Diamond Diaries

Cardinal baseball, from the girls

Tag Archives: draft

Old and Busted… New Hotness

When the Cardinals won the World Series in 2006, it was the definition of a ‘win now’ team. They were relying on players that were in and nearing past their prime, plus some throw-ins that had been plucked off the scrap heap and helped that rather improbable team reach the pinnacle of the baseball season. Players came in by trade at that time. The only home grown every day talent on the team was Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina. This was a team that relied on 33 year old utility man Scott Spiezio for 119 games and 28 year old minor league journeyman John Rodriguez for 102 games (Rodriguez’s total career games played in the majors? 156. In the minors? 1197. Just saying).

I did of course skip the other main farm system player on the 2006 team that year – Anthony Reyes. Reyes went 5-8 with a 5.06 ERA and averaged right at 5 innings per start that year. The only other players to get any sort of significant playing time from the Cards’ farm system that year were Chris Duncan (90 games and 314 PA) and Tyler Johnson (56 relief appearances and a 4.95 ERA). Josh Kinney came up through the farm system but was not drafted by the Cardinals, and no other home-grown player had more than 30 games played that year.

They were old, and when the calendar flipped to 2007 many of them wound up busted as well. The farm system had been depleted to get all of these quickly aging players on the team, and they were built for failure.

Last year, many of us were clamoring for our beloved baby birds to get playing time in various positions on the big league club. We screamed with outrage when Aaron Miles, Randy Winn and Mike MacDougal were getting plucked up off the designated for assignment pile, because really, what were they offering that the boys down in Memphis were unable to bring to the table?

Tyler Greene, Albert Pujols and Jon Jay - all homegrown (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

It appeared that the answer was age and experience. However, 16 players from the Cardinals farm system had an impact (by my definition that equates to >30 games played or >30 IP… my blog, my rules) in the 2010 season, far greater than the 5-6 players from that 2006 championship team.

This year? There have already been 19 players (6 pitchers and 13 pitchers) that were drafted by the Cardinals that have already appeared (or, in the case of Andrew Brown, who is getting his first start tonight) this season. 13 of these players (Yadi, Pujols, Skip Schumaker, Daniel Descalso, Colby Rasmus, Jon Jay, Allen Craig, Tyler Greene, Jaime Garcia, Fernando Salas, Eduardo Sanchez, Jason Motte, and Mitchel Boggs) have had a ‘large’ impact (>100 at bats or 20 innings pitched… more arbitrary numbers, but I could care less).

This team is built for a much longer term success rate. I can’t wait! We’ll go from old and busted to new hotness!

Gametime is just in a few minutes – 6:05 Central, vs. the Nationals in the nation’s capital.

2011 Draft Spectacular Photo Thursday

Last year Erika and I became fascinated by the draft, learning about all of the new faces that would be donning the birds on the bat and joining the ranks with our other baby birds. What we quickly realized was that many of the places we were hungrily searching for info were void of one thing that we are obviously fascinated with – pictures!

An idea was born – we don’t claim to know anything about draft boards, who has the highest ceiling, which picks are potential busts and which are sure things. We do however know how to use Google images, so we’re bringing everything to you all in one place. If you want the best places for this information, check out places like Future Redbirds, the Cardinals website, or even the Post-Dispatch. To help, we’ve even included links to Future Redbirds’ posts on the top 10 picks for the Cardinals in this year’s draft to go along with our own (obviously) top-notch analysis of our newest players to watch.


1st round, 22nd pick: Kolten Wong

What we’ve heard: Wow, the snap judgments on this year’s first round second baseman have ranged from, “Why did we draft the second coming of Fernando Vina?” to “Oh good, another scrappy infielder. We don’t have enough of those.” The key point that many cooler heads have tried to point out is that he can hit. The 20 year old also made an MVP-winning showing in the Cape Cod league last year, which shows he can also play with a wooden bat, which is sometimes a tough adjustment for a young player to make.

Our take: Interviews with him made the kid seem like an ecstatic little boy who just couldn’t wait to get on a uniform and get out there to show people what he can do. It seems like it won’t be a problem signing him, which sounds great to me!

2nd round, 79th pick: Charlie Tilson

What we’ve heard: The high school senior projects as a left-handed major league capable centerfielder. He’s fast, has a smooth swing, and might or might not have decent power (well which is it?). Now, Tilson has signed a letter of intent with the University of Illinois, but he also wants to be a ballplayer (preferably with the White Sox).

Our take: Just don’t let the fact that the Sox didn’t draft you deter you Charlie! We don’t like the Cubs either!

3rd round, 109th pick: C. J. McElroy

What we’ve heard: High school centerfielder whose power is still coming but supposedly plays outstanding defense. Baseball is in his blood. His father is Chuck McElroy, who pitched in the bigs for 13 years. His grandpa Sylvester played in the Negro Leagues, and Cecil Cooper (17 years in the majors) is his uncle.

Our take: Another high school centerfielder? Well okay. C. J. is committed to the University of Houston to play both football and baseball, but considering his lineage, here’s hoping baseball is his first choice.

4th round, 140th pick: Kenny Peoples-Walls

What we’ve heard: A third high school player, although this one of the shortstop variety. He’s a speedster contact hitter that has an average build, but the frame of one who could probably wind up at second base.

Our take: Seems like this one needs time in the minors just to get sorted out what his role is and fill out the rest of the way in his development.

5th round, 170th pick: Sam Gaviglio

What we’ve heard: Sam is not about to make us squeal with delight at his speed (even for a starting pitcher), as he averages 86-89 MPH and tops out at 90. He is a groundball machine, who was drafted out of high school by the Rays but chose to head to Oregon State to pick up a bit more refinement.

Our take: Consider this pick Dave Duncan approved! Also, I got a smile where he was stated as having ‘moxie.’ A little moxie never hurt anyone!

6th round, 200th pick: Adam Ehrlich

What we’ve heard: A left-handed catcher just out of high school, Ehrlich’s value will definitely come in his defensive ability, in which he is almost called a finished product. His abilities with the bat are leaving something to be desired, but he’s got time to figure that out.

Our take: Left handed catchers are a commodity. Catchers that are referred to as graceful intrigue me for sure!

7th round, 230th pick: Nick Martini

What we’ve heard: A polished hitter that just seems to find ways to get hits, Nick is a left-handed line drive machine from K-State. His arm is average, and while his only real tool is his on-base abilities, his eye at that plate is described as very advanced.

Our take: For whatever reason, this is the first one that has truly intrigued me, if for no other reason than because I like guys that have patience at the dish. Even if he only winds up a 4th outfielder, what would you do with a 4th outfielder with the ability to take a solid at-bat in a critical situation late in the game? Exactly.

8th round, 260th pick: Danny Miranda

What we’ve heard: Very little positive to report here. If I understand what I read correctly, Danny was kind of ousted as the University of Miami this year, and really projects to be a LOOGY, nothing more, nothing less. He has a nice 3 pitch mix that make it to the upper 80’s.

Our take: This just underwhelms me all the way around.

9th round, 290th pick: Tyler Mills

What we’ve heard: Tyler is an outfielder turned pitcher, who has seen more success at Michigan as a reliever instead of a starter. This is the first time in the draft where the words ‘draft-eligible sophomore’ come into play, and history shows that it is much tougher to pull off this kind of signing than any other. The Cardinals signed him for his potential.

Our take: If he can get back to the days where he could do 84-87 mph sliders and 94-96 mph fastballs, sign me up!

Jeffries got a tour of the stadium after signing Thursday afternoon. Photo via @CardsInsider

10th round, 320th pick: Lance Jeffries

What we’ve heard: He’s a speedy centerfielder from the St. Louis area (the very definition of home-grown talent) and loves tearing it up on the basepaths. He seems very excited to be playing for his hometown team, and some speculate that he’s got a cannon of an arm to go with his speed.

Our take: He seems to be like a raw tools type that you just draft and cross your fingers hope the kid turns into something. I like the sound of it though, and hope he comes through for the Cardinals in a big way, especially since he already signed! Welcome to the Cardinals Lance! 🙂

The CDD Draft Spectacular Photo Thursday

We feel fairly confident in our ability to talk Cardinal baseball here at Cardinal Diamond Diaries. We even know a bit about the minor leagues. However, we are not about to pretend to know anything about the MLB draft that concluded yesterday. That would be ridiculous. 

If you are looking for real draft coverage, we recommend http://www.futureredbirds.net. Those boys know the draft. We’ll even make it easy and link to their 2010 draft information. Just click on each player’s name to learn all the goodies we would not even pretend to know.

What we do know is pictures!  So for our own special touch in covering the draft, we have collected that vital piece of information missing from most draft reviews: pictures of the Cardinals’ draft picks – limiting it to the first 12 rounds due to space and attention span.

Round 1 (#25 overall) – Zach Cox

What we know: He plays 3B for Arkansas, who are still competing in the College World Series. He is hitting .427 with 64 runs, 9 home runs, 48 RBI, and a .603 slugging %. That’s real good.
What we think: Ang thinks he looks kinda goofy. Erika disagrees. This should be a fun project!

Round 1 sandwich pick (46 overall) – Seth Blair
What we know: He’s a right handed pitcher from Arizona State – also still playing in the CWS. He’s got a lot of pitches, but only 3(ish) of them look usable in the majors, so he might wind up a reliever.
What we think: Get a haircut, son.

Round 1 sandwich pick (50 overall) – Tyrell Jenkins
What we know: Tyrell is a high school kid out of Texas. He’s a 3 sport athlete committed to Baylor to pitch and play QB. He ran a 49 second 400 meters this year – without training. That’s nuts.
What we think: You waaaant to plaaaaay for the Cardinals, baby face.

Round 2 (75 overall) – Matthew (Jordan) Swagerty
What we know: He goes by Jordan, so that’s what we will call him. Jordan is a pitcher who moonlights as a catcher. He’s got 3 solid pitches and good command, which are very nice qualities. He’s also holding down a 2.05 ERA with 14 saves in 32 relief appearances.
What we think: He’s a cutie, but has the nose of someone who’s been punched in the face… or had it broken (Ang – been there).

Round 3 (106 overall) – Samuel Tuivailala
What we know: He’s a shortstop out of California who was also the ace of his high school pitching staff, as well as the quarterback and the point guard (show off). He’s committed to Fresno State, where they had planned to use him both for his bat and for his arm.
What we think: Samuel was drafted as a middle infielder, but he is neither small nor scrappy. Tony wouldn’t know what to do with him. Also, do you really think Mike Shannon could pronounce that last name? Not a chance.

Round 4 (139 overall) – Cody Stanley
What we know: He’s a catcher out of UNC-Willmington who led the CAA with 22 runners caught stealing. Everything we read uses the word ‘solid’ from his batting to his defense.
What we think: This is the first #chickcomment** worthy pick we’ve seen so far! Solid looks indeed! Definitely “one to watch!” 
**editor’s note: #chickcomment: (def). n. of or pertaining to the use of descriptive terms, generally by females, to describe or quantify the level of hotness or the cute-ability factor of a given subject/male.” 

Round 5 (169 overall) – Nicholas Longmire
What we know: Not much, really. Reactions are mixed. Some project him to be a raw power outfielder and okay at everything else, others see him as above average at everything except hitting for average. Hmm…
What we think: For a college kid, it’s weird that people don’t agree about him. We’ll take the high road and point out that he looks like a happy kid!

Round 6 – John Gast
What we know: The news actually doesn’t sound great on Gast. He’s already had Tommy John surgery (as a high school student). He bounced back and had a decent first two years at Florida State, but this year has seen his ERA rise all the way up to 6.33.
What we think: Finding a flattering picture was a bit of a challenge here. And if we didn’t know better, we’d think this was taken in the early 1990’s. Do they recycle uniforms at FSU? Is that why it looks like they covered up an older name?

Round 7 – Greg Garcia
What we know: He plays shortstop at U of Hawaii. After losing in the regional final to Arizona State, the UH coach admitted that he assumed most of his names would get snatched in the draft, including Garcia. He was batting .359 going into the ASU game and is projected to be a plus-plus defender.
What we think: We didn’t think they played baseball in Hawaii, but now that we know this nugget of information, we’re off to buy vacation tickets.

Round 8 – Daniel Bibona
What we know: The Cards drafted the lefty last year out of UC – Irvine, and he didn’t sign, choosing to do another year for the Anteaters. What he lacks in speed on his pitches he makes up for in command and precision. He’s been compared to Tom Glavine.
What we think: When we heard the Cards had drafted him twice, we had hoped it was for his #chickcomment worthiness. Of course we suppose it’s also pretty good that he’s a promising lefty!

Round 9 – Tyler Lyons
What we know: Tyler’s another lefty out of OK State. He had a 0.00 ERA (that is not a typo) in 2008 and had a chance to go in the first round, but stayed in school. His last two years have not been as good, and now instead of a power starter he projects as a middle reliever.
What we think: A cute Okie boy? Let the #chickcomments begin?!  (Line forms behind Erika!)

Round 10 – Reginald Williams
What we know: Reginald is a CF out of Middle Georgia College who projects to be a quick switch-hitter and a solid defender. His dad – Reggie Williams – was also a baseball player.
What we think: Reginald is an old man’s name. We’re going to call him Reggie from here on out.

Round 11 – Ben Freeman
What we know: Ben is a tall, skinny lefty out of a Florida high school. He had an ERA of 0.70 this year and struck out 126 in 59 2/3 innings.
What we think: How come our high school sports pictures never looked that cool?

Round 12 – Austin Wilson
What we know: We actually know more about this kid than any other in the draft. He was ranked 27th overall by Baseball America, but he’s committed to Stanford, which is why he fell 350 places below his projected value. He’s got raw power and looks to be a very good outfielder. He also has all the little intangibles – you know, work ethic, drive, character – that make him a very desirable guy to have in your system. 
What we think: It’s a definitely flyer pick and it would be slightly unreasonable to expect the Cardinals to sign him. People are pointing out that it’s not really about the money – he and his family want him to go to Stanford. But, as Joaquin Andujar says, ‘youneverknow.’

That wraps up our look at the first 12 rounds of the draft. If you want to know more, head back over to Future Redbirds, because they’re into this. We’re just easily entertained. 😉
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