The Cardinals Rule 5 Draft Ends with a Whimper, Not a Bang

Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

The Cardinals lost and gained no one in the MLB phase of the Rule 5 draft; they lost 3 marginal- or non-prospects in the AAA draft and gained one back.

The MLB portion of the Rule 5 draft was uneventful for the Cardinals, and really around the league. Only 9 players were taken in the MLB portion of the draft. None of them were Cardinals, and none of them were taken by the Cardinals. Among the players targeted by the Red Baron on Wednesday, Marcos Mateo was claimed by Arizona, before the Cardinals had a chance to consider whether to make a claim on him.

In addition to the MLB portion of the draft, there are also AAA and AA phases of the draft, where players that are not on the reserve lists for the club's AA or AAA affiliates can also be grabbed.

The Cardinals lost three players in AAA round of the process, none of them terribly consequential.

Apparently, Jake Lemmerman did not impress the Cardinals after being obtained from LA in the Skip Schumaker trade; Lemmerman is back on the West Coast in the Padres org now. He was unable to improve on his low-average, low-power, high-walk rate profile in his second full season at the double-A level. While his 110 wRC+ at Springfield was perfectly respectable, he never had a strong prospect buzz around him.

I was a big Hector Hernandez fan when he was drafted in the 10th round as a teenaged left-handed pitcher from Puerto Rico. Hernandez stagnated in the low minors and never made a case for a promotion. He was last seen with a 1.40 K/BB rate and a 4.85 FIP in High-A ball. He's a good pick for Arizona, as someone who could finally put it all together someday, but he did not rank in the crowded pitching prospect field in the Cardinals org.

Similarly, Kevin Thomas has some promise; he'd simply gotten lost in the crowd. Not unlike Kevin Siegrist, he churned out several seasons as a sub-par starter in the minor leagues. Like Siegrist, he blossomed when given a chance to relieve; his K rate shot up to 31% as a reliever in AA in 2013. If Thomas can continue this success, the Twins may have snagged a decent right-handed middle reliever for their system.

* * * * * *

The Cardinals did some picking of their own. They snagged Greg Miclat from the Rangers in the AAA round of the Rule 5 draft. Miclat is a switch-hitting shortstop in the Texas system. He had a weak 2013, putting up only a 67 wRC+ at the AAA level. However, Miclat has shown more promise at other levels of the game, with a 106 wRC+ for the Orioles AA affiliate in 2011, and a 131 wRC+ in a half-season at high-A ball in 2010. Still, Miclat wasn't a prospect for the Rangers. The Cardinals likely see him as a warm body to keep Memphis and Springfield staffed, moreso than a future major leaguer.

The Cardinals also ended up with a wild card from the AA draft. Jesus Ustariz is a 20-year old first base prospect who joined the Tigers organization as a very young Venezuelan recruit. He's posted very good numbers in rookie ball, but carries a "raw" sticker. There's some upside to his modest power, solid contact, and his 1:1 K/BB ratio in rookie ball. He could turn out to be nothing, or he could find some success if challenged at higher levels. I'm assuming that the club scouted Ustariz and saw something they liked.

* * * * * *

Long story short; the Cardinals didn't lose anything much to speak of, but they didn't gain much either. Miclat seems to be a depth signing, and Ustariz seems like a long-shot to become a prospect.

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