Without question, 2011 was one of baseball's most exciting seasons ever, especially so for the St. Louis Cardinals.
Certainly their magical run to the World Series title was unexpected, but luck, as they say, is the byproduct of preparation. Well, preparation coupled with a superb farm system.
Baseball America affirmed that view of St. Louis last December when they named the Cardinals their 2011 "Organization of the Year."
St. Louis' minor league system had a collective winning percentage of .530 last year and for the past seven years the Cards have had a top ten-rated farm system.
Not so long ago, however, St. Louis was rated among the worst, as highly touted minor league players were few and far between. And the few that were uncovered often found themselves traded for veterans to fuel Tony La Russa's NL Central conquests.
Still, even a successful organization can't be magical year after year, and 2012 looks like a "growing pains" type of season across their minors system.
Many of the Cardinals top prospects are having some of those aforementioned pains in the early going, but that does not mean there isn't plenty to be excited about for fans of the Birds on the Bat.
Here is a look at the Cardinals top 10 prospects at the first quarter mark of 2012. We will also see which MLB player they most resemble and what their best statistical season in the majors might be.