Due to popular demand, I present to you a look at how draft boards have been moving as of late and how some of the recent action might affect the Cardinals picks
Albert Almora CF- Mater Academy (Florida)
Another guy who seems like a Cardinals type is looking like he won’t make it to the Cardinals at all. Albert Almora is one of the most polished all around high school players in the draft this year, with a consistent swing and a true center fielder’s defensive skills. He’s got serious line drive skills, having hit .603 this regular season. His tools are all above average and his ceiling could be impressive as well. It’s really hard to see any weaknesses here and scouts feel the same way, likening him to Carlos Beltran. His center field athleticism and a beautiful polished swing (his bat seems to stay in the zone forever) make it easy to see why the Cardinals might be high on this guy but at this point he’s too far up on draft boards to be around at #19.
Carlos Correa SS
The big draw at Puerto Rico’s awesomely named showcase, the Victor Pellot Tournament of Excellence, was shortstop Carlos Correa. He did not disappoint, hitting a pair of home runs in Wednesday’s game and winning the tournament’s MVP award. Granted, there’s basically zero chance that Carlos Correa makes it to the Cardinals (although we could sure use him), but I’m taking his recent success as a chance to make a point: Carlos Correa should be the first pick of the draft. Given Rany Jazayerli’s recent excellent research on the age of high school prospects, Carlos Correa’s status as the youngest draft eligible prospect makes his present tools all that more impressive. He’s got plenty of bat speed and power to the pull side. He also looks pretty good as a shortstop, with a cannon for an arm and soft hands.
But, because he is still so young, scouts think that he could outgrow the position and move to third. Even so, as a point of comparison, last year’s heavily hyped (also extremely young) high school shortstop, Francisco Lindor, did not have nearly as intriguing a bat and still went eighth overall in last year’s much stronger draft. It seems to me that Correa has won the genetic lottery and has been gifted with incredible physical talents at a young age. It’ll be exciting to see them grow.
Lucas Giolito RHP – Harvard-Westlake HS
I was hoping that perhaps Giolito’s elbow issues would push him down far enough that the Cardinals could snap him up. Giolito has perhaps the best pure stuff in the draft with his triple digit fastball and was, prior to the elbow strain, being talked up as the first overall pick, a first for high school right handed pitchers.
However, elbow issues can change things fast and it seemed possible that he might fall right into our lap without being able to pitch again prior to the draft, Recently, though, he began a throwing program and has plans to pitch for scouts once more. If he shows himself to be healthy and not missing velocity, there’s no way that he is within our reach.
Jameis Winston OF/SS/RHP – Hueytown HS (Georgia)
It now seems like a pretty much sure thing that Jameis Winston is headed for college where he hopes to be a multi-sport star. I profiled him a few weeks ago and saying he’s a blank slate that has a myriad of athletic paths which he could follow. As of now, it doesn’t seem like he’s prepared to become a pro-baller or even that interested in it. He’s obviously got athleticism for days but so many potential sports career paths that he doesn’t seem committed to becoming anything in particular yet. As a result, his hitting remains thoroughly raw, with his timing mechanisms not fully developed. The Cardinals could still pick him but the most likely outcome is that he becomes FSU’s next starting quarterback.
Joey Gallo RHP/1B – Bishop Gorman HS
Joey Gallo’s strike out issues have been always been problematic and have only been getting more pronounced, culminating in a poor showing USA Baseball National High School Invitational. It’s never a good sign when a first base prospect struggles with Ks against high school level pitchers but the strike outs have come along with a rash of homers lately.
Since the invitational he’s been pumping them out, including a game where he went 5-5 with 4 home runs (they intentionally walked him with the bases loaded in his last appearance!). Basically, he is who we thought he was, just moreso. I’d still draft him, but maybe we can hold back until the supplemental round if the general opinion fades enough. He’s been throwing less often as a pitcher and is focused on getting drafted as a position player (namely a third baseman, but I doubt it) but it’s still a good option for him if the whiffs prove too much as he has mid-nineties arm strength and a big durable frame.