St. Louis Cardinals: Cardinals sign 2018 draft picks Roberts, Baker, Gil

ST. LOUIS, MO - NOVEMBER 14: St. Louis Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak introduces Mike Matheny as the new manager during a press conference at Busch Stadium on November 14, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Jeff Curry/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - NOVEMBER 14: St. Louis Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak introduces Mike Matheny as the new manager during a press conference at Busch Stadium on November 14, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Jeff Curry/Getty Images) /

The St. Louis Cardinals announced Wednesday that they completed the signings of Griffin Roberts, Luken Baker, and Mateo Gil. With these signings, the Cardinals have secured their first four draft selections.

The three will start in the St. Louis Cardinals Gulf Coast League affiliate, according to Rob Rains of While Roberts signed for his max slot value at the 43rd pick of $1,664,200, Baker and Gil actually signed for more than their slot value.

At pick 75, the slot value for Baker was $799,600, but the Cardinals rounded it out to $800,000 for him, which is an inconsequential difference. However, Mateo Gil signed for $900,000, even though he was picked 20 slots after Baker and his slot value at pick 95 was just $587,600.

What can we expect from these guys? Let’s take a look.

Griffin Roberts

The St. Louis Cardinals’ first pick of 2018, Roberts was completely unheard of coming out of high school. He was ranked the 668th best right handed pitcher by Perfect Game, who also had 16 other right handed pitchers ranked higher than him from his home state alone.

Roberts didn’t let his low ranking define him. He committed to Wake Forest, where he played for three years, developing from a walk-on player to an All-ACC pitcher. He struggled with his command in his freshman year, but recorded 18 strikeouts in just 15.2 innings.

He broke out as a reliever in his sophomore season, winning All-ACC honors by recording a 2.19 ERA in 53.1 innings. He allowed just a .160 BAA and recorded 13.56 K/9, flashing an electric fastball and buckling slider.

He was drafted by the Twins in the 29th round in 2017, but opted to return to Wake for another season. He was used as a starter in his junior and proved that he could take on the role, going 5-4 with a 3.82 ERA while maintaining a high strikeout rate of 12.10 K/9, including 94 strikeouts in 69 innings of conference play.

Roberts arsenal features a lively fastball with moderate sinking action that also bores towards the hands. As a starter, he can maintain a velocity of 93-95 miles per hour on his fastball, but sits closer to 97 when he is used as a reliever. He also has what draft expert Jim Callis calls “the best slider in the draft” that sits in the mid 80’s and has a steep break.

Roberts is projected to be a quick mover up through the minor league system, and some say he might even be ready to throw a few innings as soon as this season.

It’s high praise for the last pick of the first round, but with the electric stuff he has flashed, it’s certainly not impossible for Gammons’ prediction to come to pass.

Luken Baker

Baker was far more touted than Roberts coming out of high school, ranked as the 28th player in his class and 9th among first baseman. He was also named the 2015 Gatorade National Player of the Year.

Baker also opted to head to school after being selected in the 37th round by the Astros in 2015. He spent three years at Texas Christian University, though his last two college seasons were unfortunately shortened by injury.

While he was healthy, he was a stud as a hitter. He was one of four players on TCU to play every game of the season, and slashed a tidy .379/.483/.577 with 11 homers and 62 RBI’s. That .379 batting average was the best in the Big 10, and he also lead the conference in hits, runs, and RBI’s. He was also second in the conference in walks with 45 walks, and was looking to be a solid all around hitter.

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On top of that, he started games on the mound for the Horned Frogs. As a high schooler, he was looked at as a pitcher as well with a fastball that topped out at 95, and would have gone in the top two rounds if he was willing to sign as a pitcher, according to Callis. The Horned Frogs utilized all his skills, and he went 3-1 with a 1.70 ERA in the 10 games he started.

He regressed somewhat as a sophomore, and also demonstrated his fielding weakness in his time at first base for the Horned Frogs. He didn’t make many errors, but his abilities and range as a first baseman left much to be desired. He slashed .317/.454/.528 with eight homers and 41 RBI’s in 47 games before being sidelined with a left arm ligament and muscle tear and a hairline fracture following a collision. He also drew a walk in about one in every five plate appearances that year.

Baker demonstrated much of the same batting prowess this past season before fracturing his left fibula and tearing a ligament in his left ankle on an awkward slide in April. He need a plate and screws surgically inserted to stabilize his fibula.

If he can stay healthy, Baker has shown a combination of power and discipline that are the makings of a great hitter. While his fielding limitations will restrict him to first base or playing as a designated hitter, the raw hitting ability can be something to look forward to if you are a St. Louis Cardinals fan.

Mateo Gil

Unlike the previous two players, Gil is coming to the Cardinals straight out of Timber Creek High School in Texas. A shortstop prospect, Gil is a solid two-way prospect who ran a 6.87 60-yard sprint. He played as a pitcher in high school with a fastball that topped out at 92 miles per hour, so he has a great arm as an infielder. He is smooth and has some polish in the middle infield, impressive for his age.

He is also a smooth batter. At 6’1″ and 180 pounds, Gil has an athletic but lean profile, and swings the bat with a consistent load and a relaxed follow through. He is a gap to gap hitter that possesses some pull power, and he hopes to put a little more pop in his swing as he rounds out into his frame.

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What do you think about the latest round of Cardinal draft picks? When do you think we will be seeing them on the field at Busch? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below.