After perusing my favorite annual issue of Baseball America "The Draft Preview", I have started to narrow down who I really want to draft in this year's mock as the Scouting Director for the Cardinals.
I've also heard from a number of Cardinal fans on my two previous MOD's and it appears that a lot of them have specific desires for their team that match up quite well with what I have in mind for the draft.
The organization seems to be thin on shortstops, catchers and left handed pitchers. A couple of players that fit in that mold should be available in the first three rounds of the mock as well as real life draft to satisfy Cardinal fans.
For pick number 19, I have zeroed in on Andrew Heaney, LHP, Oklahoma State; Chris Stratton, RHP, Mississippi State; and Corey Seager, 3B, from an NC high school. Heaney and Stratton are both players who could definitely move through the system quickly as starting pitchers and become staples of the middle of the Cardinal rotation for years to come. And although it will take more time to mature, Seager profiles as a big bat, left handed power hitter who could rise quickly through the minor leagues and move David Freese to the OF by 2015 or 2016.
For pick number 23 I am keeping my eyes on Richie Schaffer, 3B, Clemson; a player who could facilitate that Freese move to the OF much sooner. Another big power 3b prospect who could move through the system quickly. And I also have an eye on 2 HS arms in Ty Hensley, RHP, from Oklahoma; and LHP Matt Smoral from Ohio. Both players will definitely take some maturity to develop but have a starters arsenal with top of the rotation ceilings.
One notable absence from this list is a player that a lot of Cardinal fans covet, C Stryker Trahan. And as much as I would love to take him with the 23rd pick, I think he profiles much better as a Wil Myers type who will have to convert to RF in pro ball. A player who I feel is more suited to stay at C is Steve Bean from a HS in Texas. Has a good bat, good defensively and if taken near the end of the supplemental round will not be a second class pick, and will have the suitable time to mature when Yadier Molina is ready to retire or move on after his contract ends.
As for shortstops, I feel that the class of players falls off significantly after Carlos Correa and none of the higher regarded players really stand out as more valuable than some of the players who I already have in mind. I'm not really turned on by Marrero at all and Addison Russell only seems like an average type of player at his ceiling. When the time comes for this team to find a SS, it most likely wont come from this draft or the farm system, but from the Free Agent ranks.