Part one and part two got us through the twenty-seventh round and this finale will take us all the way to the end. The odds are extremely long for these guys, but there are several interesting guys at the bottom of this year’s draft for the Cardinals that bear watching. We’ll take a look at them all after the jump.
- Note #1: all statistics through games played on July 27, 2008
- Note #2: only players at Johnson City or higher are included
- Johnson City – 11 ip, 11 k’s, 4 BB, 5 ER
Frevert was a reliever for Missouri State (I still have trouble not calling it Southwest Missouri State) and didn’t really throw a ton of innings in college. In fact, he really wasn’t all that effective in college, either. He had decent strikeout numbers, but he also had a WHIP of 1.57 in college this year. Perhaps Cardinals scouts saw something correctable in him that made him a more valuable than what his numbers suggest, but that correction hasn’t been made yet – so far he’s still a high strikeout, high walk pitcher.
Pick #30, Twenty-ninth Round, #875 Overall – Brett Lilley
- Johnson City – .294/.419/.343 12.1 BB%, 13.0 LD%, .337 BABIP
Lilley is an overachiever in the mold of David Eckstein. He is small of stature, does whatever it takes to get on base (he was hit by a pitch 109 times in four years at Notre Dame) and doesn’t hit for much power. I think the nickname ‘Rudy’ is a natural for him, considering his game and his alma mater. The Cardinals seem to have a fondness for guys like this in the organization and it wouldn’t surprise me if Lilley sticks around for a few years, even though he has very little pop in his bat.
Pick #33, Thirty-second Round, #965 Overall – Samuel Freeman
- Johnson City – 14.1 ip, 22 k’s, 9 BB’s, 6 ER
The Cardinals drafted Freeman in 2007 after he pitched for North Central Texas College and again this year after a sub-par season at Kansas. He’s left handed and strikes out a ton of batters, but, like Frevert, his control needs quite a bit of work. Those trends have carried over into his professional career so far, but with his superlative strikeout rate, if he can ever gain a little control the Cardinals could have something here.
Pick #34, Thirty-third Round, #995 Overall – Kevin Thomas
- Johnson City – 15 ip, 10 k’s, 5 BB, 2 ER
There is a clear strategy to the bottom of the Cardinals draft: grab a lot of college pitchers with good strikeout rates and hope that some of them stick. Thomas is another one of those guys, although his strikeout rate at Stephen F. Austin University solid, but not spectacular. He has been about the same so far in his professional career: mediocre strikeout rate, too many walks.
Pick #35, Thirty-fourth Round, #1025 Overall – Jack Cawley
- Johnson City – .270/.378/.324 13.3 BB%, 7.0 LD%, .333 BABIP
Cawley was a teammate of Matt Rigoli at Pace University. The difference is that Cawley actually put up decent numbers in college. He doesn’t have a ton of power (or any, really), but he hits for a decent average and gets on base at a decent clip. We won’t know if he has any kind of future or if he’s just organizational fodder behind the plate until he gets some at bats at higher levels. My guess is the latter, due to his lack of power against mediocre competition in college.
Pick #39, Thirty-eighth Round, #1145 Overall – Daniel Richardson
- Batavia – 9 ip, 6 k’s, 11 BB, 10 ER
Richardson is already 23, getting drafted as a senior out of Delaware, which might be why he started at Batavia instead of Johnson City. He began college as a good hitting outfielder, but switched to pitching exclusively for his senior year after injuries had limited him in his junior year. His numbers weren’t really all that great in his senior year (21 walks, 28 strikeouts in 41.2 innings) and he is getting beaten around in Batavia so far. Maybe Johnson City would have been a better choice for his start, regardless of his age.
Pick #40, Thirty-ninth Round, #1175 Overall – Curt Smith
- Johnson City – .355/.393/.591 6 hr, 8.3 BB%, 10.0 LD%, .398 BABIP
Smith is a bit of an undersized first baseman (5’10″, 200 lbs) out of the University of Maine. He raked in college and has continued that at Johnson City. His walk rate and his line drive rate are both a little low for my taste and he did play four years at Maine, so he should be hitting well at Johnson City. It’s quite possible that he will hit a ceiling pretty quickly as he is moved up the ladder, but I’m just going to ignore all of that and enjoy the power production we are getting from a pick this late in the draft.
Pick #41, Fortieth Round, #1205 Overall – Paul Cruz
- Johnson City – .134/.223/.207 10.6 BB%, 3.0 LD%, .141 BABIP
Cruz has been terrible – there’s no other way to put it. The left handed hitting outfielder’s walk rate is ok, but he has yet to provide any other value at the plate.
Pick #43, Forty-second Round, #1265 Overall – Blakely Murphy
- Batavia – .253/.337/.471 3 hr, 10.1 BB%, 9.0 LD%, .365 BABIP
Blake has been called one of the great sleepers of the draft. Looking at his college numbers, he played four years at Western Carolina University, I can’t understand why he didn’t get more interest in the draft. He had a very solid junior year in college and then put up a line of .367/.495/.683 his senior year, hitting 16 homers in 221 at bats. He isn’t undersized (or oversized for a catcher) at 6’1″, 195 lbs, he’s got good patience at the plate and hits for good power. Maybe he’s a black hole on defense, but those numbers should play anywhere. He hasn’t quite put up the same numbers thus far at Batavia, but he has been solid.
Pick #45, Forty-fourth Round, #1325 Overall – Santo Maertz
- Johnson City – 10.1 ip, 11 K’s, 6 BB, 4 ER
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: The Cardinals took a pitcher from a small college with a good strikeout rate and trouble with his control in the mid to late rounds. Maertz fits right in with the other pitchers that we’ve discussed in this part. He was a two-way player at Saint Peter’s College and wasn’t outstanding at either hitting or pitching. He, like the others, has struggled a bit at Johnson City with his control and it will be his ability to reign in his wildness that will determine his future with the organization.
Pick #50, Forty-ninth Round, #1463 Overall – Adam Veres
- Johnson City – 22 ip, 29 k’s, 6 BB, 4 ER
Veres could be another late round gem for the Cardinals. He is another small college product (St. Petersberg Junior College), but he has dominated so far at Johnson City, while not walking too many men. He is younger than most of the other pitchers taken late in the draft and he has very good size (6’4″ 230 lbs), so I am really curious to see what becomes of this 49th round pick.