How should the St. Louis Cardinals approach the 2020 MLB Draft?
By Joshua Magee
The MLB Draft will be here on Wednesday and there isn’t much clarity on what the St. Louis Cardinals will do. How would I approach the draft if I were in Randy Flores’ shoes?
So far, we have been trying our best to put out profiles to help the fans get to know this draft class a little bit more. Even though we might know the prospects, we don’t know what the St. Louis Cardinals will necessarily do in this year’s draft.
So, in this article; we will put ourselves in the shoes of Scouting Director Randy Flores and the rest of the scouting department, and focus on how the Cardinals should approach the draft, as well as looking at who should be our guy in different scenarios.
In my opinion, you can never have too much pitching; in this case though, the Cardinals system lacks right-handed pitching. With taking a position player, I would take one that possesses a high ceiling or someone who has taken too deep of a fall and shouldn’t be anywhere near where the Cardinals are picking (this has been the Cards strategy the last few years).
There are a few options on the table for right-handed pitching, which is what I would lock in on and get a well-needed prospect in that department.
I put together my Big Board for right-handers, not necessarily who I think is the best; but who will fit this organization best as well as how high is their floor as a prospect?
1.) Cole Wilcox, Georgia – If you are looking for a safer pitcher with the tools to potentially be a top-of-the-rotation arm, Cole Wilcox is your guy. Wilcox has a 6’5, 230 lb. frame with a mid-90’s fastball that has touched 100 on numerous occasions. He possesses a very good slider and can control his pitches well. If Wilcox is on the board, I am taking the risk and snagging him at 21 with little doubt.
2.) Bryce Jarvis, Duke – Bryce Jarvis might not have the ceiling that other pitchers in this class might possess but his repertoire can’t be overlooked. He has a mid 90’s fastball to go with a nasty curveball and a versatile slider. He was in the middle of a monstrous 2020 season with a 0.67 ERA before the season was abruptly canceled.
3.) Carmen Mlodzinski, South Carolina – Carmen Mlodzinski made a massive improvement in his game from Spring to Fall of 2019. He struggled during the 2019 collegiate season but had a dominant season in the Cape Cod League which played a huge role in boosting his draft stock. Mlodzinski possesses a high-voltage fastball that usually travels 93-96 mph with a nasty cutter as well as a solid slider. The lack of track record might scare teams but I am a huge fan of his game personally.
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4.) Cade Cavalli, Oklahoma – A lot to like in my opinion with Cade Cavalli’s sturdy, 6’4-220 lb frame. Cavalli has a fastball that sits at 93-96 mph with a nice curve/power slider combo in his arsenal. Control issues are something to worry about with Cavalli but overall a very solid pitcher.
5.) Clayton Beeter, Texas Tech– Out of all the collegiate RHP’s in this class, Clayton Beeter might be the most intriguing one. He was the closer for the 2019 Red Raiders but won the Opening Day starter job in 2020. Though he is relatively new to the rotation, he pitched his way into the first round while showing “True Ace” potential. His fastball is dangerous, usually sitting at about 94-96 mph and is considered one of the best in the class. He has a nasty 12-6 curveball and a plus-slider in his arsenal as well.
Though I would roll with a college RHP most likely, there are a few exceptions that I would take if they somehow fell to St. Louis. These studs are mainly prep arms and bats with a ton of potential but could be a while before they make an impact in the Majors, obviously.
1.) Nick Bitsko, RHP, Central Bucks East HS (PA) – The Prep righty reclassified from 2021 to 2020 not too long ago and has shot up boards ever since. His fastball hovers around 92-96 mph but can touch 98. He has a developing curveball as well as solid control. The Virginia commit oozes potential but I would be shocked if he makes it past the New York Mets at 19. If he does somehow fall to St. Louis, Randy Flores should take a chance and sprint up to the (virtual) podium to pick Bitsko.
2.) Garrett Crochet, LHP, Tennessee – Crochet might be the only collegiate player on this list, but man am I a big fan of his game. He has an Andrew Miller-esque delivery with a fastball that has touched 100 before. He throws a slider that has an above-average spin rate and has been an issue for opposing hitters. Doesn’t have many issues with his control and he has the potential to be very good in the Majors soon. He is ranked No. 19 on the MLB Pipeline Top Draft Prospects List but it would not surprise me at all if he was off the board by then.
3.) Ed Howard, SS, Mt. Carmel HS (IL) – Ed Howard gets extra credit for not being a Cubs fan despite being from Chicago. All jokes aside, Howard has legitimate 20-20 potential as a shortstop. With the Cardinals having little depth in the farm system at middle infield, Howard is a great piece who can develop into an everyday starter in the Majors, with a good enough glove to be able to stick at short throughout his development.
This class is stacked with talent in my opinion, but here are some players that I would personally want to stay away from at 21.
1.) Justin Foscue, 2B, Mississippi State – I like Foscue, there’s no denying that. He has a ton of raw power and a solid glove to go with it. Though the Cardinals might lack INF depth in the farm system, going with a college 2B isn’t much of a help; especially when the Cardinals have an All-Star caliber 2B in Wong, who should be able to stick around for a while. I am a big fan of Foscue’s game, but he likely will not make the impact at the next level that I would want him to make.
2.) Catchers – If the Cardinals were to draft a catcher, it would more than likely be NC State’s Patrick Bailey or the prep star Tyler Soderstrom. Though both are solid options, there are bigger needs in the system; and I am a major Ivan Herrera truther, so this would hurt for me to take a Catcher over a bigger need, like RHP.
Right now, I am on the collegiate RHP no matter what train, there is little depth in that area in the farm system, and even if there was; my philosophy is that you can never have too much pitching. So, if I were Randy Flores and the St. Louis Cardinals were on the clock? I would go with the highest ranked RHP that is still available on my big board.