After concluding a look back at the 2017 MLB Draft last week, today we’ll take a peek at some standouts from the draft of a decade ago The 2007 draft did not produce a star-studded cast like some years have; however, there were a few selections that eventually panned out for the Cardinals in one way or another.
St. Louis’s first pick of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft was infielder Pete Kozma. Kozma made it to the Majors by 2011 and had a full-time role by 2013. His 2013 season of 143 games was his most — by plenty. Kozma slashed just .217/.275/.273 with a meager 49 wRC, leading to a demotion by 2014 and free agency by the end of the 2015 season.
Baseball America had a report on Kozma prior to the 2007 draft:
Needless to say, this wasn’t quite the case with Kozma - at least during his tenure in the Gateway City. Kozma is currently a free agent after being designated for assignment by the Texas Rangers.
It wasn’t all bad with Kozma and the Cardinals, though. There’s a reason why he was relentlessly greeted with a chorus of disapproval from many Nationals Park crowds following his 2012 performance. And from the Cardinals’ perspective, it’s a sweet, unforgettable reason:
Taken in the third round of the 2007 draft was infielder Daniel Descalso. Descalso was able to satisfactorily play all over the diamond, and did so at the big-league level for 148 games in 2011 as a member of the World Champion Cardinals. Descalso logged 143 games in 2012 and 123 more in 2013. Descalso’s workload lessened by 2014, when he appeared in just over 100 games. During the 2012 and 2013 seasons, Descalso appeared in at least 22 games at three infield positions - second base, third base, and shortstop.
With Matt Carpenter and Kolten Wong cracking the club and commanding primary consideration for daily infield play, Descalso moved on from St. Louis after 2014. Descalso spent two years in Colorado Rockies before helping the Arizona Diamondbacks advance to the NLDS in 2017.
Left-hander Sam Freeman was selected by the Cardinals in the 24th round in 2007. Freeman debuted at the big-league level in 2012 and had one key season out of the bullpen in 2014.
Freeman pitched in 44 games for St. Louis in 2014, recording 38 innings. The lefty worked to a 2.61 ERA with a 81.2 left on-base percentage to go along with 35 punchouts.
The Cardinals traded Freeman to the Rangers after the 2014 season, and the lefty currently is employed by the Atlanta Braves.
The final player we’ll look at from the 2007 draft class is third baseman Arnoldi Anthony Cruz. You may better know him as former Cardinals backup catcher Tony Cruz. Cruz served as Yadier Molina’s understudy from 2011 to 2015, appearing in an average of 51 games during the span.
One of Cruz’s most memorable moments on the field in a Cardinals uniform came in the 2014 postseason - the October highlighted by San Francisco Giants hurler Madison Bumgarner. Cruz hit one of only three home runs allowed by Bumgarner that fall, and Cruz’s long ball gave the Cardinals a glimmer of hope in Game 5 of the 2014 NLCS.
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