we get closer to Opening Night, we wanted to release a few pictures of some giveaway items at AutoZone Park during the 2013 season. Redbirds fans can come home with a giveaway at every Friday home game as well as other select dates in 2013, totaling 18 in all.
Click here to read additional details on our expanded giveaway schedule. Opening Night is only 54 days away!
Friday, May 10 vs. Sacramento at 7:05pm: Charlie Lea Memphis Chicks Hat, presented by Victory University (3,000 fans)
Saturday, May 25 vs. Round Rock at 6:05 pm: Memphis Belle 70th Anniversary t-shirt (2,000 fans)
Friday, May 31 vs. Albuquerque at 7:05pm: Redbirds Piggy Bank (2,000 fans)
Thank you to Redbirds season ticket holder Janice Williams for donating a box of gloves for Cardinals minor leaguer Vance Albitz and his Gloves4Troops initiative.
Vance’s Gloves4Troops campaign has received a lot of coverage on the national level and can be read at the following links:
The Memphis Redbirds front office showed our support for good heart health today by wearing red to work in support of American Heart Association’s National Wear Red Day. Also in preparation for the Super Bowl, the staff enjoyed a special pot-luck lunch on the club level.
Thanks to our friendly How You Doin’ Committee!
On Tuesday, MLB.com ranked their Top 100 Prospects entering the 2013 season. The St. Louis Cardinals tied for the league lead with six Top 100 Prospects, along with Boston, Miami, Minnesota, and Texas. The Cardinals also finished second in the MLB behind Seattle in “Prospect Points,” which assigns a value to each prospect and totals the values for each squad (100 points for #1, 99 for #2, etc.)
This is all good news for Redbirds fans, because five of these players have a good chance of playing in Memphis for all or parts of the 2013 season. The Cardinals have already been rated the top minor league system in the game by Baseball America, so the combination of success at both the overall and individual levels points to an optimistic future for the organization.
#3 Oscar Taveras, OF: Having played at Double-A Springfield as a teenager, Taveras has always been described as “ahead of the curve” wherever he has been. The athletic right fielder finished the 2012 season in the top three among Texas League hitters in just about every offesnive category, batting .321 with 23 home runs, 94 RBIs, and 37 doubles. Taveras is seen as the right fielder and number three hitter of the future for the Cardinals, but will most likely begin 2013 with Memphis to gain more playing time with Carlos Beltran still manning right field in St. Louis.
#25 Shelby Miller, RHP: Miller struggled for the first time in his professional career in the first half of 2012, but a few small adjustments led to a record fo 7-2 with a 2.88 ERA in 57 second-half innings with Memphis and a September call-up to the big leagues. His power fastball has topped out at 97 mph, and his improving curveball and changeup give even more upside to the right-hander. He will enter Spring Training vying for the 5th spot in the Cardinals rotation. If he doesn’t win that battle, Miller could find himself in a bullpen role forthe Cardinals or as a top-of-the-rotation starter for the Redbirds.
#33 Carlos Martinez, RHP: Although he has a smaller frame, Martinez brings the heat with a mid- to upper-90s fastball and has garnered comparisons to Pedro Martinez. He reached Double-A Springfield at age 20 and went 4-3 with a 2.90 ERA in 15 games (14 starts) prior to being tabbed as the Game One starter in the Texas League championship series. Some analysts believe Martinez will end up as a dominant reliever in the MLB, but he will continue to pitch as a starter in the minor leagues this season. He could begin the campaign at Double-A, but Redbirds fans should have the opportunity to see him pitch in Memphis at some point this season.
#43 Trevor Rosenthal, RHP: Rosenthal has already made his mark at the Major League level, pitching lights out in the 2013 postseason with half of his fastballs clocked at 99 mph or faster. He rose quickly in 2012, starting 17 games for Double-A Springfield and making three starts for Memphis before being called up to pitch out of the bullpen for St. Louis. Rosenthal will have the opportunity in Spring Training to compete for a spot in the Cardinals rotation, but could easily end up in a relief role in St. Louis again, or as a starter with the Redbirds.
#79 Kolten Wong, 2B: Wong will begin the season as the Redbirds every day second baseman, although circumstances could see him called to St. Louis anytime throughout the year. He hit .287 with nine home runs, 52 RBIs, 23 doubles, and 21 stolen bases for Double-A Springfield last season. His well-rounded game projects him to be the steady, long-term second baseman that the Cardinals have lacked over the past few years.
#83 Michael Wacha, RHP: Wacha was drafted out of Texas A&M in the June, 2012 First-Year Player draft and quickly rose up the ranks of the Cardinals system. He started three games in the Gulf Coast League before appearing in relief four times for both Advanced-A Palm Beach and Double-A Springfield. Wacha will take his sinking fastball and devastating chanegup to the Springfield rotation in 2013 and is expected to be the only one of the Cardinals six Top 100 prospects to not make a stop in Memphis in 2013. This could obviously change if Wacha lives up to his potential and gives The Cards no choice but to promote him.
Former Redbird Joe Mather aka “Joey Bombs” signed a minor league contract with the Philadelphia Phillies and was invited to spring training as non-roster invitee. Mather wore a Redbirds jersey during parts of four seasons from 2007-10 and ranks tied for 5th on the Redbirds’ all-time career list with 41 home runs.
We conclude our in-depth look at former Memphis Redbirds who were ranked among the Cardinals Top 10 Prospects by Baseball America. Other top prospects, such as a #1 Oscar Taveras, #3 Carlos Martinez, and #5 Kolten Wong, are expected to play a big role for the Rebirds in 2013. With all of this returning and incoming talent, there is a lot of excitement heading into this Redbirds upcoming season.
Here is a look at the third and final former Redbird in the Cardinals list of Top 10 Prospects:
#7 Matt Adams
At 24 years old, Adams is rated as the “Best Power Hitter” in the Cardinals organization by Baseball America. His swing is described as “compact” and “spring-loaded,” which has allowed him to hit for both power and average over his professional career. In four minor league seasons, Adams has posted a .318 average with 82 home runs and 291 RBIs in 366 games.
Adams played 67 games for the Redbirds in 2012, along with a month-long stint with the big Cardinals. With Memphis, Adams batted .329 with 18 home runs and 50 RBIs. Prior to his call-up to the majors on May 20, he was batting .340 and led the team with nine home runs and 27 RBIs in 37 games. Adams recorded two homers, 13 RBIs and six doubles in 27 games with the big league squad before being re-assigned to Memphis. He missed the final month of the season with bone chips in his right elbow.
Prior to arriving in Memphis, Adamas racked up a number of accolades at the different minor league levels. He was named 2011 Cardinals Minor League Player of the Year and Texas League Player of the Year, along with Texas League mid-season and post-season All-Stars while with Double-A Springfield. He was also a Midwest League mid-season and post-season All-Star as a member of Low-A Quad Cities.
Adams is expected to be the Redbirds’ Opening Day starter at first base, with Allen Craig at the position at the big league level. He was originally drafted by the Cardinals in the 23rd round of the June 2009 draft out of Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania, where he led Division II in hitting with a .495 average.
Be sure to check out the Cardinals Caravan tomorrow at 6:30 pm at Autozone Park. Top Prospect Matt Adams will be in attendance, along with pitchers Michael Wacha and Sam Freeman and Cardinals Alumni Ryan Franklin and Brad Thompson. For information on the Caravan, please call (901) 721-6000. See you there!
Photo credits: Allison Rhoades / Memphis Redbirds
Today we continue our closer look at the Memphis Redbirds who were ranked among the Top 10 prospects in the St. Louis Cardinals organization by Baseball America. These players make up one of the deepest farm systems in the league and have the opportunity to make an impact at the big league level very soon, if they haven’t already.
Here is a glance at the next Redbirds prospect:
#4 Trevor Rosenthal
Rosenthal, who is said to have the “Best Fastball” in the Cardinals system by Baseball America, quickly rose through the Cardinals ranks in 2012, beginning the season with Double-A Springfield and making a pit stop in Memphis before finishing a successful season with the pro club. After being named a Texas League mid-season and post-season All-Star, he made three starts for the Redbirds in August of 2012, compiling a 4.20 ERA (7er/15.0ip) despite not receiving a decision. Rosenthal made four appearances out of the bullpen for the big league Cardinals prior to his stop in Memphis, allowing two runs in 4.0 innings, as well as one scoreless relief appearance with the Cards in between starts for Memphis. He was recalled to the majors for good on August 29.
Over the course of the season, Rosenthal made 19 appearances out of the Cardinals bullpen, finishing 0-1 with a 2.78 ERA (7er/22.2ip). He concluded the season by making seven consecutive scoreless appearances. Rosenthal was a member of the Cardinals postseason roster, where he pitched in three games of the National League Division Series against Washington and four games of the National League Championship Series against San Francisco. He threw a combined 8.2 scoreless innings in the playoffs, surrendering two hits while striking out 15.
Baseball America noted that half of Rosenthal’s fastballs in the postseason were clocked at 99 mph or faster. This electric fastball, along with his “hard curveball and solid changeup,” earned Rosenthal the #4 ranking among Cardinals top prospects. This spring, Rosenthal will be fighting with Joe Kelly and fellow top prospect Shelby Miller the No. 5 spot in the Cardinals rotation. If he doesn’t win the position in the rotation, Rosenthal could start for the Redbirds in 2013 or end up pitching out of the bullpen for the Cards.
Join us tomorrow at 2:30pm to learn more about Cardinals #7 prospect, first baseman Matt Adams.
Photo credits: Allison Rhoades / Memphis Redbirds
Baseball America recently released its Top 10 prospects for each team in the National League Central. The Redbirds were well represented, with three players from their 2012 roster in the Cardinals’ Top 10, along four others that are expected to make an appearance in Memphis during the 2013 season.
Optimism is flowing throughout the Cardinals’ organization, particularly in regards to pitching depth towards the top of the ranks. The Cardinals have had great success developing homegrown talent in recent years, with 11 of the 15 players who appeared in Game Five of the National League Championship Series having started their careers in the Cardinals’ organization. These recent pool of prospects has increased the positive outlook for the future of the club.
Today we’ll begin a closer look at the three Redbirds Top Prospects:
#2 Shelby Miller
Currently the top pitching prospect and the top prospect in the Cardinals’ organization the previous three years, Miller has the opportunity to win a spot on the big league roster this coming spring. He will be competing against former Redbirds Joe Kelly and Trevor Rosenthal for the No. 5 starting spot with the Cardinals and two spots in the starting rotation for the Redbirds.
Baseball America described his fastball as “overpowering” with “late, heavy movement” that is complimented by a “plus curveball and developing changeup.” Miller struggled in his first 17 starts with the Redbirds in 2012, going 4-8 with a 6.17 ERA. However, he turned things around in his final 57.0 innings pitched, posting a 7-2 record and a 2.88 ERA while compiling a 70-7 strikout-to-walk ratio. His 160 strikeouts in 2012 set a new Redbirds record. Miller’s late-season success earned him a call-up to the pro club in September.
Miller took advantage of his time with the pro club, where he made one start and five appearances in relief. Four of his five games out of the bullpen were scoreless before he was given the chance to start on October 3 against the Cincinnati Reds. His start concluded after 6.0 scoreless innings, in which Miller allowed only one hit and two walks while striking out seven. His success at the Major League level earned him a spot on the Cardinals’ postseason roster. He made two appearances out of the bullpen in the National League Championship Series, allowing two runs in 1.1 innings in Game 2 and pitching 2.0 scoreless innings in Game 6.
Miller, who was named Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Week twice as a member of the Redbirds in 2012, had his best professional season in 2011, when he split time between Advanced-A Palm Beach and Double-A Springfield. He concluded the 2011 campaign with a combined record of 11-6 with a 2.77 ERA in 25 starts, striking out 170 and holding opposing hitters to a .219 batting average. Miller was named the Cardinals’ Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2011 for the second year in a row. He was originally drafted by the Cardinals in the 1st round (19th overall) in the 2009 June Draft and signed the second-largest bonus in club history behind only J.D. Drew in 1998.
Check in tomorrow at 2:30pm for a closer look at the Cardinals No. 4 prospect and former Redbird, pitcher Trevor Rosenthal.
Photo credits: Allison Rhoades/Memphis Redbirds