photo: Pete Hansen (University of Texas)
By Jake Tweedie and Brian Walton
The second of three days of the 2022 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, with the St. Louis Cardinals selections’ being made by AGM/Scouting Director Randy Flores, consists of eight selections in rounds 3-10 on Monday, July 18.
St. Louis’ initial Day 2 selection is University of Texas pitcher Pete Hansen, the Cardinals’ third consecutive left-handed college-trained arm.
Overall, encompassing these eight picks and the first two round selections named on Sunday, left-handed pitchers Cooper Hjerpe and Brycen Mautz, the Cardinals have been allocated $6,845,900, a signing bonus total which they will not exceed by more than 5%.
See full 2022 Draft Day 1 details here.
Cardinals Begin Draft with Selection of College Southpaw Hjerpe
Return to this article at The Cardinal Nation often on Monday afternoon and evening as information about all St. Louis’ draft picks will be posted shortly after they are made.
All Rounds 3-20 player scouting reports are written by The Cardinal Nation analyst Jake Tweedie.
Update: Draft day 2 recap
As expected given the needs in the system, the Cardinals went heavy on pitching, with seven of the first 10 selections.
Further, the early focus was on left-handers, taken in rounds 1 through 3. The slot values of those three picks represent almost 75% of the organization’s signing budget for rounds 1-10.
Along with the seven pitchers are two outfielders and a catcher, with no infielders yet selected. Continuing the theme, all three hitters swing from the left side at the plate.
St. Louis passed over high schoolers completely with eight college underclassmen and two college seniors taken. The latter are likely money-saving picks made in the eighth and 10th rounds.
Five of the 10 new draft picks call the State of California home, including all three initially-chosen lefties. Two hail from Texas and one each is from Georgia, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
St. Louis’ selections – 2022 Draft Day 2
Third round, 97th overall
Pete Hansen, LHP
University of Texas, junior
6’2, 205 pounds
The lefty out of Texas has certainly excelled in the past couple of years. He has pitched nearly 200 innings in 31 starts, including a complete game shutout with 12 strikeouts this season. This shows his reliability and ability to work through innings despite lacking real conviction with his fastball.
He does, however, show plenty of potential with his breaking balls, culminating in 120 strikeouts (in 107 2/3 innings) in 2022, 40 more punchouts than his total in 2021. This came largely in part due to a slight increase in velocity with his fastball, but mainly due to his solid curveball and slider.
Hansen’s fastball works around the upper-80s, topping out at 90mph, and plays up due to his breaking balls. He did see a slight dip in velocity in last year but is now working around the 90mph mark. He shows impressive levels of control with his fastball, regularly finding the zone with a minimal effort delivery.
He can certainly bring the velocity down with his change up, that sits around low-80s, showing various degrees of fade and sink.
The most impressive part of his pitching arsenal is his breaking balls. Potentially a plus delivery, his slider shows plenty of movement both vertically and horizontally, and sits around the low-80s. He follows this up with his equally impressive curveball, that sits around the mid-70s and is highly effective due to its depth.
Hansen isn’t the most exciting of pitchers when it comes to velocity and power, but his effectiveness and consistency makes him a useful pick-up for the Cardinals. He is a reliable pitcher with a smooth, simple delivery that requires minimal effort. He has shown the ability to sneak a bit more velocity into his fastball, and coupled with his control, could prove to be a valuable tool moving forward.
Hansen is a high floor pitcher with plenty to give, there are high chances of him being in the Majors within the next few years.
The pool amount for this pick is $629,800.
Fourth round, 127th overall
Jimmy Crooks, C
University of Oklahoma, junior
6’1, 210 pounds
The offensive oriented catcher has certainly showcased his ability to make plays as both a catcher and a designated hitter with his bat.
Although Crooks has been deemed more of a hitter than a catcher, his fielding percentage has been impressive at Oklahoma, albeit with some regression to his power. He threw out 20 of 45 attempted base stealers in 2022.
A solid defender, Crooks has improved his skills behind the plate to shape up to the ball better and receive pitches with a more open stance. This has allowed him to work on his throwing mechanics and utilize his strength in his arm. He looks far more comfortable behind the plate, albeit with the occasional mistake.
As a hitter, Crooks has a solid, compact left handed stroke. He can swing his bat with conviction and when he barrels the ball he makes impressive contact. However, he can be fairly susceptible to breaking balls, where his quick bat speed and elevated look can see him miss pitches lower in the zone. When the ball is elevated and coming at him with velocity, his swing-time seems far more consistent and make solid contact with the ball.
Although his home run output decreased slightly in 2022, it seemed to coincide with him being more comfortable as a catcher. This past spring, Crooks slashed .305/.430/.506/.936 with nine home runs, 21 doubles, 51 RBI and even stole 10 bases in 69 games.
Crooks has a solid build, and utilizes this well with his bat power and arm strength. He has plenty of room to grow and there could easily be an increase in his power output. There already seems to be improvements with his bat swing, showing to be more refined in 2022, and this will continue to improve as he works on barreling the ball later in the swing. He has natural lift with his bat, that works alongside his projectable power, he just needs to be more consistent with breaking balls and work around the zone.
The pool amount for this pick is $470,300.
Fifth round, 157th overall
Victor Scott II, outfielder
West Virginia University
5’11, 190 pounds
An intriguing pick by the Cardinals in Round 5, Scott wasn’t ranked on MLB.com’s prospect rankings for this draft. However, he has made waves with his speed and ability to hit the ball with power.
His stats alone from West Virginia has been impressive, going from a batting average of .232 in 2021 to .278 in 2022. This coincides with significantly more extra base hits and more homers to match. Scott slashed .278/.397/.454/.851 including 20 extra base hits, 47 RBI and 35 walks taken in 55 games in 2022.
His ability to get bat and ball put him on base more regularly, but his true skill set seems to be on the bases.
With 58 stolen bases in two seasons, including a school-record 38 this spring. Scott has continuously impressed with his on-base running ability. His lightning speed, matched with his loose hands, average bat speed and ability to use the whole field makes him an exciting prospect for the Cardinals.
As well as being a solid hitter, his defensive skills have certainly been showcased these past couple of years. Scott seems to make catches that are made for highlight reels. Picking off home runs with remarkable leaps, and making plays with dives around the outfield shows Scott has all the potential to be an everyday player in the Majors. He reduced his errors in 2022, and his fielding percentage increased significantly.
Scott may have been a surprise pick in Round 5 but he has recently showed vast improvements in all aspects of his game to justify it.
The pool amount for this pick is $350,400.
Sixth round, 187th overall
Max Rajcic, RHP
6’0, 210 pounds
There is plenty to like about Rajcic after his selection in Round 6.
An effective closer in 2021, he had 7 saves in 24 appearances, with an ERA of 1.65. He struck out 36 hitters in 32 2/3 innings pitched, and allowed just a solitary home run.
However, the Rajcic of 2022 was significantly different. He made the transition to the rotation and didn’t look out of place doing so. Finishing with an 8-5 record, and an ERA of 3.28, he struck out 92 hitters in 85 innings pitched as the Friday night starter. His best outing was eight innings of one-hit ball with 14 strikeouts against Washington State on May 15.
Although he may be used as a reliever in the future, Rajcic has shown the potential to be an effective starter when required. The one downside to his pitching is his lack of real plus pitch. He is a consistent pitcher with the ability to pick up strikes, using his four-pitch mix effectively, but none of his pitches would be graded above an average.
Of his pitching arsenal, his fastball seems the most impressive. He averages low-90s regularly, with the ability to run it up to 95 mph. He can pitch regularly in the upper parts of the zone for strikes, but can also lower his pitches to pick up strikes in the lower part of the zone.
Rajcic is a competitive pitcher, with plenty of bite on the mound. He uses this to his advantage to create problems for hitters with his consistent strike zone pounding and getting after hitters.
His breaking balls are led by his upper-70s curveball which complements his fastball perfectly by creating downer action and helping him work around the zone. Although his low-80s slider and change up are usable pitches, they aren’t as consistent or as refined as his other two pitches.
Rajcic shows plenty of conviction with his pitches, but the lack of real plus pitch could limit him to a reliever role within the Cardinals’ organization. Time will tell whether he will be utilized as a starter to begin with but he has the experience as a closer at UCLA to show he can adapt to what is needed.
He has a large, lean projectable body type with a long, clean arm that creates deception. This works perfectly for his breaking balls and adding more value to his low-90s fastball.
The pool amount for this pick is $270,700.
Seventh round, 217th overall
Alex Iadisernia, OF
Elon University, junior
5’11, 180 pounds
With another left handed hitter with plenty of pop, the Cardinals have seemed be going in this direction for the current draft.
Iadisernia is another hitter unranked in the MLB.com’s prospect ranking for the 2022 Draft. However, he strikes resemblances to fifth-rounder Victor Scott in terms of his ability to generate power when he barrels the ball. Although his swing is slightly more open than Scott’s, he seems to have plenty of control of his swing and works the field.
Unfortunately for Iadisernia, he experienced a decrease in output from 2021 to 2022, with his average decreasing from .368 to .276 and his home runs dropping from 10 to 6. He did, however, pick up more RBI, walked a lot more and doubled his stolen base amount from 6 to 14. Overall, he showed gains in vital areas despite the regression in his batting as a whole.
In three seasons at Elon, Iadisernia slashed .312/.407/.513/.920 including 51 extra base hits, 84 RBI, 87 runs scored. Impressively, he walked (68) more than he struck out (64).
Defensively he shows quickness on his feet in the outfield, and makes consistent catches with minimal errors. His fielding percentage has remained around .980 for the past two seasons, plus he picked up a highlight reel catch against Hofstra last season to show his ability to get to a fly ball with minimal effort.
Iadisernia’s positive hitting tool, coupled with his clean, fast swing should allow him to bounce back to his stats of 2021, although it wasn’t a bad outing in 2022. He will regularly make contact with the ball and occasionally flash his raw power with a big home run.
The pool amount for this pick is $212,000.
Eighth round, 247th overall
Cade Winquest, RHP
Texas Arlington, senior
6’2, 205 pounds
Winquest is another interesting pick by the Cardinals. Although he hasn’t had the best of times in terms of stats in college, he has the potential to be something special if he can just refine his pitches enough.
He finished with an ERA above 5.00 for the fourth year running, but threw 58 1/3 innings with 57 strikeouts. This is the most he has pitched in a year, and the most strikeouts he’s collected in a season.
His performance in the second to last start of 2022 against Appalachian State was clearly his best performance of the season, going eight innings on two hits, no earned runs and five strikeouts. That earned him Sun Belt Conference Pitcher of the Week honors.
In his four seasons with the Mavericks, Winquest struck out 155 batters over 160 2/3 innings.
Winquest’s 2022 season was full of inconsistencies, but his hard fastball that can reach the mid-90s, can certainly be a key tool to work on with the Cardinals. If he could miss more bats and improve his fastball shape, then there is certainly enough potential to be a dominant pitcher, albeit perhaps from a reliever role. Combined with a hard curveball and a solid change up, Winquest could have a useful three-pitch arsenal.
The pool amount for this pick is $174,600.
Ninth round, 277th overall
Joseph King, RHP
6’1, 194 pounds
The development of King has been a progressive one for Cal Berkeley.
He started in 2020 as a reliever, picking up 17 strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings, before slowly settling into a starting role in 2022. He went from 11 1/3 innings in 2020, to a team high 72 2/3 innings in 2022, showing significant improvement in reliability and ability to work through innings.
King also led Cal in starts (14) and wins (5) while ranking third in the Pac-12 Conference with 1.86 BB/9 IP this spring. Over his three seasons, he compiled a 3.43 ERA with 83 strikeouts to just 19 walks in 89 1/3 innings.
Although King’s strikeout rate fell significantly as a junior, he has developed the ability to create a lot of weak contact from hitters with his fastball/change up mix.
His fastball sits in the low-90s with his over the top action, while his changeup settles around low-80s and has the potential to be a plus pitch. He has plenty of carry with his fastball and sits in the zone regularly, but can get whiffs and chases with the combination to complement the weak contact.
King was used well in 2022, with the majority of his starts lasting until the five inning mark, with the occasional 1-2 inning outings dotted in between. Although he allowed quite a few hits in several occasions, he certainly possesses enough quality with his two-pitch arsenal to be a consistent reliever. King seems to have a high floor, and would benefit from a third pitch in his arsenal.
The pool amount for this pick is $159,100.
10th round, 301st overall
Tanner Jacobson, RHP
Queens University of Charlotte (NC), senior
6’1, 190 pounds
The Cardinals’ final pick of Day 2 comes in the form of righty Tanner Jacobson. He finished 2022 with a respectable 4.09 ERA with 79 strikeouts in 61 2/3 innings. The highlight of the season came against Coker, as he struck out 11 hitters in just six innings.
Jacobson has shown significant improvement since 2020, most notably with his ability to strike out hitters and reduce hitters’ average against him. In 2022, he allowed an average of .209 to hitters, while in 2020 and 2021 his ERA’s were 5.28 and 7.71 respectively. His overall college ERA is 4.61 with 179 strikeouts in 162 innings.
Along with being a productive pitcher, his hitting ability as a two-way player deserves recognition. Jacobson hit five home runs in 64 plate appearances in 2022, with a batting average of .316 and OPS of .972. He generates plenty of pop off his bat, with a clean swing and solid stance.
Although his main role will be a pitcher within the Cardinals organization, he possesses the qualities of both a hitter and a pitcher, which could serve him well down the road.
The pool amount for this pick is $150,600.
As noted above, TCN analyst Jake Tweedie is writing the player scouting reports for Days 2 and 3 and Brian Walton is filling in the rest.
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