St. Louis Cardinals' MLB Draft: One Order of Hometown Cooking, Please

Peter FleischerSenior Writer IJune 3, 2008

It's a proven fact that the area of St. Louis produces pretty darn good baseball talent at the prep level.

It's also a proven fact that these young players grow up adoring the Cardinals. Baseball is St. Louis' most popular sport, and the Cardinals are almost always a fantastic team to watch.

This year, in the 2008 MLB Draft, the St. Louis Cardinals can combine both of these situations into the perfect fit. They can draft the best high school pitching prospect in the country, and a local boy—at the same time.

Tim Melville would be the ideal player for the Cardinals to select in the 2008 MLB Draft.

I'm sick of watching local players tear it up in the bigs on other teams (Mark Buehrle, Ryan Howard, Max Scherzer). How much has St. Louis fallen in love with local kid Kyle McClellan this year? Imagine how they'd take to a superstar prosect.

I'm also sick of the Cardinals being conservative with their early-round picks. If the Birds can start producing more immediate talent in the draft, then maybe John Mozeliak won't have to pull a team out of his hat in free agency.

And Melville has given no indications that he won't be a star. He has a body that he can continue to grow into, so his low-to-mid 90s fastball will gain a few MPH. Add his incredible curveball and solid changeup, and Melville already has an impressive arsenal. 

Tim has already thrown a no-hitter, and even a perfect game at the high school level. And he can rake at the dish as well, showing a general gift for baseball.  Melville hit .386 with eight HRs in his senior season, but that wasn't even his best campaign at the plate.

It's possible that Melville will be gone by the time the Cards select at No. 13 overall—but if he's around, they'd be foolish not to take him. The 2004 Draft, in which St. Louis picked predominantly college players, only to be disappointed by the results, shows that high school players can be just as much of an answer as older athletes.

I only hope the brain trust of Bill DeWitt, Mozeliak, and anybody else involved doesn't pass this chance up. Scherzer wasn't available in 2006, and another Mizzou star, Aaron Crow, almost definitely won't be either this year. Melville would be the perfect choice for a team looking for talent and hometown charisma.