Results tagged ‘ Draft ’

Some thoughts, context and details on the pick

OK…

My story on Kolten Wong has been filed and should be updated on Cardinals.com in a bit. But I had a few things I wanted to add, because surprisingly 1000 words is not enough. I don’t know who I’m turning into, but whatever.

* First, my take on the pick. I understand that some people wanted somebody like Mikie Mahtook or a high-upside arm or even Josh Bell, and I get that. Philosophically, that’s what I think they should be doing too. So my first reaction to the pick was, “Yeah, that’s fine.”

So while it may seem that I’m singing to the high heavens about how great the pick is, that’s not really what I’ve been trying to do tonight. I’m mostly trying to contrast what I think has been an unfair and inaccurate line of conversation about Wong.  Because he is undersized, I think people are rushing to dismiss this as a “makeup” pick, assuming that they drafted a kid because he’s gritty or scrappy or something.

The pick may not work out, but that’s not why he was drafted. The parallel to 2007 that some people are trying to draw, just doesn’t apply. This young man can hit. We’ll see how good a defensive player he turns out to be, though he does have some speed (23 steals in 57 games). But he’s a hitter.

He played in a park which, according to Boydsworld.com, is a significant pitchers’ park. He played on a team that faced some very nice non-conference competition (including Texas, Cal State-Fullerton, Oregon and Wichita State). He was the MVP of the wood-bat Cape Cod League. He hit for average, drew walks and hit for a little bit of power. The kid’s a hitter. They didn’t draft him because somebody liked the look in his eye. They drafted him because they think he’ll hit in the big leagues. On Draft day, he’s a lot closer to Zack Cox than he is to Pete Kozma.

* Drafting a second baseman is a bit unorthodox. In each of the past three years, exactly one 2B was taken in the first round. In the three years before that, no 2B went in the first round.

* And that’s my biggest worry. You draft a SS, if he doesn’t stick defensively, you’ve still got a 2B or 3B on your hands. You draft a 2B and he doesn’t stick, you’ve got a utility player. Wong has to be a big league 2B to be a big league regular, I believe. And that has been one weakness of recent Cardinals Drafts: tweeners. Players with who lack the glove for the more difficult position but lack the bat for the less difficult position. I hope Wong doesn’t turn out to be one of those, where the glove doesn’t play at 2B but the bat doesn’t play at a corner.

* Don’t underestimate the value of his age. Wong is still only 20. If he IS in fact at Double-A next year before he turns 22, that’s a pretty nice development path. He’s 19 months younger than Cox.

* Regarding positions and position shifts, Jeff Luhnow very explicitly said that for the Cards organization, Cox is a 3B. The question was asked because there’s been some thought that Cox will migrate to 2B, which might make Wong somewhat redundant. But Luhnow was adamant.

* Wong’s coach, Mike Trapasso, has been at Hawaii since 2001, and before that his bio says he was at Georgia Tech for seven years. I don’t know if that means he coached on the ’94 team there; I’m assuming, frankly, that he did not. But either way, at Tech in the late ’90s, he saw some serious talent. And according to Trapasso, Wong is the second-best player he’s coached, behind Mark Teixeira.

* I’ve heard a few different comparisons, but the one that seems to make the most sense is Fernando Vina. A couple of people on Twitter bashed the pick based on that comp, but I think that really misses the point. I have no idea if the kid grows up to be Vina, BUT if you could guarantee me right now that he IS going to, I’d tell you right away that that’s a good pick. If you get a quality, borderline-All-Star Major League regular with the 22nd overall pick, you did well.

Again, I don’t know whether he will. I just think expectations need to be reasonable.

* Trapasso said that the Vina comp made sense, but that he believes Wong will show more power than Vina.

* I noted this in the story, but Jeff Luhnow sounded very confident this wouldn’t be a deadline deal. They think he wants to play ball and will get a deal done quickly.

A quote from Wong to that effect: “They were talking about signability, and that’s when I told them, I just want to get out there and play and start my career.”

Anyway. That’s all I got. Just some extra context. I’m not at all convinced this is a total home-run pick; heck, it may not work out at all. Zack Cox may not work out either. But I think it’s a much better pick than some folks are making it out to be.

-M.

Miller, Cards agree

By Matthew Leach
MLB.com

The Cardinals have agreed to terms with first-round Draft pick Shelby Miller, approximately seven hours before the deadline for 2009 picks to agree with clubs. A club official confirmed the signing, which is expected to be announced at 4:30 p.m. CT.

Miller was the 19th overall selection in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, will receive a bonus of $2.875 million, according to multiple Major League sources. That is approximately twice Major League Baseball’s recommendation for the slot. Miller was rated as one of the top high-school pitchers in this year’s Draft, and some analysts had him as the finest prep arm available. He had a commitment to attend Texas A&M, but made no secret that he preferred to play professional baseball.

The hard-throwing Texan is listed at 6-foot-3 and 195 pounds. He has a fastball that has been clocked as high as 98 mph, and he also throws a curveball, with a relatively underdeveloped changeup. He was the first high school pitcher selected by the Cardinals in the first round since Brian Barber, whom they took with the 22nd overall pick in 1991.

Miller is the second high-bonus player to sign with the Cardinals this summer, joining Dominican outfielder Wagner Mateo, who received a reported $3.1 million.

Cardinals announce three more signings

The Cardinals announced three more signings from the 2009 Draft on Tuesday, bringing the total number of officially confirmed and announced signees to 35.

Second-round pick Robert Stock, third-rounder Joe Kelly and fifth-rounder Ryan Jackson were all announced as signing on Wednesday, though Stock agreed to terms on Monday.

Stock pitched and caught at the University of Southern California, but he will enter the Cardinals system as a catcher — with the potential fallback option of returning to pitching. He pitched in USC’s regular weekend rotation in addition to serving as the team’s starting catcher. He will report to rookie-level Johnson City of the Appalachian League.

Kelly pitched in relief at the University of California-Riverside and throws a fastball in the high-90s according to vice president of scouting and player development Jeff Luhnow. Jackson is a shortstop from the University of Miami who is considered an exemplary defender. Kelly and Jackson will both report to Batavia of the short-season Class A New York-Penn League.

St. Louis has now signed four of its top six Draft picks. Still unsigned are first-rounder Shelby Miller and fourth-rounder Scott Bittle.

-M.

Cardinals agree to terms with Stock

Right on the heels of announcing agreements with 32 Draft picks, the Cardinals confirmed their biggest deal thus far from the 2009 First-Year Player Draft.

Second-round pick Robert Stock agreed to terms on a contract on Monday. Stock pitched and played catcher for the University of Southern California, but he will catch in the Cardinals organization.

Stock batted .226 with a .345 on-base percentage and a .453 slugging percentage for the Trojans in 2009. He was the 67th overall pick in last Tuesday’s Draft.

Earlier in the day, St. Louis announced that it had reached deals with 32 of its top 50 picks, including sixth-rounder Virgil Hill.

The complete list, as announced or confirmed by the club as of Monday afternoon, is as follows:

Robert Stock (C, 2nd round)
Virgil Hill (OF, 6th)
Alan Ahmady (1B, 11th)
Pat Daugherty (LHP, 12th)
Matt Carpenter (3B, 13th)
Ross Smith (OF, 14th)
David Washington (1B, 15th)
Jonathan Rodriguez (1B, 17th)
Anthony Garcia (C, 18th)
Travis Tartamella (C, 19th)
Scott Schneider (RHP, 20th)
Matthew Adams (C, 23rd)
Keith Butler (RHP, 24th)
Josh Squatrito (RHP, 25th)
Christian Beatty (OF, 26th)
Johnathan Fulino (RHP, 27th)
Justin Edwards (LHP, 28th)
Daniel Calhoun (LHP, 29th)
Tyler Bighames (SS, 31st)
Travis Lawler (RHP, 32nd)
Devin Goodwin (SS, 33rd)
David Kington (RHP, 34th)
Andrew Moss (RHP, 35th)
Justin Smith (RHP, 36th)
Richard Racobaldo (3B, 37th)
John Durham (LHP, 38th)
Jesse Simpson (RHP, 40th)
Cale Johnson (RHP, 41st)
Aaron Terry (RHP, 42nd)
Manuel De La Cruz (LHP, 43rd)
Kyle Heim (LHP, 44th)
Michael Thompson (RHP, 47th)
Jason Novak (RHP, 48th)

-M.

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