Tuesday June 9 is a day that many fans are waiting for. Why is this day significant? It is the Major League Baseball First—Year Player Draft!
Many players are drafted, some don't sign. Others sign for big money, I mean a great deal of money if you are Stephen Strasburg.
As for the St. Louis Cardinals, who pick 19th overall in this year's draft, there have been many different names attached to their first overall pick. Enter me, who will try to shed some light on who the Cardinals will take.
The Cardinals have been linked with four players, two pitchers and two batters. Neither are set for the 19th pick, but we'll get to that later.
Rex Brothers - LHP Lipscomb University
This is the man the Cardinals really want. The organization wants to draft for best available, while trying to land need as well. Brothers is part of the need as he is a left handed starting pitcher. This is what the Cardinals want.
Brothers tops out at 95 miles per hour and has a Major League ready slider, but he needs work on his changeup. While he will get better, it is unknown if his feel for pitching or command and control will improve.
Brothers is a college pitcher, and while college pitching is safer than high school pitching, Brothers still looks to be an unsafe bet with very large upside.
Mike Minor - LHP Vanderbilt University
Minor, unlike Brothers, is a safe bet. He will be a high flyer through the system and will grade out as a very good number three Major League pitcher, maybe a decent number two.
Minor has great control and command, and a very good feel for pitching. All of his pitches are average or slightly better than average (fastball tops out at 92 mph) and should get to the above—average level.
Minor is a safe bet and, if signed within a month after being draft, could be at Double A in any system by the end of the season and Triple A by the end of 2010.
Grant Green - INF University of Southern California
Green is a shortstop by trade and should stay at shortstop throughout his professional career. He has a very strong arm with good range. He has a feel for hitting, though not with much power (10 home run potential at most).
Randal Grichuk - OF Lamar Consolidated High School (TX)
Grichuk is a left fielder, though he could play right field. He doesn't have the speed to play centerfield, but has a decent arm. He profiles to be below average on the defensive side of the ball, slightly better than Chris Duncan.
The upside? He can knock the stuffing out of the ball with a wooden bat. He will hit for a high number of home runs and still hit over .300. He'll likely be strikeout prone, but those 40+ home runs should make you overlook that.
So those are the four names linked with the Cardinals. Why have there been so many different names liked to the Cardinals? Well, pretty much because the baseball draft is harder to pinpoint players to a team.
Law has Minor going to the Cardinals (when he has Brothers going to Marlins) and then going to the Blue Jays in his second mock draft, but that is the mock draft he has Brothers going to the Cardinals. Mayo has Minor going number three overall to the San Diego Padres
In Mayo's mock draft, he has the Cardinals taking Green at 19.
Grichuk is going to be the wild card for the Cardinals. If Mayo and Law have their picks combined (Minor going to the Padres at three, Brothers to the Rockies at 11 or Marlins at 18, and Green to the Cincinnati Reds at 8 or Kansas City Royals at 12), the Cardinals could very well take Grichuk at 19.
Grichuk is not a first round talent, not by a long-shot, but he is a second round talent and that is the problem. The Cardinals do not pick again until the second round at 67 overall, which makes Grichuk very appealing at 19. He may not fall to the Cardinals in the second round.
The other option if Minor, Brothers, and Green go ahead of the Cardinals first pick, they could take Matthew Purke (LHP out of Klein High School) who will fall out of the top 10 due to bonus demands (he wants close to a $4 million signing bonus and another $4 million in guaranteed money on a Major League contract).
If Purke continues to slide in the draft, the Cardinals may take the chance and sign him. Most experts say that he could be as good as Rick Porcello of the Tigers, which is who he wants to frame his contract after. The Cardinals will not pass on that kind of talent again (they passed on Porcello in 2007 in favor of Pete Kozma).
So on draft day, which is officially less than 41 hours away, watch for the Cardinals to take their best first round pick (yes, better than Colby Rasmus and Brett Wallace) of this decade. It may be another shortstop, or it could be a left handed starting pitcher (which is most likely). It could even be an outfielder, the wild card of the draft.
Watch the draft on MLB Network at 6 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.
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