Rule IV Relief

If we are being completely honest, no one outside of maybe the inner circle surrounding the new Cardinals’ scouting director knows what will happen in a few hours. Officially it may be June 8th, but today is just as big for the Preacher as XMas or my birthday. It wasn’t always that case, however, and I’m happy to report that the 2015 campaign has changed many things for the better — mainly much less stress!

The Major League Baseball Draft, or Rule IV variety, begins now and having the MLB Network for the first time will completely improve my perspective! Tonight thru Wednesday over 40 potential players get the privilege of hearing their name called and having the opportunity to join the St. Louis fraternity.

It could not come at a better time as well, since Missouri State (where my daughter recently applied) was knocked out of contention for a College World Series spot. That makes at least Daniel happy because his Razorbacks will be one of the underdogs in Omaha. What it does for me is a whole different story especially if the rumors of changing the draft come to fruition before next year.

The annual build-up for draft coverage typically begins around mid-April once each of the full season teams have kicked off real competition. In the past I have tried my hand at previews of potential picks or at least kept up with the mocks to see where the smoke is coming from before the fire. There always appears to be options aplenty, and maybe around the Pete Kozma draft was where the realization began for me.

I remember being so frustrated that Kozma was the selection instead of Rick Porcello that I knew it was time to take a step back. The draft shouldn’t be a time for getting upset because the future of the Cardinals starts tonight. Most of the selections will be done with college or high school ball and ready to sign ASAP. Gone are the days of holding out, especially in an organization like St. Louis that promotes aggressively.

If this is the last time a June first-year player draft is held, it will make the College World Series that much more interesting if the Birds on the Bat take anyone still in action. I’m not a big fan of the aluminum bat but do want to check off the bucket list a trip up to Omaha in the near future. I’m anxiously awaiting when the rosters for State College and Johnson City are released and can already start the season previews in my head.

As for any predictions, well, you came to the wrong place for that! This year is wide open starting at the top, and I’m just as lost as anyone else as to who may be available at #23. Day two of the draft is always the high point for me anyway, because there is a certain amount of strategy in play for the first two or three picks. There are a few things that occur in every draft class, but I’m only going to look at two that would be fun stories.

All the talk about another Matheny joining the ranks has been largely ignored until this past week, as it was previously disclosed that father and son wanted Tate to be picked by another organization. Now that appears to be misconstrued if you will, as it may be something to watch as day two unfolds. Tate is considered one of the top 100-125 prospects in the class, and that has him on every team’s radar. He had a great postseason run as well for MSU, setting up for the entire Matheny clan to be monitoring things closely this week.

As for the story that just will never go away in my opinion, why is everyone so ready to find a replacement for the guy who can’t be? Yadi is a once-in-a-lifetime player in my opinion, and I honestly hope he plays the rest of this decade! But I’m as realistic as the next guy and do see some need to get catching options moving up the ranks. That makes the story of Austin Rei worth checking out, as the college backstop is flying under the radar just enough to peak my interest.

The Cardinals never have the most money to spend and that is where players such as James Ramsey get more attention. So just remember no matter what happens when the St. Louis selection is announced tonight, it very easily could end up Kolten Wong 2.0 instead of Zack Cox!

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