Sorry for the delayed reaction. I have Microsoft Security Essentials, and occasionally it decides it needs to update without my consent. I had a bazillion things running in the background, and it caused my computer to grind down to a halt.
Anyway, in my opinion this has been a great night for Jeff Luhnow and company. After getting the best pure hitter in the draft, the Cardinals were able to draft two very good arms with some upside in Blair and Jenkins.
Blair was a player I thought the Cardinals might be interested in. He had a pretty good year at Arizona State, and he gets his fair share of groundballs.
Law on Blair:
Arizona State right-hander Seth Blair came out of the chute throwing bullets this spring, reportedly touching 98 in his first outing of the spring, but he has settled in since then as a 90-94 guy who might flash a 95 or 96 once or twice a game.
He’ll throw the pitch to both sides of the plate, and pairs it with a solid-average slider at 78-84 mph with good tilt. He’ll show a change, curve, and even splitter, although only the change projects as a potential weapon in pro ball. He throws from a 3/4 slot and his hand travels a long way from separation to release, with his pitching elbow going just above his shoulder before he pronates it.
He’s not a big, physical kid, and there will probably be teams that view him as a reliever in the long term, but he has the repertoire to start and should get that opportunity first.
Tyrell Jenkins was ranked 23rd overall by Law, so getting him at 50 is a great value pick, and he’s considered to be very signable in spite of being recruited by Baylor as a QB. This pick was the real shocker to me, in a good way. I think I’d rather have him than Stetson Allie.
Law on Jenkins:
A three-sport athlete, Jenkins is committed to Baylor to pitch and play quarterback (albeit likely as a backup behind Robert Griffin for a year), but his pro future is now as a right-handed pitcher.
He’s very crude, but has arm strength and is, of course, a tremendous athlete, so there’s great raw material here. Jenkins has hit 96 several times this spring but will pitch around 89-92, although with some delivery cleanup he should be working at 92-94 or better; when he gets on top of the pitch he gets excellent downhill plane. He’ll show a low-70s curveball and a slider around 80. His delivery is unrefined; his stride length and landing vary from pitch to pitch and he separates his hands very low, but his arm is loose and he keeps his elbow down.
Taking Jenkins is a bet on athleticism and velocity, but because his arm works well he’s well worth that gamble.
Jenkins may be the most athletic pitcher in the draft. Baylor’s top quarterback recruit, he also lettered in basketball and ran a 49-second quarter-mile in a relay race this spring—without any training. The next day, he was throwing 92-93 mph fastball in the seventh inning. Jenkins has a loose, quick, whippy arm that can deliver fastballs up to 95 mph. There’s a lot of projection remaining in his 6-foot-4, 180-pound frame, and lots of room for improvement with his secondary pitches. He can spin a curveball and also throws a slider and changeup. He should develop more consistency once he focuses on baseball and does a better job of repeating his delivery. He’s raw but has tremendous upside, making him a perfect fit in the sandwich round for teams with multiple picks.
I like this pick a lot better than the Dodgers’ pick of Zach Lee.
These are two very hard throwing righties with some upside. A very nice first night of the draft and my cheeseball Eibner is still on the board. For that matter, so is Workman, Allie and James Paxton.