With just a few days remaining until the new August 15 signing deadline for players taken in the First-Year Player Draft, the St. Louis Cardinals added their 42nd player from the 2007 class of 52 draftees, right-handed pitcher Brett Zawacki.
The 18-year-old attended La Salle-Peru Township High School in LaSalle, Illinois and was taken by the Cardinals in the 12th round, their 14th pick overall, back in June. Negotiations apparently continued through the summer. Financial terms were not initially disclosed.
Zawacki, who has a fastball that scouts say can touch 92-94 MPH and has a solid curveball and change-up, turned his back on a scholarship offer from Arizona State University after having initially committed orally to Illinois State. He stormed back onto scouts’ radar after having missed the entire 2006 baseball season due to a tear of the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee suffered while playing basketball. In addition to pitching, Zawacki played third base in high school.
According to the News Tribune of La Salle, the two sides came to agreement last Friday, August 10 with the 6-foot-1, 190 pound pitcher scheduled to sign his first professional contract on Tuesday. From there, he heads to the Cardinals camp in Jupiter, Florida on Wednesday to complete his physical and begin play.
Of the Cardinals top twenty selections this draft, only sixth pick (fourth round), sophomore outfielder Kyle Russell of the University of Texas and 11th pick (ninth round), junior right-handed pitcher Mike Stutes of Oregon State University, remain unsigned.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at email@example.com.
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