2011 MLB Draft Preview: Part 1

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. [click to continue…]

Matt Carpenter called up

Matt Carpenter mad quite an impression on Cards fans in Spring Training and was one of the final cuts. Now we will get to see him wearing Cardinal Red in STL. According to Carpenters hometown paper he has been called up to STL and added to the 40 man roster (final spot). With Freese out for quite some time and Carpenter warming up at the plate this move makes a lot of sense.

Descalso has played well at 3B and been clunch late in games but he isn’t our future at 3B…perhaps 2B. Carpenter has a legit shot of taking over 3B for at least the foreseeable future.

So what does Carpenter bring to the table? He is an OBP machine and plays a solid 3B. He will not hit for much HR power but will provide plenty of doubles. I doubt they are bringing him up to play every 3rd day so we should expect to see him get every opportunity to play almost everyday.

Welcome to the bigs Mr. Carpenter!

Matt Carpenter Called Up

Matt Carpenter mad quite an impression on Cards fans in Spring Training and was one of the final cuts. Now we will get to see him wearing Cardinal Red in STL. According to Carpenters hometown paper he has been called up to STL and added to the 40 man roster (final spot). With Freese out for quite some time and Carpenter warming up at the plate this move makes a lot of sense.

Descalso has played well at 3B and been clunch late in games but he isn’t our future at 3B…perhaps 2B. Carpenter has a legit shot of taking over 3B for at least the foreseeable future.

So what does Carpenter bring to the table? He is an OBP machine and plays a solid 3B. He will not hit for much HR power but will provide plenty of doubles. I doubt they are bringing him up to play every 3rd day so we should expect to see him get every opportunity to play almost everyday.

Welcome to the bigs Mr. Carpenter!

Prospect Movement

There have been a few key announcements recently with our prospects. Late last week after another dominating performance our prized pitching prospect, Shelby Miller, was promoted to AA Springfield. His debut will be Friday night again Corpus Christi. The other big news which Jon touched on in his last post is Lance Lynn getting the call to make his MLB debut tonight for the Cards.

UPDATE: Maikel Cleto was also promoted from AA straight to the majors with Holliday hitting the DL. To me this is a big head scratcher. A guy that has had a total of 5 appearances above High A is getting promoted? We have a slew of other guys that are MLB ready or what I would consider ahead of Cleto in the pecking order. Guys like Boggs (the logical choice), Jess Todd, Adam Ottavino (who I have stated a number of times is destine for the bullpen) and Brian Broderick (who was just returned to us from the Nats as a Rule 5 selection this offseason) to name a few. Cleto was already on the 40 man roster which I am sure was a factor. Is this showcasing Cleto for trade bait? Have no faith in the others mentioned? Just put some names in a hat to see who gets the call? All good questions that I can’t answer. What do we get with Cleto? He is a fireballer that is still working on his control (which by all counts has improved this year). His secondary offerings (CB and CH) show potential as an avg or slightly better pitch but are quite inconsistent. [click to continue…]

Roster Move: Lance Lynn to make debut

It was a big day for the Cardinals and roster moves. With his hip issue, Kyle McClellan will hit the 15 day disabled list. It is also expected that Matt Holliday will join him tomorrow with his quad strain. So what does that mean for the Cardinals?

With last week’s movement of Blake King and P.J. Walters off the 40 man roster (King being claimed by Houston and Walters staying in Memphis), that leaves the Cardinals open to a little roster flexibility that they haven’t had the rest of the season. Luckily, it hasn’t been needed. Until now.

I predicted, before knowing McClellan and Holliday would be hitting the DL, that the Cardinals would send Pete Kozma to Memphis to make room for Lance Lynn. Lynn would make his start on the weekend and then Lynn would return to Memphis and the team would reactive Nick Punto from the DL. Cardinals fans are thinking, if only.

Lance Lynn will get the call from Memphis. The 24 year old Lynn was the Cardinals’ first round pick in 2008. While he was fairly dominant in single-A and double-A ball, he has yet to really be superb at the triple-A level where he has floundered. He currently has a 4.06 ERA with a 5-3 record in 10 starts for the Redbirds. While his ERA is down from 2010, his WHIP is up. However, he has only allowed 1 home run so far this year. He will get the start against Jonathan Sanchez.

That will push Jaime Garcia and Kyle Lohse each back a day and allow Lynn to face the worst offense in the majors instead of the Cubs who are the #16 offense.

So that’s what we know. How about what we don’t know? [click to continue…]