I know, I know – it’s early. Small sample sizes and all that – I get it. But still, I think that we’ve seen enough of some of our draft picks to have a very early idea of what we’ve got in them. The truth of the matter is that I’ve been dying to write this post since the day Brett Wallace signed his contract, but I wanted him to get a few at bats under his belt. He now has 68 plate appearances and 54 at bats. That’s good enough for me. So, then, after the jump we’ll take a look at how Brett and the rest of the 2008 draft class have been faring.
- Note #1: all statistics through games played on July 21, 2008
- Note #2: only players at Johnson City or higher are included
Pick #1, First Round, #13 overall – Brett Wallace
- Quad Cities – .333/.463/.556 – 2 hr, 14.7 BB%, 24 LD%, .372 BABIP
Ok, let’s get it out of the way: I was not a big fan of this pick on draft day. I was hoping to add an electric arm or an athletic position player with huge upside. I saw Wallace as being a solid bat with nowhere to play in the organization. My opinion of him started to change, not with what he did on the field, but in listening to interviews with him. I liked the kid – he was enthusiastic and determined to prove his detractors wrong. And then he began hitting – and what baseball fan wouldn’t like what he’s done so far? Because he took a bit longer to sign and missed a few games going to the Golden Spikes presentation, he hasn’t had as many at bats as some of the rest of his class, but he’s already proven that he can hit at low A. I suspect that he’ll finish off the season with some time at Palm Beach and my guess is that he’ll dominate there, as well. The only question about Wallace as he climbs the ladder is whether he can stick at third base – and that will be something that we all pay close attention to over the next couple of years.
Pick #2, Supplemental First Round, #39 Overall – Lance Lynn
- Batavia – 14.2 ip, 15 k’s, 3 BB, 1 ER
Lynn pitched 89.2 innings for Ole Miss this season already, so it is my guess (hope) that the Cardinals are going to get him 30-40 relatively easy innings at Batavia this season before starting him at Quad Cities next year. He has looked pretty dominant at Batavia so far, but there’s no need to rush him this year. He hasn’t walked anyone in his last three appearances (11 innings) and he’s only given up one extra base hit (a double) in his time at Batavia.
Pick #3, Second Round, #59 overall – Shane Peterson
- Batavia – .352/.455/.429 14.4 BB%, 20 LD%, .471 BABIP
Shane has certainly torn up Batavia in his first twenty-seven games (take a look at that BABIP, though). He played three years in college at Long Beach State and has shown that he can play at this level, so I’d like to see him challenged by a move up to Quad Cities. He has played all three outfield positions and a little bit of first base, but it seems to me that he profiles best in center field if he’s got the fielding chops to play there. His power numbers have never really fit for a corner outfielder or first base and that has continued at Batavia (.077 isolated power). He is, however, still only twenty years old, so he could still grow into more of a power stroke as he moves up the ladder.
Pick #4, Third Round, #91 overall – Ernest ‘Nico’ Vasquez
- Johnson City – .352/.455/.546 3 hr, 12.9 BB%, 15 LD%, .461 BABIP
Nico has quickly become a favorite on this site and with good reason. He is the high upside high school talent that many of us longed for at the top of the draft. Not to harp on a sore subject, but if Pete Kozma had put up these numbers last year, the criticisms of his pick would have been quieted quickly. Like Peterson, Nico’s BABIP is through the roof, but the patience and power he’s shown as a high school draftee has been exciting to see. I’d look for him to follow the Kozma road map, finishing the year with a few games at Batavia and starting next year at Quad Cities.
Pick #5, Fourth Round, #125 overall – Scott Gorgen
- Batavia – 16 ip, 19 k’s, 5 BB, 4 ER
Gorgen put up outstanding numbers at UC-Irvine and has continued with similar rates at Batavia. Like Lynn, Gorgen put in quite a few innings in college (115.2), so the Cardinals will probably not want to give him too many more innings this year. I would bet that if Gorgen was 6’2″ with the same numbers he would get a lot more hype than he has, but continued success at higher levels will be the only antidote to the size bias.
Pick #6, Fifth Round, #155 Overall – Jermaine Curtis
- Batavia – .315/.390/.438 8.0 BB%, 14 LD%, .360 BABIP
Jermaine is a third baseman with a similar offensive profile to Shane Peterson (with the exception, of course, that Curtis is a righty and Peterson is a lefty). He has hit well, but doesn’t seem to have the power to stay at third base (.123 ISO). It has been suggested that he may be converted to second base, where his bat would play a lot better. Of course, like Peterson he is still only twenty years old, so the power could still come.
Pick #9, Round Eight, #245 Overall – Ryan Kulik
- Batavia – 6 ip, 5 k’s, 0 BB, 0 ER
- Quad Cities – 12.2 ip, 5 k’s, 4 BB, 15 ER
Kulik is the highest pick to have already been promoted and the promotion hasn’t worked out very well. In his four starts at Quad Cities, he has had one really good start – going five scoreless innings with three strikeouts – and three terrible ones. Kulik was great at Rowan University this year, striking out 144 in only 94.1 innings. The adjustment to better quality competition has been a painful one and, while he is a year older than either Gorgen or Lynn, it is somewhat surprising that he was chosen to move up to Quad Cities ahead of those two guys that have faced stronger competition in college.
Pick #10, Round Nine, #275 Overall – Aaron Luna
- Quad Cities – .206/.386/.559 3 hr, 15.9 BB%, 12 LD%, .174 BABIP
Luna has almost the opposite numbers of some of the other college draftees in this draft class: his BABIP is extraordinary low, but he is hitting for great power (.353 ISO). He came out after his Junior year at Rice – which was a bit of a down year compared to his Freshman and Sophmore seasons. He has always had a ton of power and he has played some second base in the past, but he has been exclusively an outfielder at Quad Cities. It is interesting that the Cardinals started him out in Quad Cities while Shane Peterson remains at Batavia. I’m a big fan of Luna’s and I’ll be curious to see if they try him out at second base or leave him in the outfield next season.
Pick #11, Round Ten, #305 Overall – Alejandro (Alex) Castellanos
- Johnson City – .260/.314/.500 4 hr, 2.9 BB%, 6.0 LD%, .318 BABIP
Castellanos is a bit of a mystery to me. He has hit for decent power (.240 ISO), but his line drive rate doesn’t really support his BABIP (or his .260 batting average for that matter). He has virtually no plate discipline and he strikes out a ton, but the raw power component seems to be there. Alex put up huge numbers at Belmont Abbey College, but the competition was a bit lacking. He has been playing third base in Johnson City, but he was a second baseman in college, so he could be another keystone option from this draft class, along with Curtis and Luna.
Pick #15, Round Fourteen, #425 Overall – Charles Cutler
- Batavia – .240/.269/.360 1.9 BB%, 37 LD%, .268 BABIP
A left handed hitting catcher out of Cal, Cutler has never hit for much power. He played some outfield in the Cape Cod league, but his bat only plays if he’s behind the plate at this point. His line drive rate is pretty outstanding early on, which hopefully will result in some additional power down the road.