This is not a ranking of my top draft prospects, but rather the order I would draft these players if I were in charge of the draft for the Cardinals. I only went down to #19 because at worst the Cardinals are going to have a chance to draft one of these guys. Of course I am probably being a little too optimistic putting guys like Matthew Purke and Donovan Tate on the list because even if they do fall (as some have recently projected they might) I doubt DeWitt will be willing to match their price tag. Of course we could always hope that he has been paying attention to Rick Porcello this season and has realized that elite talent is worth the elite price tag. Well, enough with the negative. Check out my list and rip it apart. This post is designed to generate draft discussion. Let me know your favorites.
1. Stephen Strasburg, RHP, San Diego St.
If any team had the first pick in this year’s draft and didn’t take Strasburg first overall, they should be immediately contracted.
2. Tanner Scheppers, RHP, St. Paul
He has the injury history, but his stuff is also a step above anyone else left on the board. Think Matt Garza.
3. Aaron Crow, RHP, Fort Worth
Crow also has great stuff, but its not quite on par with Scheppers. Still, he pounds the zone with a great sinker and a wipeout slider.
4. Tyler Matzek, LHP, California HS
Lefty with a nice frame, plus velocity, 4 usable pitches, and some polish. Can you really ask for more?
5. Kyle Gibson, RHP, Missouri
He doesn’t have the upside of Alex White, but I think he is a safer bet to be a solid #3 starter. He doesn’t have the elite fastball velocity you look for, but his slider is a devastating pitch and he has excellent command.
6. Jacob Turner, RHP, Missouri HS
Has established himself as the top high school righthander available. He has touched 97 mph and backs it up with a nice slider. Plus he is the local favorite.
7. Zack Wheeler, RHP, Georgia HS
A lot of people have Shelby Miller ranked ahead of Wheeler, but until I see more video on him I can’t jump him ahead of one of my favorite players in this draft. Wheeler still has a lot of projection left, but he already has 3 very good pitches including a fastball that reaches 95 mph. He also throws a lot of strikes.
8. Dustin Ackley, OF, North Carolina
He is a sure bet to hit, but no one has seen him play outfield and there are questions about his power with a wood bat. He would be a lot higher on the list if I was just straight ranking prospects, but the Cardinals have enough guys that profile to play a corner outfield spot and don’t really have the power to be an asset there.
9. Alex White, RHP, North Carolina
He has plus stuff from the right side, but he has never dominated like his stuff would indicate. Still, he is a safer bet than the high school arms still on the board, and his stuff is just as good.
10. Matt Purke, LHP, Texas HS
Purke has better velocity than Matzek, but he also has more effort in his delivery. He may have the best 1-2 punch of any lefty in the draft, but he needs to work on refining his delivery, command, and a third pitch.
11. Grant Green, SS, USC
Has been somewhat of a disappointment, but he has a track record of success in college and with wood on the cape. May not stick at short long term, but at worst he is a 15-20 homer bat at the 2nd base position.
12. Shelby Miller, RHP, Texas HS
The prototypical Texas fireballer, Miller can crank the heater up to 98 mph. He throws a plus curve every once in a while, but it needs work. Miller has as much arm strength as anyone in the draft, but he doesn’t have the polish of the guys already mentioned on this list.
13. Mike Leake, RHP, Arizona St.
He gets the knock of being a guy that pitches above his stuff, but people don’t realize that his stuff is actually pretty darn good as he pitches with a 90-94 mph sinker, a plus slider, an above average change, and also mixes in a curve. Add to that his athleticism, bulldog mentality, and very good control and you have quite a package.
14. Donovan Tate, OF, Georgia HS
The best overall athlete in the draft, Tate has the makings of a 5-tool stud in center in the mold of Adam Jones. There are some questions which include making some adjustments with the bat and his commitment to play football at North Carolina.
15. Chad James, LHP, Oklahoma HS
James is more in the mold of Shelby Miller as far as high school hurlers go. He has the arm strength which includes a 95 mph fastball and shows a nice breaker, but he needs to improve his polish. James is a good athlete, so he should be able to find a consistent delivery and repeat it.
16. Bobby Borchering, 3B, Florida HS
Borchering offers a quick bat and impressive power from both sides of the plate. At 6’4″ 200 pounds he has improved his defense at third, but some feel he will have to move across the diamond after he fills out. Still, he is probably the safest bet among the high school position players to hit.
17. Rex Brothers, LHP, Lipscomb
A collegiate lefty with a plus fastball/slider duo, Brothers can dial it up around 96 mph. He is short and stocky and doesn’t have great control, but he does maintain his velocity deep into starts. However many believe his control, delivery, and lack of a quality third pitch mean he is destined for a big league bullpen. Similar to Blue Jays rookie lefty Brett Cecil.
18. Chad Jenkins, RHP, Kennesaw St.
Jenkins is built like a horse at 6’4″ 225 pounds and matches that frame with good stuff. He pounds the strike zone with a sinker that he throws from 90-93 and a plus slider. He also throws a change and shows an advanced feel for pitching.
19. Tyler Skaggs, LHP, California HS
Skaggs just screams projection at 6’4″ 180 pounds, but he already shows good stuff. He runs his fastball up to 92, but usually works at 88-90 and adds in a plus curve. He is a good athlete and repeats his smooth delivery very well.