St. Louis Cardinals: Draft Review

General Manager: John Mozeliak
Farm Director: Mike Girsch
Scouting Director: Jeff Luhnow

2006-2009 Draft Results:
First three rounds included
x- over-draft signees ($200,000+)

2009 1st Round: Shelby Miller, RHP, Texas HS
2. Robert Stock, C, Southern California
3. Joe Kelly, RHP, UC Riverside

The Cardinals organization appears to have had a strong draft in ’09, but it will likely be a while before fans reap the benefits, especially in the case of Miller. The right-hander was drafted out of a Texas high school, so he’ll likely need about four years of development time before he’s ready to contribute on the big-league stage. In his debut, Miller made just two starts. In three innings, he allowed five hits and two walks. He also recorded two strikeouts. Miller’s repertoire includes a fastball that can touch 95 mph, as well as a curveball and a change-up. He’s considered a future No. 1 or 2 starter.

Stock has been on the draft radar for quite some time, and he even left high school early to pursue his collegiate career. Many expected Stock to be drafted as a pitcher, but the Cardinals allowed him to pursue his preferred vocation. As a pitcher at the University of Southern California, Stock allowed just 61 hits in 77.2 innings of work and had a strikeout rate of 10.0 K/9. As a hitter, he posted a triple-slash line of just .226/.345/.453 in 137 at-bats and failed to surpass the .300 batting-average mark in all three of his college seasons. Upon turning pro, Stock hit .322/.386/.550 with an ISO of .228 in 149 rookie-league at-bats. He also received a five-game trial in low-A ball. The 20-year-old surpassed all expectations with the bat in pro ball in ’09, but he was a college player playing in rookie ball.

Taken in the third round out of U.C. Riverside, Kelly should be considered an interesting sleeper. The right-hander is a ground-ball machine like a number of other Riverside grads, including Toronto’s Marc Rzepczynski. Kelly had a solid debut in short-season ball by posting a 2.61 FIP and a strikeout rate of 8.90 to go along with his ground-ball rate of 56.4%. He dominated lefties in his debut (.188 average), which is a good sign for a pitcher who relies heavily on his slider. Kelly made two starts in his debut, but he’ll likely end up as a dominating reliever, and quite possibly a closer.

2008 1st Round: Brett Wallace, 3B, Arizona State (Traded to OAK)
1S. Lance Lynn, RHP, Mississippi
2. Shane Peterson, OF, Long Beach State (Traded to OAK)
3. Niko Vazquez, SS, Nevada HS

Both Wallace and Peterson were used to acquire veteran Matt Holliday during the ’09 season. It was a high price to pay for what may end up being less than a year’s worth of Holliday. Wallace, 23, could find himself in the Majors in 2010 at either third base, first base or designated hitter. His power output improved after the move to Oakland and he posted an ISO rate of .203. Peterson had a solid season playing for both St. Louis and Oakland, but he may not have enough sock in his bat to play every day.

We’ll talk more in-depth on Lynn tomorrow during the Top 10 list, but he’s been a pleasant (fast-moving) surprise by reaching triple-A in his first full pro season. Vazquez had a terrible offensive season by hitting .197/.295/.250 in low-A ball and .209/.283/.293 in short-season ball. He’s also shown limited power and stole just three bases all year, so his value is tied solely to his ability to hit for average. He’s still just 20 years old, though. Scott Gorgen (4th round) is another pitcher to keep an eye on, and catcher Charles Cutler (14th round) has shown a solid left-handed bat.

2007 1st Round: Peter Kozma, SS, Oklahoma HS
1S. Clayton Mortensen, RHP, Gonzaga (Traded to OAK)
2. David Kopp, RHP, Clemson
2. Jess Todd, RHP, Arkansas
3. Daniel Descalso, 3B, UC Davis
x- Brett Zawacki, RHP, Illinois HS

The Cardinals organization had a number of extra picks in ’07, but the results have been fairly modest, especially with Mortensen flipped to Oakland in the Holliday trade and Todd sent to Cleveland in the Mark DeRosa deal. First rounder Kozma, 21, has already reached double-A, but he hit just .216/.288/.312 and many are now projecting him as a utilty player. He still has promise, but he’s a middle infielder with limited power (.096 ISO) and he hasn’t had much success on the base paths, either.

Descalso, like Kozma, appears on the Top 10 list. Zawacki has yet to justify the above-slot deal he received and made just eight appearances in ’09. Kopp has had OK results, but projects as a reliever in the Majors. Tyler Henley (8th round), Adam Reifer (11th round), and Adron Chambers (38th round) were nice late-round finds. Signing college outfielder Kyle Russell in the fourth round would have made this draft all the better.

2006 1st Round: Adam Ottavino, RHP, Northeastern
1S. Chris Perez, RHP, Miami
2. Brad Furnish, LHP, Texas Christian
2. Jon Jay, OF, Miami
2S. Mark Hamilton, 1B, Tulane
3. Gary Daley, RHP, Cal Poly
x- Tommy Pham, SS, Nevada HS

Ottavino has had an up-and-down career in the organization mainly due to poor control and command; he posted a walk rate of 5.13 BB/9 in ’09 and has seen it increase over the past three seasons, while climbing the organizational ladder. Perez, like Todd, was traded to Cleveland. Jay may wind up as the most valuable pick in this draft. Furnish (6.48 FIP in double-A), Daley (5.99 BB% in low-A), and Pham (.691 OPS in high-A) have all disappointed. Hamilton showed improved power at double-A and triple-A in ’09, but his career has been slowed by injuries.

Late round finds include: Allen Craig (8th round), P.J. Walters (11th round), and Nick Additon (47th round). Luke Gregerson was another great find, but he’s applying his trade in San Diego now after being sent there in the Khalil Greene swap. D’Marcus Ingram (25th round), who has good speed, is someone to keep an eye on.

Tomorrow: The Cardinals Top 10 prospect list




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Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospect analysis. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.


2 Responses to “St. Louis Cardinals: Draft Review”

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  1. Mitch says:

    Is there a particular order we should expect for prospect/draft reviews? My best guess so far is “start in the middle of the country and move out.”

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  2. Marc says:

    AL/NL central, AL/NL east, AL/NL west.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

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