St. Louis Cardinals’ MLB Draft Preview: Competitive Balance
After breaking down prospective picks for the St. Louis Cardinals’ first-round pick in next month’s Major League Baseball Draft, I’m going to take a look at the competitive balance round. In case you missed any of those pieces, you can click here and see a full breakdown of the series.
I had initially planned to just take a look at who the Cardinals might tap with their 23rd-overall pick, but then I realized how interesting the draft was and how many intriguing options were out there this year. You can expect to see a second, third and fourth-round preview from me in the coming days.
But, back to the competitive balance round A, where St. Louis will be picking 39th.
Option #1 Demi Orimoloye: 6’4 225 lb – OF St. Matthew’s H.S. Ontario, Canada
Orimoloye has the potential to be a great player. This is as much a pick of what he can become as it is of where he is right now. He still is quite a bit raw in most facets of the game but has shown great ability to hit for average and power, while having a decent eye for the strike zone.
Reading up on him on Viva El Birdos‘ MLB Draft player preview, he brings comparison to a former 13th-round draft pick of the Cardinals (who is now with the Mariners), Austin Wilson.
Da Windy City
Reading up on Orimoloye, I found that he has spent a good amount of time in the States playing in tournaments with wood bats and is very comfortable playing against some of the best players in the country. So, there should be no concern about his ability to perform among the best.
Orimoloye has committed to the University of Oregon.
Option #2 Austin Smith: 6’4 215 lb RHP – Park Vista Comm HS, Boynton Beach, Fla.
Smith is a big right-handed pitcher whose only plus offering would be his fastball at this point. Surprisingly, it only sits at about 92-93 though it has topped out around 96 mph. The big righty also features a curveball and changeup that will of course need work at the next level. The big thing here is his size.
In comparison to other big-name starters in the organization (Michael Wacha is 6’6, 210, Adam Wainwright 6’7, 235, Alexander Reyes 6’4, 185, Lance Lynn 6’5, 240) Smith has a big frame for an 18-year-old pitcher and that can be both good and bad. It means he will rely on his long legs to provide the velocity on his pitches, but with proper management and a solid conditioning program, it can be a major asset.
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When looking at him and comparing him to Reyes, they both actually have about the same arm action and release so there’s less concern with this. All in all, this may very well be the pick if the Cardinals have already gone offense with their first pick and it would be a good one. Give him some time to develop and he could be a good middle-of-the-rotation pitcher.
Smith has committed to Florida Atlantic University.
Option #3 Eric Jenkins: 6’2 165 lb LH OF West Columbus H.S. Cerro Gordo, NC
This would be a project pick much like Orimoloye. However, the thought is that once Jenkins fills out his 6’2″ frame, he will be a very good player.
He has the speed to project as a center fielder but does not have much of an arm; something that will hopefully get better as he matures. If he can develop a good arm, then we are talking a good center-right fielder, who projects out to hit double-digit home runs with his quick bat speed. Give him time to develop and he could become a left-handed version of Randal Grichuk.
Jenkins has committed to UNC Wilmington.
These are three good options for the Cardinals with the 39th pick. This is an opportunity for St. Louis to grab an extra first/second round-tier talent as well as add to what they picked in the first.
If Aiken is their selection, I’d love for them to consider Oimoloye and if they pick an offensive player with their first pick, I’d be okay with any of these three players.