Cardinals Draft Report
By David Wilhelm
ST. LOUIS--As expected, the Cardinals selected a position player with their first pick in the amateur draft.
The Cardinals chose 5-foot-9, 180-pound shortstop Calvin Hayes of East Rowan High in Salisbury, N.C., with the 102nd pick overall--the final selection in the third round.
Hayes batted .465-5-29 with 15 walks and five strikeouts in 71 at-bats for the Mustangs. He also had five doubles, five triples and 21 stolen bases.
"He's a well above-average runner, a shortstop who has great quickness in the field and great speed," said scouting director Marty Maier. "He's a guy we think will be a solid defender, but also a guy who we think has a chance to hit."
The Cardinals didn't have a first- or second-round pick because of their off-season signings of closer Jason Isringhausen and first baseman Tino Martinez.
Hayes was recommended to the Cardinals by area scout and Salisbury resident Randy Benson. Salisbury's population is about 23,000.
"We know this guy real well," Maier said. "A lot of our crosscheckers got in to see him. We zoomed in on this guy early on as a guy we hoped would be there when we selected."
Hayes, a righthanded batter, has been compared to players like second baseman Ray Durham of the Chicago White Sox and former Cardinals third baseman Terry Pendleton.
Hayes' coach at East Rowan, Guy Wirt, described Hayes as a lighter version of former Minnesota Twins outfielder Kirby Puckett, while another player came to mind when Maier watched Hayes play.
"He reminded us of Pokey Reese at the same age, but bigger, stronger and maybe faster," Maier said, referring to the Pittsburgh Pirates infielder.
Hayes, who has signed with North Carolina, also was a standout running back for the East Rowan football team.
Hayes, 18, was the Rowan County player of the year and the North Piedmont Conference most valuable player in baseball. He led the Mustangs to a 21-4 record.
Wirt said Hayes has extremely quick feet that got him into fielding position with ease.
"He never backhanded balls because he was always in the right position," Wirt said. "And I've never seen him sit back on a ball in two years. He's outstanding with his feet, as a baserunner also. He's very smart on the bases, too."
Wirt said he wouldn't be surprised if Hayes surfaces in the major leagues in four years.
"From what I've seen in the past, he certainly has the potential to do it in four years," Wirt said. "I read on the Internet where he was a slap hitter, but I don't agree with that. He's an aggressive hitter. He jumps at (the ball) sometimes, but that's only because he wants to hit the guy so much. I think he has home-run potential."
Hayes also was the winner of the Humanitarian Award at East Rowan.
The Cardinals' draft essentially began days earlier when the team signed three draft-and-follows from last year: righthanders Blake Hawksworth of Bellevue Community College in Bellevue, Wash., and Shane Reedy of Utah Valley State, and right fielder Terry Evans of Middle Georgia College.
Hawksworth, who received a $1.475 million signing bonus, was 8-0, 0.16 with 27 walks and 80 strikeouts in 57 innings at Bellevue. The Cardinals chose him in the 28th round of the draft last year, but projected him to be at least a second-round pick this year.
"Our staff had him rated as one of the top righthanded pitchers in the country, and since we did not have a first-round pick, we felt fortunate to have him under control," general manager Walt Jocketty said.
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