For the third consecutive Rule 4 Draft, the Cardinals elected to go all-in on pitching to the tune of 21 or more new hurlers. That is also the same time frame where the June event has only been 40 rounds and certainly no longer a coincidence. More great news out today that St. Louis has wasted no time in getting the top three pitchers signed as short-season State College kicks off Saturday. And to be fair, it might have been a perfect 4-for-4 on first day picks, but Andrew Morales has been a tad busy. His dominate performance sent long-shot UC Irvine to the College World Series so the senior will have to wait just a bit longer to sign his professional contract.
The end of 2014 Draft mirrored the beginning, as the Birds on the Bat selected 10 pitchers out of 15 picks. Seven are the college variety including a quartet of seniors ready for the next challenge. Johnson City joins the action next week as well as the GCL squad the following day. A number of last year’s contingent have seen promotions to both Peoria and Palm Beach, leaving plenty of innings to go around for the new crop. Late round high school picks consistently are the hardest to gauge, but the Cards grabbed a trio of right-handers who may decide bus trips sound better than studying!
A pair of St. Louis area products also heard their names called by the hometown team, and both can make the dream of throwing off the Busch Stadium mound a reality if they sign. Anthony Herron Jr. and Sasha Kuebel were taken six rounds apart but may not be able to pass up the opportunity of wearing the BOB. Springfield’s Missouri State continued the tradition of graduating players to the minors, and Cody Schumacher hopes to follow the lead of a former teammate. Nick Petree overcame injuries in college and has flown up the ranks to become a Top-20 prospect, something not lost on Schumacher or the rest of this year’s class.
Not to be outdone, the position players snatched up by the Cardinals aim to make a name for themselves as well. Given the depth of outfielders currently in action, it was not a shock to only hear five announced over the three-day period. That’s not to say the infielders should leave extra gloves at home, but St. Louis did restock the system with a number of interesting options. Cole Lankford knows first hand just how good Michael Wacha is from their time together at Texas A&M. The lefty-hitting catcher is accomplished with the bat and in the field, hard to find in the 27th round.
Another first-round pick gave all the insight needed on the selection in round 34, as Rob Kaminsky shares more than a love for baseball with infielder George Iskenderian. The duo is from the same hometown in New Jersey, and Iskenderian could prove to be a steal from the JUCO in Florida after transferring from perennial power South Carolina. Cardinal Nation continues to grow, and the success of this year’s draft will be felt for years to come from the first round bonus baby (Jack Flaherty) to No. 1,215 (Davis Ward).