‘08 St. Louis Cardinals Draft Review: Hitters
Now-2B Aaron Luna
Now-2B Aaron Luna

Posted Oct 18, 2008


Results by the St. Louis Cardinals hitters selected in this June’s First-Year Player Draft.

Now that the minor league season is complete, it is a good time to look back at the results of the St. Louis Cardinals 2008 draft picks.  In the first of a two-part series, the hitters will be reviewed here. 

 

Of the 51 players selected by the organization in June, 2008, 24 were position players. Of those, 20 came to terms with the Cardinals. 22 made their debuts with Batavia of the New York-Penn League, Johnson City of the Appalachian League, and the Gulf Coast League.  Both Batavia and Johnson City found themselves over .500 with the Muckdogs winning their first-ever New York-Penn League title. 

 

Of the five hitters selected in the first 10 rounds, four of the five have to be extremely encouraged by their debuts.  One is already playing in the prestigious Arizona Fall League.  A late-round find would be named his league’s Player of the Year. 

 

Overall, the early results are very encouraging for what could turn out to be a very strong 2008 draft class for the St. Louis Cardinals. 

 

Below, to the right of each player’s name is the round in which he was drafted. Picks are listed in numerical order by the round selected.

 

 

Brett Wallace (1)

 

The former Arizona State Sun Devil enjoyed an outstanding start in professional baseball.  One of only two drafted position players starting at the full-season level, the 22-year-old hit .327/.418/.490 in 41 games for Quad Cities of the Midwest League.

 

Known for their aggressive promotions, the Cardinals challenged Wallace again by skipping him a level and putting him in the Double-A Texas League.  At Springfield, he did not miss a beat, hitting .367/.456/.653 in 13 games for the Cardinals. 

 

In a two-game stretch in late August, the California native hit three home runs and drove in six runs, including a walk off home run against Arkansas on August 24.  Wallace continues on the fast track by representing the organization in the Arizona Fall League, currently underway. 

 

 

Shane Peterson (2)

 

Overall, Peterson enjoyed a strong professional debut despite struggling during the dog days of August.   The former Long Beach State Dirt Bag hit .291/.400/.409 for the New York-Penn League Champion Muckdogs.  He ranked third in the league in on-base percentage and walks while ranking second in doubles. 

 

Peterson came up big in the playoffs, hitting .409 with seven RBIs during post-season play.  The 20-year-old was named a New York-Penn League Mid-Season All-Star. 

 

 

Niko Vasquez (3)

 

Initially assigned to Johnson City, Vasquez enjoyed a successful professional debut.  In 55 games, the 19-year-old hit .317/.416/.462 for the Cardinals. 

 

Once again being aggressive, the Cardinals skipped Vasquez a level and promoted him to Quad Cities.  The Las Vegas native struggled mightily against the more advanced pitching of the Midwest League.  In 39 at bats, he hit only .128/.205/.154 with 17 strikeouts. 

 

 

Jermaine Curtis (5)

 

Curtis lost some time with an ankle injury and the Batavia offense really felt it.  When he returned from the disabled list, the Muckdogs took off on their way to a New York-Penn League Championship. 

 

Curtis finished the season with a line of .305/.383/.439.  The former UCLA Bruin punished left-handed pitching, posting a line of .462/.543/.564.  He walked more times, seven, than he struck out, six, against southpaws.  For his efforts, Curtis was named a NY-Penn League Mid-Season All-Star. 

 

 

Aaron Luna (9)

 

Drafted out of Rice, the former Owl received an aggressive first assignment to Quad Cities.  Luna showed a propensity for reaching base with a .402 OBP while slugging .578.  In 21 games for the River Bandits, Luna hit six home runs.

 

When a roster spot opened up, Luna was assigned to the A-Advanced Palm Beach Cardinals.  In the pitcher-friendly Florida State League, the 21-year-old was clearly overmatched, though his playing time was sporadic.  Luna finished his trial with a line of .080/.303/.080.  Even so, he still showed the ability to reach base. 

 

 

Alex Castellanos (10)

 

The Belmont-Abbey product got off to a fantastic start at Johnson City.  Playing primarily third base, Castellanos hit .298/.354/.536 with seven home runs and 31 RBIs in 49 games. 

 

His twenty stolen bases was the second-best mark while he ranked seventh in triples and tied for tenth in doubles in the Appalachian League. 

 

The 22-year-old was then promoted to Batavia to help the team in its playoff drive.  In 10 regular season games there, he slugged .500. 

 

 

Devin Shepherd (11)

 

A former fifth-round pick by the Minnesota Twins in 2006, Shepherd’s was the tale of two months.  In July, Shepherd hit .317 before hitting only .224 in August.  The big outfielder never really found his power, slugging only .325 in the Gulf Coast League.

 

The five-tool prospect wore out left-handed pitching to a line of .444/.524/.500. 

 

 

Michael Swinson (12)

 

Swinson got off to a great start in his debut in the Gulf Coast League.  In his first four games, the Georgia prep product hit .286 and stole four bases.  Unfortunately, he hit only .176 with two steals the rest of the season.

 

Along with Shepherd, Swinson was named by camp coordinator Mike Shildt as one of the most improved players during the recently-completed instructional league. 

 

 

Charles Cutler (14)

 

Cutler quietly put together a superb professional debut behind the plate for Batavia.  The backstop out of Cal finished with a .303/.365/.408 mark in 40 games.  Cutler had a fantastic August during which he hit .357/.419/.464. 

 

 

Xavier Scruggs (19)

 

The former UNLV Running Rebel struggled with the strikeout in his first shot at pro ball.  Scruggs whiffed 68 times in 215 at bats for Batavia.  The 21-year-old did finish tied for second on the team with six home runs while his 33 RBIs were tied for the third-best mark. 

 

 

Luis Mateo (20)

 

The 18-year-old showed flashes of his speed with 15 stolen bases between two stops.  Starting his professional career in the Gulf Coast League, the Puerto Rican hit .274/.338/.363 before being promoted to Johnson City. 

 

After entering the Appalachian League, Mateo hit .284 while hitting .500 against left-handers. 

 

Matt Rigoli (21)

 

The son of the long-time Cardinals’ scout struggled in his debut in the Appalachian League.  Rigoli hit .205 with 28 strikeouts in 83 at bats. 

 

The Pace College product got off to a promising start with a .313 average in nine games in June.  The 22-year-old would go on to hit only .179 over the next two months, however. 

 

 

Colt Sedbrook (22)

 

The middle infielder led the Batavia offense and was named that team’s Player of the Year by The Birdhouse.  The former Arizona Wildcat led the team with a .305 average, 84 hits, five triples, and 109 total bases.

 

In the New York-Penn League, he finished eighth in hitting, fifth in on-base percentage, tied for third in hits, and tied for fourth-most triples. Sedbrook was recognized as a New York-Penn League Mid-Season All-Star. 

 

 

Chris Swauger (26)

 

Drafted out of The Citadel, Swauger led Batavia with seven home runs and finished second on the team with 34 RBIs.  During the month of August, Swauger hit .375 with three home runs and 14 RBIs. 

 

For the season, the 22-year-old finished with a mark of .291/.348/.469, including hitting .389 with runners in scoring position. 

 

 

Brett Lilley (29)

 

The former Notre Dame Golden Domer started his pro career at Johnson City while serving as the team’s primary leadoff man.  Lilly showed the ability to reach first base by posting a .445 on-base percentage. 

 

The diminutive left-handed swinger then found his way north to Batavia where he continued to reach base at a near-.400 mark.  Lilley finished the season with a line of .312/.429/.376 between the two levels. 

 

 

Jack Cawley (34)

 

Cawley continued to hit after leaving Pace College, finishing with a line of .330/.426/.413 in 33 games at Johnson City.  The Bronx native punished left-handed pitching for a .471 average in 17 at bats. 

 

Cawley showed good bat control, totalling 20 strikeouts compared to 18 walks. 

 

 

Curt Smith (39)

 

The University of Maine product burst onto the scene and took home Appalachian League Player of the Year honors.  At Johnson City, he hit .378/.418/.585 with eight home runs and 49 RBIs. 

 

Smith was rewarded with a late season call-up to the Quad Cities where he hit .244 with 10 RBIs in 11 games. 

 

 

Paul Cruz (40)

 

The athletic outfielder out of the University of Tampa never found his way at Johnson City.  Cruz would finish with a paltry line of .183/.285/.260 in 44 games. 

 

Cruz did show good bat control, with 20 strikeouts compared to 19 walks. 

 

 

Blake Murphy (42)

 

The backstop was originally assigned to Batavia where he hit .242 with three home runs and 13 RBIs in 24 games.  Murphy struggled to make contact, with 34 strikeouts in 91 at bats.

 

When a catcher was needed at Quad Cities, the 23-year-old was promoted to fill the roster spot.  For the River Bandits, he reached base at a .351 clip.  

 

 

Joe Babrick (43)

 

The 18-year-old had a tough time in his Gulf Coast League debut.  The former Florida prep finished with a line of .143/.239/.195 over 34 games.  In his 77 at bats, Babrick struck out 45 times. 

 

 

Dustin Mattison can be reached via email at dustin@whiteyball.net.

 

 

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