2013 Draft Preview Final: A Few of my Favourite Things

Dilip Vishwanat

The final installment of the draft saga. It's like Wagner's Ring Cycle, except about baseball and not very good.

Ladies and gentlemen, the draft is nigh.

Tomorrow night, the various teams from around major league baseball will converge, and offer entry into their cartel, er, club to a number of very talented young men throughout this great land of ours, many of whom you have read about here over the past several months. Of course, as is the case virtually every year, I failed to get nearly as many of these scouting reports written as I would have liked, making me think next year I may need to start them right around Christmas if I'm actually going to accomplish all I want.

Anyway, the Future Redbirds guys will be all over the draft the next few days, offering you the very best analysis of each and every pick the Cardinals make you're going to find anywhere, so check back early and often throughout the draft.

I thought about doing a grab bag of scouting reports today, or even trying to hit all the players I wanted to cover but didn't, simply because I ran out of time, but in the end I decided I would just do the players I like most. Three position prospects, three pitchers. RB's personal bag of cheeseballs, the players that I just have a feeling about, for one reason or another. They're not all necessarily considerations for the first Cards' pick, mind you; these are just players that I am putting my own name on the line as backing.

Hitters

Tim Anderson, SS, East Central Community College (Alabama)

So, what's so great about this guy?

It's all projection right now for Anderson, who has just begun to show what he's capable of doing on the diamond with full-time work after a high school career that saw him more highly regarded as a point guard than shortstop.

The hit tool is still very raw for Anderson, but he possesses the kind of over-the-top natural athleticism you can't teach. He has 70+ raw speed, and more than enough raw power to impress anyone who sees him. The question, of course, is still how he'll translate those tools into production; Juco is a long ways from the majors, or even the Gulf Coast League.

I'm betting on Anderson to continue blossoming, and turn into an impact shortstop at the major league level one day. He could end up a 20/20 guy if things go just right for him, and I think he gets there.

Zack Collins, C, American Heritage High School (Florida)

So, what's so great about this guy?

Collins was one of the featured players in one of my first draft previews of the year. I loved him then, and I love him now. He's not a catcher long term; at least, I don't see him as one. But I see a bat, a terrific bat, a bat that will shadow the world with its horrible majesty, and I'm picking him in, say, the second round based entirely on what I believe is a very big offensive future.

Philip Ervin, OF, Samford

So, what's so great about this guy?

Honestly, I'm mostly sticking Ervin here for two reasons: one, to have a non-high schooler in my favourite three, and two, because I think there's a very, very good chance this is the player the Cardinals come away with if he's there when they pick at 19.

Ervin is a true center fielder with range to spare and speed that makes him an impact threat both in the field and on the basepaths. His build is compact and strong, as well, with good raw power packed into a somewhat undersized frame. It's that 5'11" height that is going to push a few teams away, though it likely won't lead to him falling very far.

He fits the mold of what the Cardinals hope their hyper-athletic outfielder draft of a few years ago turns into, and I think he has the kind of ceiling that would make him an outstanding long-term investment. The biggest reason I think the Redbirds might draft him, though? He was a monster in the Cape Cod League last summer, and if there's one thing we've all learned over the past few years, it's that Cape success has a direct correlation to wearing a Cardinal uniform in the future.

I like Ervin. You want a really stupid, almost guaranteed to look absolutely moronic in a couple years comp for him? Fine. Tim Raines. There you go. Enjoy.

Honourable Mention: Ryan Boldt and Austin Wilson

A pair of outfielders I find extremely intriguing, though both certainly come with their warts. Boldt is a cold-weather high school player from Minnesota, who has athletic ability shooting out of his ears most days, but has all the issues that come along with a much more limited track record than even his high school contemporaries from warmer environs. I'm a big fan of the kid.

Wilson, I'm sure we all remember. The extended flirtation, the longing glances, the time he ran off to Stanford in an attempt to find himself when his relationship with the real Cardinals didn't work out. The numbers for Wilson haven't been good, and the rate at which he strikes out is just terrifying, especially considering the way Stanford hitters usually approach things (see: Piscotty, Stephen), but I still like the potential Wilson brings to the table. Plus, it just seems fitting for him to end up with the Cardinals after all this time, doesn't it? The only problem? I'm not sure I would use a first round pick on Wilson now; in fact, I'm almost certain I wouldn't. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean someone won't, and it's very unlikely he's still on the board when I would feel good about picking him.

Further honourable mention: Jonathan Denney, high school catcher. Of the whole crop of high school catcher this year -- and there are a ton -- Denney is the one I like most, I think.

Lastly, I'm also a fan of Michael Lorenzen, outfielder for Cal State Fullerton. I covered him awhile back, comparing him to Jordan Schafer, and I still like that comp. He's never put his talent properly together into production, but that doesn't mean the potential isn't still significant.

Pitchers

Bobby Wahl, RHP, Ole Miss

So, what's so great about this guy?

For some reason, you always hear relief work attached to Bobby Wahl's name. I don't get it, and I don't agree. He throws hard, throws a plus curve, and flashes a changeup that could be a real weapon with more work as well. To me, he's Roy Oswalt with half a foot of extra height. I love this guy, and am putting my personal seal of approval on his future.

Note: Aaron's seal of approval is subject to change at any time, as well as later denials said seal was ever offered in the first place.

Robert Kaminsky, LHP, St. Joseph Regional High School (New Jersey)

So, what's so great about this guy?

I think Robert Kaminsky might have the single highest ceiling of any pitcher in this draft class. That's saying something, considering the quality of some of the arms floating around, but I honestly believe it. A fastball that touches 95 already, and a curveball that is just asking for someone to take it out back of the middle school gym form the basis of what could be a truly dominating repertoire for the kid. He's got a decent feel for a changeup, too, but high school pitchers rarely do much of anything with a change, and Kaminsky is not really much different.

He isn't a real big guy, and I'm sure that will frighten some teams off, but I personally couldn't care less. This is a special arm, and a potentially special pitcher, and I would dance naked in the streets if the Cardinals came away with him tomorrow night.

Devin Williams, RHP, Hazelwood West High School (Missouri)

So, what's so great about this guy?

I'm not immune to the lure of a good story, and a local kid playing for his childhood team is as good as a story gets. Williams is from right here in St. Louis, and seeing him put on a St. Louis Cardinal jersey would be pretty damned warm and goosebumpy, I have to admit.

Beyond that, though, the fact is Williams is a remarkably talented young man, with an arm that should take him off the board fairly early on. His fastball is one of my favourites of any pitcher in the draft, though the velocity as of now only sits in the 90-92 range. What I like so much is the movement on the pitch; Williams is one of those guys who, for whatever reason, just gets more run on the ball when he throws it than most people. It sinks, it cuts, it rides; the only thing his fastball never is is straight. David Sedaris is straighter than this kid's fastball.

Beyond the fastball, Williams' repertoire is still in its nascency. He throws a better-than-usual-for-high school changuep, one with hard downward bite, but it's probably only good about 30% of the time. He also uses a slider, but it still has a long way to go before it's a really usable weapon for him. He's got a high leg kick and shows his numbers to the hitter, both of which things I tend to like in a delivery, and his arm action, from what little slow-mo I've seen of him, looks surprisingly clean. I'm a big fan of this kid, and made the trek out to see a couple of his high school games in person. He also gets plenty of accolades for his makeup, as well, which isn't a deal-breaker for me one way or the other (I wouldn't want anyone judging me based on what I was like at 17; the horror....), but is certainly encouraging to hear.

Williams is committed to Mizzou, though I think there's very little chance he ever makes it there. He'll go in the first couple rounds, and some pro team will buy him out of college. The arm is just too exciting not to, I think. I would love it if the team doing that buying was, in fact, the Redbirds.

Honourable Mention: Kevin Ziomek, LHP, Vanderbilt

Ziomek doesn't have overwhelming stuff, but neither would I call it underwhelming. His repertoire is whelming, I suppose; exactly whelming. He throws three pitches, all three of which are quality; a low-90s fastball, solid slurvy breaking ball, and a really, really good changeup that I think is probably the pitch he'll lean on in the future as he takes the next step. The control is good but not great, and the arm action is less than ideal. Still, we're doing gut feeling players for me here today, and Ziomek is just one of those guys. I don't know why exactly I think he's going to be successful, but I just have a feeling about him.

So there's my last draft thing of the year, folks. I've enjoyed compiling, researching, and writing them, and I hope you guys all get something out of them.

My own dream scenario for this draft would probably be, say, Tim Anderson at 19 and Bobby Wahl at 28. I like Kaminsky even better, but I have a feeling he goes off the board before then. Anderson at 19, Wahl at 28, and one of either Devin Williams or Zack Collins thereafter.

Enjoy the draft, everybody. It's always one of my favourite events of the year. Take care, and I'll see you all next week.

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