Over the next few weeks, CardinalsFarm will bring you an Ultimate Depth Chart for each position. We will run through the players that play that position on every level of the system. These are players that are currently on major and minor league rosters. We will rank them based on current production and future production with each getting 50%.
This was probably the toughest position preview to do so far. Shortstop is by far the weakest position, not only with the St. Louis Cardinals, but also in the minor league system. The injury to Rafael Furcal makes this even tougher to do. As you may notice, I did not even put Furcal on this list because he will not play an inning this season. Lets take a look at a couple interesting names from this list.
If the Cardinals don’t make a move to shore up this position, Ryan Jackson is my pick to be the everyday shortstop in St. Louis for 2013. Jackson is clearly the best defender out of the three possible candidiates (him, Kozma, Cedeno) and, as you can see, they put up similar offensive numbers. If none of these players can hit, why not go with the best defender? I think if Jackson gets the playing time, he could be a solid stopgap until the Cards can make a trade that is reasonable or sign a free agent. I don’t believe Jackson is the answer for the future.
Matt Williams and Alex Mejia are interesting prospects to keep our eye on in 2013. Williams had a solid season as the lead-off hitter for Low-A Quad Cities in 2012 and could take the same position for High-A Palm Beach this season. I would like to see Mejia take Williams’ spot on the Peoria (the new Quad Cities this season) roster. Mejia, a product of the University of Arizona, was limited in his 2012 action due to an ACL tear in early August.
Here is how I see the Cardinals depth at shortstop
1. Ryan Jackson, 24 – Memphis, St. Louis – 5th, 2009
- (AAA stats) 503 PA, .272, 10 HR, 47 RBI, 2 SB
2. Pete Kozma, 24 – Memphis, St. Louis – 1st, 2007
- (AAA stats) 500 PA, .232, 11 HR, 63 RBI, 7 SB
3. Greg Garcia, 23 – Springfield – 7th, 2010
- 504 PA, .284, 10 HR, 51 RBI, 10 SB
4. Ronny Cedeno, 30 – New York Mets – Free Agent
- 186 PA, .259, 4 HR, 22 RBI, 0 SB
5. Matt Williams, 23 – Quad Cities – 15th, 2011
- 587 PA, .269, 6 HR, 49 RBI, 23 SB
6. Alex Mejia, 22 – Batavia – 4th, 2012
- 100 PA, .250, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 1 SB
7. Anthony Melchionda, 23 – Batavia, Quad Cities – 14th, 2012
- 228 PA, .265, 5 HR, 23 RBI, 4 SB
8. Garrett Wittels, 22 – Batavia, Quad Cities, Springfield, Memphis – Undrafted
- (Combined stats) 286 PA, .243, 1 HR, 28 RBI, 3 SB
9. Ronny Gil, 24 – Palm Beach – International
- 460 PA, .224, 1 HR, 29 RBI, 14 SB
10. Vance Albitz, 25 – Palm Beach, Springfield, Memphis – Undrafted
- (Combined stats) 261 PA, .233, 1 HR, 21 RBI, 7 SB
11. Cesar Valera, 21 – Johnson City – International
- 200 PA, .226, 0 HR, 16 RBI, 6 SB
A name to remember is Oscar Mercado. Mercado is a high school shortstop from Tampa, Florida and is projected to go in the middle of the first round. I know that MLB teams do not draft on need, but on best available. If Mercado is projected to go middle of the first and the Cards pick at number 20, why not? This mock draft has Mercado going #14 and the Cards taking a HS catcher.
Just a thought…