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weekend discussion thread: prospects

since john sickels' list of the top 20 cardinal prospects will be up sometime today (saturday), let's make that the weekend yak thread: which stl farmhand intrigues you the most?

we can include reyes and wainwright in the discussion; ankiel too, i guess. but i'm really more interested in who you like from among the rest of the field -- duncan, gall, lambert, mccormick, rasmus, greene, haerther, hanson, worrell, stavinoha, et alia. also what you like about them -- plate discipline, pitch velocity, speed on the bases, whatever. bonus points if you have seen the guy play in person -- and if you have, give us some visuals.

i haven't seen any of these guys, so i form my impressions strictly by the stat sheet. and on that basis i'm partial to outfielder cody haerther, a 6th-round pick from the 2002 draft. what do i like about him? his numbers suggest a broad, fertile skill foundation -- makes good contact, knows the strike zone, is rapidly improving his power. his top comparables at baseball prospectus include some pretty good young players with bright futures: the tigers' curtis granderson (#1 comp), texas' laynce nix (#2), former chisox centerfielder aaron rowand (#7), and the guy who will be replacing rowand, brian anderson (#6). all of these guys appeared on one of baseball america's top-100 prospect lists and got to the majors by age 24; at least three of them will be everyday players this year.

do i see haerther as a star? not likely -- but at his upper boundary he could be andy van slyke. i do think, though, he has a good chance to become the type of player st louis used to produce in abundance during the 1970s and 1980s: a bread-n-butter regular with all-around skills. verrry corny of me, i realize. i'm rooting for him anyway.

there's a poll up about this on the right-hand sidebar.

Update [2006-2-26 0:21:4 by lboros]: here's the link to sickels' post on the stl farm system. and here are the 20 prospects:

  1. Anthony Reyes, RHP, Grade B+
  2. Colby Rasmus, OF, B+
  3. Cody Haerther, OF, B+
  4. Tyler Greene, SS, B-
  5. Adam Wainwright, RHP, B-
  6. Mark McCormick, RHP, B-
  7. Nick Stavinoha, OF, B-
  8. Bryan Anderson, C, B-
  9. Travis Hanson, 3B, C+
  10. Chris Lambert, RHP, C+
  11. Juan Mateo, RHP, C+
  12. Stuart Pomeranz, RHP, C+
  13. Eric Haberer, LHP, C+
  14. Tyler Herron, RHP, C+
  15. Nick Webber, RHP, C+
  16. Mark Worrell, RHP, C+
  17. A.J. Van Slyke, OF, C+
  18. Mike Parisi, RHP, C+
  19. Tyler Johnson, LHP, C
  20. Rick Ankiel, OF, C
juan mateo is right in there (at no. 11) with the early-round mound draftees -- lambert, pomeranz, haberer, herron, webber -- of the last three drafts, which is either a good sign (we swiped a prospect) or a bad one (our early-round arms ain't so good). i'm happy to see cody haerther's grade; sickels handed out the same B+ to more heralded prospects like andy la roche (dodgers) and dustin pedroia (red sox). the cubs' much-hyped felix pie, #27 on baseball america's top 100 list, graded out the same as haerther; ditto royals up-comer billy butler (#29 on the BA list) and brewer 3b prospect ryan braun (#49 overall). for that matter, sickels has haerther virtually even with the darling of the stl system, colby rasmus.

if that's the class haerther is in, then he's a pretty good-looking prospect.