St. Louis Cardinals: Former first round picks and where they are now

jgrose
ST. LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 27: Michael Wacha
ST. LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 27: Michael Wacha /
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Many of the St. Louis Cardinals’ first round picks this decade have panned out. Many have not. Where are all of them now?

During this decade (2010-now), the St. Louis Cardinals have had 18 first round picks, including supplemental round picks. Many have or still are playing for the big league club. Many are with other organizations. And, a few are no longer playing professional baseball. Let’s take a brief look into each year’s first round picks and where those players are now.

2017

The St. Louis Cardinals did not have any first or second round picks last year because of the hacking scandal. Take a look at what could have been if we did have our picks.

2016

Delvin Perez, Dylan Carlson, and Dakota Hudson

Perez, a shortstop, was taken 23rd overall in 2016. He has played the past two seasons at the Rookie level. He is still only 19 years old. He has a .256/.335/.342 triple slash line in just 77 games so far. There was a lot of hype surrounding this kid, which he hasn’t lived up to yet. But, he is still very young and still maturing. Hopefully, he breaks out this year.

Carlson, a corner outfielder, was drafted 33rd overall. He played last season in Peoria, the Cardinals’ single-A full-season affiliate. He hit .240 with seven home runs. He did walk 52 times, so his plate discipline is a reason for excitement. He is also still only 19 years old.

Hudson was the 34th pick out of Mississippi State. As many true baseball fans know, SEC baseball is highly competitive, with numerous first round picks taken from the conference every year. The level of play down south tends to make for players that move through the ranks quickly.

Hudson has already made it to AAA in just over a full year of professional ball. Last season in 25 starts, he had 3.01 ERA in 152.2 innings. He has a great fastball with a lot of movement, but needs to refine his command a little. I think this guy will be in St. Louis in 2018.

2015

Nick Plummer and Jake Woodford

Plummer was selected 23rd overall and has had probably the worst start to a professional career as one could imagine. As an outfielder, he had a decent debut in Rookie ball after signing in 2015, hitting .228. But, he walked 39 times in 51 games, good for a .379 OBP. Then, he missed all of 2016 due to hand surgery.

Last year, he also missed significant time due to an oblique strain. He had a terrible .198 average in only 278 at-bats. Again, however, he did walk a lot, posting a .353 OBP. Hopefully, his ability to make consistent, hard contact catches up to his ability to draw walks or this guy will be a first round bust.

Woodford, a pitcher, was taken 39th. He has posted solid numbers in his 2.5 years of pro ball. For his career, he has a 3.12 ERA in 254 innings. But, he hasn’t really jumped levels like people hoped. After pitching in Peoria for all of 2016, he only moved up Palm Beach last season, where he spent the entire year. He is said to have a good sinker but the rest of his pitches still need a lot of work.

2014

Luke Weaver and Jack Flaherty

Weaver was selected 27th out of Florida State. He flew through the minor leagues, posting great numbers at every stop. He will open the season in the St. Louis Cardinals rotation and could be a future co-ace with Carlos Martinez.

Flaherty, taken 34th, has also dominated minor league hitters, posting a career 2.77 ERA in 400.1 innings. He also has 398 strikeouts during that time. He got the call up to the big league club last season and struggled a little bit, posting a 6.33 ERA in 21.1 innings. I would imagine he’ll begin the year in Memphis to hone his pitches a little more. But, I think he’ll be in St. Louis rather quickly.

This year’s draft has two potential top-of-the-rotation type pitchers. Great work by the scouts and player development personnel.

2013

Marco Gonzales and Rob Kaminsky

Marco was selected 19th overall out of Gonzaga. He made it to the big leagues very quickly, making his major league debut in 2014 while throwing 34.2 innings for the St. Louis Cardinals. He has since struggled with arm issues and was traded last year to the Seattle Mariners for Tyler O’Neill. He did start seven games for them but posted a rough 5.40 ERA. He’ll be competing for a spot in their rotation this year.

Kaminsky was chosen 28th overall out of a high school in New Jersey. He was traded to the Cleveland Indians in 2015 for Brandon Moss. He had a good year in 2016 for their AA affiliate, but missed the rest of the season in 2017 after making one start, which was again at the AA level. It’s never good when you repeat levels. He has a lot to prove to the Indians this year.

2012

Michael Wacha, James Ramsey, Stephen Piscotty, Patrick Wisdom, and Steve Bean

Wacha was taken 19th out of Texas A&M. We’re all familiar with him by now. He debuted in 2013 and has been with the St. Louis Cardinals ever since. He has been solid but unspectacular during his career. The potential as an ace is there. Time and his health will tell.

Ramsey, an outfielder, was chosen 23rd out of Florida State. He was traded to the Indians in 2014 for Justin Masterson. He has bounced around since. He was traded to the Mariners in 2016 and released in 2017. He signed a minor league deal with the Minnesota Twins for the 2018 season.

Piscotty was taken 36th out of Stanford. He was a compensation pick for losing Albert Pujols. After a very promising start to his career as a Cardinal, he was traded this offseason to the Oakland Athletics.

Wisdom was the 52nd overall pick out of Saint Mary’s in California. He has shown power throughout his minor league career but has never hit for average and has struggled defensively. He did hit 31 home runs last year in Memphis. He passed through the Rule-5 draft. So, this year is really his make or break season. He has been invited to spring training. He needs to make a big impression.

Bean, a catcher, was taken 59th out of a high school in Texas. He never panned out, signing with with the San Diego Padres in 2017. He was released later that same year.

2011

Kolten Wong

Wong was taken with the 22nd pick out of the University of Hawaii. He reached the majors in 2013. As we are all aware, he has had an inconsistent career since. He did hit .285 last season with a .376 OBP. We all hope that type of offensive success continues.

2010

Zack Cox, Seth Blair, and Tyrell Jenkins

More from Redbird Rants

Cox, a third baseman, was selected 25th from the University of Arkansas. He had some good years in the St. Louis Cardinals system, hitting .306 with 13 home runs and 68 RBI between Palm Beach and Springfield in 2011.

However, he was traded to the Miami Marlins in 2012 for Edward Mujica. He was selected by the Washington Nationals in the Rule-5 draft in 2015 and later released. He signed a minor league contract with the Detroit Tigers in 2016. He has elected to become a free-agent and is looking for a job as of now.

Blair, a pitcher, was taken 46th overall. He spent four years in the St. Louis Cardinal’s minor league system, making it to Memphis in 2014. He struggled throughout all of his stops, posting a 5.34 ERA during his career. He was released in 2015 and hasn’t played professional baseball since.

Jenkins, the 50th pick from a Texas high school, is a pitcher. In November 2014, he was traded to the Atlanta Braves as part of the package for Jason Heyward. He pitched in the Padres system last season but was released in July 2017.

Conclusion

Many baseball fans know that Major League draft picks are volatile. Some become good/great players. Some just reach the big leagues but don’t have much success. Most don’t make it at all. Although this is just from one team, the percentage of first round picks by the St. Louis Cardinals over the past eight years that have actually made it to the major league team really illustrates how hard it is to judge a player’s future success.

Next: Which starting pitcher is most important?

Six out of the 18 players have played for the Cardinals. 33%. You just don’t really know. It makes a scout’s job and player development personnel very important and probably undervalued. Thanks for reading.

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