The St. Louis Cardinals are one of five major league clubs that boast multiple first-round picks in this year’s draft. The Cardinals are loaded with young power arms—Carlos Martinez, Trevor Rosenthal, Michael Wacha and Shelby Miller—and talented outfield and infield prospects, such as Kolten Wong, Pete Kozma and Oscar Taveras.
As far as team needs are concerned, the Cardinals have the luxury of going in any direction.
Here are the Cardinals' top five first-round projections.
1) Colin Moran, 3B, B/T: L/R, Junior, University of North Carolina
The Cardinals could be thin at the third base position in the coming years, especially with David Freese’s future in limbo. Drafting junior third-baseman Colin Moran, of North Carolina, would be a great fit.
Moran will bring a hefty résumé to next month’s draft. This season, the preseason All-American has started 56 games for the Tar Heels and has amassed a team-leading .369 average. He also leads the squad with 79 hits, 13 home runs and 83 RBI.
In 2012, his sophomore year, Moran also led the team with a .365 mark while scoring 30 runs and driving in 35.
2) Ryne Stanek, RHP, Junior, Arkansas
Already boasting quality arms, the Cardinals should take a long look at Arkansas right-hander Ryne Stanek. At 6’4’’, 190 pounds, Stanek has the frame of a future dominant big-league hurler.
In 14 starts for the Razorbacks this season, Stanek is 8-2 with a 1.54 ERA. He’s also tossed a complete game, and opponents are hitting just .217 off of him. Moreover, Stanek has allowed just 14 earned runs in 82 innings of work this season.
3) Hunter Green, LHP, High School, Kentucky
Left-handed pitchers are always highly coveted in the major leagues, which makes Kentucky high school standout Hunter Green worthy of a first-round pick by the Cardinals.
Though still rather raw, Green is extremely athletic and touches the low 90s with his sizzling fastball. He’s tall and lanky, which is always a plus for any pitcher. He still needs to refine his curveball, which will eventually compliment his sinking changeup.
Green could end up being a heavily targeted prospect in next month’s draft.
4) Chad Pinder, 3B, B/T: R/R, Junior, Virginia Tech
Pinder, another standout third baseman, is another prospect worthy of a first-round pick.
He owns a steady .322 average through 52 starts this season for the Hokies. He’s also managed to smash four home runs and drive in 40. Pinder was named the ACC Player of the Week on Feb. 16.
In 2012, Pinder posted six multi-hit games, an impressive feat for an up-and-coming big-league star.
5) Bobby Wahl, RHP, Junior, Ole Miss
They say you can never have enough pitching, which is why the Cardinals may look at Ole Miss junior right-hander Bobby Wahl, who is dominating opponents when he’s on the mound.
This season, Wahl is a perfect 9-0 with a 1.99 ERA in 90.2 innings of work. Opponents are hitting just 1.89 off him.
What’s more, last season, Wahl—a semifinalist for the National Pitcher of the Year—went 7-4 with a 2.55 ERA in 99 innings. He allowed just 28 earned runs, and opponents had a tough time figuring him out, as they hit just .211 against him.
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