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Better Know a Prospect: Cardinals
Colby Rasmus, CF: Rasmus' path to the majors may have just been cemented this week when the Cards' released Adam Kennedy and said that they'd be trying Skip Schumaker at the newly vacant second base position. Depending on what happens with Chris Duncan, moving Schumaker to the infield should create a role for Rasmus in St. Louis. The only obstacle right now is his ugly .251/.346/.393 line from Triple-A last year. That's not too worrisome, though, since in 2007, Rasmus whacked 29 homers as a 20-year-old in Double-A. Concerns over the way he hit last year may result in an assignment in Memphis to start the season, but unless he completely tanks, Rasmus will be a starting outfielder for the Cardinals before the year ends.
Chris Perez, RP: Perez threw 41 1/3 innings last year, which means he just barely qualifies as a prospect (once you've tossed 50 in the bigs, you're done). He went through some rough patches, but in his last 24 appearances he settled down nicely with 25 strikeouts in 25 2/3 innings. He's got some control issues (as good as he was, he walked 11 hitters over those last 25 2/3 innings and 72 in 109 minor league innings) and that's probably the biggest reason the Cards are going with a closer by committee instead of giving the job to Perez out of the gate. But the Cardinals bullpen was a big part of them missing the playoffs last year, and if it's going to be better in 2009, Perez is going to have a big role in that.
Brett Wallace, 3B: I'm going to go a bit out on a limb here. Most people have Wallace marked as the Cards' third baseman of 2010 and beyond with Troy Glaus' contract expiring after this year, but given Glaus' injury history, I think Wallace gets a crack at the hot corner this year. He was just drafted last June, but he assaulted pitchers in Single-A and Double-A ball for a combined .337/.427/.530 line. Given his college numbers (.410/.526/.753 in his junior year at Arizona State), there's no reason to think he won't continue mauling the ball and if Glaus doesn't get healthy, Wallace might be one of the first 2008 draftees to make it to the show.