Thursday, June 6, 2013

Cardinals take a pair of lefties with first two picks in 2013 draft. Pick up shortstop in second round.

The Cardinals went against the grain a bit with their first two picks of the 2013 draft, selecting Gonzaga lefty Marco Gonzalez at #19 and high school lefty Robert Kaminsky at #28.  The last time the Cards selected a lefthander in the first round was back in 1994, 3 month before Kaminsky was born.

Gonzalez has a fastball that sits at 88-91 mph, but is more known for his changeup that ranks as the best in this year's draft class.  He is polished and is expected to move quickly (much like Michael Wacha last year).  He has earned comparisons to Jason Vargas. Baseball America ranked him #28 on their top 500 draft prospect list.

Kaminsky from St. Joseph Regional H.S. (N.J.) is one of the top high school lefties in this year's draft.  He has a plus fastball that sits in the 92-95 mph range and a hard breaking ball that also rates as a plus pitch. Baseball America ranked him #21 on the top 500 draft prospect list.

Its interesting to note that the two pitchers I liked, Ryne Stanek and Sean Manaea, were both available at #19 and #28 for the Cardinals, but they passed both times.  Stanek was picked by the Tampa Bay Rays at #29 (right after the Cards selected Kaminsky) and Manaea lasted until the first competitive balance pick (#34 overall).  Goes to show just how unpredictable the draft is.

In the second round, selecting #57 overall, the Cardinals took shortstop Oscar Mercado out of Gaither High School (Fla.).  Mercado stands out for his defense, but his bat is still a question mark.  Per, he showed some ability with the bat, standing out at the East Coast Pro Showcase over the summer.  He has some potential, but will need time to develop.

The first overall pick went to the Houston Astros, who selected Mark Appel, whom the Pirates drafted #8 last year and were unable to sign.  Picking at #2, the Cubs surprised some by selecting University of San Diego slugging third baseman Kris Bryant. 

Over the weekend, I'll highlight some of the Cardinals picks from the 3 to 40th rounds of the draft.

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