Keith Law of ESPN named the St. Louis Cardinals as the fourth-best best farm system in his 2012 organizational rankings on Wednesday, so it should come as no surprise that six prospects from the Cardinals have made Law's 2012 Top 100 list. The group is headlined by 21-year old RHP Shelby Miller at No. 5 overall, but 20-year old RHP Calos Martinez also cracks the top 25, coming in at No. 22. Position players like OF Oscar Taveras (No. 53) and 3B Zach Cox (No. 66) also make the list, while fellow pitchers Tyrell Jenkins (No. 74) and Jordan Swagerty (No. 92) round out the organization's representatives.
Law is particularly impressed with Miller, whom he moved up from the No. 9 spot last season to No. 5 in 2012. With a mid-90s fastball and a sharp wipeout pitch, Law calls Miller "the top right-handed pitcher in the minors, with the best combination of stuff, size, delivery and results" outside of Tampa Bay Rays super-prospect Matt Moore. Miller has recently experimented with adding a changeup to his repertoire and is fine-tuning his command with his fastball, but Law believes he is a potential number one starter for the Cardinals within the next two or three years.
Converted shortstop Carlos Martinez is touching 100 mph on the radar gun as a starter in A-ball, and Law believes his curveball and changeup give him "three weapons to remain the starter if he can make it harder for hitters to pick up the ball so early." Martinez is pegged with "top-of-the-rotation stuff," but still needs to iron out some mechanical issues before he can make an impact in the big leagues.
As for the rest, Taveras is considered "a potential middle-of-the-order bat with some defensive value in right," Cox is pegged as a potential above-average third baseman (but would be off the list if he moves to first) and the two remaining pitchers are considered quality players in the pen if they can't prove capable of handling starter's innings.
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