High School players seemingly hold all the leverage when it comes to the draft process. Look no further than the 16th round pick for the Cardinals, who selected Tristan Hildebrandt from Esperanza High School. The SoCal native has a strong commitment to powerhouse Cal State Fullerton and also one very big dream. The story of wanting to be a professional baseball player may not be new, but it certainly can influence how an 18 or 19 year old looks at the process. Hildebrandt highlights day three as St. Louis took more chances in rounds 16-25 with a couple of other potential tough signs also in the mix.
Derek Casey and Joe Gillette were taken back-to-back in rounds 22 and 23, but the pair could have gone much higher. RHP Casey has committed to home state program University of Virginia so the price tag already looked imposing before this report surfaced. Hats off to the Cards for taking a chance on a potential game changer and then backing it up with another. Gillette attended a pre-draft workout in Jupiter and was certainly on the radar for St. Louis as the final day progressed. He was announced as a third baseman, certainly a position of need if the decision to sign is made instead of attending Oregon State.
A run on center fielders took place for the the Birds on the Bat that closed out the first half of the draft. Blake Drake, Dom Thompson-Williams, and Collin Radack join quite possibly the most stacked position for the organization in hopes of following in the footsteps of Jon Jay and Charlie Tilson. Drake and Radack offer more experience and both hit from the right side, although Drake’s defensive chops may keep him in center. Thompson-Williams hits from the left side and was a former football player who offers versatility as well as the ability to grow into a corner spot.
In addition to Casey, two other hurlers from the right side complement the haul from the Cardinals already taken the first two days. Strikeout artist Dustin Beggs already has experience coming out of the bullpen as does Landon Beck even though both could benefit from the piggyback system this summer. Rounding out the rest of the first 25 rounds, strong college performances put a pair of Casey’s on the St. Louis map. Casey Grayson came back from injury last year, and his final college season continues for Houston this weekend. Grayson patrols first base and may very well end up sharing the right side of the infield with Florida’s Casey Turgeon, who just ended his season with postseason honors.
Short-season play begins right around the corner and many of the players here as well as the fifteen profiled tomorrow need to sign early in order to be noticed. That makes the next week more exciting as donning the STL cap has to be a dream come true for many!