The St. Louis Cardinals' top 2008 draft picks are mostly notable for why they aren't currently in the organization. Brett Wallace and Shane Peterson aren't highly touted prospects anymore, but they netted the Cardinals Matt Holliday; a few years later Alex Castellanos's unexpected breakout season brought them Rafael Furcal. Mitch Harris, their risky, high-upside 13th-round pick, has never thrown a professional pitch, because he's spent the last five years in the Navy. After being denied early release last year, Harris posted this on Instagram last week:
Harris wasn't an ordinary 13th-round pick, but the risk of losing him for five years dropped him down there. Cue the worst-case scenario: The Cardinals lost him for five years, and now he's a 27-year-old with no pro baseball experience. But it's great to see him playing baseball again, whatever happens, and amid all the pieces about players being in the best shapes of their lives he'll make for a fascinating story.
And it's worth keeping this in mind, when judging the gamble the Cardinals made: If Mitch Harris manages to finish even one run above replacement level in the major leagues, he'll become the second-most-valuable player of their entire draft.
|1s||39||Cardinals||*Lance Lynn (minors)||RHP||2.4||53||54||0||.056||.159||53||19||8||3.67|
|10||305||Cardinals||Alex Castellanos (minors)||2B||-0.3||16||23||1||.174||.591|
|32||965||Cardinals||Sam Freeman (minors)||LHP||-0.3||24||0||0||24||0||2||5.40|
|1||13||Cardinals||Brett Wallace (minors)||1B||-0.5||232||709||16||.250||.699|