The Cardinals originally selected Austin Wilson in the 12th round of the 2010 draft. After bringing him to Busch Stadium for batting practice and meet with coaches in an attempt to recruit him away from his commitment to Stanford University, Wilson decided to turn down the Cardinals and go to school. Three years later he was drafted in the 2nd round by the Seattle Mariners.
With four seasons under his belt in the Mariners’ farm system, Wilson has yet to rise above the High-A level. He is a career .249/.346/.418 hitter so far with 42 home runs in 311 games. At 24, he is behind schedule, but obviously the Cardinals have kept tabs on him since he turned them down and think he can provide some value to them.
He has struggled his past two seasons in High-A Bakersfield for the Mariners, batting .233/.340/.374 with 23 home runs in just over 200 games.
Wilson is a big guy with a power swing. When he hits the ball, he hits it hard. The problem has been that he doesn’t hit the ball enough.
His strikeout rate jumped to 36% last season, up from 26% the year before. But his walk rate jumped to 11% last season from 7% as well. His extra base hit rate remained about the same, at 6.6% to 6.4%.
It will likely amount to nothing, but I do feel like it’s a good gamble by the Cardinals. They liked Wilson enough to draft him six years ago and maybe they can sort out some of his problems and unlock that talent they saw.
He was selected in the Minor League portion of the Rule 5 Draft. Unlike players selected in the Major League portion, those selected in the Minor League portion do not have the same rules to dictate where they stay for a season. I would expect him to start the season with Double-A Springfield.
Cardinals lose Allen Cordoba in MLB portion of Rule 5 Draft
For the second year in a row, the Padres have raided the Cardinals’ minor league system in the Rule 5 Draft. In 2015, they selected Luis Perdomo. With their third pick in the draft, they have selected SS Allen Cordoba.
Cordoba, 21, will have to make a big jump to the Majors next year after playing last season for Johnson City in the Appalachian League. He hit .362/.427/.495 last season for the Cardinals’ rookie level affiliate. He has played mostly shortstop in his career, though played third in 2015 while Edmundo Sosa — who was protected by the Cardinals — played shortstop.
The story on him seems to be that his defense is likely capable of staying at shortstop. He isn’t flashy, like some of the Cardinals’ other prospects, but his bat is the big question mark.
The Cardinals have a crowded middle infield in their minor league system. They added three middle infielders to their 40 man roster to protect them from the Rule 5 Draft in Sosa, Eliezar Alvarez, and Breyvic Valera. And guys like Delvin Perez and Randy Arozarena on the top prospects list along with new addition Luke Dykstra.