Some of my more recent notes since I took the hiatus in the time leading up to, during, and after my wedding. I am now back with regular contributions. Big thanks to Jerry for hitting the draft hard. Lots of good stuff in the last few days.
- First note goes to Albert Pujols. Since I got married, Pujols is hitting .438 with 4 HR in the 4 games since Saturday. My personal water mark for declaring a player officially over a slump is to see them perform at their regular level against three consecutive opponents. Pujols has done that. Over the last 9 games, he has hit .400 with 6 HR and 11 RBI. His slugging percentage if 1.000. He added on 5 walks. On the positive side he’s had just 2 strikeouts and just one GIDP. To me, that signals a big turnaround for him this season. Hopefully there is no turning back at this point and that this is more like the Albert Pujols we’re going to see this year. I’d rather that than the situation of the Pujols of the first two months of the season being the norm and this just be him on a hot streak. Only time will tell.
- Listening to last night’s UCB Radio Hour and there was a discussion on Allen Craig and what happens to him once Holliday is back and healthy. Craig is the one player that has truly benefitted from the injuries. Last year it was said that he is a player that needs regular playing time to be consistent and the injuries have allowed him to get it. So far this season he’s hitting .336 with 4 HR in just two less plate appearances than last season where he hit just .246 with 4 HR. His OPS+ has jumped 70 points and while he posted a -0.1 WAR last year, he is currently sporting a 1.7 WAR so far this season. The question is whether Craig at second base is a truly viable option for the Cards. In a small sample size, the defensive metrics contradict each other, so those results are inconclusive in my mind.
- I was disappointed that I missed the callup of Matt Carpenter. Unfortunately he has just 1 hit, that came in his debut, and has been unable to be as successful as he was in spring training. He has the chance to take command of the position until David Freese returns and could pretty much set himself up to battle for the starting position in 2012. If he’s successful, Carpenter could convince the Cards to use Freese as a trade chip in the offseason and let Carpenter and Zack Cox battle it out for the starting role. It’s an option, but only one if Carpenter turns it on and adjust back to major league pitching.
- Lance Lynn had a solid start in his debut. He found a bit of trouble, but reports were generally positive. He gets another start tonight against Houston. Hopefully I will get a chance to watch it and he’ll turn in a solid start so that the Cards can win the series.
After having 1 selection on Day 1 in which we took Kolten Wong out of Hawaii the Cards had a full day of picks. Wong isn’t projected to be a tough sign nor will it take much, if any, overslot to sign him. With that said I anticipated that we would take a few gambles for upside in Day 2. The day started off well with a nice selection of Charlie Tilson but very few exciting picks the rest of the day. The biggest disappointment was the amount of upside talent that we passed on throughout the 2nd Day. They went athletic with their 3rd and 4th Rd picks and made their first pitching selection in the 5th. Local product Lance Jeffries was nabbed in the 10th Rd and is quite intriguing as is 2 catching prospects in Adam Ehrlich (6) and Aramis Garcia (20). On a side note we did get some interesting names such as Martini, dual and plural last name Peoples-Walls, a kid named Dutch and a Sherriff. Here is a list of picks for the day with some comments on key players. Overall the Cards draft has not been spectacular but they are showing they want to improve on the position player side early in the draft and then after the 15th Rd they went heavy on pitching. After 30 picks I am not that thrilled as I don’t know if anyone but Wong would project to break out Top 10 prospects for 2012. Tilson has a chance but I would think he is in the teens until he can prove some things with a wood bat in pro ball. Continue reading
The 2011 MLB Draft got underway last night and it was like just about every draft over the years. Some teams took the obvious choices at the top, some teams reached for players and some of the “signability” guys fell. The Cardinals had been linked to a number of players leading up to the draft and ended up selecting one of them in Kolten Wong. Let’s take a closer look at this selection:
Day 1 Draft Grade: B
Kolten Wong, 2B, University of Hawaii
Wong isn’t a big guy at 5’9″ and 180lbs but don’t be fooled that he can’t handle the bat. He handles the bat from the left side just fine with good bat speed. He has an advanced approach at the plate and is a very patient hitter that has a great knowledge of the strikezone. He has a little pop in his bat but profiles more as gap power. He will spray the ball all over the field which bodes well for him in pro ball with no glaring hole at the plate that could be exploited. He has been pitched around quite a bit this year but has never shown frustation or expanded his zone which shows his maturity level. He projets as a solid 2 hole hitter as he can do it all (bunt, hit and run, hit to the right side to move a runner, etc). He also stole over 20 bags this year but his speed is just slightly above avg. He is a smart baserunner and projects as no more than a 15 SB guy but will take the extra base when possible.
On defense Wong has adequate range and arm but great insticts which makes his range look better than it actually is. He will do all the small things correct and is mentally tough. He probably will never be a gold glover but also won’t be a liability. Continue reading
On the eve of the 2011 MLB Draft (or like us draft nerds like to call is XMas Eve!) we will wrap up this 3 part series with a look at players of interest in the 2nd and 3rd Rds. After the 1st Rd it gets harder and harder to predict who will still be around and what bonus demands will do for some of these players. I will use my personal rankings to predict who “should” be around for each of these rounds. Also stay tuned for the Cards Draft Roundup (MLB Draft June 6-8) each day of the draft to analyze our picks and other random thoughts of the day.
2nd Rd – #79 Overall
3rd Rd – #109 Overall
After going overslot in the 1st Rd (I predict a $2-4M sign in the 1st) I see the Cards taking a player that is signing for slot or somewhere in the ballpark of slot with their 2nd and 3rd Rd picks. I will stick with players that fit our typical draft strategy as well. Continue reading
In Part 1 we looked at the Cards draft history and trends. In Part 2 we will focus on players to target with are 1st Rd picks and what each brings to the table. I will create a Part 3 and maybe Part 4 that will focus on the 2nd and 3rd Rds so I can give plenty of justice to each pick and players involved. I will not be focusing on players that have no chance to get to us (AKA Lindor who would be a perfect scenario for us) with our 1st Rd pick but will include some guys that have extreme outside shots at reaching us (usually due to bonus demands). Lets jump right in…
1st Rd – #22 Overall
2nd Rd – #79 Overall
3rd Rd – #109 Overall
1st Rd – #22 Overall
In the 1st Rd I always say you NEVER pick based on needs. You always go BPA that falls within the budget that you are comfortable with. All indications are the Cards are willing to spend fairly big on our 1st Rd pick since we have no extra picks and won’t pick again until #79 overall. That means we might be willing to go as high as $5M on a player. Continue reading
One of my favorite times of the year is happening as we speak. Leading up to the MLB Draft (June 6-8) gets a lot of buzz about players draft stock rising and falling, mock drafts from every outlet and blog sites, the rumors of outrageous bonus demands and the promise to improve each teams farm system. The 2011 MLB Draft class is loaded with talent and is considered by some as the best draft class ever. Time will tell but that gives you an idea of what type of talent level we are talking about.
In my 2 part series I am going to focus on the Cards draft for 2011. We will focus on our draft history, strategy trends and players that I anticipate us focusing on in the first few rounds. In Part 1 we will focus on our draft history and strategy trends (under Luhnow) and how I anticipate this getting tweaked a bit this year.
Jeff Luhnow, Vice President of Player Procurement, has lead the Cards draft since 2005. He was also in charge of our player development until this offseason where a few changes occurred to allow Luhnow to focus on scouting and the draft and transition player development to John Vuch who has been with the organization since the 70′s. Luhnow has produces such talent as Colby Rasmus, Jaime Garcia, John Jay, Chris Perez (Indians via trade), Brett Wallace (Astros via trade), Shelby Miller and Zack Cox to name a few. The biggest knock on Luhnow is he hasn’t produced many star players throughout the years. Part of the reason was we had very little depth in system. For a number of years we were looking for faster moving high floor players to show quick results with our players. In more recent years we have seen him go with a little more upside as our system gets a little more depth. Two years ago we hit our system hard with 2 big trades (Matt Holliday and Mark DeRosa) that forced us to hand over a number of players that were in our Top 10-15 prospects. Overall he has done an adequate job but definitely not extraordinary. He has a chance to do big things this year with so much talent available. Here is a rundown of the Cards typical draft strategy/trends since 2005. Continue reading