Last time we took a look at the ten highest picks by the Cardinals that have played at Johnson City or above in the organization. Today we will look at the next ten. As we get further down the list, the liklihood that the prospects will ever become big leagers becomes more faint, but there are several in this part and in the final part of the series that are intriguing. So after the jump we will continue with our 50 day (or so) review of the Cardinals draft.
- Note #1: all statistics through games played on July 24, 2008
- Note #2: only players at Johnson City or higher are included
Pick #18, Round Seventeen, #515 Overall – Joshua Hester
- Batavia – 19.2 ip, 16 k’s, 6 BB, 7 ER
Hester had 105 strikeouts in 89 innings at Freed-Hardeman University. He hasn’t quite kept up that strikeout rate at Batavia, but his numbers have been solid. He seems like a nice middle round pick: decent size, a lot of experience and excellent results at a small University. The Cardinals plan seems to be to get a number of pitchers like this and then let them sort themselves out with the piggy back in Quad Cities.
Pick #19, Round Eighteen, #545 Overall – Jared Bradford
- Quad Cities – 13.2 ip, 10 k’s, 2 BB, 6 ER
I assume that Bradford started at Quad Cities because he faced much better competition in the SEC than some others drafted ahead of him (like Hester, for example). He didn’t exactly light the SEC on fire, though, as he gave up 115 hits in 98.1 innings. He wasn’t an overwhelming strikeout pitcher in college, but his ratio has been pretty good in his limited time in Quad Cities.
Pick #20, Round Nineteen, #575 Overall – Xavier Scruggs
- Batavia – .189/.262/.305 7.4 BB%, 18 LD%, .266 BABIP
Xavier was a power hitting first baseman for UNLV, but he hasn’t yet lived up to his reputation in his first 95 at bats at Batavia. He’s got good size and had outstanding plate discipline in college, so it is a little disappointing that he has struggled so much.
Pick #22, Round Twenty-one, #635 Overall – Joseph (Matt) Rigoli
- Johnson City – .233/.403/.333 12.2 BB%, 5.0 LD%, .333 BABIP
Matt seems to be purely a nepotism pick (his father is a Cardinals scout). He had a rather undistinguished college career at Pace University – he is a corner infielder that never slugged over .400 in college. I would really like to say something positive about the pick, but the only thing I can think of is that I’m glad that they waited until the twenty first round to waste a pick on him.
Pick #23, Round Twenty-two, #665 Overall – Colt Sedbrook
- Batavia – .278/.385/.374 8.1 BB%, 19.0 LD%, .326 BABIP
In stark contrast to Rigoli, I love the Sedbrook pick. He spent four years at Arizona getting experience playing against the tough competition in the PAC-10 and he was successful. He hit for a high average, got on base at a very respectable clip, and while he is certainly not a home run hitter, he hit for enough power as a middle infielder to keep pitchers honest. He has played decently at Batavia so far and I think he’s got a pretty decent shot of being successful as he moves up the ladder, especially for a pick in the twenty second round.
Pick #24, Round Twenty-three, #695 Overall – Jon Bravo
- Johnson City – 21 ip, 32 k’s, 6 BB, 10 ER
The well-named Jonny Bravo has been racking up the strikeouts at Johnson City, but has also been hit pretty hard. The diminutive (5’7″) lefty was drafted after his junior year at Azusa Pacific University, where he wasn’t such a strikeout pitcher. He actually had a bit of a down year his junior year after pitching very well as a sophomore. As usual, his size will always lead to questions about his stamina and ability to have success at higher levels, but if he continues to strike batters out at the rate that he has so far, he should have some future as a middle reliever, at least.
Pick #25, Round Twenty-four, #725 Overall – Zachary Pitts
- Batavia – 20.1 ip, 11 k’s, 4 BB, 9 ER
Pitts came out of Louisville in the Big East and, like Bravo, actually pitched better in 2007 than he did in 2008. Unlike Bravo, he has decent size (6’3″) and is a nice middle-round bet to see if he can recapture his 2007 form when he had a 1.06 WHIP. He hasn’t shown that ability yet at Batavia.
Pick #26, Round Twenty-five, #755 Overall – Jason Buursma
- Batavia – 10.2 ip, 9 k’s, 5 BB, 3 ER
Buursma is a 6’3″ right hander with a crazy sidearm/submarine delivery out of Bucknell. He was very successful in college – as a reliever first and as a starter in his senior year. My guess is that he will be mostly a reliever for the Cardinals and could have a Mark Worrell-like career, if he can cut down on the walks that have shown up early at Batavia.
Pick #27, Round Twenty-six, #785 Overall – Christopher Swauger
- Batavia – .242/.342/.379 2 hr, 11.5 BB%, 18.0 LD%, .275 BABIP
Swauger is a left handed power hitting outfielder out of the Citadel. His power has not yet translated to Batavia, but his walk rate is ok and his line drive rate is acceptable. He was drafted as a senior, so he’s already twenty-one [side note: he was born on the same day as Colby Rasmus - isn't it sort of crazy that Bryan Anderson and Colby Rasmus are on the verge of making the major leagues at the same age as some of the college draftees are struggling to make a name for themselves in rookie ball?]. Anyway, here’s hoping that Swauger regains his power stroke and can dent the Quad Cities roster next season.
Pick #28, Round Twenty-seven, #815 Overall – George Brown
- Batavia – 17.2 ip, 16 k’s, 6 BB, 9 ER
Brown is a lefty that was drafted as a senior out of St. John’s University. On draft day Erik compared him to PJ Walters – a control pitcher with not a lot of velocity. He seems to have left his control at St. John’s and has been walking significantly more batters as a pro than he did in college. He will have to curb that tendency if he is to have success as he moves up the ladder.
Next week we will conclude the series with the final eleven 2008 draft picks that have played at Johnson City or higher so far this year.