It’s still incredibly early to be talking about this year’s draft but I’m more interested than I’ve been in the past couple years and Keith Law recently released his top 50 list for the draft. As much as this draft is billed as having top talent, it doesn’t mesh well with the Cardinals overall needs and it looks very pitching heavy to me.
I can’t recall where I read the interview or even who it was really with but I have in my head a recent transcript of a conversation with a Rays executive. They made some comments about the need to develop up the middle talent and frontline starters via the minor league system given the difficulty and expense of acquiring those types of players in the free agency process. This struck me as incredibly poignant and something the Cardinals have had some success with (Adam Wainwright, Colby Rasmus, Yadier Molina). It’s also the first thing I went looking for in the 2011 draft.
Unfortunately, there’s not a lot to be found. I am intrigued by Law’s #8 overall, Francisco Lindor. He certainly looks like a top 15 pick right now meaning he’ll be gone prior to the Cardinals selection. Jackie Bradley Jr (#15) is someone that I’m a little hesitant about. The defensive chops are bona fide (heck of an arm) but I think his offensive potential is overstated. He’s not someone that I’d be dismayed to see the Cardinals take with their pick and I think he’s a late first round pick.
Law’s #26 overall is Levi Michael, a switch hitting shortstop out of UNC. I like him defensively and I think he’s got an excellent chance to be approach league average offense in the bigs. That’s an impressive combination for a SS and can easily make the player worth 3-4 wins. He’s someone that has a reasonable chance to be available at the Cardinals pick, could move fast and has more offensive potential than anyone else at SS in the Cardinals system right now.
If you want another Pete Kozma you can look to Phillip Evans (#40).
I’ve not looked into the pitchers much but there’s a familiar name near the top of next year’s draft class: Matt Purke. Drafted by the Rangers in 2009 out of high school, Purke was unable to reach an agreement and went on to TCU. Here’s gif of his mechanics via Adam Foster of Project Prospect. It’s grainy by it scares the crap out of me. There’s likely some team that is willing to take a chance given his results to date but I wouldn’t go nearhim with that slingy arm action.
Fill me in — are there some names you’re paying particular attention to as the June draft gets closer?