Inside Busch Stadium later today, a pair of games will be contested by a pair of vastly different constructed teams. The 2019 versions of both Kansas City as well as St. Louis could very well converge when also trying to get a read on how to interpret the upcoming draft. The Royals pick 2nd and most feel they will take a high school infielder who can stay on the left side and provide a jolt among the pitchers selected last year. On the other hand, the Cardinals may end up in a very similar position for the second straight draft.
Can lightning strike twice and would it be enough to change the initial plans? A quick search provides any number of scenarios by the time the Birds on the Bat have to think about who will be available with the 19th selection. For an organization loaded with position players, it seems fitting that so few pitchers have first round grades as the calendar approaches June. And unlike other years, the Cards are not loaded with many additional picks which leaves the pressure squarely on the front office to find value without reaching. Easy enough, right?
If Nolan Gorman had not been such a perfect fit last year, the lack of top end pitching depth for St. Louis would get more attention. While currently looking at the pre-draft rankings, two trends are clearly standing out. Multiple teams have huge bonus advantages due to extra picks and likely will decide who falls in the first round. Overslotting may be a long forgotten product of the days before analytics given now the market veers more towards a 2-for-1 model first used by Houston.
Teams have figured out more value picks can be had on those players who might fall out of the first 30 but have strong bonus numbers attached as leverage. There are a few who may not even be on the St. Louis board given the monetary demands. That sets up bigger questions going forward especially since it appears Scott Boras has again changed baseball if the reports are true about Carter Stewart bypassing the draft to sign in Japan.
What all of this really means for us under the Arch actually breaks down to a fairly simple debate. Do the Cards go for Best Player Available on the board or should the perfect marriage of talent plus monetary need drive the selection of another possible star. It is more than possible Randy Flores and company have a top list of favorites just waiting to see how the teams in the 10-15 range.
Will one of those favorites slide enough that the pick again makes perfect sense? Guess that all depends on how you want to use the funds for the rest of the first 10 rounds but can’t wait to find out! The storm clouds should clear for baseball today much like they will in the lead-up to June 3rd. Until then here’s hoping for some great baseball as maybe the Blues can share a song or a plane or anything to turn the season around.