A Minor Review of ’09: St. Louis Cardinals

Prospect ranking season is here. Top 10 lists will be arriving shortly and in preparation for that, we present an intro series looking at some of the players who deserve mentioning but probably will not be appearing on their teams’ Top 10 lists. The series is back for a second year.

St. Louis Cardinals

The Graduate: Colby Rasmus, CF
It wasn’t the hugely successful rookie debut that many fans had hoped for, but Rasmus laid the groundwork for an excellent MLB career. In his rookie season in ’09, he hit .251/.307/.407 with an ISO of .156 in 474 at-bats. His walk rate was lower than he averaged in his minor league career at 7.1 BB%, but he kept the strikeouts in line at 20.0 K%. He was hurt by a .284 BABIP. Although Rasmus had a negative offensive value in ’09, he more than made up for that with his glove and ended up with a WAR of 2.3.

The Riser: Adron Chambers, OF
The speedy outfielder had a nice year in high-A ball by hitting .283/.370/.400 with 16 triples in 448 at-bats. The left-handed hitter needs to improve his base running after getting gunned down 12 times in 33 attempts. He showed a reasonable walk rate at 9.5 BB% but the strikeout rate was a little high (21.4%) for someone with an ISO .116. Chambers also posted a .600 OPS versus southpaws, compared to .830 versus right-handers. He’s raw, but Chambers has potential as a former 38th round draft pick (2007) out of Pensacola Junior College.

The Tumbler: Adam Ottavino, RHP
A former first round draft pick (2006) out of Northeastern University, Ottavino has had back-to-back disappointing seasons. The right-hander pitched in triple-A in ’09 and allowed 141 hits in 144.0 innings of work. His walk rate rose from 4.06 in ’08 to 5.13 BB/9 in ’09. On the plus side, his batting-average-against dropped from .290 to .258. Ottavino’s fastball ranges from 88-93 mph and he also utilizes a slider, curveball and change-up. His best bet for success in the Majors may be in the bullpen.

The ’10 Sleeper: Tyler Henley, OF
The 24-year-old Henley had some success at double-A in ’09 and he has shown solid overall numbers as a pro. The outfielder hit .303/.367/.482 in 423 at-bats. He also posted a .180 ISO and his strikeout rate was just 15.1 K%. If Henley can start putting a few more fly balls over the fence, then he could potentially see a few years as a Major League starting right fielder. More likely, he’ll be a solid fourth outfielder who can play center well enough to occasionally spell Colby Rasmus.

Bonus: Nick Additon, LHP
Additon was the Cardinals’ sleeper prospect during the ’08 series and he responded with a solid, albeit unspectacular, season. The southpaw allowed 69 hits in 79.1 high-A innings and 36 hits in 48.0 double-A innings. After his promotion, his strikeout rate dropped from 7.49 to 4.88 K/9, but his walk rate improved from 4.20 to 3.94 BB/9. Additon’s control had always been a plus prior to ’09, but it’s risen with each season. His repertoire is modest with an 86-88 mph fastball, slider and change-up.

Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospects and fantasy. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.

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Steve C
12 years ago