The 2015 MLB Draft got off to an interesting start for the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday night. With new scouting director Chris Correa (who Joe interviewed here) taking over the drafting reins from the departed Dan Kantrovitz, the Cardinals went in a new direction—one that is exciting due to its riskiness and potential reward. St. Louis targeted high-upside high-schoolers. Would that trend continue on Day Two?
Round 3, Pick No. 100: Harrison Bader, OF
Slot Value: $570,300
The Cardinals selected Bader, a junior with the University of Florida Gators with the 100th selection of the draft. RB profiled Bader here shortly after the pick, noting that the early theme of the St. Louis draft was bat speed. Nick Plummer has it. So does Bryce Denton. Add Bader to the list of Cards' picks who generate high bat speed.
Compensation Round, Pick No. 105: Jordan Hicks, RHP
Slot Value: $543,300
The Cardinals received this pick because of their failure to sign Trevor McGill after selecting him in the third round of last year's draft with the 104th pick. St. Louis took Texas prep Jordan Hicks, a righthanded pitcher with a live arm. VEB Community member BigJawnMize shared the following in the comments:
…I cant believe that there isnt more info on this kid. He is pretty well known around the college teams and was well recruited. Fastball is 93 consistently and throws a good change for his 2nd pitch.
I personally dont think his delivery is too bad. His timing looks slightly late but no worse than what the Cardinals teach so I dont think they will goose him too much.
It is funny though in that most peeps thought he was a sure thing going to school. Tulane commit I think.
From what I know...he is just considered a hard sign. Not someone I personally got to see but was talked about as a potential Friday night kid that would go to college. Prized commodity around college circles. 3rd round is definitely high but I suspect they were looking to use a protected pick on him.
So we'll find out if the Cardinals can ink Hicks. If not, as BJM noted, the 3rd-round pick is protected and they'll get another crack at drafting and signing a player with it next year. If that happens, maybe we should call it the McGill-Hicks Memorial Pick or something.
Round 4, Pick No. 131: Paul DeJong, 3B
Slot Value: $422,900
After taking a high-schooler with four of their first five picks, there was an expectation that the Cardinals would select some college seniors who they can sign below slot to help budget for luring the high-schoolers to pro ball instead of college. DeJong fits the bill in that regard. I find the DeJong pick interesting. Our SBN sister site Minor League Ball profiled him before the draft in a post entitled, "Draft Board: College catchers to watch" and listed him as "C-INF-OF." Here's how John Sickels assessed the versatile collegian:
Junior, right-handed hitter, unusual infielder/outfielder/catcher background. He can hit, .333/.427/.605 this year though with a high strikeout rate. Draft status will depend on how confident teams are in his defense. TT: Fourth round.
And the Cards nabbed DeJong in the fourth round. That they announced him as a third baseman suggests they are perhaps not confident enough in his catching defense to start him as a pro there.
Round 5, Pick No. 161: Ryan Helsley, RHP
Slot Value: $316,500
Helsley is a sophomore at Northeastern State University, a D-II school in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA). The righthander was named the MIAA Freshman of the Year for 2014 and made second team All-MIAA. Sickels writes at Minor League Ball that Helsley "throws hard" and is "raw." Apparently, he's another project pick.
Round 6, Pick No. 191: Jacob Evans, LHP
Slot Value: $237,000
Evans had a rough sophomore season with the Oklahoma Sooners in terms of run prevention. The righty gave up 83 hits in 58 2/3 innings to feed a 5.52 ERA that masked a sterling 54:7 K:BB ration. Then Evans went to the Cape Cod League for the summer:
Summer 2014: Played in the Cape Cod Baseball League for the Harwich Mariners producing a 0.30 ERA on the season in 30 innings pitched… selected to the Cape Cod All-Star game for the East Division and pitched one inning, while striking out two of three batters faced... honored as Harwich Pitcher of the Year.
2015 was a better season for Evans. He made second team All-Big XII this season on the strength of a 1.67 ERA and 53:10 K:BB ratio. It's almost as if FIP is predictive, even in college.
Round 7, Pick No. 221: Jesse Jenner, C
Slot Value: $179,100
In the late rounds on Day Two, the selection of college seniors becomes more common. That's because these picks are not protected. If you select a player with a pick after the round and don't sign him, you lose that pick and the bonus pool money that goes with it. So it's often safer to sign players that effectively must sign if they wish to pursue a career as a ballplayer. Hence the Cards' pick of Jenner, a senior from San Diego State University with a "contact bat," in John Sickels's assessment.
Round 8, Pick No. 251: Ian Oxnevad, LHP
Slot Value: $167,400
I got to use my canned bit of wisdom about late Day Two picks frequently being used on college seniors with Jenner. Naturally, the Cardinals turn around and select Oxnevad, a high-school pitcher who may be difficult to sign in the following round. The Seattle Times profiled Oxnevad in April. The article discusses whether the Oregon State commit may turn pro instead:
Of course a decision will be heavily dependent on how high Oxnevad is selected in the major-league draft, but he’s been told there’s a good possibility he will go in the top five rounds. If so, the Oregon State commit admitted it’d be hard to turn a pro contract down.
"If an opportunity crosses like that – we’ll see how the rest of the season plays out – I think it’s a really good possibility," Oxnevad said.
Here's the MLB.com video on the southpaw:
Round 9, Pick No. 281: Andrew Brodbeck, 2B
Slot Value: $156,200
Brodbeck is a senior from Flagler College in Florida. Never heard of Flagler College? Neither have I. But I hadn't heard of Slippery Rock University before Matt Adams. Last year, Derrick Goold reported in the Post-Dispatch on the Cardinals' system that weights college player's stats and allows them to compare power-conference players to small-conference players in an apple-to-apple fashion. One wonders if that system played a factor in the Brodbeck pick, especially since the lefthanded-hitting Flagler standout was listed in the Crawfish Boxes' list from January of "Fifty 'Very Luhnow' College Prospects." From that post by Anthony Boyer:
Three players were drafted from Flagler College 2012, and since 1982 they've sent 34 players to the pros. The next ones up might well be Andrew Brodbeck. There's a lot to like about Brodbeck - a left-handed-hitting second baseman with a good walk rate (12.50%), a good strikeout rate (5.63%), and decent power (.102 ISO), though it could certainly be better. He also stole 12 bases in 2013, and is generally well-regarded as a base runner. He has the arm strength to play in the outfield or at third base, but he's played second base at Flagler.
Round 10, Pick No. 311: Kep Brown, RF
Slot Value: $149,700
Brown is yet another high-schooler for Correa and co. with upside and risk. Here's the MLB.com video on the slugging Miami recruit:
It appears that the Cardinals might run into trouble signing Brown:
Cards 10th rd pick HS OF Kep Brown sends text to Pal m Beach Post that he plans to honor commitment to Miami. #STLCards #MLBDraft— Rob Rains (@RobRains) June 10, 2015
RB will give us his thoughts on the Cards' picks on Wednesday.