The St. Louis Cardinals have, once again, managed to defy my expectations with their MLB Draft strategy, and this time around have gone one step further and put me in a position I never expected.
The Redbirds picked exactly the sort of player I would have hoped they could get. They picked the kind of player we were pretty much all hoping against hope they would be able to come away with early in the draft, and the sort of player so rare in this particular draft there seemed virtually no way they would find one.
And in spite of all that, I find myself in the position of feeling slightly disappointed. Because the Cardinals took the upside play I'm always begging for, took a shot on a superstar talent capable of serving as a possible cornerstone offensive talent, and here I was hoping they would take the college righthander.
It's a weird world, isn't it?
As much as I hated seeing Walker Buehler pass the Cardinals by, and worse, go to the $%*@#&ing Dodgers, Nick Plummer is a rare talent, and I can't deny being excited by his potential.
Coming into the draft, we discussed on the podcast how few elite offensive talents there were to be had in this particular draft class. Nick Plummer just happens to be one of those rare guys this year. I love the swing, and I think he hits.
If I said to you as a comp....J.D. Drew, only without the arm to play right field, what would you think? I can't say Plummer has Drew's incredible plate discipline; it's nearly impossible to judge that well enough in a high school kid for me to make that kind of declaration. But, the physical tools remind me a bit of Drew. The same kind of coiled, explosive bat speed, similar sneaky speed that surprises you every time you see it.
Can Plummer play center field? I don't know. I have my doubts, honestly. He has the wheels for it, I believe, at least for now, but will that last? That's a very good, and very tough, question. Let me put it this way: I believe Nick Plummer has at least as much athletic ability as Jon Jay. And I don't mean that as a shot at Jay, for once. What I mean is Plummer has better speed than Jay, and we've seen Jon Jay turn himself into a perfectly acceptable center fielder at the major league level.
The bottom line is this: the Cardinals are betting on the bat here. Plummer is a good athlete, but not an off the charts brilliant one. He'll play center if we're lucky, left if not, and could produce offensively at an elite level, both for a high average and plus power. Maybe not so much over the fence pop, but the kind of doubles machine power that Matt Carpenter possesses? I believe it's possible, yes.
I like this pick. I don't love it; the guy I wanted to fall to the Cardinals more than nearly any other player was sitting there, and the Redbirds passed on him. Plummer could be an elite offensive player, though, and in a draft where there was virtually no high-ceiling offense to be had, the Cards did very well to come up with one of the very few guys with that kind of potential.
They also managed to once again take one of the only players realistically available to them I missed writing up a full report on, which makes me think they're doing it on purpose at this point. Next year I'm going to write up literally every single player except my favourite, and see if I can't game this system.
via Baseball Factory: