2011 Top 10 Prospects: Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinalsby Matt Hagen
December 30, 2010
Chicago Cubs: Top 10 Prospects
1. Brett Jackson / OF / Jackson had a terrific first full season, but I stand firm with my cautiousness toward his future. His power and speed are playing in the minors, but he will have to show more before I start to believe that he can be an impact major leaguer.
2. Chris Archer / SP / From a command standpoint, Archer has good games and bad games, but he possesses tenacity and an above-average three-pitch mix that has Cub fans excited.
3. Trey McNutt / SP / Where did McNutt come from? He burst onto the scene this year with his mid-90s fastball and terrific breaking ball. His command looks merely average, however. We're all waiting to see how he handles Double-A and if his change-up develops.
4. Hak-Ju Lee / SS / Lee had a fine full-season debut, posting a stellar batting average and proving to be a peskier out than most thought possible. His defense isn't as advertised yet and he hasn't shown any power upside, which are two problems holding back his stock.
5. Jay Jackson / SP/RP / Jackson started to use his full repertoire more this season, which had negative effects on his numbers. He has solid control of his fastball and curveball, but no out pitch to speak of. It's hard to tell if he will start or relieve full-time.
6. Brandon Guyer / OF / Guyer posted a breakout campaign in 2010, and was even able to showoff the power potential that some thought was fading. His power and speed are playing now, but like Brett Jackson, I have doubts about it translating.
7. Hayden Simpson / SP / The selection of Simpson in the middle of the first round raised eyebrows, as he wasn't on a lot of radar screens. He has polish across the board and four useful pitches but doesn't seem to possess much upside. Still, let's give him a chance.
8. Josh Vitters / 3B / Having youth on his side will only get Vitters so far; he needs to improve. As it stands now, his plate approach is terrible and won't get the job done where he's hoping to go.
9. Chris Carpenter / RP/SP / Carpenter's command has improved since his college days, but is no better than average on a good day. He seems to project better as a reliever, where his exciting fastball and slider can stand out.
10. DJ LeMahieu / 2B / If nothing else, LeMahieu proved to be a tough out in 2010, contributing to his .314 batting average. He has a solid line-drive swing and some are projecting a bit of power, but he hasn't shown any evidence yet.
Chicago Cubs: Top 10 Players Under Age 26 (as of 4/1/11)
1. Starlin Castro / SS
2. Brett Jackson / OF
3. Chris Archer / SP
4. Trey McNutt / SP
5. Andrew Cashner / RP/SP
6. Tyler Colvin / OF
7. Hak-Ju Lee / SS
8. Blake DeWitt / 2B
9. Jay Jackson / SP/RP
10. Brandon Guyer / OF
St. Louis Cardinals: Top 10 Prospects
1. Shelby Miller / SP / Miller's command sharpened throughout 2010 and his curveball took a step forward, becoming his definitive out pitch. There is little holding him back from completely breaking through in 2011.
2. Zack Cox / 3B/2B / Cox embodies the phrase "professional hitter." His power may not develop, but he is a safe-bet, offensive-minded infielder.
3. Carlos Matias / SP / Matias might have the most impressive fastball ever seen from a Hispanic teenager. Velocity is one thing, but it's his impeccable command of the pitch that separates him. He has plenty of development in front of him, but a tremendous foundation is in place.
4. Oscar Taveras / OF / Taveras is a rare sort of five-tool talent in that his tools have actually translated to big numbers right out of the gate. Some may argue with this ranking, but I see no reason not to be excited.
5. Tyrell Jenkins / SP / Jenkins has raw mechanics and has shown inconsistencies, but is an extremely athletic high school pitcher with the passion and tools necessary to excel.
6. Eduardo Sanchez / RP / Sanchez is a young closer in training who continues to excel wherever he goes. He came in at No. 10 on last year's version of this list and gets another boost this year.
7. Lance Lynn / SP / Lynn's numbers went the wrong way in 2010, yet there was nothing particularly off regarding the way he performed. He has average command of average stuff, found it difficult to work out of the stretch, and left too many hittable pitches over the plate. He has the ability to correct most of that in time to be a back-end mainstay.
8. Matt Carpenter / 3B / Carpenter looks like he could follow in the footsteps of David Freese and Allen Craig, meaning he, too, has a shot to be a solid-but-unspectacular regular. His skills don't jump out at you, but so far his production has.
9. Deryk Hooker / SP/RP / Hooker is getting his share of strikeouts, but his fastball hovers around 90 for the most part. He is putting up his numbers due to above-average command and a plus curveball. His mechanics look like they could cause future problems, leaving many to peg him as a future reliever.
10. Seth Blair / SP/RP / Bryan Anderson and Joe Kelly received consideration, but Blair deserves a chance to be firmly on radar screens. He isn't particularly exciting, though he has stellar command of an above average fastball; however, his secondary offerings aren't where you want them to be for a college pitcher.
St. Louis Cardinals: Top 10 Players Under Age 26 (as of 4/1/11)
1. Colby Rasmus / OF
2. Jaime Garcia / SP
3. Shelby Miller / SP
4. Zack Cox / 3B/2B
5. Carlos Matias / SP
6. Oscar Taveras / OF
7. Tyrell Jenkins / SP
8. Eduardo Sanchez / RP
9. Lance Lynn / SP
10. Matt Carpenter / 3B
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