St. Louis Cardinals: MLB Draft Preview Part 1

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The St. Louis Cardinals will have a new scouting director in charge of their MLB Draft for the second straight year. How can they follow up last year’s great draft?

First of all, I want to apologize to you guys, as I planned to have this out way earlier than today. However, with staffing issues and a new job, time hasn’t been readily available for me lately.

Last season, the St. Louis Cardinals had a major focus on drafting position players with the majority of their first few picks. I would expect the St. Louis Cardinals20/60 to continue to do this as they attempt to stock the cupboards of their minor league system.

What I will be doing here is going over a few options the Cardinals will be considering with their first-round selection. After this piece, I will look at the options the Cardinals have for their compensation round picks that they acquired from the Cubs for the signing of Jason Heyward and John Lackey. The acquisition of these two picks has given them a pool of $9.1 Million to work with in the draft.

#1 1B Will Benson

Age: 18

Hits/Throws: L/L

School: The Westminster Schools Atlanta (Atlanta, GA)

Scout Grades: Hit: 20/50 | Game Power: 20/60 | Raw Power: 60/65 | Speed: 60/55  | Field: 45/50+ | Arm: 60/60

What do we know: 

Benson is a talented kid coming from the Atlanta area. Given he is from the Atlanta area, it has brought him Jason Heyward comparisons. This makes sense as Benson’s swing is somewhat similar to Heyward’s as it is short and compact. What there is to like about Benson is the upside, he has a big strong frame and he looks quite filled in for a guy who is just 18.

As he gets older he will only improve upon his size and will rely on that as he grows. He has a nice swing that should fill in for plus power from first base.

While he is listed as a first baseman and an outfielder, Benson simply doesn’t look to have the arm to play OF well, so he is much better suited to play first. This is obviously a position in which the Cardinals are not only thin at the major league level but thin on throughout the system as well.

Kiley McDaniel previewed Benson last July saying this, “The bat speed is premium, producing echoes throughout the USA Baseball training complex whenever he squared up in batting practice.  The plate approach is raw and he’s very pull-oriented at this stage of his development, but the tools are loud and his performance validated them.”

Last season, we saw the Cardinals focus on bat speed with their draft and they also took some risks early with Nick Plummer and Bryce Denton being guys that they grabbed out of high school. If Benson is available, I would highly expect the Cardinals to jump at the opportunity to draft him, as the upside is incredibly high.

Next: Logan Shore