Cardinals Draft Report
Northeastern exposure in Florida
ST. LOUIS--Adam Ottavino
, the Cardinals' first pick in the draft, caught eyes in the Cape Cod League, but it was sawing off a bat in a big league exhibition where the club's scout fell for him.
Cardinals scout Kobe Perez
watched the 6-foot-5, 225-pound Ottavino throw a scoreless first inning for Northeastern in a spring training game against the Red Sox and leave leading the game.
"He was 93 to 96 (mph)," said Perez, in his first year with the Cardinals as an area scout. "He struck out two big leaguers and broke the other guy's bat. I fell in love with the guy."
Using pick No. 30 overall on Ottavino was as much a retro move by the Cardinals as it was reactive. Playing to the nature of this draft, the Cardinals selected three college pitchers with their first three picks, and five of their first seven picks were college pitchers.
"One of the themes of this draft was we wanted to have history on the players," scouting director Jeff Luhnow
said. "And we had a lot of history on the guys we've taken."
Ottavino, a Brooklyn, N.Y., native, busted his own school record with 120 strikeouts in 94 innings this spring. He was 4-5, 2.98 in his junior year and 13-13, 3.09 through 45 collegiate appearances. Five times he had 10 or more strikeouts, including 16 in eight innings against William & Mary and 14 in his no-hitter against James Madison.
It was his dozen strikeouts over seven innings against then top-ranked Georgia Tech that propelled him up many draft boards. Crunching his college performances and his eye-catching turn in the Cape Cod League, the Cardinals weighed that history and pegged him at No. 17 on their in-house chart.
"Fastball--four- and two-seams--curveball, hard slider and changeup," Ottavino said, listing his repertoire. With what's described as a lanky frame, the projection is he'll add zest to his pitches as he adds to his frame. "I've worked hard to do that in the past and it's something I want to keep doing because the more good weight I seem to put on, the more velocity I seem to get." REDBIRD CHIRPS
• With their 18th-round pick the Cardinals selected Cuban defector Amaury Cazana Marti
, a 27-year-old outfielder. The Cardinals think he's 27. Marti worked out for the club in spring training and was ruled eligible for the draft. An intriguing pick, he could start as high as Double-A.
• Two consecutive picks typified the Cardinals leaning on performance over prototype: At 5-foot-9, Florida State outfielder Shane Robinson
is undersized, but he led the country in hits and runs in 2005. He was taken 166th overall. At 136, the Cardinals picked Rice righthander Eddie Degerman
, who has an unorthodox over-the-top deliver, but lost just three college games and struck out 150 in 113 innings.