Cardinals Draft Preview
By Will Lingo
Scouting Director: Marty Maier (first draft: 2001).
2000 Draft (First five rounds, picking 13th)
2001 Draft (First three rounds, picking 28th)
2002 Draft (First five rounds, picking 30th)
At least this year the club didn't lose any picks for signing free agents, so they'll have an opportunity to get better talent than last year, when they didn't have a selection until No. 102.
The Cardinals have shown a willingness to take whoever is at the top of their draft board in the early rounds of the draft, whether it's a high school or college player. The state of the farm system would dictate going after a premium position player, as the organization has few, if any, potential impact bats.
Beyond that, though, the Cardinals tend to go heavily for college players, particularly pitchers. In the last three drafts they've taken 61 percent college players, which places them ninth in baseball during that period.
Two of those drafts have been led by scouting director Marty Maier, but the organization philosophy has been in place for years. There's no reason to expect it to change this time around.
The Cardinals spent most of their draft budget before the draft last year, signing draft-and-follow Blake Hawksworth for $1.475 million out of Bellevue (Wash.) CC. He was a likely first-round pick had he gone back into the draft and immediately established himself as one of the organization's Top 10 Prospects.
Maier actually used three of his first four picks on high school players last year (and the other on a junior college player), but after that went back to college and didn't pick another high school player until the 25th round.
Expect a similar pattern this year. With earlier picks and a draft budget that won't be chewed up by major draft-and-follow signings, the Cardinals should take premium talent in the first few rounds, then go to college players for depth.
The juco player from the early rounds last year was Kyle Boyer, amazingly one of three players the Cardinals signed last year out of Dixie JC in Utah. One of the organization's young prospects, righthander Shane Reedy, was signed as a draft-and-follow out of Utah Valley State JC last May, so don't be surprised if the organization returns to Utah in the later rounds.