Happy to report Father’s Day was very relaxing, even if the Cardinals were on TV when we got to the restaurant. As most of you already know, focus going to be on new players to the organization at least until the trade deadline passes. Randy Flores has restocked via the draft and thankfully there are about to be three other teams to follow outside of St. Louis.
State College kicks off the rookie league schedule tonight as defending champs, something Johnson City and the GCL Cards know quite a bit about. That success becomes vital moving up the ranks, but there will be plenty more time in the upcoming months for a hopeful postseason outlook. In order to finish off our Conclave draft coverage, one last area needs some more attention.
Now that the Spikes have an initial roster, the shuffling will not stop until everyone has signed. Johnson City will get the younger players from the draft as well as the GCL, but State College has a couple of exciting players right out of the gate. Keep your eyes on Evan Mendoza, who might just be my favorite pick of the entire draft. There are multiple reasons for this, with the main one being his past success in the Cape Cod Baseball League.
Mendoza fits the mold perfectly as an athlete first, someone who could move to the mound if things don’t work out in the field (mainly with the bat). One thing that did catch my attention is that the Cape had his position as IF/C which brings to mind Carson Kelly from a few years ago. Of course it is entirely too early to know what the Cardinals have planned, but it is a great pick in the 11th round who will not turn 21 until later this month.
One curious name missing from the recent signings as well as the Spikes’ roster was Shane McCarthy. He also excelled on the Cape before returning to Seton Hall and was taken in the 18th round. There could be multiple reasons for this so will withhold judgment until we actually see how things turn out. In the absence of that RHP, there is one who was taken last year that has started to make Flores look very smart already.
The draft-and-follow model hasn’t existed for more than a few years now, but St. Louis has found another way to use the current draft rules to their advantage. When Sam Tewes was drafted out of Wichita State, it was already known that surgery would push back the hurler to the 2017 season. Tewes had a great start to his pro career out of the Palm Beach bullpen and then was sent to State College with a purpose. He will be the Opening Day starter for the Spikes, who will be a fun crew to follow in the NYPL all summer.
In case you were wondering, the Birds on the Bat may have to make a roster move sooner than at least the player would like. Scott Hurst and his CSU Fullerton squad just went behind again in an elimination game in Omaha. There were rumblings of a deal already in place, so if the Titans are not able to complete a comeback expect an announcement possibly even before the Cardinals return home.
Get your MILB app updated and ready for the excitement that is about to be seven teams all fighting to still be playing into September! To me there is no greater part of the schedule, and I’m glad you are along for the ride.