The St. Louis Cardinals had two picks in the first round last night and another pick in the second round of the 2013 First-Year Player Draft.
In the first round, the Cardinals selected two left-handed pitchers while opting for a shortstop in the second round.
Round 1, Pick 19 LHP Marco Gonzales, Gonzaga
There’s something about the Cardinals and the 19th pick. In 2009 and 2012, they went with pitchers Shelby Miller and Michael Wacha. This time around, it’s Gonzales, who many predicted would fall to the Cardinals with the 28th selection.
Gonzales finishes his three-year Gonzaga career with a 26-7 record on the mound with a 2.34 ERA. In 43 starts, he finished with 9 complete games and four shutouts. He threw 278 strikeouts in 303.2 innings pitched. He can hit, too, having finished with a .311 batting average, 4 home runs, and 69 RBI. He also ranks in the top 5 in program history in wins, strikeouts, and ERA.
In 2011, he was named the West Coast Conference Co-Player of the Year and the West Coast Conference Co-Freshman of the Year. In 2012, he was named the West Coast Conference Pitcher of the Year. This past season, he was honored as the 2013 West Coast Conference Co-Player of the Year. These are in addition to many All-American honors.
“I am honored and very thankful,” Gonzales said after his name was called. “It is hard to put into words. It is a culmination of a lot of work put in, a lot of dedication of my family, friends, teammates and coaches believing in me. I just can’t say thank you enough to all those who put time and effort to get me on the field and to get me to practice and road trips, the miles put in means the world to me.”
“I am really excited for him,” head coach Mark Machtolf said in a media session following the selection of Gonzales. “We are thrilled he will have the chance to make his mark on professional baseball. It is a little emotional watching a kid fulfill his dreams. He is going to a great organization and I am excited to see what he does.”
“Many experts believe he is ready for the big leagues now. This is a big step forward for our program. To have a guy that commits to Gonzaga and fulfill his dreams is huge for us. I am very happy and proud of all his accomplishments.”
“He is the winningest player in Colorado high school history,” said Rocky Mountain High School baseball coach Scott Bullock. “Pitched and won 4 state 5A state championships in high school. He is a winner!”
“Marco has plus command, a plus changeup, and a good breaking ball. He’s a bulldog on the mound and is a really good fit for our system,” said Cardinals Director of Scouting Dan Kantrovitz.
“We’re extremely excited to add Marco to our organization,” said Cardinals Senior Vice President/General Manager John Mozeliak. “We feel he’s an ideal fit being a left-handed starter and we’re excited for him to start his career with us.”
Round 1, Pick 28 LHP Rob Kaminsky, St Joseph Regional High School
Kaminsky, a 6-footer, finished the season with a 10-0 record. He struck out 126, walked 14 and only gave up one earned run in 64 innings for a 0.10 ERA. The left-handed pitcher led St. Joseph’s to a 29-2 record and the finals of the New Jersey, Non-Public State Tournament, where he struck out 11 batters in a three-hit shutout over St. Peter’s Prep in the semi-finals. The switch-hitter was batting .506 with 3 home runs and 19 RBI.
“I think it was the best thing that could happen to him because even though we’re all Yankees fans, the Cardinals organization is the top Major League organization in the Major Leagues,” said St. Joseph’s coach Frank Salvano. “They develop pitching better than any organization and I couldn’t be more happy for him being with the Cardinals. It’s a great opportunity and a great organization. I think they are going to make a great fit for one another.”
Salvano said that Kaminsky reminds him of Scott Kazmir.
“He reminds me of him I(Kazmir),” Salvano said. “He’s about that size, has that type of fastball, 92-95 mile per hour fastball with a great breaking ball. That’s on a major league level when I see him pitch.”
“Rob has a plus fastball, excellent command, and the best breaking ball of any high school pitcher in the draft,” said Cardinals Director of Scouting Dan Kantrovitz. “He has an advanced feel for pitching and above-average makeup. He’s somebody we have targeted for a long time and we’re excited that he got to us with the 28th pick of the draft.”
Kaminsky was named the Gatorade Player of the Year for New Jersey for the second consecutive year.
Round 2, Pick 57 SS Oscar Mercado, Gaither High School
A 6”2” shortstop, Mercado hit .286 this season compared to .370 in his junior season. He is the top shortstop in the high school class according to MLB.com’s profile in the draft tracker.
“The Cardinals don’t make many mistakes and I believe they choose Oscar for what he projects rather then his poor senior year,” said Frank Permuy, the Gaither High School baseball coach. “His surrounding cast this year at Gaither led to teams pitching around Oscar and causing him to chase pitches he normally would not go for. He tried to take up the slack for a team that had five starters injured most of the year and had to play with subs in key positions. If he had a year like his junior season, I believe he certainly would have been a first rounder.”
Mercado is signed to play with Florida State next season.
We hope to get a quote from St. Joseph’s coach Frank Salvano and will add it to this page.