3 players the Cardinals should target with the 7th pick in the 2024 MLB Draft

The Cardinals are poised to select a special player with the 7th overall pick in the 2024 MLB Draft.
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2. OF Braden Montgomery, Texas A&M

Texas A&M outfielder Braden Montgomery
Jun 8, 2024; College Station, TX, USA; Texas A&M outfielder Braden Montgomery (6) at bat during the first inning against the Oregon at Olsen Field, Blue Bell Park Mandatory Credit: Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports / Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports

Braden Montgomery is one of the most impressive power bats in this year's draft class. Montgomery is a switch-hitter who is equally explosive and twitchy from both sides of the plate. In 61 games this year for Texas A&M, Montgomery slashed .322/.454/.733 and crushed 27 home runs.

Power: Montgomery's most promising tool is, without a doubt, his power. It's not only plus raw power from both sides of the plate, but he consistently gets to it in games. Montgomery was one of just four hitters in Division College baseball with a 90th percentile exit velocity greater than 110 mph, a hard hit rate greater than 65%, and a barrel rate greater than 35%. Montgomery's blend of raw and game power is some of the best in the entire class, and his ability to display the power from both sides of the plate is extraordinary.

Hit: Montgomery's hit tool is a divisive topic among evaluators, but I believe he'll hit enough for the power to play. His contact rate pretty easily ranks worst among the top grouping of collegiate players in the class. This year, Montgomery made contact 85% of the time in the strike zone, which is acceptable, but that number dropped to 49% outside the strike zone. Most of the whiff was against offspeed and breaking pitches. Montgomery will certainly have to improve his pitch recognition in pro ball, where the quality and command of offspeed and breaking pitches are far better. Montgomery does a solid job of avoiding mishits when he makes contact, so he has the tools to overperform his mediocre at best contact rate.

Arm/Run/Defense:  Montgomery started his collegiate career as a two-way player, sitting mid-90s with his fastball. His arm strength is an easy double-plus scouting grade. Montgomery is a close-to-average runner and fits a corner outfield profile defensively. He primarily played right field across his collegiate career, and that's where he fits the best due to his outstanding arm strength.  

Braden Montgomery's batted ball data is on par with Charlie Condon for the best in the entire draft class. There are some questions about his contact ability, specifically in terms of recognizing and hitting offspeed and breaking pitches. Nonetheless, Montgomery improved his plate discipline this year, and I believe in his ability to adjust his approach when necessary.