Potential 2013 Cardinals Draft Picks

On June 6, 2013, the MLB Amateur draft begins. The St. Louis Cardinals have two first round picks, and a second and third round pick. Let's look at the recent drafting history of the Cardinals to see what type of player the team will focus on, and try to identify some draft prospects they should target. Below is a list of players the Cardinals have drafted over the last five years in the first three rounds:

Year Round Pick # Name Position School level
2012 1 19 Michael Wacha RHP College
2012 1 23 James Ramsey OF College
2012 1 36 Stephen Piscotty 3B College
2012 1 52 Patrick Wisdom 3B College
2012 1 59 Steve Bean C HS
2012 2 86 Carson Kelly 3B HS
2012 3 117 Tim Cooney LHP College
2011 1 22 Kolten Wong 2B College
2011 2 79 Charlie Tilson CF HS
2011 3 109 C.J. McElroy CF HS
2010 1 25 Zach Cox 3B College
2010 1 46 Seth Blair RHP College
2010 1 50 Tyrell Jenkins RHP HS
2010 2 75 Jordan Swagerty RHP College
2010 3 106 Samuel Tuivailala SS HS
2009 1 19 Shelby Miller RHP HS
2009 2 67 Robert Stock C College
2009 3 98 Joe Kelly RHP College
2008 1 13 Brett Wallace 1B College
2008 1 39 Lance Lynn RHP College
2008 2 59 Shane Peterson OF College
2008 3 91 Niko Vasquez SS HS

As you can see, they focus heavily on college players. Over the last five years, they have drafted 22 players in the first three rounds. Over half have been in the first round - 12 out of 22. They are very good at concentrating their picks into the first round, and have 13 picks in the first 60 over the last five years. Of those 22 players drafted, 14 have been from the college ranks, or 64% of the players drafted.

In the first round, 79% of their draft picks have been from college, 21% from high school. In the second round, they have picked a college player 60% of the time, and 40% of the time, they have picked a prep player. They tend to focus their high school picks in the third round, with 60% of the picks being high schoolers, and only 40% coming from college ball. However, they have always picked at least one high schooler in the first three rounds.

This year, the Cardinals have 4 picks in the first three rounds. Given their drafting history above, we can expect three college players and one high school player, with the possibility of an even two from the college and from high school ranks. In fact, they have drafted at least two high schoolers in the first three rounds in the last two years, after previously only drafting one high school player in the top three rounds from 2008 to 2010. So let's assume this is a new trend, and we will select 2 college players, and 2 high school players.

So why type of players do they focus on? In the first round, they have picked a college bat 50% of the time since 2008, a college arm 25% of the time, a prep arm 17% of the time, and a prep bat 8% of the time. In the second round, they have gone with a prep bat 40% of the time, a college bat 40% of the time, and a college arm 20% of the time. In the third round, they've gone with a prep bat 60% of the time, and a college arm 40% of the time.

Overall, they've gone with a college bat 8 out of 22 picks since 2008, or 36% of the time. They've picked both a college arm and a prep bat 27% of the time. And they've picked a prep arm 9% of the time. They've picked a RHP 32% of the time, and a LHP 5% of the time. They've picked a C 9% of the time, a SS 9% of the time, and a third baseman and a OF 18% of the time.

Given their draft history, what type of draft could we expect from the Cardinals this year? It seems reasonable to expect them to pick a college player in the first round, as they've done 79% of the time in the last five years. Looking at their tendencies over the last five years, I would expect the first pick to be a college bat, either a 3B or OF. They second first rounder, I am going to go with a prep arm, given the two time they have picked a prep arm, it was in the first round. In the second and third round, I am going to look at a college arm and a prep bat, in that order.

Looking at my personal draft rankings, who would be available that fits these descriptions. For their first pick, pick 19, let's look at the 10 players surrounding 19 (my ranked #14-24):

First name Last name POS State High School College
Jonathan Crawford RHP Florida
Bobby Wahl RHP Mississippi
John Paul Crawford SS California Lakewood
Ian Clarkin LHP California James Madison
Oscar Mercado SS Florida Gaither
Ryan Boldt OF Minnesota Red Wing
Philip Ervin OF Alabama
Robert Kaminsky LHP New Jersey St. Joseph Regional
Justin Williams OF Louisiana Terrebonne
Ryan Eades RHP Louisiana
Louisiana State
Aaron Judge OF California
Fresno State

There are two player on the list that are college bats, Phillip Ervin and Aaron Judge. I think Ervin is the best fit for the Cardinals, as Judge has less defensive value than Phillip. Ervin is a stocky outfielder with decent speed and defense who could spend a couple years in center field before moving to a corner. His bat speed, and the power it generates, is near the top for this draft class. He was one of the better players in the Cape Cod league, breaking out with a wood bat the way he hadn't quite done at Samford in his first two years. However, he has carried that success over to his Junior year. As of April 13, he has a .372/.497/.735 line in 113 AB, 10 HR, 24 BB to 19 K, and 10 for 11 in stolen base attempts. So with the 19th pick in the 2013 draft, the St. Louis Cardinals will select Phillip Ervin, OF, Samford University, Alabama.

Their second first round pick, pick 28, is compensation for the Milwaukee Brewers signing Kyle Lohse. Here are 23-33 on my list, with some overlap from the previous list:

First name Last name POS State High School College
Ryan Eades RHP Louisiana
Louisiana State
Aaron Judge OF California
Fresno State
Marco Gonzales LHP Washington
Michael Lorenzen OF California
Cal State Fullerton
Stephen Gonsalves LHP California Cathedral Catholic
D.J. Peterson 1B New Mexico
New Mexico
Kevin Ziomek LHP Tennesee
Brett Morales RHP Florida King
Nick Ciuffo C South Carolina Lexington
Trevor Williams RHP Arizona
Arizona State
Tom Windle LHP Minnesota

We set out to find a prep arm for this pick, and there are two on the list, Stephen Gonslaves and Brett Morales. Both of these players have been falling down lists recently, although I still think they are top 40 prospects. Jordan Sheffield would've been a perfect fit, until he hurt his arm and needed Tommy John surgery. Clinton Hollon, who is at 38 on my own list, could also be a good fit. But I am going to go with Stephen Gonslaves. Gonslaves is a tall, projectable lefty with easy movement on a low-90s fastball. Both his change-up and breaking ball shows some promise. I love the old school rock and throw mechanics, but his control is pretty inconsistent, and it could be due to this. He seems to have better control from the stretch. He is very similar to Matt Smoral from last year (minus a few inches) - great potential, but still pretty raw. So with pick 28, the Cardinals select Stephen Gonslaves, LHP from Cathedral Catholic, California.

The Cardinals second round pick is pick 57, and we are going to look at college arms. Here are my ranked 52-62:

First name Last name POS State High School College
Zack Collins 1B Florida American Heritage
Colby Suggs RHP Arkansas
Garrett Williams RHP Louisiana Calvary Baptist
Ryan "Rowdy" Tellez 1B California Elk Grove
Scott Frazier RHP California
Dylan Covey RHP California
San Diego
Aaron Blair RHP West Virginia
Dillon Overton LHP Oklahoma
Billy McKinney OF Texas Plano West
Andrew Mitchell RHP Texas
Texas Christian
Hunter Harvey RHP North Carolina

We have a bevy of options here. Covey is probably too much of a risk for the Cardinals. We've picked a lefty, and the Cardinals almost always pick righties, so let's ignore Overton. Mitchell has had some helium lately, and will probably not last this long. Suggs is a bullpen arm whose normally bad control has turned horrible this year. That still leaves us with Frazier and Blair. I'm going to go with Aaron Blair. He is a big right-hander with a low-90s sinking fastball, an above average change-up, and a solid curveball. This year, he has also tightened up his control. Given his polish, he could move fast through the system. So with pick 57, the Cardinals select Aaron Blair, RHP from Marshall University, Virginia.

Finally, the Cardinals have pick 93 in the third round. Here, we wanted to look at a prep bat. Players on my list ranked 88-98:

First name Last name POS State High School College
Tyler Danish RHP Florida Durant
Derik Beauprez 1B Colorado Cherry Creek
Jared King 1B Kansas
Kansas State
Teddy Stankiewicz RHP Oklahoma
Seminole State CC
William Abreu OF Florida Mater Academy
Hunter Green LHP Kentucky Warren East
Kevin Davis RHP Alabama T.R. Miller
Joe Martarano 3B Idaho Fruitland
Corey Knebel RHP Texas
Kevin Franklin 3B California Gahr
Cory Thompson RHP South Carolina Mauldin

There are four prep bats here: Beauprez, Abreu, Martarano, and Franklin. The Cardinals love third basemen and outfielders, so let's eliminate Beauprez. Martarano is a real wild card, especially given the new draft bonus limitations. He could be gone in the firs round, or not be drafted like Kayden Porter last year. Franklin has been falling down draft boards recently, it seems, but he has some big-time power. But I think I am going with William Abreu, who was a teammate of Albert Almora last year, and seen as a first rounder in this draft last summer. He has a pretty left-handed swing, which generates above average power. He should be fine defensively in a corner, with above average speed. He has a commitment to Miami, which will be tough to break in the third round, but the Cardinals were able to sing Carson Kelly away from college with pick 86 last year. So with pick 93, the Cardinals select William Abreu, OF from Mater Academy, Florida.

The final picks look like this:

19. Phillip Ervin, OF, Samford University, Alabama

28. Stephen Gonslaves, LHP from Cathedral Catholic, California

57. Aaron Blair, RHP from Marshall University, Virginia

93. William Abreu, OF from Mater Academy, Florida

What do you think? Does this look reasonable for the Cardinals? Should I have gone with three college players instead of two? Who do you think is a better fit, and why?

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