photo: Connor Lunn (University of Southern California)
By Blake Newberry and Brian Walton
On Wednesday, June 5, the St. Louis Cardinals are making their final 30 selections in the third day of the 2019 First-Year Player Draft, covering rounds 11-40.
Though uninformed observers pay little attention to Day 3 selections, the reality is that many good major leaguers are sourced from these picks. In fact, the Cardinals have been especially successful over the years finding talent in round 11 or later, including former all-star Matt Carpenter, St. Louis’ 13th rounder in 2009.
The Cardinals are required to use a portion of their $6,903,500 pool allocation from rounds 1-10 to cover any Day 3 selections who receive more than $125,000 in signing bonus. This approach was not used in 2018, but had in the five years prior.
Click on each player’s photo to be taken to their player profile page here at The Cardinal Nation, with additional biographical information.
To reference the Cardinals’ new draft class on an ongoing basis, each player will have a profile located on a holding team called “2019 DRAFT UNSIGNED PLAYERS”. This can be accessed at the bottom of the drop-down menu in the red column in the left menu called “ROSTERS/PLAYERS/MOVES” or click here.
St. Louis Cardinals Pick Eight on 2019 Draft Day 2
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As Wednesday progresses from afternoon into evening, this article will be updated as picks are made and information added, so please check back often.
St. Louis’ 2019 Day 3 selections
11th round, 335th overall
RHP Connor Lunn
6’3”, 215 pounds
The Cardinals once again dipped into the college pitching pool to begin the third day of the draft.
Lunn began the spring as the closer for the Trojans, but he eventually moved into the starting rotation and became the ace of the staff. He won five of his first six starts and went 7-4 on the year with a 3.69 ERA. He also struck out 79 hitters and walked 23 in his 83 innings of work.
His fastball sits at 89-92 mph as a starter and ticks up to 91-94 as a reliever. The pitch has good natural cut and it plays well at the top of the zone. It stays off of barrels pretty well due to its late cut and played as a plus pitch for Lunn.
Lunn’s breaking ball is tunneled very well which allows it to play better than the quality of the pitch might suggest. Most scouts give his breaking ball an average grade. His control was inconsistent at times last year, which means that he will probably end up in the bullpen.
However, if he can add a little more velocity to his fastball, he could use his two-pitch mix and find success in the professional ranks.
12th round, 365th overall
OF Patrick Romeri
6’3”, 207 pounds
The Cardinals take their second high schooler in the draft, after taking Tre Fletcher in the second round.
Romeri has shown some pop in his bat with an exit velocity of 95 mph off a tee. He is also a good athlete with decent running speed as he recorded a 6.81 second 60-yard dash. He has been clocked throwing as hard as 92 mph from the outfield with a consistent velocity of 88 mph. This kind of arm strength should give him the ability to stick in right field in the future.
Romeri is still very young as he will turn 18 years old next month. Clearly, this was an upside pick by the Cardinals and they will hope to use his natural size to help him develop his power potential and plus arm.
The Florida native also pitched throughout high school. Even though he will not pitch as a professional it demonstrates that he has a strong enough arm to play in the outfield.
In his senior season of high school, Romeri batted .432 with a .467 on-base percentage. He still needs to grow into more power as he only hit 2 home runs, 3 triples, and 6 doubles on the season. Like many high schoolers, he also needs to improve his plate discipline and batter’s eye to be able to improve his on base skills.
13th round, 395th overall
OF Tommy Jew
UC Santa Barbara, Junior
6’1”, 180 pounds
The Cardinals took an outfielder for the second straight pick, with this one coming from the college ranks.
Jew had a lot of success in summer leagues throughout his collegiate career. He won MVP of the New England Collegiate Baseball League in 2017 and played in the Cape Cod League in 2018.
In the spring he led the Gauchos in home runs with 11, showing a nice uptick in power from the nine combined home runs he hit in his previous two years. He projects to stick in center field as a professional due to his plus speed. He swiped 20 bases in 23 attempts showing a penchant for stealing and using his speed efficiently.
Jew also shows off average arm strength in the outfield, as well as good instincts, leaving hope that he will become a plus defender in center field.
At the beginning of his college career he was more a slap hitter who racked up singles but could not hit for extra bases. However, in his junior year he began to hit the ball with authority. Unfortunately, as his power increased, so did his strikeout rate.
He needs to figure out how to hit for some power without striking out at a high rate to succeed as a hitter. However, if his bat can come around, he shows enough defensive promise to provide value at this pick.
14th round, 425th overall
RHP Tyler Statler
Hononegah High School in Roscoe, Illinois
6’6”, 230 pounds
Commitment: Southeast Missouri State
The Cardinals dipped into the prep ranks to take a young, projectable high school arm with their 14th round pick.
Statler is big, physical pitcher with some projectability remaining in his frame. He throws from a high ¾ arm slot that creates a nice angle to the plate. He has very good arm strength as his fastball sits around 93-95 mph. However, the pitch comes out very straight and needs to add some movement in order to stay off the barrels of bats.
His go-to secondary offering is a slider. He needs to develop this pitch more as he has a tendency to slow his body and arm down which can cause the pitch to lose most of its movement and deception. He has also shown nice feel for a changeup and that could become a plus pitch for him.
Statler can also struggle with command and that causes him to be more comfortable pitching to his arm side, and not as much to his glove side. This is because he gets very strong hip rotation, but sometimes it is too strong, and he cannot control it. This can cause him to have stretches where he is very wild.
This will be a development project for the Cardinals. He needs to clean up his delivery to throw strikes more consistently, and also needs to develop his off-speed pitches more. However, he does have the potential for three plus. With his strong frame this gives him the potential to be a starting pitcher long term.
15th round, 455th overall
OF David Vinsky
Northwood University, Junior
6’0”, 198 pounds
The Cardinals took another outfielder to replenish their minor league stock by selecting David Vinsky, Northwood University’s first-ever MLB draftee.
Vinsky starred at Northwood from the moment he set foot on campus. Through his first two and a half years, he set school records for hits, batting average, doubles, RBI, and runs. He was a division two all-American and has shown a great hitting ability, although it was against much lesser competition.
Vinsky powered up as a junior, hitting 12 home runs. He had previously hit 12 home runs in his freshman and sophomore years combined. In his collegiate career, the outfielder struck out just 74 times in 675 at bats while taking 80 walks. He needs to work on his plate discipline in order to draw more walks, but he has shown enough hitting ability to avoid large quantities of strikeouts.
This spring was the first time that Vinsky batted below .400, as he hit “only” .367. He also posted a career OBP of .476 and a career slugging of .637.
Vinsky seems to be the kind of productive college player that the Cardinals take in the later rounds of the draft and turn into a productive big leaguer. He just needs to show that he can make the jump from division II baseball to the professional ranks, but he put up all of the numbers that an organization could want to see.
16th round, 485th overall
RHP Thomas Hart
Wakeland High School in Frisco, Texas
6’2”, 180 pounds
Commitment: Howard Junior College
Another prep pitcher fell to the Cardinals with their 16th pick.
Hart has some projection left on his 6’2” frame, as he could stand to add some strength in order to improve his velocity and durability. He has shown feel for two pitches. The first being his fastball which sits at 89-91 and can reach as high as 92 mph. The second is a 70-76 mph curveball.
In his high school career Hart posted an 8-2 record in 30 appearances (21 starts). He struck out 112 batters in 90 innings.
Hart has an athletic frame and works from a ¾ arm slot. His fastball has shown some late life with sink. His main secondary offering also showed some good spin with some sharp, late bite. However, it is shaped more like a slurve than a curveball and he needs to clean up that pitch and show better feel for it. He has shown an ability to throw his fastball anywhere in the zone and uses it well to set up his curve.
He is a very projectable high school arm that the Cardinals minor league coaching staffs will have to work with significantly. He is still very raw and a bit of an unknown. If he adds weight, he could have the potential for two good pitches. However, he will probably need to learn a third pitch just to keep hitters guessing.
17th round, 515th overall
RHP Michael YaSenka
Eastern Illinois University, Junior
6’2”, 205 pounds
The Cardinals have continued to heavily target pitching as they took another college arm in the 17th round.
Yasenka made 15 starts for the EIU Panthers this spring, recording a record of 4 wins and 7 losses. He collected 100 strikeouts in 90 2/3 innings as he flashed some swing and miss ability. He needs to refine his command of the strike zone, however, as he finished the season with a 5.56 ERA and 33 walks allowed.
The right-hander began his career at Chesapeake Junior College where he posted below average ERA numbers but struck out hitter to the tune of 14 K/9.
Yasenka also spent two summers with the Rockville Express of the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League. He has a rough season in 2017, posting a 6.62 ERA. However, he fared much better in 2018, posting an ERA of 3.41. He struck out 41 hitters and walked 19 in his 31 2/3 innings of work in 2018.
Clearly, a Cardinals scout saw something that he believes the Cards can work with and is banking on the Cardinals player development system to straighten him out. Hopefully, Yasenka can refine his command and continue to show good swing and miss stuff. If he can do this, he could have the makings of a solid reliever.
18th round, 545th overall
C Aaron Antonini
Middle Tennessee State University, Junior
6’0”, 210 pounds
The Cardinals selected their second catcher of the draft in the 18th round.
Antonini showed great durability by starting every game of the season for Middle Tennessee, and all but one behind the plate. He started out the year strong and led the team in almost every major offensive category through the first 30 games of the spring. However, as the season progressed, he began to slump, and his numbers cooled off. He finished the season batting .262 with 8 home runs. This doubled the amount of home runs that he hit in his first two seasons. The native of Venezuela also posted a .443 slugging percentage and tallied 29 walks against 28 strikeouts.
He did fare much better defensively, however. He led the C-USA in baserunners caught stealing with 24. He also received high marks for his leadership from behind the plate.
Antonini seems to be a Cardinals type of catcher – solid defensively, with great leadership and a developing bat. If Antonini could improve his contact abilities and cut down on the strikeouts he could turn into a pretty good glove-first catcher.
19th round, 575th overall
LHP Zarion Sharp
UNC Wilmington, Junior
6’5”, 205 pounds
Once again, the Cardinals followed the college pitching route in hopes of bolstering their minor league depth.
Sharpe showed the ability to pitch out of the bullpen and out of the rotation in his collegiate career. This spring he made 16 appearances and 13 of those were starts. He threw 57.2 innings and compiled a 4.21 ERA, slightly worse than his 3.74 ERA as a sophomore. However, his strikeout rate ticked up as he fanned 61 batters this season, almost matching his total from the previous two years combined when he threw 78 2/3 innings (66 Ks).
This is likely what drew the Cardinals to Sharpe. He still has some room to develop as he could add some more weight to his tall frame. If he is able to do this, he will likely improve his stuff enough to have legitimate swing and miss potential.
He will like to begin his career as a starter but will likely move to the bullpen due to shaky control (3.6 BB/9 as a junior).
Sharpe came on strong late in the season, as he had a stretch where he allowed just one run and struck out 25 hitters over 17 2/3 innings. This stretch showed that he has an unusually high amount of promise for a late round college selection.
20th round, 605th overall
RHP Adrian Mardueno
San Diego State, Junior
5’10”, 170 pounds
Unsurprisingly, the Cardinals stuck with their pitching heavy approach to finish out the first half of the draft.
Similar to the Cardinals fifth round pick Connor Thomas, Mardueno is a pitcher with a slight frame, but impressive production. Mardueno posted a fantastic 1.93 ERA out of the bullpen for the Aztecs. Most of his appearances lasted more than one inning as he threw 65 1/3 innings. He struck out an impressive 75 batters and walked 28. He also held opposing hitters to a .196 batting average.
The California native also impressed in the Alaska Baseball League in the summer. He pitched to a perfect 0.00 ERA over 15 appearances and 19 2/3 innings. He fanned 26 and issues just 5 free passes.
Despite his small stature, Mardueno has shown impressive strikeout numbers, and has been very good at limiting opposing hitters. This is a very good pick this late in the draft.
21st round, 635th overall
LHP Jack Owen
Auburn University, Sophomore
6’2”, 174 pounds
The Cardinals stuck with pitching, selecting a southpaw who has been successful in the Southeastern Conference.
After a rocky freshman season that saw Owen post a 5.97 ERA, the left-hander figured things out as a sophomore. He started eight games and came out of the bullpen in four others pitching himself to a 2.45 ERA in 58 2/3 innings. He also struck out 55 and demonstrated excellent control by walking just 10 batters.
A pitcher with this kind of success in such a major conference is usually not available this late in the draft. The Cardinals did a good job snapping him up in the 21st round. This could turn into an excellent value pick if Owen’ college success translates over to the professional game.
The Cardinals will likely give Owen the chance to become a starter as he has showed excellent control and had success as a starter in college. The Cardinals also need more left-handed starting pitching depth, so this should work in Owen’s favor.
Owen did have to miss some games this season with shoulder pain, so he does come with some injury concern. However, his talent combined with being this late in the draft made this selection too good of an opportunity to pass up.
22nd round, 665th overall
C Zade Richardson
Wabash Valley College, Freshman
6’1”, 205 pounds
The Cardinals selected their third catcher of the draft, as it is clearly a position that they are focusing on.
Richardson has a similar profile to the other previously selected catchers. His two strongest tools appear to be his power at the plate and his arm strength. He also showed a strong hit tool and decent plate discipline in his one year of junior college ball by hitting .385/.498/.586. He clubbed six home runs on the season, but also connected on 16 doubles. He struck out 28 times in 169 at bats and walked 32 times.
On the defensive side of the game, he threw out 22 of 32 attempted base stealers for a solid 69% caught stealing rate.
Richardson is very much a project for the Cardinals as he has only played one year of college ball at a junior college and is still just 19 years old. As such it will be difficult to grade this pick until we see a couple years of Richardson’s development.
23rd round, 695th overall
3B Brylie Ware
University of Oklahoma, Senior
6’0”, 220 pounds
The Cardinals waited until the 23rd round to draft their first infielder at a position other than catcher and ended up with a productive Big 12 college player.
The third baseman began his career at Neosho County Community College where he finished as the nation’s leader in home runs (29), RBI (122), and batting average (.589). He also won the first NJCAA triple crown since 1985.
After this success in junior college, he transferred the Oklahoma before his junior year. Wear was a three-year starter for the Sooners and put up good numbers every year. He batted .298 as a sophomore, .331 as a junior, and .300 as a senior. His hit tool looks to be the most advanced part of his offensive game, as he does not hit for much power and only drew a modest number of walks.
The senior hit 6 home runs in his final year on campus, and 12 in his entire career. He also posted more strikeouts than walks in every season, including his senior year when he drew 29 walks and struck out 32 times.
Ware was named Big 12 newcomer of the year in 2017, and Big 12 first team designated hitter. He was also named to the Big 12 second team as a junior.
24th round, 725th overall
RHP Will Guay
Concord University, Senior
6’4”, 220 pounds
Guay began his career at Snead State Junior College where he compiled a 5.54 ERA in his two years at the school. He struck out 64 batters and walked 70 in his 79 2/3 career innings.
After this rough stint in the Junior College ranks, Guay transferred to Concord where he struggled as a junior but broke out in his senior year. Guay spent the spring in the starting rotation where he compiled a 3.07 ERA over the span of 70 1/3 innings. He showed good swing and miss potential by striking out 82 batters. The right hander also walked 29 batters which is a little bit high and probably signals that he will be a reliever in the future.
He was significantly improved in 2019 as he pitched to the tune of an ugly 6.52 ERA in 2018, his first year at concord.
In the summer of 2018 Guay pitched for two teams in the Valley Baseball Summer League. While there, he struck out. 32 batters in 31 innings and recorded a mosdest 4.35 ERA while walking 19.
In 2019 he received All-Mountain East Conference First Team honors and Division 2 All-Region Second Team honors.
When looking at his history, it is clear that he broke out in 2019 and apparently the Cardinals would like to see if he can continue that breakout in their organization.
25th round, 755th overall
RHP Alexander McFarlane
Habersham Central High School, Mt. Airy, Georgia
6’3”, 173 pounds
Commitment: University of Miami (FL)
This is a pick with a major signability question. Most high school players, especially ones committed to top colleges, will not sign this late, so the Cardinals might need to hand over some extra money to convince McFarlane to forego his commitment.
If McFarlane ends up signing with the Cardinals, then they are getting a raw prospect with very good potential. He has yet to turn 18 years old, and there is plenty of projectability left in his 6’3” frame.
He throws from a ¾ arm slot with a fastball that can top out at 94 mph, but usually hovers in the low 90s. The fastball has some occasional cutting action when he throws it well, but other times it has a dangerous tendency to stay straight.
His main secondary pitch is an above-average slider with late break that sits at 77-80 mph. He has also shown decent feel for a big, sweeping curveball with occasional tight spin. However, the pitch still needs plenty of development. He also throws a fringy changeup, but it is not a great pitch as he is unable to repeat his arm action very often.
He can struggle with control at times, but he has a very athletic build that should allow him to repeat his delivery more often as he develops. Once he develops his body and learns to repeat his delivery, he could have 3 or 4 plus pitches and the ability to pitch out of the rotation
It is unlikely that McFarlane will sign, but if he does, the Cardinals made a selection that could pay off in the distant future.
26th round, 785th overall
RHP Jeremy Randolph
University of Alabama, Graduate Student
5’11”, 210 pounds
Yet another college pitcher has been selected by the Cardinals.
Randolph pitched out of the Alabama bullpen in the spring and proved himself to be a valuable asset for the Crimson Tide. He finished the year with a 3.49 ERA and also struck out 50 batters in 38 2/3 innings. Some control issues flared up at times for the right hander, but he clearly has the swing and miss stuff that organizations look for this late in the draft.
Randolph spent the first four years of his college career for Wright State and graduated with a 16-5 record, 5 saves, and a 3.05 ERA. He threw 150 1/3 innings and struck out 129 batters in his time in the Horizon league.
He split his time between the bullpen and the rotation at Wright State and clearly a full time move to the bullpen at Alabama allowed his stuff to play up and led to him striking at hitters at a much higher rate.
27th round, 815th overall
RHP Eric Lex
Santa Clara University, Redshirt Senior
6’2”, 205 pounds
The Cardinals took a flyer on a college pitcher from a small school who broke out in his senior year.
In his final year on campus Lex put up a terrific 1.07 ERA, despite never posting an ERA lower than 4.48. 2019 was his second full year in the bullpen, and clearly that was a move that helped him. He threw 25 1/3 innings this spring and racked up 32 strikeouts and 8 walks.
Something must have clicked in order for Lex to show such a significant turnaround in his senior year. This is a trait that the Cardinals have targeted in high volumes so far in day three and hopefully, some of these guys pan out.
Video (High school)
28th round, 845th overall
RHP Tyler Peck
Chapman University, Senior
6’1”, 215 pounds
The Cardinals continue to add to their substantial haul of pitchers in this draft.
After two terrible seasons for Chapman, Peck broke out in his junior year to the tune of a 2.63 ERA He struck out 11.71 batters 9 innings, but also struggled with command as he walked 43. Peck got even better in his senior season and he threw over 100 innings for the first time in his college career (113 2/3). This spring he struck out a whopping 12.27 batters per 9 innings. He also took a step forward with his control by allowing six less walks than the previous year despite throwing for over 38 more innings.
Because of the strides that Peck made in his Senior season he might be given the chance to start at the next level. If he can keep improving his control this could be his long-term home. If he cannot improve his control, he could end up in the bullpen with his ceiling being a high strikeout reliever.
29th round, 875th overall
RHP Scott Politz
Yale University, Senior
6’2”, 205 pounds
Politz has been a consistently solid four-year starting pitcher for Yale University. He has compiled a 3.34 career ERA, and a 3.46 ERA as a senior. He does not put up big strikeout numbers as he has career K/9 rate of 6.43. He does show decent control with a 2.01 BB/9 rate and that should give him the chance to be tried out as a starter in the Cardinals system.
He is not spectacular in any one area of pitching, but he is just an all-around solid pitcher. The one statistic that stands out is 15 complete games in four years. This shows that he has an ability to pitch deep into games without losing effectiveness. It also takes a certain amount of grittiness and tenacity to be able to pitch an entire game. These are clearly traits that Politz has and are traits that the Cardinals value. This is more of a production pick than an upside pick, and Politz should have a high floor and be a pretty quick riser in the early levels of the minors.
Politz seems like the kind of productive, but unspectacular pitcher that the Cardinals have gotten very good at developing and moving through their system.
30th round, 905th overall
RHP Cameron Dulle
University of Missouri, Senior
6’3”, 208 pounds
The Cardinals selected a pitcher with an intriguing profile out of their own back yard.
Dulle struggled in limited action in his first two years at Missouri but seemed to put it all together this spring as he compiled an ERA of 1.43. The right hander struck out 43 batters in 37 2/3 innings and gave up just 20 hits on the season. However, he walked amount as many batters (18) as he occasionally struggled to control his pitches.
Dulle had occasional moments of absolute dominance, but then would also have moments where everything abandoned him. The Cardinals need to find some consistency with him and help him overcome his control issues in order to turn him into a solid reliever.
31st round, 935th overall
RHP Dylan Pearce
Oregon State University, Senior
5’9”, 175 pounds
Pearce spent two years in the Oregon State bullpen after transferring from Southwestern Oregon Community College. He received 56 2/3 innings of work this spring which is exactly twice what he received last year. He pitched to a 3.34 ERA while striking out 51 and holding opposing hitters to a .222 batting average. Like most of the pitchers being taken this late in the draft he struggled with control as he conceded 27 free passes.
Before arriving at Oregon state, he played two years in the junior college ranks, earning both first and second team honors. He posted a 2.19 ERA in his freshman year, and 2.66 ERA in his sophomore year. He out 83 batters in 71 innings as a sophomore, flashing swing and miss potential. However, once he transferred to Oregon State and played better competition his strikeouts numbers dropped.
While nothing really pops out about Pearce, is that he put up solid numbers overall at one of the best baseball schools in the country, and that alone is worth a chance at the next level.
32nd round, 965th overall
2B Chandler Redmond
Gardner-Webb University, Senior
6’2”, 230 pounds
The Cardinals finally took another infielder, and it is one with positional flexibility as he played both the infield and the outfield for the Bulldogs.
Redmond was a full-time starter fir his last three years of college, and also started 19 games in his freshman year. He has a lot of pop in his bat as he hit 16, 14, and 18 home runs in his last three years respectively. At the end of his senior year he had posted a gaudy .660 slugging percentage. His contact abilities, however, have been inconsistent as he batted .275 in his sophomore year, .229 in his junior year, and .309 in his senior year.
He also improved his plate discipline each year as he drew 12 walks in 2017, 28 walks in 2018, and 33 walks in 2019. He received roughly the same amount of at bats in each of these years. He also dropped his strikeout total from 57 his sophomore year, and 58 in his junior year, to a much better, but still not great 44 during his senior year. His on base percentage also jumped from .327 as a sophomore to .412 as a junior.
As a hitter there projects to be a decent amount of swing and miss to his game, but if he can counter that by reaching his power potential and continuing to draw walks, he will be a productive hitter. His hit tool remains a question, but there is potential for it to become average.
Defensively, Redmond spent most of his sophomore and junior years playing in the outfield, but he moved to the infield for his senior year. It was not a completely smooth transition as he posted a .954 fielding percentage there, but as he moves into pro ball and gets to focus on being a second baseman that should improve.
This is a good pick in the 32nd round as Redmond has enough power, and has shown enough improvement, to potentially be carried to the majors by his bat.
33rd round, 995th overall
RHP Anthony Green
Jefferson College, Senior
6’4’, 210 pounds
Commitment: University of Illinois-Springfield
Anthony Green is an intriguing late round pick as he did not become a full-time pitcher until this spring. He will be a project for the Cardinals player development staff, but the scouting department clearly liked what they saw from him in him in his limited sample size as a pitcher.
As an interesting note this is also the same junior college that Mark Buehrle was drafted from in the 38th round of the 1998 draft.
34th round, 1025th overall
SS Ben Baird
University of Washington, Junior
6’3”, 190 pounds
Previously drafted: 20th round of the 2016 draft (Indians)
Ben Baird has an interesting profile for a college infielder as a player who was drafted in the 20th round out of high school but decided to go to college instead and then became a 34th round pick. The Cardinals may have to give Baird a little extra money to convince him not to return to school for his senior season in an attempt to raise his draft stock.
However, if he does sign, he will be an interesting player to watch. He hit an abysmal .091 in 44 at bats in his freshman year. After becoming a full-time starter in 2018 he still could not hit (.204 BA). However, he raised his batting average to a more respectable .250 this spring. He has shown no pop in his bat, slugging just .310 as a junior. He also struck out 56 times in 171 at bats this spring.
This gives a picture of a struggling college hitter. However, the Cardinals drafted him in hope of finding the former high school star that he was in 2016.
There is very little risk associated with a 34th round pick, but if Ben Baird can remember how to hit then he could return to being the high ceiling player that scouts saw when he was coming out of high school.
35th round, 1055th overall
RHP Logan Hofmann
Colby Community College, Sophomore
5’10”, 185 pounds
Commitment: Northwestern State University
In his two years of junior college baseball, one thing has become clear about Logan Hofmann – he knows how to strike people out. He boasted a K/9 of 10.72 as a freshman despite putting up a 4.94 ERA. However, he improved in his sophomore year by raising his strikeout numbers (12.85 K/9) and giving up less hits (92 as a freshman, 70 as a sophomore).
Hofmann worked as a starter and a reliever on both of his years with Colby but became the ace of the staff in his sophomore year. He walked 2.13 batters per 9 innings, showing spotty control occasionally but solid control overall. The Cardinals could start him in the rotation and see how he does; however, he will likely be a little bit of a project and it is far more likely that he will end up in the bullpen.
36th round, 1085th overall
C Kyle Skeels
Coastal Carolina University, Redshirt Junior
6’2”, 250 pounds
The Cardinals selected their fourth catcher of the draft; however, this time they will need to convince Skeels to forego his senior year of college in order to secure his signature.
Skeels is a big-bodied catcher who has improved as a hitter every year as a Chanticleer. He batted .319 with 10 home runs this spring after previously hitting 10 homer runs in his entire college career. This power surge was primarily due to the fact that he took over full time catching duties this year. He has maintained a career slugging percentage of .547, demonstrating that he has legitimate over the fence power and a potential plus power tool.
His hit tool has also come on strong after batting over .300 in back-to-back years. He also drew 32 walks and was beaned 18 times in 191 at bats. This gave him a solid .446 OBP. However, there is some swing and miss to his game as he struck out 44 times.
Skeels does not have a strong arm, as he threw out only 17 of 41 attempted base stealers and allowed seven passed balls on the year.
His bat is what will need to carry him, but he will need to cut down on the strikeouts in order to fully unlock his power potential. If the Cardinals determine that his arm is too weak, or his defense is not good enough, then he could probably handle a move to first base and rely on his bat to give him value.
37th round, 1115th overall
CF Chris Newell
Malvern Prep High School, Malvern, Pennsylvania
6’3”, 187 pounds
Commitment: University of Virginia
There is almost no way that Newell will sign will the Cardinals as he is committed to one of the top baseball schools in the country and will likely raise his value significantly in college. However, I will still provide his scouting report.
Newell is an athletic outfielder with strong defensive potential and an emerging bat. He has above-average raw power with quick bat speed and a flyball-oriented swing. He is also an above-average runner which should allow him to stick in centerfield for now.
His arm strength is inconsistent since Newell has been recovering from Tommy John surgery. However, when he is healthy it is average to above-average. Scouts got a good picture of this when they saw him throw in the low 90s off the mound before surgery, even though he is unlikely to continue his pitching career.
The major question with Newell revolves around his hit tool. He is more of a power over hit kind of player right now and needs to make more consistent contact as he has plenty of swing and miss in his game. Most scouts give his hit tool a 45.
Another concern is that he might need to move to a corner outfield spot if he keeps developing as his 6’3” frame can support a lot more weight.
Newell likely would have been drafted earlier but he was expected to be a tough sign.
38th round, 1145th overall
C Kurtis Byrne
Christian Brothers College High School, St. Louis, Missouri
6’1”, 220 pounds
Similar to the previous pick, Byrne is likely not going to sign with the Cardinals. However, I will provide a scouting report anyway.
Byrne has s strong, physical build and is already pretty physically mature for his age. He creates very good raw bat speed and has flashed big power. When his swing comes together, he is able to crush the ball. However, he has a hand driven swing and a big hitch and load when he is preparing to swing. He needs to smooth out these aspects of his swing to make it more repeatable and improve his timing.
He can be prone to swings and misses, however his bat is loud and his best tool right now.
Byrne has good arm strength and makes accurate throws from behind the plate. There have been generally positive reviews on his receiving and blocking behind the plate and he has the potential to stick at catcher long term and be a solid overall defender.
He would have also been drafted earlier if not for a strong commitment to TCU.
39th round, 1175th overall
SS T.J. McKenzie
The Benjamin School (HS), North Palm Beach, Florida
6’1, 160 pounds
This is another prep player who will almost certainly not sign with the Cardinals and would have been drafted higher if not for a strong commitment to a top baseball school.
T.J. (or Tyler) McKenzie is a fantastic athlete who should be able to stick at shortstop as he has plus speed and plus defensive ability. He has been clocked at 6.48 seconds while running the 60. The shortstop also shows great range to both sides and can throw from multiple arm angles. He is still developing arm strength, but it should end up as an asset for him.
He generates good bat speed and has an above-average hit tool with developing power. McKenzie has plenty of room for physical growth and is a very exciting prospect who will be a fun player to follow at Vanderbilt next season.
40th round, 1205th overall
SS Cash Rugely
Navarro College, Freshman
6’0”, 180 pounds
Rugely had a fantastic year as the primary shortstop for Navarro College this spring. He had a slash line of .413/.502/.641/1.144. This is great production, but it also came at a small junior college and Rugely will need to prove that he can make the massive jump from Navarro to professional baseball.
He struck out just 30 times in 184 at bats while also drawing 29 walks. These numbers show a decent level of plate discipline; however, he will need to show that he can lay off of pitches outside the zone when they have more velocity and sharper break.
Rugely showed some pop is his bat with 8 home runs, 14 doubles, and 2 triples and clearly showed a good hit tool by batting over .400. However, all of this came production came at a small junior college, so these numbers are not necessarily indicative of success at the next level. However, this was as good of a pick as any in the 40th round.
As noted above, TCN analysts Blake Newberry is writing the player capsules and Brian Walton is filling in the rest.
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