Late in day two of the 2014 First-Year Player Draft, in the 18th round, the St. Louis Cardinals selected an outfielder from Concordia University in Oregon, Blake Drake.
Drake reported to Johnson City, where he led the eventual Appalachian League champions in games played, as the club’s regular centerfielder. The right-handed hitter finished third in the league in total bases and interestingly, the slender Drake also paced the JC club with six home runs.
The Cardinals clearly saw something in the 6-foot-1, 175-pounder they liked, yet I was among those surprised when Drake scored a select invitation to the organization’s STEP camp (Spring Training Early Program). The 21-year-old turned that momentum into a spot on the Peoria roster to open the 2015 season. With Magneuris Sierra also on the club, Drake is seeing time at all three outfield positions.
Still adjusting to Midwest League pitching, Drake was hitting just .140 when I interviewed him earlier this week. Since then, he has gone 5-for-13, including a double, two home runs and five RBI, while adding 54 points to his batting average. The two long balls represent 2/5 of his team’s total on the still-young season. Drake is also a perfect 2-for-2 in stolen bases.
In the following interview, Drake discusses his progress since joining the Cardinals organization and looks ahead to the remainder of the 2015 season.
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