2006 was Luhnow’s sophomore slump.
Biggest Hits: Chris Perez (1st Supplemental Round)
Biggest Misses: Brad Furnish (2nd Round), Mark Hamilton (2nd Supplemental Round), Gary Daley (3rd Round), Eddie Degerman (4th Round)
Other Noteworth Picks: Jon Jay, Adam Ottavino, Allen Craig, PJ Walters, Luke Gregerson
Most Frustrating Talents: Tommy Pham
The 2006 draft was really an abominable one after the greatness that was 2005. The Cardinals went with a bunch of performance record college players and got burned badly.
Chris Perez still hasn’t quite harnessed his command enough to be the elite level closer so many people saw. That said, he’s in the majors and on a non-TLR team might have been put in the closer’s role. It’s easy to have missed but he has a K/9 of 11+ right now. The Cardinals have done an excellent job of building a deep relief corp from the majors down to the minors. Ideally, that will translate into a good bullpen as well as flipping some of the overvalued relievers for more lucrative prospects.
Brad Furnish started this year in AA. He’s become very hittable and his command, which was never good, has abandoned him. As a lefty, there’s the possibility that he could still re-establish things a la Tyler Norrick but when you’re upside consists of being a LOOGy, that’s a bad draft pick for the Cardinals.
Mark Hamilton hasn’t been able to stay healthy for longer than about 2 months at a time. When things click, he’ll slug with the best of them. As a first baseman, he’s limited defensively and his offense has just never been around long enough to remain a prospect. It’s not as inglorious as Mike Ferris but another poor pick.
Gary Daley and Eddie Degerman are perhaps the worst picks of the Cardinals draft. After dipping into the Cal Poly pool in 2006, the Cardinals will go back there in 2007 with disastorous results again. Daley lacks anything that could be called good stuff but posted good college numbers. Degerman’s quirky delivery made for an intersting pick (he fooled me, too) but the propensity to go Steve Blass on a team at any given moment has made him little more than a side show. Daley at age 23 is in Quad Cities and is probably going to be released in the not to distant future. Degermen is in Springfield walking almost twice as many batters as he strike out.
The Cardinals have a plethora of fringy players from the 2006 draft who could be anything from AAA players to fringy everyday players or something in between. Jon Jay might be one the best examples of this. A good defensive centerfielder with doubles power and good on base percentage, Jay’s offensive profile isn’t typical for many major league players. His offensive malaise this season (.627 OPS) hasn’t help to clarify the situation. (I’ve never been particularly high on him despite liking similar players such as Tyler Henley.) Jay has talent but whether there’s enough there to be more than a 5th outfielder — and if he can capitalize on that — remains to be seen.
When I sat down to write this, I honestly couldn’t remember who the 2006 first round pick was. The Cardinals first picks have gone amazing, can’t remember, not-Porcello, good and exactly what we asked for over the last 5 years and, unfortunately for Adam Ottavino, he’s the can’t remember player. If someone wanted to argue that he should be in the “Miss” category, I’d have a hard time dissuading them. That said, I’m still clinging to the performace we saw for team Italy and the not-completely-uncommom flashes of dominance in his first season of AAA. The Cardinals have promoted Ottavino despite him never fully clicking at any level but the talent peeks through every now and then. Time’s dwindling but, for me, he’s still worth keeping an eye on.
Allen Craig is another player that seems caught between AAA and the MLB being just as likely to remain at either for an extended period of time. The quesitonable defense hasn’t helped Craig by eny means and the bat has gone dormant this season. It seems unlikely that he ever sees time with the St. Louis club but he could sprout up with another team in the future or, perhaps, carve out a Joe Mather type role somewhere.
PJ Walters has shown exceptional command in Memphis this season and has gotten a taste of the bigs. He’s never had flashy stuff instead relying on good command and mixing his pitches well. It’s the kind of underwhelming appearance that can cause scouts to look the other way. It’s also the kind of underwhelming performance that can turn into a good backend starting pitcher.
Luke Gregerson was one of the more underrated relief prospects in the systen. He excelled at generating groundballs with decent strikeout rates and good walk rates. As part of the Khalil Greene trade, he’s posted a 3.15 ERA and a 3.07 FIP in PETCO. Not too shabby.
Overview: On balance, this is a pretty disappointing draft. Nobody in this group looks to have a lock on an everyday role or starting pitching job. There’s a lot of questionable overall players with only Chris Perez having found and sustained a role in the majors. There’s no high upside players still developing, mainly because the Cardinals didn’t draft any in 2006. A very lack luster draft that’s produced limited success.