The St. Louis Cardinals have had some recent history selecting out of the 19th spot in the MLB Draft, and it’s been very good so far to say the least. In 2009, the Cards took Shelby Miller. In 2012, the Cards took Michael Wacha. Both of them have made their way to the major league roster, and both appear poised to have explosive careers at the major league level.
First round knockout pitchers aside, the Cardinals have also shown a tendency the past 2 seasons to select a Cape Cod League MVP of some sort in the first round of the MLB Draft.
In 2010, Kolten Wong won the Cape Cod League MVP, and in 2011, the Cardinals took him in the first round at # 22 overall. Since then, Wong has shot up the organizational ranks, and is now on the cusp of a major league callup. When he finally arrives, and if he keeps playing to form, he will man the second base position for at minimum the next 6 seasons.
In 2011, James Ramsey won the Cape Cod League All Star game MVP, and in 2012 the Cardinals took him in the first round at # 23 overall. Ramsey has not been as widely lauded as Wong has been, but the fact still remains that in just 1 years time, he is already playing for AA Springfield where he is currently sporting a .391 On Base Percentage.
Will the trend continue in the 2013 Draft?
If the Cardinals hold true to form I look for them to grab a college pitcher at 19, preferably the highest risk, highest reward guy out there in the form of Indiana State LHP Sean Manaea, if he is still available of course. It wasn’t too long ago that Manaea was being mentioned as a potential overall #1 selection in the 2013 Draft. Why? Because Manaea straight carved up the Cape Cod League in 2012 to the tune of a 1.22 ERA, .54 WHIP, and meanwhile fanning 85 batters in 51.2 innings pitched. For his efforts he won the B.F.C. Whitehouse Top Pitcher Award, as well as the Robert A. McNeece Outstanding Pro Prospect Award.
So why is he now expected to drop in the draft? The answer is simple really. Injury concerns coupled with the fact that he didn’t live up to the lofty expectations he set in the eyes of the scouts coming off his stellar Cape Cod League season during his recent Spring season at Indiana State. It’s not that he wasn’t good, it’s just that he wasn’t quite at the level of being as lights out as he was in the Cape.
If Manaea is there, I truly hope they take a long look at him and pull the trigger on drafting him. He has the ability to miss bats, and even if he doesn’t stick as a starter due to injury concerns, he still has the potential to become a quality LH option from the bullpen once he gets right physically.
Another name to watch, which would seem to be a possible fit at #28 overall, is the 2012 Cape Cod League MVP Phillip Ervin. He is a center fielder from Samford that finished 3rd on his college team with a .327 batting average this past season as a sophomore. In his MVP season in the Cape, he posted a .323 average with 11 HR, 31 RBI, 10 SB, 17 BB, and 29 strikeouts in 130 at bats. By all accounts, this kid is an athlete, and really seems to fit the mold of what the Cardinals have been looking for recently when evaluating first round talent.
While it would be nice to see them go after a SS early in this draft to fill an obvious deficiency in the system, what has been working for them the past few years doesn’t seem to point that direction. If the Cards somehow end up with Manaea and Ervin at the end of round 1, I don’t think there would be too many people that would have much to say negatively about these selections. After all, the Cards recent track history pretty much speaks for itself.