With the recent infusion of youth in Tony La Russa's lineups this season, I felt obligated to keep Cardinals fans informed about these young players.
Numerous players have not only made their major league debuts this season, but have also made a strong impact. Kyle McClellan and Chris Perez are in the big leagues to stay, and Brian Barton has at times provided lightning at the top of the order.
Because such powerful waves are being made by the younger players in the organization, and even more help is on the way, as I wrote about a few weeks back, I'm going to write a prospect preview about each new youngster making his debut. I'll talk about their strengths and weaknesses, as well as what kind of a player they will be in the long run.
Joe Mather is my first subject. Let's begin.
Mather is an older prospect. He'll turn 26 in July. Drafted in the third round back in 2003, Mather took a while to adjust to professional pitching, as well as grow into his large frame. Mather still barely weighs 200 pounds, despite the fact that he's over 6'5".
His strengths are fairly one-dimensional. The man can rake. He had an RBI in his first game ever, and is hitting a respectable .286 in his first week on the club. He displayed extreme power at the Triple-A level this season in Memphis, and because of his strong body, his big bat should translate to the majors rather well.
Although Mather can play both the outfield and first base, he isn't above average at either. He'd probably be better suited as a DH, because he isn't a very good fielder, and doesn't move particularly well either.
Mather doesn't have the skills to be a star or everyday player in the league, but he can definitely be backup. I see him as a Shelly Duncan type of guy. If he can play a decent first base, he'd be valuable to the Cardinals as a backup to Albert.