As most are NOT aware, tomorrow marks the beginning of the MLB Draft that will continue all the way through Wednesday. Many people tend to ignore the MLB Draft all together as many players don’t sign, decide to wait another year after being picked, or you get the real athletes that are involved in different sports and they decide to go elsewhere like the NFL or NBA. Some players are even two sport athletes: Deion Sanders, Bo Jackson, etc.
Some players decide to reach elsewhere because they are not getting the money via the MLB that they are looking for right away. I can imagine the sentiment, you sign with a baseball franchise only to reach the heights of Double A ball and spend your days hoping for a shot at the show. Personally I am not incredibly athletic anymore but I would of course be very happy with the opportunity, but when young and in peak physical condition you get that take on the world mentality. Many athletes want the spotlight, they LOVE to take risks and through other sports they tend to take those chances, much to my dismay, MLB seems to be a fall back sport for some of the potential talent.
Back to the topic at hand….
The Cardinals are looking ahead to tomorrow like the rest of the franchises and are wondering where they need to go with their selections. Last year they had four picks in the top 75 and this season have just one in the 22nd overall pick, followed by pick 79 in the second round. Most talks I have seen lately have centered around the fact the Cardinals have no 1st round comp picks.
Brian Walton of The Cardinal Nation Blog posted an interesting article April 17th into the recent history of the 1st Round Compensation Draft. The names on the list are astounding as to the types of players we got in those picks since 2005:
2005 – Colby Rasmus
2006 – Mark Hamilton
2007 – David Kopp
2008 – Lance Lynn
2010 – Seth Blair
Those are just the individuals still with the franchise.
Colby is of course the biggest standout, but players like Lance Lynn and Mark Hamilton who we are just seeing reach the show this past season are really players the Cardinals have come to look at for future direction.
Where do the Cardinals go this season? What needs do they have? Where are the problematic areas we need to start filling in? I want to hear your comments more than anything regarding the topic at hand and feel free to vote for as many positions as you like.
Albert Pujols is a major question going forward with the current contractual situation. Even without him, the Cardinals look to have the quite the pool of talent and it is hard to say exactly where the focus is going to be emphasized. Should he decide to leave, our options at 1B are really Berkman (who is only with us on a one year deal currently) and Mark Hamilton (just now making appearances in STL).
Second always seems to be a question for the team as most people seem to despise Skip Schumaker and SS has also been a major mark since the departure of Ozzie Smith. Third is now starting to open up as well and we have a platoon of infielders in Schumaker, Freese, Punto, Greene, Descalso, and now Matt Carpenter & Pete Kozma.
Pitching is every teams focus going in, but I am not sure starting pitchers will be the MAJOR concern. Carpenter is kind of hurting this year, Wainwright will join back next season, Jaime is dominate, McClellan is fantastic, Kyle Lohse is looking terrific, and Westbrook has been the concern. That is six right there and come next season with the addition of Wainwright someone is going to move or transition to the pen.
Relievers are very young and looking good for the most part. The closer by committee role has worked good thus far, but the closer role in general has been the only real scare the club has seen this season. With Ryan Franklin looking to pick up the pieces we are looking into potential options as to who can be that guy. Fernando Salas has filled in nicely, but I don’t believe our answer is outside the organization.
Where the Cardinals go the next three days is really anyones guess. They have an organization to be proud of from top to bottom talentwise and it will be interesting to see the direction they take this in.