It will take at best two years to see how the top end of the 2014 Draft pays off for the Cardinals. Even the most advanced picks will find the upper levels of the St. Louis system hard to reach but for eight more names, Memphis and Springfield will feel like the promise land. Rounds 3 and 4 featured a pair of imposing hurlers for St. Louis as well as the first lefty. One of the best new rules in my opinion was moving up the date that all players must be signed, and the front office has until July 18th to put the financial pieces together.
Sticking to the program, pitching again opened the second day of the Rule 4 festivities, but it appeared the Cards were more willing to alternate sure things with a few wildcards. This group also runs the total of arms selected up to seven thru 10 rounds with the rest of the new Birds on the Bat joining the party today. Also keep your eyes on a pair of recent draftees who are still alive and pushing for a spot in College World Series. Stanford’s Danny Diekroeger may be another player without a true position, but the senior has a bat that will play.
Pairing Diekroeger, the tenth round selection, with Andrew Morales also frees up more bonus funds for a couple of picks that may demand well over slot to join the Busch bash. Morales takes the stage against Oklahoma State in leading UC Irvine as one of the most improbable playoff teams this season and has the chance to send his club to the CWS in style. In order for St. Louis to work out the numbers, the scouts left no stone unturned in restocking the cupboard. An NAIA pitcher at his fourth school that the Cubs missed on was nabbed in the ninth round, and the quartet of position players highlighted another impressive day for St. Louis.
Outside of Flaherty it was a tale of opposites that may ultimately decide how this draft will be remembered. The tallest (6’8″) and shortest (5’9″) selections also hold plenty of leverage in what will be a definite storyline as the deadline approaches. As far as the budget goes for the Cards, taking a risk on a player coming off of TJ surgery seems almost like a foregone conclusion moving forward. Trevor Megill becomes the name to watch as the massive righty prepares to prove he health and waiting on his bonus demands most likely will coincide with appearances in the Cape Cod league.
If Megill is the wild card of the first ten rounds, the first position player selected represents a good comparison for how different this year’s draft has started. Darren Seferina played down the road from Jupiter at Miami Dade CC and getting the infield speedster at slot value would appear to be a bonus by itself. No matter how much the big club is struggling currently, the Draft represents hope as St. Louis looks to repeat the impressive haul from 2009.