Finishing up the NL Central with the St. Louis Cardinals.
St. Louis Cardinals Draft Review
1) Zach Cox, 3B, University of Arkansas: His bonus demands knocked him down towards the bottom of the first round, but the Cardinals should be able to sign him. A very polished hitter who can remain at third base, will hit for average and get on base, home run output still uncertain.
1S) Seth Blair, RHP, Arizona State University: Emerged as Sun Devils ace thanks to better command of 92-95 MPH fastball, improved breaking stuff. Very good pick in the supplemental round.
1S) Tyrell Jenkins, RHP, Texas HS: Outstanding athlete with live arm, long-term development project with high upside, Baylor football not likely to stand in the way.
2) Jordan Swagerty, RHP, Arizona State University: Smallish guy at 6-1, but has a good fastball and an excellent curve. Should move fast in relief role.
3) Sam Tuivailala, SS, California HS: Many teams liked him better as a pitcher, but Cardinals want his athleticism in the infield. Fresno State scholarship will have to be dealt with. High upside but a long-term project.
4) Cody Stanley, C, UNC-Wilmington: Average tools, average defense, shows polish with the bat. Poor depth in 2010 catching crop drove him up draft boards.
5) Nick Longmire, OF, University of the Pacific: Excellent athlete, but raw for a college player and did not hit especially well this year.
6) John Gast, LHP, Florida State University: Sort of a pitching version of Longmire: has good physical ability (can hit 93), but did not perform well this spring and will need more development time than most college guys.
7) Greg Garcia, SS, University of Hawaii: Good defender with major league bloodlines, grandfather was major league manager Dave Garcia. Bat is questionable, could be utility infielder.
8) Daniel Bibona, LHP, UC Irvine: Smallish lefty with average velocity but an excellent curveball and sharp control, put up terrific numbers in college.
9) Tyler Lyons, LHP, Oklahoma State University: He was a top prospect two years ago, but has lost much of his stuff and is now a pretty marginal prospect. Maybe he can get it back against wood.
10) Reggie Williams Jr, OF, Middle Georgia Junior College: Major league bloodlines and good tools, but very raw even for a junior college player.
FOUR OTHERS OF NOTE: 12-Austin Wilson, OF, California HS; 18-Boone Whiting, RHP, Centenary; 19-Chad Oberacker, OF, Tennessee Tech; 26-Victor Sanchez, 1B, University of San Diego.
COMMENT: I like the top four picks a lot, good blend of current performance and upside. Blair and Jenkins are both particular favorites of mine in their respective categories. After that, the draft tapers off a bit and looks average to me. Austin Wilson at 12 is not likely to sign, but if they could manage it this draft would be a real winner. As it stands, it's pretty good because of the top group in my view.