Last night kicked off the 1st day of the MLB’s first year player draft which has become a bigger event than in the past. As more and more really young players reach the majors, the fans become more excited about prospects and the better the MLB is off. With the new CBA, teams are encouraged to build through the draft and not give up draft picks for free agents. (I’m looking at YOU Kyle Lohse). So what did the Cardinals do this time?
Well they did the sensible thing, something I’ve preached for months now, they picked up more PITCHING. Specifically left handed pitching. I do think this is the right move, as none of the Card’s elite pitching prospects throw from the left side. 1st the Cardinals selected polished college starter Marco Gonzales. Here’s what Baseball America has to say about him:
Baseball America: “Gonzales is as polished as they come and could join Michael Wacha in the big leagues soon.
Gonzales has grown up around the game. His father Frank was a lefthander who played eight years in the minor leagues and is the Rockies’ short-season pitching coach this season. Marco was on the mound for four consecutive state championships in high school and will rank near the top of a few career records at Gonzaga after three years. He doesn’t have a high ceiling, but at 6-foot-1 and 185 pounds he’s polished and is a good athlete who has played both ways for the Bulldogs. His fastball sits in the 88-91 mph range. It can get flat at times, but he paints the corners with above-average command. But he’s getting drafted for his changeup, the best in this year’s class. It’s a deceptive offering with fade and scouts have no problem grading it as a 70 pitch on the 20-80 scale. He also mixes in an average curveball and cutter. Scouts love Gonzales’ makeup and he could move quickly through the minor leagues. With his frame, stuff and athleticism he has earned comparisons to Jason Vargas.”
I like the idea of a polished arm to shoot through the system. Once again the Cardinals draft the best change up after drafting Wacha last year. The Cardinals will probably look to develop him in the bullpen as a 2nd lefty. Next the Cardinals drafted another lefty in high school phenom Robert Kaminsky. Here’s what Baseball America says about him:
Baseball America: “The Cardinals go back-to-back with undersized, bulldog lefthanders. Kaminsky is polished for a
high school pitcher and joins an organization known for developing quality arms. At 5-foot-11, 190 pounds, Kaminsky is short, but scouts won’t call him small. He is put together with a strong frame and big, strong hands. His fastball sits comfortably in the 89-92 mph range and can bump 93-94. His command is solid and scouts like his competitive demeanor, as he isn’t afraid to pitch inside. He throws a nasty, downer curveball, a present plus pitch and arguably the best among high school pitchers in the class. He also shows feel for a changeup that projects to be at least average. His height doesn’t lend to much projection and can prevent him from pitching in the bottom of the zone, but he is the most advanced arm in the prep class. He didn’t give up an earned run for the first five weeks of his season and broke his school’s record for career strikeouts in early May.”
Like Carlos Martinez, he’s undersized. Look for him to take longer than Gonzales to develop, coming right out of high school. A 93mph fastball with a nasty curve? Sounds good to me. With the final Cardinals pick of Day 1 they selected SS Oscar Mercado. I don’t know much about him other than that he’s 18 years old. He projects as a good defender with long term bat potential. He’s a guy we won’t see for a while. The Cardinals haven’t had a lot of luck with top round SS in the recent past, but we’ll see.
Mozeliak seems happy and the Cardinals recieved high praise from outside parties on the draft. At a glance, it looks like the Cardinals addressed the most pressing needs in the organization. That is all.