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St. Louis Cardinals 2014 Draft - Day 2: College Edition

The Cardinals focused on right handed pitching in the first day of the draft and left the second day with a half dozen more college players to round out their draft pool.

Austin Gomber, FAU
Austin Gomber, FAU

Yesterday, Joe did a solid summary of the Cardinals top 100 selections on Day 1 of the 2014 MLB Amateur player draft. RB wrote up summaries on Luke Weaver and Jack Flaherty on Thursday night, happy with the Flaherty pick, not so much with the Weaver selection.  I'll save my comments on both until after the draft has been completed and we have a good idea of the entire draft class, but suffice to say I'm a bit disappointed.  Not that pitchers were taken, mind you, but that the ones that were taken might not have been the best bets on the board at the time.

Let's dive in and look at the Cardinals selections from the second day of the draft, which goes to round 10.  Draft aficionados will note that the bonus pool encapsulates the picks from the first 10 rounds (and the two competitive balance rounds).  If you don't sign the guys in your top ten picks, you lose the amount of bonus money assigned to their slot from your pool.

This is likely the reason that the Cardinals (and a lot of teams across baseball) took a lot of college players with their selections on Day 2: College players, especially seniors, have fewer signability concerns. College players pose less risk to the overall bonus pool and are also likely to sign for below slot money, freeing the team up to go over slot to sign players like Jack Flaherty, high school seniors with firm commitments to a college program.

Round 3, #104: Trevor Megill, RHP, Loyola Marymount (JR)

The first thing I thought when I say this pick was "Hank Gathers U!!", and Megill could probably have played basketball given his 6'8", 235 pound frame. Scouting reports mention his fastball and a good changeup with a developing breaking ball (which is starting to sound like a broken record at this point in this draft). Megill underwent Tommy John surgery in the spring of 2013, missed all of his junior season and is slated to play in the Cape Cod League this summer. The Cardinals consider him to be a tough sign as he's probably a first or second round talent when healthy and has a year of eligbility left to prove that he is.

The only video I can find is from 2012, his freshman year:

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Megill's delivery is pretty much straight over the top, which, along with his tall frame, allows him to get a ton of downward plane on his pitches. The curveball looks to have decent depth, but he doesn't command it well in this clip, and we only see a couple of changeups -- supposedly a pitch he developed in his sophomore year before getting hurt.

Round 4, #135: Austin Gomber, LHP, Florida Atlantic (SOPH)

Gomber is a draft eligible sophomore and has been the ace of Florida Atlantic's pitching staff for the last couple of seasons. He's big, but not as big as Trevor MeGill: 6'5", 215 pounds. Gomber is yet another player with ties to the Cape Cod League, the Cardinals preferred hunting ground for college level prospects, having pitched there in the summer of 2013.

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Another pitcher selected, another pitcher whose changeup might be his best pitch. Gomber also has a low 90's fastball, a solid slider (albeit one that can plane a bit at times) but the big thing is his command of all three pitches and his pitchability, which is supposed to be excellent. Could be a slightly older, more polished version of Ian McKinney, who the Cardinals selected out of high school in 2013.

Round 5, #165: Darren Seferina, 2B, Miami-Dade CC

Basically he's the poor man's Kolten Wong.  He does all the things that Wong does well: Make contact, run the bases, play defense at 2B, but he doesn't do any of those things quite as well as Wong did coming out of college and also doesn't have Kolten's gap power. Here's some video of a couple of PA's from last spring, He's got a good solid base and the bat-to-ball skills are excellent.  Still possibly some room to build on his slight frame too, so maybe the power will come yet. Scouts like his defense and think that he could play either middle infield position but is likely better at 2B.  He's also got some Cardinal ties already:

Seferina received congratulatory messages from those close to him, but it was one from Cardinals outfielder Jon Jay that stood out. Jay and Seferina share the same advisor, and have spent time together at a batting cage in Miami during the offseason.

"He really helped me a lot, because last year, I was a good hitter, but this year, I understand what pitch to look for in what count and what to do, because he taught me a lot," Seferina said. "He taught me to stay behind the ball a lot and hit the ball on the ground, because you have to use your speed."

Round 6, #195: Andrew Sohn, SS, Western Michigan (JR)

Sohn was MAC Player of the Year in 2014, which as a general rule means a lot more in the NFL Draft than it does in the MLB one. He's hit well wherever he's played, including the wooden bat Northwoods League last summer.  He's got a good approach at the plate with bat control that allows him to drive the ball to all fields -- your prototypical high average hitter at the college level. He's flashed some power at times, but .120 ISO's are nothing to write home about, even in a northern college baseball league. He's got the ability to stick at SS and has a very strong arm, so if he can hit even a little he can be a potential utility player for the Cardinals in the future.

Round 7, #225: Brian O'Keefe, C, St. Josephs, PA (JR)

O'Keefe has been one of the better college backstops in the past couple of seasons, batting .350/.423/.519 with 7 homers in 214 PA's in 2014. He's shown improvement all three years in college and his defense is reported to be excellent behind the plate as well, albeit being a bit too aggressive at times in trying to pick runners off.

Round 8, #255: Nick Thompson, OF, College of William & Mary (JR)

This kid is really interesting: He completed his undergraduate degree in just two and a half years at Eastern Carolina, while being a solid contributor on the baseball field (but struggled to get playing time). Thompson then transferred to the College of Willam & Mary last fall and enrolled as a graduate student and an aspiring orthopedic surgeon, he's currently studying molecular biology as is a walk on to the W&M baseball program. He also hit .381 with a .498 on base this season playing OF, 2B, and 3B and hit 11 home runs which is what got noticed by scouts up and down the east coast this season.

Holy crap.

One would think that Thompson might be a really tough sign since he's doing so well academically and is applying to medical schools, but perhaps he just wants something to fall back on if his baseball career doesn't work out. Either way, one of the more impressive all-around guys drafted this year, for certain.

Round 9, #285: Daniel Poncedeleon, RHP, Embry-Riddle University (SR)

Lots of intrigue here: Poncedeleon was a top Conference USA pitcher in 2013 who was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 14th round of last year's draft. After verbally agreeing to terms with the Cubs a year ago, he flew to the team's facility in Arizona, failed a physical (interesting...), nullifying his agreement...only to have the NCAA declare him ineligible for the 2014 season, despite the Cubs sending numerous letters on his behalf that he never signed a legal contract or agreement to play professional baseball.

The NCAA, folks, the last bastion of ridiculous amateur rules made up by paid professional officials.

That's how he ended up playing NAIA (still amateur, just not as assholish about it) baseball for Embry-Riddle in 2014.

The failed physical is certainly interesting, but he should be an easy sign and did pitch really well and injury free for most of the last two seasons in two different leagues.

Round 10, #315: Danny Diekroeger, 1B/3B, Stanford University

Diekroeger played mostly 3B in his college career before moving across the diamond to make way for 2014 first round selection Alex Blandino to play there this season. He hit .321/.361/.441 in the Cape Cod League last summer and hit well in his senior campaign at Stanford. Whether he can move back to 3B is a good question, but he's got the prototypical "Stanford swing" from the left side and can drive the ball equally to all fields. He's not shown a ton of power in college, with just 7 homers in his college career, but it can't hurt the Cardinals any to snag a college senior at a position with a ton of need in the low minors and see if he pans out.


The draft continues today and I would expect some high ceiling players with signability questions selected by the Cardinals in rounds 11-13, similar to what they did a year ago.