Cardinals Draft Report Card

Miller dropped because of signability concerns, and the Cardinals stole him with the No. 19 overall pick for $2.875 million. After that, they returned to their usual college focus and were pleased with the initial performances of several players.

BEST PURE HITTER: 1B Matt Adams (23) set single-season (an NCAA Division II-leading .495) and career (.454) records for batting average at Slippery Rock (Pa.), then hit .355/.400/.547 between two teams in his pro debut. >> BEST POWER HITTER: OF Kyle Conley (7), who holds the Washington career record with 42 homers, or Adams. >> FASTEST RUNNER: OF Virgil Hill (6) has plus-plus speed, not surprising considering that his mother, Denean Howard-Hill, won a silver medal in the 1988 Olympics in the 4x400-meter relay. >> BEST DEFENSIVE PLAYER: SS Ryan Jackson (5) was the draft's top college defender at his position. Though he's a slightly below-average runner, he has plus range thanks to his instincts and quick first step. His arm is a cannon and he has reliable hands.


BEST FASTBALL: No high schooler in the 2009 draft had a better fastball than RHP Shelby Miller (1). He works at 92-93 mph and touches 97, and his heater plays up further because of its life and deception. RHP Joe Kelly (3) pitches at 94-95 mph and hits 98, but Miller's fastball package is better. >> BEST SECONDARY PITCH: RHP Scott Bittle (4) dominated the Southeastern Conference for three years, thanks to an 84-86 mph cutter that hitters knew was coming but still couldn't do anything with.


BEST PRO DEBUT: Besides Adams, a number of players excelled in their first taste of pro ball. RHP Scott Schneider (20), a sinker/slider specialist, went 3-3, 2.04 with 76 strikeouts in 71 innings while reaching low Class A. RHP David Kington (34) led the Rookie-level Appalachian League with eight saves, while RHP Andy Moss (35) won the ERA crown at 2.28. >> BEST ATHLETE: Hill. OF David Washington (15) was an all-league basketball guard in San Diego who averaged 14.7 points a game and won the city slam-dunk competition as a senior. Miller made the all-Texas 3-A state football second team as both a tight end and a punter last fall. >> MOST INTRIGUING BACKGROUND:: C Robert Stock (2) was Baseball America's 2005 Youth Player of the Year and skipped his senior year of high school to enroll at Southern California at age 16 a year later. The Brewers drafted his brother Richard in the 45th round in June but didn't sign him. Hill's father Virgil Sr. also won Olympic silver, as a middleweight boxer in 1984, and later held world light-heavyweight and cruiserweight titles. Unsigned SS Taylor Terrasas' (39) father Rudy is the Mets' scouting director. >> CLOSEST TO THE MAJORS: Bittle has had shoulder problems since 2006 and hasn't pitched since April. But if he can stay healthy, he may not need more than a year in the minors. >> BEST LATE-ROUND PICK: Adams or Schneider. >> THE ONE WHO GOT AWAY: St. Louis signed an MLB-high 43 players, but couldn't lure finesse LHP Daniel Bibona (16) away from his senior season at UC Irvine.