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Brian Walton's news and commentary on the St. Louis Cardinals (TM) and their minor league system

Will Seth Maness be another Brad Thompson?

As many St. Louis Cardinals fans know, right-handed pitcher Seth Maness was promoted to the major leagues for the first time on Monday. The control artist was hailed by some as a welcome change-of-pace from the upper 90’s throwers getting considerable attention in the Cardinals bullpen.

Others, however, scoff at Maness’ 90-ish mile per hour fastball and compare the former 11th-round draft pick to another accomplished minor leaguer who spent considerable time recently with the Cardinals, Brad Thompson.

I don’t see that as a negative at all. Consider the reality that Thompson spent parts of five seasons in the majors, including as a member of the 2006 World Champions. The former 16th-round draft pick pitched in over 405 innings in 201 games, including 32 starts, logging a career ERA of 4.46.

As a minor leaguer, Thompson moved onto the radar screen at Double-A. He became a starter in 2004 and began that year with 49 consecutive scoreless innings for Tennessee, setting a Southern League record. Dating back to 2003, his scoreless innings mark totaled 57 2/3 frames, just 1 1/3 short of the all-time Minor League record. At the end of the streak, he was 7-0 with a 0.18 ERA.

Thompson was selected to the 2004 Futures Game, but an injury prevented him from playing. Less than a year later, he was in the majors and was named the club’s Rookie of the Year in 2005. Thompson remained a Cardinal until his release after the 2009 season.

I thought it might be interesting to compare the two as prospects. Following are the numbers for Thompson during his time in the Cardinals minor league system along with Maness’ numbers to date.

Minor league results, St. Louis Cardinals system

Brad Thompson 2003 2009 22 7 0.759 3.05 79 32 13 2 2 0 251 240 92 85 22
Seth Maness 2011 2013 18 7 0.720 2.80 46 38 0 1 0 0 247 239 91 77 20
From To

Brad Thompson 2003 2009 41 8 173 18 3 5 1023 1.12 8.6 0.8 1.5 6.2 4.2
Seth Maness 2011 2013 18 0 172 9 0 2 993 1.04 8.7 0.7 0.7 6.3 9.6

Notice how their number of minor league innings is almost identical. Thompson had a superior won-loss record, while Maness has a quarter of a run lower ERA.

Again, hits, total runs, home runs allowed and strikeouts are very close, with the ERA delta due to a relatively high number of unearned runs during Maness’ time on the mound.

The key difference is Thompson’s walk rate. While it is very low at 1.5 per nine innings, it is still over double Maness’ amazing career mark of just 0.7 bases on balls per nine. As a result, Thompson’s most impressive strikeout to walk ratio of 4.2 to 1 is eclipsed by Maness’ other-worldly 9.6 to 1 mark.

In the major leagues with St. Louis,  Thompson’s walk rate almost doubled compared to his minor league results, to 2.7 per nine innings. As his strikeout rate dropped to 4.2, the resulting strikeout to walk ratio was just 1.57 to 1 as a Cardinal.

Of course, the reality is that Maness is his own man with his results as a major leaguer to be determined.

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Brian Walton

Brian Walton runs The Cardinal Nation and The Cardinal Nation Blog, covering the St. Louis Cardinals and minor league system.
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17 Responses to “Will Seth Maness be another Brad Thompson?”

  1. blingboy says:

    If he’s 2005-06 Thompson, that’s not so bad. Functional, reliable middle relief guy who can go long or start if need be. You have to have that guy to get to the mountain top.

    What Thompson illustrates, IMO, is that the non-power arm guys have no margin. They slip a tiny bit and its over. In that sense the comparison is accurate IMO.

    Maybe he’ll be John Tudor instead.

  2. blingboy says:

    Bernie and I are on the same page:

    “I feel bad for Boggs. He doesn’t have confidence. He’s not right. No useful purpose is being served by subjecting Boggs to more punishment. It doesn’t help him. It doesn’t help the team. Manager Mike Matheny won’t stop using Boggs, and I thought that GM John Mozeliak would intervene … but no. Boggs has options, and it makes sense to give him some time in Memphis to get right. ”

    Two other items from the same column:

    “I still think Carlos Martinez will be up here sooner than we may think to pitch in short relief. ”


    “By the way: they didn’t call up lefty John Gast because Gast pitched yesterday.”

    That last one is stated as though it is fact. He didn’t say how he knows.

    • kray66 says:

      CMart had a good outing yesterday from what I followed along with on Twiter. 6 innings, 74 pitches (54 for strikes). Gave up three hits and solo HR was the only run. The Springfield sports writer said he looked really good, although it wasn’t against a great Double-A team (Angels affiliate).

    • Brian Walton says:

      bb, thanks for sharing. The last point (re: Gast) is most odd at face value as it implies they did not anticipate the need one day in advance. The same explanation was provided during the game telecast. Perhaps it is the chosen way to explain why they took the guy they wanted over the guy who is hot right now. Going back to spring training, it was pretty clear who was higher in the pecking order. That apparently trumps the lefty-righty thing. I am perfectly fine with them adding whoever they think can get more outs but wish that was the explanation provided.

      • WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

        This is 5yr planning all the way. There is going to be activity by July on one front or another. It has little to do with baseball………………..what of the Profar deal is a done deal? How about Beltran? Are they steering to a place to make some of the moves that have been planned. 3rd place? Wiggington is a tell. They are going to include him in something as part of a salary bail. Matheny is just left to make sense out of it. The Motte situation is a joke. He will tear that thing up in a hurry when he tries spinning a few.

        • blingboy says:

          Ligament’s don’t heal up, so at best Motte will be pitching with a torn one in his pitching elbow.

          Motte’s decision to go along makes sense if he is not expecting anybody to give him a long term contract after next year. It would be smarter to say he can’t pitch and get it fixed now , giving himself ample time to rehab, come back, and prove he can still do it, all on the Cards’ dime. And alll just in time for somebody to pony up.

        • CariocaCardinal says:

          IF Westie thinks any 5 year plan depends on the movement of a couple of middle relievers he’s not half as smart as I thought he was.

    • crdswmn says:

      The issue I have with this kind of second guessing is the lack of acknowlewdgement that the org might know something about Boggs that they don’t know.

  3. blingboy says:

    For anybody who doesn’t know, the Angels have the best .244 hitter in baseball. He is protected in the lineup by the best .219 hitter in baseball.

    And that combo is a bargain at a combined $31Million this year. Four years from now they will get $56Million.

    Both have full no-trade clauses, not that it matters.

    The Angels have one more win than the Astros.

    Nice, Arte.

  4. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    Hamilton’s re-admission to baseball stipulates certain “drug free” criteria in his contracts. He is 30 miles from Hollywood. Do the math…………… AP will never see those huge numbers. Watch where the A-Rod precedent leads. Arte has alternatives.

    • blingboy says:

      Yes, he’s not in Texas anymore.

      And Arte is fortunate to have the 800 lb. gorilla of baseball blazing the trail.

      Both good observations, Westy. I tend to forget the ink is dry on the TV deal by now.

  5. blingboy says:

    I noticed Rob Rains had a headline:

    “More bullpen changes could follow promotion of Seth Maness”

    Unfortunatly, the article didn’t expand on that at all. It got me to read it though.

  6. blingboy says:

    Rays DFA Shelley Duncan.

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