After a break in the series to look at some more time-relevant stories, we’ll continue to ‘scout the standouts’ today. We’ve covered eight years beginning with 2007, and today’s draft of discussion is 2015.
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Left-handed-hitting outfielder Nick Plummer was the Cardinals’ first pick in the 2015 MLB Draft. Plummer, drafted out of Brother Rice High School in Michigan, is rated as the team’s 25th prospect.
Plummer played in 51 games for the GCL Cardinals in 2015 after being the 23rd overall pick in the draft. We didn’t see him in action in 2016, however, as Plummer missed the entire season recovering from right hamate bone surgery.
Plummer returned to the field in 2017, playing in 92 games for the Peoria Chiefs; it was clear he had been away from the field for a bit. The 21-year-old Plummer batted just .198 in 346 plate appearances, scuffling with a 31.5 strikeout percentage and slugging rate of .288.
St. Louis’s third-round selection was outfielder Harrison Bader out of the University of Florida. The former Gator snapped through the system, reaching Double-A and Triple-A by 2016 and the big leagues by late July.
In 123 games with the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds in 2017, Bader smashed 20 home runs with a a 111 wRC+ to earn a call up to the Gateway City in the middle of the summer.
The 23-year-old Bader played in 32 games for the Cardinals in 2017, hitting three long balls and scoring ten runs - including a game-winning tally in his first game.
Right-handed hurler Jordan Hicks from Cypress Creek High School in Texas was the 105th overall pick in the 2015 draft. Hicks currently sits 13th on the team’s prospect list.
Hicks was excellent in 2017, pitching his way up to High-A Palm Beach. Hicks went 8-2 in 14 starts along the way with the Peoria Chiefs, posting a 3.35 ERA in 78 innings. With Palm Beach, Hicks had a 1.83 FIP in 27 innings. Hicks, who turned 21 years old in September, whiffed 32 batters and walked six in eight games (five starts) for the Cardinals.
The final player we’ll examine today may be the one most familiar: infielder Paul DeJong. DeJong was drafted by the Cardinals in the fourth round, 131st overall, out of Illinois State University. He, like Bader, made it to the Majors by 2017.
DeJong, who turned 24 years old in August, was very impressive in his first season of big-league play. Debuting in late May, DeJong went on to play in 108 games for St. Louis in 2017 - and his performance earned him league-wide attention.
The team’s primary shortstop from June on, DeJong slashed .285/.347/.469 with a 122 wRC+ in 443 plate appearances. With 25 home runs to lead the club (Matt Carpenter and Tommy Pham were second, with 23 long balls each), DeJong finished the year with a 3.0 WAR. All-Star Cody Bellinger of the Los Angeles Dodgers was the winner of the National League Rookie of the Year Award, and DeJong finished second behind him.
The video is credited to the official Minor League Baseball YouTube channel.