St. Louis Cardinals: What to make of the team’s second-round picks

PHILADELPHIA - APRIL 3: Citizens Bank Park is shown during the Opening Day game between the Philadelphia Phillies and the St. Louis Cardinals on April 3, 2006 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Cardinals won 13-5. (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA - APRIL 3: Citizens Bank Park is shown during the Opening Day game between the Philadelphia Phillies and the St. Louis Cardinals on April 3, 2006 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Cardinals won 13-5. (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images) /
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The St. Louis Cardinals had three picks in the second round of the 2020 MLB Draft.

The 2020 MLB Draft is over, but the St. Louis Cardinals were tied for first in the MLB with seven picks in the shortened five-round draft. They got an extremely interesting haul of players.

On Wednesday, the Cardinals selected Jordan Walker at the 21st overall pick, adding a high-ceiling high school third baseman to their minor league system. This pick began the trend that would define the draft for the Cardinals: “pick who nobody thinks we’ll take.”

In the second round, the Cardinals had their normal pick, a pick from the Jose Martinez/Matthew Liberatore trade, and a pick from the Atlanta Braves signing Marcell Ozuna. This added up to the team picking 54th, 63rd, and 70th. This is a huge deal as the talent in this range of the draft is still very much so in play to be impact players. The Cardinals also had four picks in 2020 before the Astros made their first selection at 72.

Let’s take a deeper look at each player the Cardinals drafted in their big second round.

Pick No. 54: Masyn Winn

After drafting a prep bat with their first pick, the Cardinals dug back into this pool with Winn — sorta. Winn is both a shortstop and a pitcher from Kingwood High School (TX). While Jordan Walker can pitch too, he was announced as a third baseman. For Winn, he was announced as both a shortstop and a pitcher.

https://twitter.com/MLBNetwork/status/1271204562636959744

Winn is smaller, at just 5-11 and 180lbs, but don’t let that make you think he doesn’t have potential. The Cardinals love to draft pure athletes and Winn fits that bill very well. At shortstop, Winn moves extremely well and has a cannon of an arm. At the plate, he’s got a smooth swing with a high finish. He’s got great speed out of the box and surprisingly solid power for his size.

On the mound, Winn has 80-grade arm speed and can hit 98 with his fastball. Skills like these don’t come around often. For Winn’s other pitches, he’s got a curveball that sits at around a 2900 rpm spin rate.

The debate then comes about what Winn should do at the next level. He could be a great starter, he could be a great shortstop, or he could try and be a two-way player.

For me, I am a firm believer that Winn should pick one, no matter which one it is. If he decides to be a starter, he might be one of the better hitting starters we see. There’s a reason why we don’t see many two-way players in the MLB right now. It’s incredibly difficult for players to keep both skill sets sharp, so both end up suffering.

Winn is the real deal, and it sounds like the Cardinals are going to let him pick which direction he wants to go between starter or shortstop.

Winn was probably my favorite pick of the draft for the Cardinals and while he is committed to Arkansas to play baseball, the team wouldn’t have picked him if they weren’t confident they could sign him.

Pick No. 63: Markevian Hence

The Cardinals went bold here again with “Tink” Hence. Hence is similar to Winn in that he’s a smaller prep pitcher. At 6-1 and 175lbs, Hence is going to need to add some weight to his frame, but he’s still just 17 years old.

Hence was picked out of Watson Chapel High School (AR) and is going to be an extremely exciting right-handed starter to watch. Hence has a quick arm (also like Winn) that leads to a fastball that can hit 95.

To change speeds Hence throws a slider, curveball, and changeup, with the first two being the better offerings for sure.

I really like Hence’s delivery because of its smoothness, balance, and simplicity. He doesn’t play any games with it and effortlessly tosses it up there.

Neither Hence nor Winn were expected and are both very intriguing prep picks. For the first time since 2015, the Cardinals took three prep players to start the draft. In 2015, it was Nick Plummer, Jake Woodford, and Bryce Denton. Hopefully this works out better.

Winn is also an Arkansas commit but should be signable.

Pick No. 70: Alec Burleson

The Cardinals continued their theme of picking outside of their usual box with Burleson at 70. Burleson is the best two-way player in college baseball, playing at East Carolina. As of right now, I’d say Burleson isn’t the most exciting pick the Cardinals made in the draft, but he fits the “solid college player” profile the Cardinals have so much success developing.

Burleson played on the USA National Team last summer, slugging .467 over and games and throwing 10.2 innings with a 2.53 ERA. If he’s playing in the field, the sweet-swinging lefty is a fit for a corner outfield spot or first base. As a pitcher, Burleson is a little jerky and doesn’t have a particularly exciting set of pitches.

Most see Burleson as someone who will transition to full-time hitting. His best tool is his hit tool with gap power more than over the fence power and that will be his ticket to the bigs if he can make it work.

Burleson is probably a guy who will sign below slot, saving the Cards some money to spend on the prep guys drafted before him.

If Burleson turns into a 30-homer guy, it will be the latest in the Cardinals’ devil magic, but don’t look down on Burleson at 70 overall.

Next. A few intriguing Day 2 options. dark

Randy Flores broke form and expectations in a big way this draft, but it definitely seems like the Cardinals had a top-10 draft of any team in baseball. We’ll have the breakdown on the Cardinals’ other three picks soon, but for now, this second round HAUL could make up the next round of top Cardinal prospects.

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