photo: Mateo Gil (Future Stars Series)
By Scott Schook and Brian Walton
The second day of the 2018 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, with the St. Louis Cardinals selections being made by scouting director Randy Flores, consists of eight selections in rounds 3-10 on Tuesday, June 5.
Their initial selection is Texas high school shortstop Mateo Gil, son of former MLB shortstop Benji Gil.
Overall, through Day 2, encompassing these eight picks and the three made on Monday, the Cardinals have been allocated $7,968,400 in bonus pool money.
Come back to this article at The Cardinal Nation often on Tuesday as information about all St. Louis’ draft picks will be posted shortly after they are made. Same with rounds 11-40 coming on Wednesday.
As Tuesday progresses from afternoon into evening, this article will be updated as selections are made and information added, so please check back often. All player capsules are written by The Cardinal Nation’s draft analyst Scott Schook.
St. Louis’ selections – 2018 Draft Day 2
Third round, 95th overall
SS Mateo Gil
Timber Creek High School, Keller, TX
6’1”, 180 pounds
Commitment: Texas Christian University
The Cardinals continued to load up on the position player side as the Cardinals took another prep infielder with their third-round selection. Gil, a two-way player, flashed some potential on the mound with a fastball that touches 92 mph, but his future looks more certain on the offensive side of the baseball.
Defensively at shortstop, Gil is a smooth and confident defender. He has just average to a tick-above-average speed, but he gets good reads on balls, possesses good rhythm, soft hands, smooth footwork, and has a quick glove-to-hand exchange. As evidenced by his pitching velocity, he has a strong and accurate arm that makes all the plays he needs to make.
Offensively, Gil is just as confident and quiet as he is with the glove. He has a balanced approach at the plate with an easy trigger. He generates gap-to-gap power and could become more as he develops, but he can easily get pull-happy with his swing. All in all, Gil reminds me quite a bit of former Cardinal Stephen Piscotty, except I can see Gil sticking on the infield. As his body matures, a move to third base seems inevitable.
Gil won the District 3-AAAAAA All-District Co-MVP this spring. A Texas kid committed to TCU could be a difficult sign, but the potential is certainly there for him to develop into a solid hitting, plus-defender on the infield.
The pool amount for this pick is $587,600.
Fourth round, 123rd overall
LHP Steven Gingery
Texas Tech University, Junior
6’2” 210 pounds
The Cardinals turned back to the college pitching pool by taking a flyer on a player who is recovering from surgery but could be an absolute steal.
MLB.com’s Jim Callis believes Gingery could have been one of the best college pitchers this year had he not fallen to injury after just two innings this season. The left-hander racked up accolades in 2017: Big 12 Pitcher of the Year, College Baseball Foundation’s National Pitcher of the Year, and unanimous First Team All-American. But, after his first game of the season, Gingery was forced to undergo Tommy John surgery in February due a torn ulnar collateral ligament.
Gingery was nothing outside of excellent when he was healthy at Texas Tech. He was the #2 starter as a freshman for the Red Raiders on their College World Series team after going 4-2 with a 3.18 ERA and 1.35 WHIP. He had an underwhelming 2.03 K/BB ratio, but those numbers turned around in his sophomore year. In 2017, Gingery went 10-1 with a 1.58 ERA and 0.97 over 91 innings. He struck out 107 and walked 29 for a 3.69 K/BB ratio.
His stuff reminds me a lot of Marco Gonzales when he was drafted in the first round by the Cardinals, and Gingery has also drawn comparisons to Jason Vargas. Gingery’s fastball sits 88-92 mph and he’s touched 94 mph. The fastball has good sink, and Gingery is able to spot it where he likes. His changeup is where he will make his money; it is a plus-plus pitch and would have been the best in the entire 2018 Draft class had he gotten more than two innings.
Gingery is exactly what you might expect in a #4 starter; he throws strikes, eats innings, and competes hard. He is likely not going to be much more than that, especially if he struggles in his return from the surgery, but he could also become an intriguing bullpen piece.
The pool amount for this pick is $446,900.
Fifth round, 153rd overall
2B Nick Dunn
University of Maryland, Junior
6’2”, 210 pounds
With their fifth-round selection, the Cardinals added a somewhat under-the-radar college bat who could provide strong dividends as he matures. Most importantly, Dunn has already proven he can excel with a wood bat in his hands.
Dunn is a three-year starter for Maryland, and his junior season has been a breakout for him. After an underwhelming sophomore year in which he slashed .261/.345/.384 with five home runs and 32 RBI, Dunn’s power spiked as he hit .330/.419/.561 with 10 homers this season. Not only did his power grow by leaps and bounds, Dunn maintained his great plate discipline with a 12.6% walk rate, and he struck out in just 7.5% of his plate appearances.
Dunn is a two-time All Star in the Cape Cod League. Over 81 games in the summer showcase, the second baseman has hit .321/.394/.415 with a near 1:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. The power hasn’t shown up as much as you would like with the wood bat, though. Although he has 15 doubles in those 81 games, he only popped two home runs over those two years.
Another strike against him is his defense. Dunn has a below-average arm and speed, so he is confined to second base. However, if he can continue to hit, he could grow into a poor man’s Cesar Hernandez from the Phillies. Or, he could turn into Skip Schumaker if Schumaker had had better range at second. If Dunn’s wood bat success carries over to the professional ranks, he has the offensive ability to be a second-tier starter and maybe even a starter for a year or two.
The pool amount for this pick is $333,700.
Sixth round, 183rd overall
RHP Edgar Gonzalez
Fresno State University, Junior
6’1”, 200 pounds
To fill out more minor league pitching staffs, the Cardinals looked to the Mountain West Conference for another right-handed starting pitcher.
Gonzalez led the charge for the Fresno State Bulldogs this year after taking home Second-Team All-Mountain West honors as a sophomore. Gonzalez struggled some in the rotation in his sophomore season, getting only seven starts and 14 relief appearances. But, as a full-time starter in 2018, Gonzalez went 8-2 with a 2.84 ERA and 1.14 WHIP. Gonzalez showed much improved command by striking out 110 and walked 31 in his 95 innings. His strong season earned him First Team honors this year.
Gonzalez’ wind up probably lends him more to a future relief role, and it is extremely similar to Tim Lincecum and Matt Bowman. Impressively, he repeats his delivery rather consistently, which helps him command his fastball. He throws a solid fastball with a little armside run and good sink in the low-90s, and that could play up as a reliever. He also has a fantastic curveball with good break to it. That fastball-curveball combination could make him an important middle reliever in the big leagues.
The pool amount for this pick is $255,900.
Seventh round, 213th overall
3B Brendan Donovan
University of South Alabama, Junior
6’1”, 195 pounds
Donovan reminds me a lot of shortstop Paul DeJong as a mid-round guy who I can see surprising a lot of people by basically coming out of nowhere to contribute to a big league club. Donovan has done nothing but hit since high school. This past season for the Jaguars, Donovan hit .302/.456/.480 with 5 home runs, 5 steals, and 55 RBIs in 57 games. He struggled with power as a freshman for South Alabama, but in his collegiate career he put up a .311/.435/.480 line with 116 walks and 88 strikeouts in 170 games.
He did struggle in the Cape Cod League last year, hitting .138/.294/.241 in 28 games. However, note the consistent ability to get on base. Donovan has a great recognition of the strike zone, and he doesn’t unnecessarily expand his zone. He has plus raw power he’s still tapping into, and it could become an asset down the road.
Donovan is capable at the hot corner, but he’s a fringy runner with just an average arm. He has played a little shortstop for South Alabama and can probably play there in a pinch professionally similar to Jedd Gyorko. He can also play in the outfield. A first-round pick this year and teammate of Donovan’s, Travis Swaggerty, notes how Donovan is hard-nosed and uses the whole field when he hits. In fact, looking at his entire field of work, Donovan most reminds me of Matt Carpenter; he gets on base, walks more than he strikes out, puts up good enough power that has the potential to grow, and plays a solid third base.
The pool amount for this pick is $200,300.
Eighth round, 243rd overall
OF Lars Nootbaar
University of Southern California, Junior
6’3”, 210 pounds
The Cardinals’ focus on strength in this draft continued with a big boy from Southern California. Nootbaar, the younger brother of Orioles’ prospect Nigel, played mostly left field for the Trojans this year. Before this season, Nootbaar was projected to be a top-5 round pick, but he underperformed all around and fell because of it. After a great sophomore season in which he hit .304/.416/.473 with five homers and 30 RBI, Nootbar’s slash line dropped to .249/.357/.373 – although he did still pop six home runs and plate 24. It is distinctly possible Nootbaar hit into some bad luck, considering his BABIP dropped from .338 to .275 this season.
Nootbaar has two skills which appear to an analytics-driven organization like the Cardinals: plate discipline and power potential. In 138 college games, Nootbaar walked 82 times and struck out just 91 times. Also, despite the deflated slash line, Nootbaar actually improved his power rate with better AB/HR rates and extra-base hit percentages. If he can get a little more batted ball luck, he could be a solid on-base guy with some pop. He doesn’t tap into his power enough in games, though. Adjustments to his stance and swing could fix that problem. When he is right, he can hit towering home runs.
He shows below-average speed but moves well for a player his size. He should be able to start his professional career in left field, but don’t be surprised by a move to first base in the future. If a retool to his swing helps him tap into his power, Nootbaar could become a poor man’s Eric Hosmer at his peak. Ultimately, he reminds me of a left-handed Luke Voit who should get some looks in the big leagues if he continues to develop.
The pool amount for this pick is $163,100.
Ninth round, 273rd overall
C Matt Duce
Dallas Baptist University, Senior
5’11” 190 pounds
Before the more open Rounds 11-40, the Cardinals picked up their first senior selection of the draft in the catcher from the Patriots. Duce was also drafted by the Mets last year in the 14th round, but he opted to return to Dallas Baptist University for his senior year.
His offensive numbers severely fell off in his final college season. After an impressive .333/.424/.554 junior year, Duce plummeted to a .231/.372/.435 line. However, similar to Nootbaar, the issues may have been due to bad luck. Duce’s BABIP dropped from .348 from his sophomore year and .349 from his junior year down to .229 this season. Also, despite the anemic slash line, Duce still matched his home run total from his junior year with nine and nearly matched his junior RBI total (55) with 49 this year. Additionally, Duce stole nine bases this season, and he struck out just 36 times against 47 walks. Duce also has a solid Cape Cod League season under his belt, hitting .236/.389/.417 in 25 games in the summer of 2016.
Duce is a solid receiver behind the plate with a 60-grade arm which has hit 90 mph. Offensively, he has a level, quiet swing, but he generates plus bat speed, which is where he gets his power. He’ll never be a big slugger, but he could turn into a decent enough hitting catcher to at least back up a big league catcher.
Catchers, especially those who can effectively handle the position, are always a need. A potentially solid hitter who will sign for cheap and enable the Cards to bank some savings is definitely a win.
The pool amount for this pick is $146,800.
10th round, 303rd overall
1B Kevin Woodall Jr.
Coastal Carolina University, Senior
6’6”, 240 pounds
The Cardinals just can’t get enough big, right-handed first basemen in this Draft. After going after TCU’s Baker with their final pick of Day 1, the Cardinals picked up another power hitter with their final pick of Day 2 in Woodall.
The first baseman put up a huge season for Coastal Carolina, hitting .300/.417/.592 with 19 home runs and 62 RBI, and that is no fluke. In his final two seasons combined, Woodall popped 37 homers and drove in 122 over 106 games. For his efforts last year, Woodall received first team All-Sun Belt honors and second team All-American honors.
Not surprisingly, Woodall has plus-plus raw power, but he certainly has shown struggles with contact. He struck out 21.8% of the time this year, and a while his 14.1% walk rate looks good, a lot of that is going to simply be due to getting pitched around as a huge bat in the Sun Belt Conference.
Woodall will definitely be resigned to a first base/designated hitter position, but if he can improve his contact in the professional ranks, he can be a solid piece who might get a couple of coffee in the big leagues.
The pool amount for this pick is $138,600.
As noted above, TCN draft analyst Scott Schook is writing the player capsules and Brian Walton is filling in the rest.
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