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Cardinals Stock Up on Catchers

June 4, 2003
By David Wilhelm

ST. LOUIS—Sticking to their game plan, the St. Louis Cardinals selected catcher Daric Barton of Marina High in Huntington Beach, Calif., in the first round of the draft Tuesday.  Barton, a lefthanded hitter, batted .372-10-27 in 78 at-bats this season.

"The last two catchers we took No. 1 were Terry Kennedy (in 1977) and Ted Simmons (in 1967)," Cardinals scouting director Marty Maier said "I hope he's as good as those guys. 

"To me, Barton is a Simmons, (Darrell) Porter-type of guy. He's not going to be a (Mike) Matheny with the arm. He's more of a Simmons guy that you're looking at as an offensive catcher. That's how we see him."

The 5-foot-11, 195-pound Barton was the 28th-overall pick. The Cardinals'  predraft strategy was to add position players to their farm system, specifically catchers.

Barton, 17, was one of three catchers the Cardinals selected in the first eight rounds of the draft.  His power potential is impressive, but Maier said it was Barton's total package as a hitter that impressed the Cardinals. 

"It's more about this guy's bat, what kind of hitter we think he is," Maier said. "We think this guy is one of the premier hitters in this draft. We think he's got a chance to be a well above-average hitter and a guy who can be a run producer, as well as a guy who can hit balls out of the ballpark."

Barton has signed with Cal State Fullerton, but Maier doesn't expect the Cardinals to have difficulty signing him.

"We know this guy wants to go out and play pro baseball, so we'll make an appointment with him," Maier said. "I've talked to him already. I figure we'll come to an agreement somewhere down the line."

Barton played mostly at third base this season at Marina. 

"This year was the first year he hasn't caught, but we like him as a catcher," Maier said. "He's a versatile guy. He can play third, he can play left field, he can play first base. But we're going to send him out as a catcher and see if he's the guy we think he is." Maier said

Barton, once signed, probably will be assigned to Rookie-level Johnson City.

In the second round (65th overall), the Cardinals picked 6-foot-7, 230-pound righthander Stuart Pomeranz of Houston High in Collierville, Tenn.  Pomeranz, 18, was 9-0, 0.11. In 63 innings, he allowed just 15 hits, walked nine and struck out 118. He also had two saves.

"He's a guy who's 6-7 and throws strikes," Maier said. "He's got a curveball he can throw for strikes and he dominated his league. He's a power guy. He's a guy we‚re hoping at 6-7, 230, fills out, because he looks like he should.

"He's a very advanced high school pitcher, and a guy who's basically gone out there and done it every single time he's pitched. He didn't have any bad games the whole year."

The Cardinals stayed with pitching in the third round, selecting righthander Dennis Dove of Georgia Southern with the 95th pick overall. The 6-foot3, 205-pound Dove was 7-2, 4.52. He allowed 84 hits and 48 walks in 94 innings, with 118 strikeouts.  Dove has a live arm, with a fastball in the low-90s. However, he is regarded as a bit of a project.

"He's got a chance to be one of the starters here down the line," Maier said. "He has great stuff. When I saw this guy earlier, I thought he would probably end up going higher. But he got to us and we got him."

The Cardinals also selected Matt Pagnozzi, a catcher from Central Arizona Junior College, in the eighth round. He is the nephew of former Cardinals catcher Tom Pagnozzi. Along with Barton and Pagnozzi, St. Louis added two more catchers in the first 20 rounds: North Carolina prep Brandon Yarbrough (fifth round) and Jason Motte from Iona (19th).

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