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Reviewing the Cardinals first five picks from the 2019 draft

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Pittsburgh Pirates Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The St. Louis Cardinals 2019 Draft is not off to a great start. Just two players have appeared in the Major Leagues from this class and only one player from it remains in the team’s top 30 prospect on MLBPipeline. Unlike the 2018 Draft St. Louis did not have any success after the fifth round. Down below we are going to look at their first five picks and some of the notable players selected near those Cardinals selections.

Round 1, Pick 19 - Zack Thompson - LHP

Thompson made his major league debut for the Cardinals last year and pitched to a solid 2.08 ERA. His analytics weren’t as impressive as his xERA was 3.72 and his FIP was 3.89. Analytics aside though, the Cardinals drafted an MLB future who is going to be a part of the bullpen for years to come. Sure, the organization missed out on drafting a future ace one pick later in George Kirby, but teams will always take a big-league contributor.

Notable player selected - Round 1, Pick 20 - George Kirby - Seattle Mariners

Round 2, Pick 58 - Tre Fletcher - CF

Despite being a 2019 draftee Fletcher has only appeared in 76 career games, with only 6 of those coming higher than rookie ball. He ended the 2021 season 24th on the Cardinals top 30 prospects in MLBPipeline but didn’t close out the 2022 season on the list. Fletcher future is difficult to project at this point in his career due to his overall lack of playing time since being drafted. His stats are currently doing him little help as he is a lifetime .196 hitter and he hit a minuscule .063 in 63 at bats last season. What Fletcher does have going for him is his youth as does not turn 22 in April of this year. His age still opens the door for him to turn it around as a prospect, but if he cannot afford to struggle this season.

Notable player selected - Round 2, Pick 67 - Josh Smith - New York Yankees

Round 3, Pick 96 - Tony Locey - RHP

Locey is another one of the many Cardinals prospects who was a part of the Nolan Arenado trade. In his 12 games in the Cardinals organization, he had a 5.29 ERA and 12 walks in 17 innings. He was solid in A ball for the Colorado Rockies in 2021 with a 3.34 ERA. He repeated that success in 2022 at that same level with a 3.09 ERA in 12 starts. However, took a major step back last year as he had a 12.11 ERA in 14 AA games, 9 of which were starts.

Notable player selected - Round 3, Pick 98 - Michael Harris ll - Atlanta Braves

Round 4, Pick 125 - Andre Pallante - RHP

The Cardinals found an MLB player in the fourth round which is always going to be considered a success. Like Thompson above, Pallante was solid when it came to the back of the baseball card numbers. But when you go deeper than that, he was largely average to below average in 2022. His average exit velocity, hard hit percentage, k rate, walk percentage and whiff percentage were all well below average. However, his xERA was slightly better than average and his xSLG fell in the 69th percentile. Pallante will likely slot into the Cardinals bullpen this season with the potential to make some spot starts if needed.

Round 5, Pick 155 - Connor Thomas - LHP

Thomas put together two solid minor league seasons in his first two years with the Cardinals organization. He followed up a 3.37 ERA in 2019 with a 3.39 ERA in 2021, including a 3.10 ERA at the AAA level. Unfortunately, though for Thomas he took two massive steps back last season pitching to a 5.47 ERA across 25 starts. It’s disappointing that Thomas regressed in the manner in which he did as it is likely he would’ve debuted for the Cards at some point last season. Hopefully the southpaw can correct whatever went wrong in ‘22 and get back onto the MLB path.

Notable player selected - Round 5, Pick 166 - Hunter Brown - RHP