On the final day of the 2010 MLB First Year Player Draft, the St. Louis Cardinals had 20 picks to help fill out three short season rosters. But the organization would not be satisfied with roster fillers; it hoped to find such productive minor leaguers such as Rich Racobaldo and Jesse Simpson whom it chose in last year’s proceedings.
The organization continued to stockpile left-handed pitching and middle infielders while bringing another Benes into the ranks.
Mike O’Neill is a feisty leadoff man type who shows great patience and plate discipline. In the field, he uses his plus speed to cover plenty of ground but seems limited due to a below average arm.
The undersized outfielder hit .344/.413/.468 with only 15 strikeouts in 186 at bats for the USC Trojans. In his final game of his career, he had four hits and drove in a career high four runs.
O'Neill spent his 2009 summer in the Northwoods League and hit .293 with seven doubles, six home runs, and swiped nine bases on his way to earning All-Star honors. During the 2008 season in the league, he hit .297 for the team that won the Northwoods League Championship.
The left-handed hitter holds a black belt in karate.
In the next round, the Cardinals continued to replenish its left-handed pitching corps with the selection of Ryan Copeland. The 5’11 senior made 31 appearances including seven starts for Illinois State this spring. He posted a record of 4-5 with a 4.63 ERA while leading his team with five saves.
In 83.2 innings, he logged 78 strikeouts while allowing 12 walks. But he might not have even been drafted if not for a switch to the bullpen.
Copeland started the season with a 1-4 record and a 7.30 ERA in seven starts. Due to his struggles, the team moved him to the bullpen and his season took off. He went on to post a 3-1 record and 1.54 ERA in 35 innings over 18 appearances. His strikeouts per nine inning rate escalated from 5.54 as a starter to 12.0 and his scouts report his velocity jumped five miles per hour to the low 90’s. As a starter, his batting average against was .326, but as a reliever, opponents hit only .150 against him.
Like Daniel Bibona on day two, Joey Bergman was selected by the Cardinals during the 2009 draft proceedings. The College of Charleston second baseman struggled to repeat his 2009 performance that led to him being named the Southern Conference Player of the Year.
Bergman was a shortstop in college, but scouts believe he will slide to his left and be an offensive second baseman. He has lots of polish along with plate discipline, pitch recognition, and modest pop. This spring, Bergman hit .335/.431/.513 with 16 steals in 21 attempts.
He suffered a hamate bone injury during summer ball that required surgery and caused him to miss six months. Most scouts believe his bat speed and stroke have not been the same since.
The Cardinals drafted Bergman in the 22nd round during last year’s draft.
With this pick, the team picked consecutive senior second basemen. And like previous pick Bergman, Matt Valaika struggled to repeat the success of his 2009. Drafted out of UC Santa Barbara, he hit .301/.397/.437 with four home runs and 35 RBIs. The previous season, Valaika hit .343/.411/.545.
Current Cardinals’ second baseman Skip Schumaker was also a Gaucho and his older brother Chris is in the Reds' organization. He shows good pop for a second baseman but has limited range and arm strength for a middle infielder.
Valaika was selected in the 20th round of the 2009 draft by the Cincinnati Reds.
It’s been awhile since a Benes has pitched for the St. Louis Cardinals but the organization tried to remedy that on day 3 of the MLB First Year Player Draft. In the 35th round, the team chose Drew Benes, son of former Cardinal pitcher Andy Benes and nephew of current scout Alan Benes.
The right-handed pitcher appeared in a team high 23 games out of the Arkansas State bullpen during 2010. In 26.2 innings of work, he posted an ERA of 3.04 while racking up 19 strikeouts. He needs to work on his control as he gave away 12 free passes during the season.
His 2010 season was a drastic improvement compared with his previous campaign. During 2009, he posted an 8.41 ERA in 10 starts covering 40.2 innings. Once again, he struggled with control, walking 21 compared to only 19 strikeouts.
The young Benes has a great pitcher’s frame as he stands 6’3 and weighs 210 pounds. He played his high school baseball at Westminster Christian in St. Louis.
The Cardinals chose another Cardinal when the team picked Dean Kiekhefer out of Louisville. The left-hander made 19 appearances including 10 starts and posted a 4.31 ERA. He uses polish and savvy to make up for his lackluster stuff.
Kiekhefer struck out only 39 while allowing 19 walks in 62.2 innings this season. The junior received the Francis Tripp Award while playing in the Cape Cod League in 2009. The award is given annually to the player who makes the most positive impact to the organization and the community on and off the field.
With a side arm motion and a full effort delivery, he looks destined for the bullpen. But since Kiekhefer hides the ball very well which seems to give his average fastball more life, he could find success as a lefty specialist.
The Cardinals picked up the most interesting name of their draft when the team selected Patrick “Packy” Elkins of Belmont University in North Carolina. The shortstop hit .327/.495/.679 with 15 home runs and more than twice as many walks as strikeouts.
The organization continued to grab talent from the smaller schools as well as collect left-handed pitchers. Jeff Nadeau posted a record of 5-0 with a 3.48 ERA for LSU-Shreveport in 2010. The 6’2, 185-pounder will need to work on his control, he posted a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 34-to-23.
Described as a gym rat, he reportedly made himself into a pitcher while at Shreveport. Plus, he seemed to rise to the occasion against the toughest opponents. Facing Southern Arkansas, the number one ranked team in Division II, he allowed only one run on five hits in six innings of work to pick up the win. Against Division I Louisiana Tech, he picked up the win after surrendering one earned run in 5 and a third innings.
Next, the team went with undersized right-hander Ian Parry. Serving as Furman’s Friday night starter, the 5’11 hurler posted a record of 5-7 with an ERA of 5.51. In 101.2 innings, the posted 89 strikeouts while walking 20.
His fastball sits in the high 80’s with some sink. His best pitch is his slider to go along with an average at best change up. In a match up against the Citadel’s Asher Wojciechowski who went 41st overall with the Blue Jay, Parry pitched well before coming up on the losing end.
A team captain for his Longwood University team, Phil Cerreto hit .414/.477/.715 with 10 home runs and 60 RBIs while hitting out of the three-hole. In 186 at bats, he posted nearly twice as many walks as strikeouts, 27-to-14.
Last summer, the third baseman was named the 2009 Offensive Player of the Year in the Coastal Plains League. The former walk-on hit.351 with eight homers while going 12 for 12 in the stolen-base department in the wood bat league.
Vanderbilt’s Chase Reid made 26 appearances for the Commodores including seven starts in 2010. The right-hander posted a 4-1 record with a 3.25 ERA in 63.2 innings of work. Reid averaged more than a strikeout an inning while allowing only 13 bases on balls and picked up three saves along the way.
With a traditional pitcher’s body, 6’3 and 215 pounds, Reid was rated as the 34th best prospect in the state of Texas by Baseball America in 2007. He throws his fastball in the mid-to-high 80’s and his curveball and changeup have the makings of solid average pitches.
The Milwaukee Brewers selected him in the 42nd round of the 2007 draft.
The Cardinals went back to the state of Tennessee with its next pick but at the high school level. Cole Brand is a power pitcher with a fastball that tops out in the low 90’s. He has a strong commitment to Clemson so will be a tough sign.
Both his fastball and changeup show good movement down in the zone. His slider is a work in progress.
The Cardinals returned to Le Moyne College for its pick in this round. After drafting Matt Scherer from the college in 2004, the club chose outfielder Chris Edmondson this time around. With limited athletiscm, he profiles as a left fielder due to his below average arm strength.
The left-handed hitter hit .348/.424/.612 with 12 home runs and 50 RBIs as the Dolphins key offensive cog. The outfielder has a smooth, compact swing that should produce doubles power. He shows good plate discipline and seems to find a way to put the barrel of the bat on the ball. In 201 at bats, he struck out only 21 times while drawing 19 walks.
While at the University of California-Poly, Adam Melker got plenty of action at all three outfield positions. The left-hander hitter posted a slash line of .337/.427/.528 with six home runs and 18 doubles.
Melker posted great numbers in limited at-bats during a stay in the West Coast League last summer. He missed action due to a shoulder injury after being one of the team’s offensive leaders in 2008.
In this round, the Cardinals tabbed a Vanderbilt signee that will be a tough sign. Robert Hansen is an undersized right-hander that went 13-2 with a 0.62 ERA this season at Beech (TN) High School.
At 5’7, Pete Mooney might remind some fans of the team’s former shortstop David Eckstein. Baseball America says that he is one of the top two defensive shortstops in the state of Florida, impressive considering the state’s baseball depth.
In 160 at bats for Palm Beach Community College, he hit .356 with 13 steals in 14 attempts. If the team wants to bring in the diminutive left-handed hitter, it will have to overcome is strong commitment to South Carolina.
Justin Wright might be undersized, 5’9 and 174 pounds, but he came up big during the ACC Tournament. The Virginia Tech left-hander earned National Player of the Week honors from Collegiate Baseball and Louisville Slugger after recording a career-high 15 strikeouts during a complete-game, 6-2 win over sixth-ranked Georgia Tech. In the game, he outdueled Toronto Blue Jays’ first round pick Deck McGuire.
The southpaw posted an 8-5 record and a 3.95 ERA with 100 strikeouts 33 walks in 98 innings.
A team can never have too much catching depth and the organization added to theirs with this pick. Hector Acosta is a very good athlete for a catcher and has doubles power and solid arm strength. Surprisingly quick for a catcher, the part-time outfielder stole 38 bases in 47 attempts. He finished the season with a slash line of .438/.556/.665.
Acosta set Coffeyville Community College records for hits, singles, triples, runs scored, batting average, on base percentage, walks and stolen bases in his outstanding 2010 campaign. He signed a letter of intent to attend Arkansas-Little Rock.
Acosta was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the 50th round in 2008.
It’s hard to find a lefty with Bob Revesz’ size and frame this late in the draft. The 6’4 southpaw made 22 appearances including two starts for the Louisville Cardinals in 2010. He posted an ERA of 2.38 while striking out 20 in 34 innings of work. Revesz will need to improve his control after allowing 14 free passes this spring.
The pitcher will a tall, lean, projectable frame tops out at 90 MPH on his fastball while having good success with curveball that scouts say is more of a slurve.
Revesz’ played on the Cape in 2008 as a Freshman along with first round selection Drew Pomeranz. He is a junior so he could go back to improve his draft stock if the Cardinals do not offer him a contract to his liking.
The Pittsburgh Pirates drafted him in the 27th round of the 2007 MLB draft.
With the team’s final selection of the day, it tabbed Andy Moye out of Georgia Southern. The right-hander has a projectable frame, standing 6’5 and weighing 205 pounds. He posted a record of 8-4 with a 5.61 ERA with 73 strikeouts and 32 walks in 77 innings of work.
Moye has a fastball that sits in the high 80’s that he can dial up to the low 90’s. Both of his secondary offerings
Moye was drafted in the 11th round by the New York Mets in 2006 while Baseball America ranked him in the top 150 of that draft class.
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