Well, THAT was a bit of a surprise wasn't it? For an organization that pretty much loathes taking high ceiling, bat first high school players as a hard and fast rule (ever since Pete Kozma "Pete Kozma'd") I'm relatively sure that nobody saw those first three picks coming. If you want to rehash them, Aaron will have a thread up today (it might possibly be up already) on the first three picks you can read snap reactions and profiles in the story stream.
Here's my quick and dirty evaluations of the players the Cardinals selected last night:
Keith Law echoes my thoughts pretty well in his draft analysis that went up late last night:
Plummer was a scouting opportunity of sorts -- he hit very well last summer, but was hard to scout this spring because the competition was so poor and his league started hitters with a 1-1 count. That meant teams had to weigh last summer's looks to an unusual extent, and focus on his mechanics and body this spring. It's a great, short, quick swing that produces very hard contact with some power, so while it's almost certainly a left-field profile -- especially since his throwing was a little worse this spring than last year -- I think the bat will profile there.
In a word: Risk.
Which makes this pick interesting in that the Cardinals generally don't like a lot of risk in the profiles of the players they're going to invest a few million bucks in right out of the gate -- even the high school players they've taken in the Mozeliak era have been the lower risk type who have polished skills already (Jack Flaherty, Ronnie Williams, and Oscar Mercado come to mind). There's an outside chance that the club thinks that Plummer can play CF, where the bat will surely be plus, but likely they just drafted the best possible bat available in this spot.
I can't complain: This is what the farm system is bereft of at the moment, and the club finally taking a high upside bat with considerable ceiling with their first pick is something I've long wanted them to do.
This one I don't like as much, mostly because he doesn't have any secondary pitches of note at this point, doesn't have the plus velocity of a guy that you would take in the top 50 who doesn't have secondary pitches, and Chris Betts was still on the board when the Cardinals took Woodford.
As I said last night: I'd rather have the guy with a 20% shot of becoming Bryan McCann than the guy with a 20% shot of becoming...Rick Porcello? Especially when four of the pitchers the Cardinals drafted a year ago profile to have better stuff than Woodford does, and only Jack Flaherty was drafted higher than Woodford went. Seems like a poor selection to me given that he wasn't the best pitcher on anyone's board at the time, and Betts might be top 20 talent at a position of need. Woodford also has a supposedly strong commitment to Florida, but I'm certain the Cardinals would not have drafted him here if they felt he wasn't going to sign.
In short: The Cardinals must see things here that I don't (and, well, they should, since they do this for a living and I didn't stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night).
I saw three different mock drafts that had the Cardinals tied to Denton among their top 100 selections. After the two high schoolers were taken early I was certain we weren't going to see him drafted, given his commitment to Vanderbilt and the fact that he's also a fairly risky proposition as a max swing guy who has a lot of questions about his defense at 3B -- enough that some of profiled him in right field in the long term. That would knock his stock down considerably as a prospect, but in the video I've seen, he seems to actually field his position pretty well while not looking horribly smooth doing it.
It's the swing that intrigues me most: Bryce Denton swings hard at nearly everything. It's not Javier Baez-style I-swung-so-hard-I-nearly-fell-down, but more I'm-swinging-this-bat-like-it's-a-sledge-hammer hard, if the difference makes any sense to anyone but me. Plummer is more of a contact first hitter with good power potential, Denton is more of a three-true-outcomes potential who can hopefully make enough contact for his raw power to come through.
So what to expect for Day 2? A lot less risk, a lot higher floor talent, and a lot more college players is my expectation -- but since that's what I projected for these three picks perhaps the old Hollywood adage of "Nobody knows anything" applies here as well as anything.