Hey VEB! I don’t have an article for this you morning as I’ve been busy covering the MLB Draft over at The Cardinal Nation. I won’t leave you empty-handed though so I want to mention a few of the things that have stood out to me so far in the draft.
No High School Players
The Cardinals haven’t drafted a single high school player yet, which isn’t too surprising considering the way the draft fell. The Cardinals took a college bat with their first pick of the draft for the first time under Randy Flores but that bat also happens to have loud tools which is the exact sort of thing Flores has targeted with his high early round high school bats.
I would expect that Chase Davis was the top player on the Cardinals board when they made their selection at 1.21, which is why he was the pick. Going beyond the first round, it’s not too surprising that the Cardinals didn’t nab a prep player considering that they have the 4th lowest available bonus pool after surrendering their second round pick in compensation for signing Willson Contreras.
Drafting college seniors is a great way to save bonus pool money as they basically have to sign because they have no leverage to go back to school and the Cardinals have taken 2 college seniors with their first 9 picks, including LHP Quinn Mathews in the 4th round and RHP Charles Harrison in the 9th round.
Both of these players were likely big money saving selections, meaning the Cardinals are probably planning on handing out an overslot deal to someone. That could be Chase Davis, it could be an upside pick coming on Day 3, or it could be anyone else picked in the early or middle rounds.
The good news about these college seniors is that they have more upside and projection than the typical senior sign. Quinn Mathews stands at 6’5” but only 188 pounds so he has plenty of room to keep growing into his frame, and he in particular could really benefit from an uptick in velocity. The other senior, Charles Harrison, really broke out in his senior year and racked up strikeouts with a four pitch arsenal out of the bullpen so he could be someone who moves into the rotation in pro ball. There’s definitely some upside there regardless of what his role ends up being.
Impressive Value Picks
There are a few day 2 picks that stood out to me in particular. The first is 5th rounder Zach Levenson, who has a 90th percentile exit velocity (107 mph) just a tick below first rounder Chase Davis (108 mph), who is just a tick below top college bat Dylan Crews (109.6 mph). There is some swing-and-miss with Levenson but I love that the Cardinals were able to get such prodigious power in the 5th round of the draft.
Another pick I really like is 9th rounder Christian Worley. Worley has an electric arm who can run his fastball up to 96 with ride and has a slider that gets a lot of whiffs. He missed most of the 2023 season with an arm injury but the arm talent probably belongs in the first 3 or 4 rounds.
He’ll need to develop a third consistent pitch but there’s a lot to work with here.
Now I want to open it up to you. Were there any picks that stood out to you? What are your impressions of the draft through the first 2 days? Feel free to head to the comments and discuss.
Day 3 of the draft starts at 2 PM ET today and I will once again be providing coverage at The Cardinal Nation. You can follow along with my continuing analysis of the St. Louis Cardinals draft there.