MLB Mock Draft Roundup: Who do the experts have the Cardinals taking first in July?
By Eric Treuden
Every year, the MLB Draft is one of the more exciting events to take place during the season. Every organization is given the opportunity to sign players that will form the next waves of talent in the coming years. This year's draft will take place in Seattle, Washington, and will start on Sunday, July 9th.
This year, the two top names are easily Dylan Crews (an outfielder from LSU) and Chase Dollander (a right-handed pitcher from Tennessee).
The St. Louis Cardinals will not be anywhere near the very beginning of the draft thanks to the new rules surrounding draft order. In past years, the draft order was based on the previous year's regular season standings. This is not the case any longer, as the league put a "draft lottery" into place to switch things up. No longer can an organization trot out a horrendous 26-man roster in hopes of securing the top draft selection the following year.
Since the Cardinals made the playoffs in 2022, their draft spot was not affected. The first six picks were determined by the lottery while all non-playoff teams followed in reversed order from their winning percentages last year. After that, all playoff teams will draft based on how far they made it into the previous year's postseason.
Who do the experts have the Cardinals drafting first in 2023 MLB Mock Drafts?
Baseball America - first baseman/pitcher Bryce Eldridge
Baseball America's first 2023 Mock Draft has the Cardinals taking an intriguing two-way player in Bryce Eldridge. The 6-foot-7 giant is not like most two-way players who very clearly prefer either hitting or pitching. So far throughout his still-developing career, he's excelled in both roles. On the mound, his fastball sits in the 94-96mph range with a slow slider and changeup to go with it. At the plate, he swings it from the right side and has massive raw power. He likely will not be the next Shohei Ohtani, but his tools are legitimate on both sides of the ball.
Baseball Prospect Journal - pitcher Will Sanders
Will Sanders is another huge kid, standing at 6-foot-6 and using every inch of that frame to overpower hitters. His repertoire on the mound is said to have five promising pitches in it, highlighted by his mid-90s four-seam fastball and slider, which is shaping up to be his go-to out pitch. The 21-year-old is a college-level player, unlike Eldridge, and looked sharp through parts of three seasons at South Carolina. If there is any larger concerns for Sanders, it's his control that needs a bit of work. However, he is aware of this and is consciously putting in the work to command his pitchers better.
MLB.com - pitcher Thomas White
MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo rounds out this trio with another player who's completely different than the other two. Thoms White, a left-hander who stands at 6-foot-5, would be the first-ever high school lefty to be selected in the first round of an MLB Draft if he is able to land with the Cards. He has a fastball that can reach up to 98mph and a high-70s curveball that he uses exceptionally to throw hitters off. Heater one pitch, slow curve the next, an always lethal combo. Some scouts are comparing him to Matthew Liberatore early on, which is a solid comp to have as such a young pitcher.