ESPN’s Keith Law from Scouts Inc. ranked the St. Louis Cardinal minor league system 29th out of 30 in his yearly organizational rankings list. St. Louis’ system was depleted by the mid-season trade acquisitions of Mark DeRosa and Matt Holliday.
While having a poor minor league system is never a good thing, on the optimistic side, St. Louis has put itself in a position to be a serious contender for the short term, giving scouting director Jeff Luhnow plenty of time to replenish the farm system for the future.
In Law’s Top 100 Prospects of 2010 (ESPN.com Insider subscription required) rankings, he listed two future Cardinals; starting pitcher Shelby Miller ranked 38th, and outfielder Daryl Jones ranking 59th. Let’s take a look at what Law had to say about them:
“Miller was the best prep right-hander in last year’s draft class but fell to the Cardinals at the 19th pick due to suspected bonus demands, which turned out to be reasonable for his level of talent. He’s a very high-upside pitcher who projects to have two plus pitches between his 92-96 mph fastball that has flashed a little better and a 76-78 mph curveball with good depth. He seldom used his changeup in high school but started showing it more in Quad Cities, where it showed promise as at least a future average pitch. At 6-foot-3, he gets good downhill plane on his pitches and has the height and frame of a front-end starter. His command is well-below-average right now and may have contributed to his slide to St. Louis in the draft, but his arm works well with a high hand separation and short path, and he repeats his delivery. He’s not likely to race up the system, but has top-of-the-rotation upside that no one in the Cardinals’ system can match.”
“Jones is an incredible athlete along the lines of a Domonic Brown, with a solid swing and good plate discipline for someone his age and with his light level of baseball experience. He was a three-sport athlete in high school, playing football and track and field. Until LASIK surgery in 2007, he hadn’t shown any progress as a hitter in pro ball, but he broke out in 2008 only to have a quad strain turn chronic and cost him nearly all of July and August. He’s a plus-plus runner who shows good pitch recognition and sprays line drives to all fields. Where Jones may fall short as a hitter is in the power department — he’s pretty linear and doesn’t transfer his weight fully, striding but keeping his weight back even through contact, so even though he’s physically wired for power he’s not going to fully realize that with his current swing. On defense, he has the speed for center but his reads continue to need work, and his arm won’t allow him to play right. With Colby Rasmus establishing himself in center field in St. Louis, Jones will probably shift to left unless he’s traded, and he’ll have to get more power out of his swing to be a star in a spot that’s often reserved for guys who can hit but offer little on defense.”