Can Cards Ace the Pick?

It seems each time the calendar flips, the first thing checked is how different what used to be normal has been replaced. Take the wonderful baseball schedule and everything now packed into the next three weeks. The All-Star break, trade deadline and of course, the MLB Draft are not only fast approaching but caught up in a hurry. June was always the month of the Draft as well as the start of moving season where each of the St. Louis affiliates hit the break or started for the summer.

Long gone are the days of short season teams or even playing on Mondays in the minors for the Cardinals. Add in the Draft relocating to join the All-Star festivities, and the game we love has taken over center stage in an attempt to keep up with the masses. Just look at the job the NHL did holding their draft in Vegas and suddenly, Major League Baseball needed a boost. The baseball Draft has always paled in comparison to what the NFL and NBA historically do, and a big reason for that was not having nearly enough of the top players there.

While the wonderful scene of getting to see college players drafted from Omaha is gone, this move makes sense overall. It gives St. Louis and the rest of the league plenty of time to bring in everyone they want to see in person and as an added boost, a combine event will limit a number of issues especially on the pitching side. This year couldn’t be more important for the Birds on the Bat, given how strange it is to see a single digit next to the both Missouri teams.

Kansas City is no stranger to selecting inside the Top 10 as they have each year since taking star Bobby Witt Jr. in 2019. The Royals also impacted how St. Louis drafted the last time they picked in the teens, mirroring 2024, when they took Brady Singer 18th right before the Cards nabbed Nolan Gorman. Will the fortunes be reversed in Texas when KC picks 6th?

College players have dominated pre-Draft rankings all year, but two dominant arms in particular should peak the interest of both clubs currently in the playoff hunt. Lefty Hagen Smith from Arkansas and righty Chase Burns out of Wake Forest are far and away the best two pitchers who should hear their names called very soon Sunday night. The question of course becomes what will Randy Flores and company do with the 7th pick should both be gone and does that make it a worst case scenario?

Thankfully no, because there are other options and if two hurlers are chosen in the top 6, that means St. Louis will be in the perfect spot. This season the field is very top heavy with arguably five to six college bats all ready to be fast-tracked. They are also perfectly split into three distinct position groups, with a pair of middle infielders, a couple suited for the outfield and the bat-over-field 1B options. No matter how the first six spots are broken down, the Cards can pivot and make the first Top 10 selection since 1998 count.

And we all remember how that one worked out, right? J.D. Drew made his debut in his draft year but a certain lanky RHP from Georgia was acquired and the rest as they say…

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