We stay in the 2005 draft with our next set of picks as well. After selecting Mark McCormick with the 43rd pick and Tyler Herron with the 46th pick, the Cardinals went back for another right hander in the second round taking Josh Wilson with the 70th overall pick. Yunel Escobar would be selected by the Braves just 5 picks later.
From Baseball America:
Based on his standout performance at the Area Code Games last summer and at Whitehouse High this spring, Wilson was making a case to go in the first two rounds. He pitched at 91-93 mph and touched 94-95 with his fastball, and his curveball showed the makings of becoming a plus pitch. Wilson leveled off a little afterward, working at 88-90 mph and losing command of his curve. Now he appears to be a third- or fourth-rounder. Though Wilson isn’t tall, he has long arms that create a good downward plane on his pitches. There’s some effort to his delivery, but not to the point that scouts are overly concerned.
If this was the scouting report I’d read prior to the draft, I don’t think I would have gone anywhere near Wilson. A low 90s fastball that he can’t maintain deep into games and an inconsistent curveball are remarkably uninspiring. It doesn’t sound like a starter’s repertoire and it doesn’t read like a dominant relief pitcher. I’d be curious what it was that Cardinals scouts saw that had him so high on their board.
Yunel Escobar‘s scouting report:
Escobar is one of five Cuban defectors who had sought entry into the 2005 draft, ostensibly to get around the visa restrictions that were expected to hamper players from foreign countries. While the visa problems have since been remedied, Escobar and his cohorts are still in the draft, and he was rumored to be one of the players the Red Sox could take among their six selections in the first 59 picks. Scouts said Escobar stood out from the group because of his defensive polish, stature and strength. They said he has the bat speed and the strength in his hands to drive the ball from gap to gap, and they expect him to have enough of an offensive upside to go in the first five rounds pick on the strength of his bat alone. He pushes himself higher with his defensive skills, including a strong arm and plenty of range. Scouts were judging Escobar off games he was playing at Braddock High against recently released players, junior college players and other semi-pros. Escobar also will have to overcome the language and cultural obstacles that have felled other Cuban defectors.
There’s a lot of intangible issues with a player like Yunel Escobar. Truthfully, he didn’t fully dodge those during his time in Atlanta as personality issues were rumored to play a significant role in his being traded by the Braves. That said, I get the sense that he was undervalued in the draft. A defensively capable shortstop that you can project to hit . . . basically he’s another Tyler Greene.
It’s hard to overstate the potential impact that Greene had on subsequent picks like Jed Lowrie and Escobar. This looks like a miss by a lot of teams both at the time and retrospectively. Shorstops that can hit are highly coveted and usually get selected in the first round. For whatever reason, Escobar wasn’t one of those. I’m less sympathetic to this “miss” given that the Cardinals had drafted two RHP in a row and went back for a third in Wilson.