The Cardinals … well, the 2009 draft — at least Day 1 of it — puts the emphasis on two things: Their ability to sign Miller and their ability to develop obvious and (in the case of the next two picks) preceived latent talent. The onus will be on the coaches, not just the scouts. And that should have been part of the discussion all along. VP/Farm Director Jeff Luhnow said as much late Tuesday night at Busch Stadium.
“I feel like this was the year we could take some younger kids and some higher risks,” Luhnow said. “And let our system and our own people do what they do best — which is to take raw material that has a really high upside and turn it into a finished product.”
This was exactly my comment and concern with regards to the Miller pick. It’s a great live arm but he’s still a raw player in two regards: 1) the development of a changeup and 2) inconsistent command. We can debate the importance of a changeup (if his curveball is as good as reported, that can be an effective weapon against LH batters), but these are two areas that I would argue the development system has largely failed in the past.
Shelby Miller is a different kind of talent but guys like Adam Ottavino, Chris Lambert, Mark McCormick, etc. were take for their live fastballs and the belief that they could be coached from pitcher to thrower. There command issues never subsided and their secondary pitches never materialized as reliable offerings. We can place some of the blame on the pitchers but if the failing is systematic then you have to question the development process as well. And when was the last time you heard them teach a pitcher a changeup? I can’t think of one. (Anthony Reyes already had his in college.)
Without digressing too much, it doesn’t help the development system if there’s a different message being preached from different members of the orgaization. I’m not asking for a regimented creed in player development but there’s reason to think that the persistent schisms between Luhnow’s “crowd” and Jocketty “remenants” or TLR and DD are detrimental to developing players. Very few, if any, individuals have enough knowledge of the inner workings to speak to whether that’s truly an issue . . . but the conversation would be incomplete without mentioning it in passing.
So the guantlet is thrown and the challenge is issued. If these kids get signed, it’s on the player development program to produce the next core player for the Cardinals rather than someone who gets released from AA.
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Cardinals pull off a shocker and pick RHP Shelby Miller 19th overall. I’m still floored by this, but perhaps I shouldn’t, with rumors of interest in Matt Purke, who ended up being drafted by Texas. First, the pluses – He was the best player left available to draft. His ceiling is higher than any arm currently in the system. He has one of the best fastballs of any prep pitcher, if not the best. And it’s not just about velocity, but about life. Every pundit is very high on this pitcher. Good curveball. Mechanically sound. Scouting reports say he has good makeup. The bad – Normal high school pitcher risk, hefty price tag, it’s not certain they will sign him, inconsistent command, secondary offerings. There’s already some posturing from Luhnow, and some eagerness shown by the young right-hander to sign. I seem to remember Kyle Russell saying positive things a few years ago, and we know how that turned out. Him not signing will ignite some anger towards ownership, but to me, it wouldn’t be the end of the world. They can simply reallocate that money in Latin America, like towards highly regarded OF Wagner Mateo. (I think I’d rather have Miller) This is a bold, gutsy move by Luhnow and I think it gives him some credibility to a fan base that has accused him in the past of taking high-floor, low-upside pitchers in the 1st round. I do hope they sign him. I like his attitude so far, we’ll see what happens. From the Commish: “Definitely, I’m going to sign a contract with the St. Louis Cardinals. Ultimately, my goal is to play with the St. Louis Cardinals as soon as I possibly can.”
Cardinals take C/RHP Robert Stock, USC, 67th overall. Didn’t see this coming either. We’ve been hearing about Stock since he won BA’s Youth Player of the Year award, an honor he took home as a 15 year old. Back then he was flashing brilliance on the hill and behind the plate. Scouts were split on him then, and are split on him now, although it’s hard not to like him as a pitcher more given his underwhelming performance offensively, and the fact that he was the ace of USC’s staff, showing three average to above average pitches — fastball, slider, changeup. It sounds like the Cardinals will give him a try at catcher first. Stock graduated early so he could attend college, and is just 19 years old. He was rated the 5th best prospect in the Cape in 2007 as the youngest player to ever play in the league. Stock has plenty of tools and time to put it altogether. I’m not surprised to see him struggle at USC at such a young age. There’s some high-reward here, and his ability to pitch is a safety net.
Joe Kelly was drafted out of UC Riverside 97th overall. Kelly hales from the same school that gave us Adam Reifer and is pretty similar. He profiles as closer, he brings the heat with sink, and throws a good slider. The results weren’t really there this year, but he has some upside. The Cardinals already have a several of these type of pitchers like this in their system in Reifer, Samuel, Sanchez. Sure, some of those guys have struggled, but I still say for the 3rd round, this isn’t a bad pick at all.
Overall, this strikes me as a pretty different draft then usual. The criticism that there’s not enough upside in the system gets squelched by signing these guys, at least I would think so, based on what I know of these players now. Day 2 could get interesting and will tell us if the Cards are going to continue down this path. We’ve heard rumors of Brian Goodwin in the past, and he’s still on the board. There’s also Max Stassi, who I have no idea how he is still on the board. He could be a good backup plan should negotiations with Miller fall apart.
Here’s a full list of some of the top talent remaining. If they start things off with AJ Morris or Kent Matthes, it’ll be back to the normal script. Not saying that is bad, it is that script that has given us some interesting prospects, like Tyler Henley or Steve Hill, for example. I think OF Angelo Songco could be a nifty pick-up, I really like his power bat. LHP Chris Dwyer could be better than some of the other touted lefties taken earlier, but as a draft-eligible sophomore he could be a tough sign. Should be interesting.
We’ll be back at 11, liveblogging. Looking forward to it.
This is the fastball draft. First Shelby Miller, now Joe Kelly. BA says:
Plagued by shoulder trouble early in his college career, Kelly has emerged as one of the nation’s top college closers in 2009. At 6-foot-1, he doesn’t fit the classic image of the physically intimidating closer, but his stuff is plenty big. In fall ball Kelly flashed a fastball that ranged from 93-96 mph, with wicked natural sink, and he maintained his stuff in the spring and now regularly clocks in at 94-97. Strictly a short relief man, Kelly is an aggressive hurler who wants the ball in pressure situations. He had nine saves this spring for the Highlanders, with 18 strikeouts against five walks in 25 innings, though his 5.33 ERA wasn’t impressive. In his delivery, Kelly is reminiscent of Brett Hunter, chosen last year out of Pepperdine, with a high-effort delivery from a low three-quarters arm slot, and he falls off to his left after delivery. Most pitchers begin their pro careers as starters and are then converted to relievers, but Kelly figures to be a closer from the opening bell. His stuff may help him rush through the minors as quickly as any pitcher in the draft class.
For the third round, I think this is a pretty solid pick, despite less than stellar numbers in college. This site also gives him a pretty good review. 65 fastball, 60 slider. That hopefully adds up to a decent bullpen arm. We have a lot of these guys in the system already, but the Cardinals could have done worse with this pick.
This pick is bending my mind into a pretzel. I’ll just let Bryan Smith do the talking for me while I mull this pick.
The Robert Stock story continues, as he goes 67 to the Cardinals. Stock left high school a year earlier to get a jump start on USC. People are going to really question if it was in his best interest, as he probably would have been a first rounder after his senior high school season. I like Stock a lot better as a pitcher than a catcher, as he has really not progressed with the bat in 3 years. But the Cardinals announced him as a catcher, so they’re going down that road first.
I suppose they can always fall back on pitching. Leave it to the Cardinals to draft a converted catcher turned pitcher.
For USC, Stock hit .226/.345/.453. Not good, but at least the isolated discipline and power numbers are pretty decent. As a pitcher, Stock was the ace of the staff. He posted a 2.90 ERA with 86 K’s to 39 walks over 77.2 innings pitched. The bonus is he’s only 19 years old, and there is still some reason to believe there is some upside with this pick.
Stock is one of the draft’s most intriguing players due to his background. He was Baseball America’s Youth Player of the Year in 2005 when he was 15, and a year later, Stock skipped his senior year in high school to enroll at Southern California. He’s a 19-year-old draft-eligible junior, and his college career has been one of valleys and recent peaks. He was the Trojans’ starting catcher and sometime closer his first two seasons, showing modest power, a good fastball and good catch-and-throw skills. He showed raw power and catch-and-throw tools in his first two seasons, particularly arm strength. However, his draft stock suffered; after ranking No. 5 in our Cape Cod League Top 30 following his freshman season, he didn’t even make the top 30 last summer, and scouts were stunned by his poor performance on scout day in fall 2008, when his bat looked slow and his pop times sluggish. When Stock got off to a slow start offensively in 2009, attention shifted to his performance on the mound. The Trojans turned to Stock as a starter this year, and he has delivered. He made his first start March 29 and beat Arizona State, striking out 10 in five innings, and hasn’t looked back, registering a complete-game win at Arizona and showing surprising polish. His delivery is fairly easy, giving him good control of an 88-92 mph fastball that can hit 95 and a surprisingly good changeup that some scouts consider a plus pitch. His low-80s breaking ball also grades out as average, and Stock now figures to go out in the first three rounds as a pitcher—if he proves signable.
I like that he’s just 19 and has some pretty good stuff on the mound. Interesting.
Whoa! I didn’t see this coming. Put down your pitchforks. No need to hunt down DeWallet. Shelby Miller is your 1st round pick Cardinal fans. You wanted upside, well here you go. I’m shocked. Cardinals get a top top caliber pick at 19. He’s said to be seeking $4M+, so we’ll see how this plays out.
Some scouting grades on Miller: 60 fastball, 65 future, 60 future grade on curveball.
Callis has the Cardinals taking Matt Purke in his latest and last mock draft. Last year he accurately predicted the Cardinals taking Brett Wallace, a notion I internally dismissed. Callis admits to his pick for the Cardinals as random guesswork.
19. St. Louis Cardinals: Chad Jenkins, RHP, Kennesaw State
This could be a spot for Green to land if he slides past Oakland, and Jacob Turner, the local kid from Missouri, might be of interest. But we’ll go with the college arm for now.
First off, I would threaten to beat up every other GM in baseball unless they passed on Strasburg. I figure those guys are just a bunch of older business types, so I’ll bet I could scare ‘em. I’m a pretty intimidating guy.
On the other hand, if I were running the Cardinals’ draft, and local laws had some sort of prohibition against racketeering, I might go with something like this. Read the rest of this entry »
This isn’t coming from any of the local guys or the big time national draft gurus, but according to an article in the Philadelphia Daily News the Cardinals worked out New Jersey prep center fielder Mike Trout over the weekend.
Like many teams it sounds like the Cardinals are bringing in a big group of players for individual workouts, so I wouldn’t read a whole lot into what you hear on any one player working out with the team. There is something that stands out to me about this article though.
Trout just arrived back home last night from St. Louis, where he visited this weekend to work out for both the Cardinals, who have the 19th pick, and the Oakland Athletics, who pick 13th. They are the teams, according to Trout, that have shown the most interest in him.
Now, I don’t really think he is a realistic option for the A’s as there are some guys that fit their profile a lot better that should be available at that spot. Trout usually has been going in the early to mid twenties in mock drafts, so he should be there when the Cardinals pick.