Not too terribly long after this draft, scouting director Chris Correa got fired and went to jail for hacking the Houston Astros system. In the meantime, he was scouting director for exactly one draft and one draft only. And that is the draft I’ll be looking at today. As I said in my post about the 2018 MLB Draft, I need to switch up the formula I was using since most players are not still in the Cardinals organization. So, I’ll look at players currently in the MLB, players still in minors, and probably some players who were once interesting.
Jordan Hicks, 105th overall, RHP
The first real hit of the draft with four high schoolers taken with the first four picks. The Tommy John was a blow, but he was in the middle of being a great reliever and I hope he picks up right where he left off.
Harrison Bader, 3rd round, OF
The first four picks were all high schoolers and three of them, to my eye, don’t look like real good odds to be successful. Hell, two of them just had bad seasons in High A. But they changed tactics and drafted a college player and boy did they hit a home run with this one.
Paul DeJong, 4th round, SS
Jesus. Back-to-back absolutely amazing picks here. We’ve got the centerfielder and shortstop of the Cardinals for the foreseeable future. They already have 15 fWAR between the two of them with a combined nine years left under team control. Here’s an over/under on both players’ combined WAR through first six years: 35. That’s assuming Bader is a 2 WAR player and DeJong a 3 WAR one so not as crazy as you think.
Ryan Helsley, 5th round, RHP
And the hits keep coming. Helsley seems kind of “alright” more than something great, especially if he stays in the bullpen like it seems like he will, but he’s still going to be a part of a major league team for the next few seasons. Three hits in a row. I’d be curious how often a team nails three picks in a row and if it ever happens past the first round. I’d guess not much.
Jake Woodford, 39th overall, RHP
Stats - AAA: 151.2 IP, 20.4 K%, 11.7 BB%, 4.15 ERA, 5.54 FIP, 6.22 xFIP
Prospect is perhaps a generous term for what Woodford is at this point. He used to be a prospect, sure. He fell off top 20 team lists after his 2018 and his 2019 wasn’t really better. Still, he turns later this year, so he’s still going to be just 23 next year. He’s Rule 5 eligible, but I’m not really sure it’s necessary to protect him. Maybe someone will give him the Matt Bowman treatment and put him in the bullpen.
Nick Plummer, 23rd overall pick, OF
Stats - A+: 356 PAs, .176/.312/.294, 88 wRC+, .271 BABIP, 33.4 K%, 13.2 BB%, .118 ISO
Plummer is, for now, still in the organization. He was drafted quite young, so he only turned 23 in July, which means that next year will still be his age 23 season. Nonetheless, not a whole lot of positives from this season. After a 2018 season at Peoria with a stat line that was hard to project for MLB success, his numbers got worse in Palm Beach unsurprisingly. Lower walk rate, higher K rate, less power, worse BABIP. I’m curious if he gets released, gets a second shot at Palm Beach, or gets promoted to Springfield as a last ditch effort.
Bryce Denton, 66th overall pick, OF
Stats - A+: 189 PAs, .202/.265/.260, 59 wRC+, 31.7 K%, 7.4 BB%, .058 ISO
He also has 25 games played in Single A, possibly rehab related since he’s been injured a good portion of this year, but those numbers are similarly awful to his Palm Beach numbers. Cardinals drafted three high school players with their first three picks and all three are a good warning sign why teams like drafting college players.
Ian Oxnevad, 8th round, LHP
Well, still playing is the wrong way to phrase Oxnevad’s professional presence this year. He’s been out all year with an injury. Due to his delivery and lack of strikeouts, hard to envision a starting role for him, but he’s just 22 so maybe he’ll return a different pitcher post-injury. Or move to the bullpen.
Jacob Schlesener, 12th round, LHP
Stats - A- 57.2 IP, 30.6 K%, 13.2 BB%, 4.37 ERA, 3.71 FIP, 58.3 GB%; A: 16.2 IP, 20.8 K%, 33 BB%, 12.42 ERA, 8.97 FIP
The Cardinals drafted a lot of high schoolers in this draft, definitely more than the following drafts, so there are certainly more players still in the system than I expected. Jacob - not spelling his last name twice - is only 22 and not quite able to make the short season to full season ball yet. He seems to have conquered State College, but his Peoria numbers are breathtakingly bad.
Chris Chinea, 17th round, C
Stats - AA: 306 PAs, .280/.324/.441, 113 wRC+, 5.2 BB%, 27.1 K%, .361 BABIP
Don’t get too excited about those AA numbers. Chinea mostly plays 1B, not catcher, and his 25. Granted, if you have that K/BB ratio and need a .361 BABIP for a 113 wRC+, well that’s not that great either.
Ben Yokley, 29th round, RHP
Stats - A+: 47 IP, 19.9 K%, 9.7 BB%, 3.26 ERA, 4.41 FIP
Yokley was drafted out of the Air Force, and after a relatively promising debut at Johnson City, went on active duty for two years. His return in 2018 was delayed by hip surgery that kept him out most of last year. So he entered this year 26, and had a “nothing special” season in 2019.
Parker Kelly, 34th round, RHP
Stats - A: 75 IP, 20.1 K%, 6.2 BB%, 4.08 ERA, 3.71 FIP
So this is fun. Kelly did not sign in this particular draft, but three years later, he was drafted in the 20th round of the 2018 draft by the Cardinals again. Interesting.
Had a Good Run
Jacob Evans, 6th round, LHP
Evans was at best a prospect of note at his highest point, but he seemed like he might be able to make it as a member of the bullpen. After a year of not striking anyone out, the Cards converted him to the bullpen in 2017, where he showed promise. When his numbers tailed off in Springfield last year, they released him midseason. Had severe injury problems while here.
Ryan McCarvel, 19th round, C
McCarvel was an above average hitter at every stop until Palm Beach last year. If he hit just a little better (81 wRC+), he might be in AA right now. He is only 24 so he was on a good track before Palm Beach.
And that concludes the 2015 MLB Draft. In case you missed it, here is the 2017 MLB Draft and here is the 2016 MLB Draft. I have the 2018 one linked in the opening paragraph as well. This was a bit of a weird draft, but an undoubtedly successful one.