Back in the June, 2005 draft, the St. Louis Cardinals had four extra selections in the first 70 picks. Right-handed pitcher Mark McCormick from Baylor was the second of those four, taken in the first compensation round at number 43 overall.
McCormick, along with outfielder Colby Rasmus, selected at number 28 overall that year, were the Cardinals’ return for the loss of free-agent shortstop Edgar Renteria to the Boston Red Sox. The Scott Boras client with the tantalizing mid-to-upper 90’s heat and hammer curveball received an $800,000 signing bonus.
Four-and-a-half years later, the former Baylor star has been quietly released by the Cardinals after having spent most of the interim period either injured or rehabbing. McCormick’s primary problem has been his pitching shoulder, which has been operated on at least three times and likely more. The now-26-year-old had been exposed in the recent Rule 5 Draft, but not surprisingly was untaken.
Over the course of five professional seasons, McCormick pitched in only four of them. He missed all of 2009 after making several appearances in spring training camp in Jupiter, Florida, where he remained during his latest rehab. Earlier in the fall, rumors surfaced that McCormick decided enough was enough and headed home. The Cardinals’ move to release the 6-foot-2, 195-pounder seems to also reflect a desire to move on.
McCormick only reached as high as Double-A Springfield for the briefest of time, six outings in 2008. Including his numerous rehab stints, he appeared at five different levels a total of nine periods, including the Gulf Coast League (twice), New York-Penn League, Midwest League (twice), Florida State League (thrice) and Texas League.
All told, he managed to deliver a grand total of three professional wins and 175 1/3 innings in game action on the mound since 2005. While McCormick fanned 187, he also walked 118. He appeared in our top 40 prospect countdown four times, debuting at number six in 2006. He fell to 11th and 20th the subsequent two years before continuing his free-fall off the list.
The other two 2005 compensation picks by the Cardinals were received when catcher Mike Matheny signed with San Francisco. Both were high-schoolers at the time and join McCormick as right-handed pitching busts. Tyler Herron, taken 46th overall, ran into off-field issues and was released last summer. Josh Wilson, the 70th overall pick, has retired a second time. Like McCormick, neither made it past Double-A.
Overall, the 2005 draft was still one of the best in recent years for St. Louis. In addition to Rasmus, other players from that class that have reached the majors with the Cardinals include Tyler Greene (first round), Mitchell Boggs (fifth round), Nick Stavinoha (seventh) and Jaime Garcia (22nd). Top prospects Daryl Jones (third) and Bryan Anderson (fourth) were also taken that June.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog.
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