2012 Draft Preview Nine: General Discussion and A Few Favourites

May 29, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Tyler Greene (27) fields a single to second off the bat of Atlanta Braves left fielder Martin Prado (not pictured) during the 3rd inning at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Paul Abell-US PRESSWIRE

Howdy, y'all!

So the draft, it be just more than a week away, yar. (Apparently I'm doing a pirate thing today. Not sure why.) It always sneaks up on me, it does, but this year be worse than most.

Yar.

Okay, enough of that. I'll save it for National Talk Like a Pirate Day in September.

Hey, have you guys noticed Wes Anderson hasn't made a movie in a really long time? I think the last one he did was Darjeeling Limited, and that's been, what, five years ago? Wait, never mind, I forgot he did the Fantastic Mr. Fox. (criminally underrated, by the way, and unfortunately largely ignored.) I forgot that was one of his, being animated and all.

Speaking of Wes Anderson, when I heard they were trying to make a Ghostbusters 3, but Bill Murray was holding out, my former colleague at the RFT Keegan Hamilton and I were talking about Murray only doing Wes Anderson movies now, and we decided they should just have Anderson direct Ghostbusters. At the very least the Ghostbusters would have really interesting tracksuitish uniforms. And their proton packs would all be cool analog electronics from the early 70s, with big voltmeters all over the place.

I also kind of picture the film as being populated with very understatedly sad ghosts who haunt Gilded Age hotels in a very half-hearted manner, then just sort of give up once the Ghostbusters come to eliminate them. Entering in slow motion with a British Invasion band playing something very grand and sad, of course. I'm thinking something like "Imagine the Swan," by the Zombies. Fucking love that song. Ghost Peter Venkman, striding in alongside the surviving Ghostbusters, all in their old grey coveralls, with the Zombies telling you all about the colours having gone. I would totally go see that movie.

What the hell am I talking about?

Anyway, the draft. It's next week. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, in fact. Which, yes, totally pisses me off. They couldn't have started it on Wednesday? Wednesday-Thursday-Friday would be soooo much better, MLB! What the hell?!

I haven't done nearly as many scouting reports as I would have liked this year, but here they are, collected for your edification. Hopefully I've managed to put a fair amount of information out there.

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Part Five

Part Six

Part Seven

Part Eight

Eight of these isn't bad; twelve to fifteen is really more where I need to be in order to get in as many players as I would like. Oh well. Maybe next year.

Anyhow, seeing as how we're right up against the draft now, I thought that rather than throwing a final batch of scouting reports at you today I would just go over a few of my favourite players, and stick around for a little while after I finish this in case anyone wants to do a little chatting.

Pitchers

On the pitching side of things, I'm actually pretty high on this draft class. I know the overall talent level this year is down from last season's historic haul, but I think the dropoff is somewhat overstated by the punditry. But, that's the way it goes, I suppose. Hell, we really have no idea if the 2011 draft was historically great or not yet. Won't for quite awhile, either, as a matter of fact. We think it was great, but until we see how the players taken work out we won't really know, you know?

My personal favourite pitchers in this draft (that I think the Cards have a chance at drafting):

Honourable Mention: Kevin Gausman, RHP, LSU -- I loved him back in 2010, when I thought the Cardinals should have drafted him, and I love him now. I've liked Gausman so long at this point it's beginning to feel like an unrequited crush. Sadly, he'll be long gone by the time the Cards pick, barring something really weird related to his status as a draft-eligible sophomore. Sigh.

Hunter Virant, LHP, California HS -- Best name among all the pitchers. Left-handed. Love the delivery. He hasn't really done much to improve his draft stock this spring, but he's still my personal favourite.

Lucas Giolito, RHP, California HS -- The elbow issues make him a wild card at this point. Even so, the talent is enormous and undeniable, and I would be willing to take the chance on him. I think his delivery needs work, but this guy could be an absolute monster down the road.

Brett Mooneyham, LHP, Stanford -- Love the stuff, like the delivery, and his college seniordom could help keep his price tag low. Not that that's a big selling point for me normally, but with the number of picks the Cards have there could be some strategic spending.

Tyler Gonzales, RHP, Texas HS -- I like athletes who happen to pitch, and Gonzales fits that bill. I didn't get around to covering him, unfortunately, but I really like his long-term potential. He's played shortstop throughout high school and is a top notch athlete who can run his fastball up to 96 already. Very raw, but the payoff could be huge. Love this kid.

Pat Light, RHP, Monmouth -- Another guy I didn't get around to covering, sadly. I like Light's arm action, and the stuff is legit. Low- to mid-90s with the fastball, a nice curve, and a changeup that needs work but actually looks to me like it has real potential. I'm a fan of the guy.

Position Players

Okay, so the position player side of things really is pretty thin this year. College bats in particular are thin on the ground; I can't argue with that. On the other hand, there are a couple of prep position players, outfielders, mostly, that I really like. Plenty of athleticism, just needs some time to percolate.

Stryker Trahan, C, Louisiana HS -- Most of us know Trahan's name by now; it's been thrown around quite a lot in connection with the Cardinals. He's an excellent fit for the organisation in my opinion (and the opinions of lots of others), possessing an excellent blend of high-end talent and positional value. Not everyone is sure he'll end up a catcher, but enough do that I think he's close to a best case scenario for the Cards.

Richie Shaffer, 3B/1B, Clemson -- I like Shaffer's bat, and I did all the way back when I was doing some of the earliest installments of this series. Unfortunately, he's hit well enough this spring there's a very good chance he goes earlier than the Cards' first pick, but if he's there I would like the pick. I actually think he has a decent shot at sticking at third base, which is the other reason I like him, but there's a fair amount of disagreement on that front.

Albert Almora, OF, Florida HS -- Almora is another one whose stock has risen to the point there's a good chance he's gone by the time the Redbirds go on the clock, but he's not so far out of reach I can't see a chance of him making it to nineteen. I wouldn't bet on it, by any means, but that doesn't mean there's no chance. I'm crossing my fingers.

Skye Bolt, OF, Georgia HS -- Toolsy outfielder, great name, switch-hitter. He's going to be around in the second round, I think, and I would love to see the Cards pop him if he is.

Trey Williams, 3B, California HS -- Williams has some of the best pure bat speed in the draft, and should hit for power down the road. It's an area the Cardinals are thin in their minor league system, and I wouldn't be surprised to see them try to add a player like this. He has plus athleticism pretty much across the board, though his speed is just average, and I think he could be a very good defender down the road as well.

This is just a partial list, of course; there are tons of players in this draft I really like. But, it's a start.

I'll be here until, say, close to noon. I may have to duck out a bit earlier, but I'll be here awhile. If anyone wants to talk draft, speak now or forever hold your peace.

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