The MLB first year player draft is fastly approaching (June 8-10). In the past few years, this is where the St. Louis Cardinals front office has shined. In the past three years we have seen the team select a pitcher with their first pick (Luke Weaver, Marco Gonzales, Michael Wacha). This year will be interesting to see if they break the trend and go to stock the cupboard with some offensive players as they are much needed or continue to draft a starting pitcher further making their organizational depth even deeper. Starting today, I am going to take a look at the players the Cardinals could potentially go after here in the first round. I will take this one by one and by the end of this we should have five solid prospects the Cardinals could target.
The first player I will mention here will be Chris Betts, a Catcher from Wilson High School in Long Beach California and a player I would really like the Cardinals to draft. I am as much a fan of Yadier Molina as the next guy but it is no secret that his days are numbered as the backstop of the St. Louis Cardinals. Yadier is currently playing in his 11th big league season and has been the team’s starting catcher ever since the 2005 season. Currently he is signed through 2017 with the team holding an option for the 2018 season.
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Hopefully, when all is said and done Yadier will finish off a Hall of Fame career in a Cardinal uniform and with dignity and pride that he gave it his all. As a fan it wouldn’t be great to see him bounce around from team to team during his last few seasons like his brothers have. Hopefully, there is a nice transition from Molina to his successor and Molina can stay on as an instructor/coach.
With that said this is the type of player that could replace Molina some day. Betts, doesn’t figure to be the defensive prowess that Molina is but can be potentially an even better offensive threat than Molina has been in his career and that is saying something. Betts in four seasons of high school baseball has a slash of .341/438/.556 with 16 HR 15 2B and 74 RBI. Betts has a good frame for a catcher coming in at 6-1, 200 pounds and has a nice short two handed swing from the left side of the plate that really attacks the baseball. Some are saying Betts could be the first catcher taken in the 2015 MLB Draft, Keith Law actually has him projected to go 16th overall to the Yankees. There is some comparison here to Brian McCann because of Betts’ big body and offensive tools. Betts’ bat does project well if he were to make the switch to LF or 1B in the future but if the Cardinals are going to draft him you can expect him to get a chance to prove himself at the catcher position as the team does not have many long term solutions outside of Carson Kelly. If Betts can stay on the board till the Cardinals pick at #23 he could be a real steal for the team. Be on the lookout for my next post previewing the St. Louis Cardinals draft.