Cardinals Draft Report Card
Analyzing St. Louis' 2008 draft class
Brett Wallace must stay at third base to make an impact in St. Louis, but early returns are good. Vasquez, who may lack the range to play shortstop, ranks behind Wallace in offensive ceiling in an otherwise low-upside draft that has few advanced power arms.
Best Pure Hitter:
3B Brett Wallace (1) hit .398 in his three seasons at Arizona State and has a polished approach that resulted in more walks (103) than strikeouts (97). >> Best Power Hitter:
Wallace has raw power and leverage in his swing, giving him above-average present power. OF Chris Swauger (26) used good bat speed and strength to hit a team-high seven homers for short-season Batavia. >> Fastest Runner:
LHP Sam Freeman (32) gets to first base from the right side in 4.05 seconds. Among position players, 2B Alex Castellanos (10) and OF Michael Swinson (12) are plus runners. >> Best Defensive Player:
SS Niko Vasquez (3) may not have the range to stay at shortstop but has excellent hands and enough arm for third base. 2B Colt Sedbrook (22) has the utility profile with a strong arm and enough range to play all three infield spots.
Freeman runs his fastball up to 94 mph and sits at 92-93, though command remains an issue. RHP Eric Fornataro (6) has run his fastball up to 95 mph thanks to a quick arm. >> Best Secondary Pitch:
RHP Scott Gorgen (4) may have had the best changeup in college baseball the last two years, one some scouts have graded a 7 on the 2-8 scouting scale. LHP Ryan Kulik (8) throws a 1-to-7 curveball with good tilt for strikes.
ODDS AND ENDS
Best Pro Debut:
Wallace reached Double-A after mashing his way through the low Class A Midwest League, homered three times in 13 Texas League games and hit .337/.427/.530 overall in 202 at-bats. College senior 1B Curt Smith (39) batted .353/.388/.538 overall and mashed eight home runs at Rookie-level Johnson City. >> Best Athlete:
Freeman was a toolsy junior-college outfielder who has shown more upside as an athletic pitcher. Nondrafted free agent Jarred Bogany, a 12th-round pick out of high school in 2005, went to three colleges in three years and has five-tool ability that remains raw. >> Most Intriguing Background:
Gorgen's twin brother Matt signed as a 16th-round pick of the Rays. Unsigned 2B Shane Boras (35) is the son of agent (and former Cardinals farmhand) Scott. >> Closest To The Majors: Wallace already has reached Double-A. RHP Lance Lynn (1s) has a polished three-pitch mix and a future plus slider that should get him moving as well. >> Best Late-Round Pick:
The Cardinals have high hopes for Freeman (who finished the year in the Florida State League playoffs), Sedbrook and Smith. >> The One Who Got Away:
Unsigned RHP Mitch Harris (13) is the best prospect Navy has produced in years but can't start his pro career for five years due to his military commitment. St. Louis tried to sign LHP Danny Jimenez (37), who wound up at Logan (Ill.) CC.