Cards Top Draft Pick in TCN’s Top 40: 2007-16

Details on where the St. Louis Cardinals’ most recent 10 initial draft picks ranked as prospects in their first year of top prospect ranking eligibility.

In The Cardinal Nation’s number eight ranking of teenaged outfielder Nick Plummer, I received a few questions about the following passage from my comments, as follows.

The Michigan native was the first high schooler chosen with St. Louis’ initial pick since Shelby Miller in 2009 and as noted above, their first prep position player at the spot since Pete Kozma in 2007. Further, Plummer is the team's first cold weather-climate initial pick, high school or college, in a decade - since Adam Ottavino in 2006.

On one hand, the number eight overall placement on this top 40 prospect list may seem aggressive considering Plummer’s brief and uneven professional introduction, but it isn’t really. I went back and looked at where the Cardinals first picks in the last 10 drafts ranked in our top prospect list the year after they were drafted.

Of the 10 picks, seven were college players - four pitchers and three hitters. All of them were ranked between second and sixth that following winter. The other two high school draftees were Miller, placed second in 2010, and Kozma, way down at #16 in his first year eligible. Plummer roughly splits the difference between the other two prep first-rounders.

The following table summarizes the details behind this.

Draft  Cardinals' Overall HS/ Pitcher/ 1st top 40 T40
year 1st selection pick # college hitter rank year
2015 Nick Plummer 23 HS hitter 8 2016
2014 Luke Weaver 27 college pitcher 9 2015
2013 Marco Gonzales 19 college pitcher 6 2014
2012 Michael Wacha 19 college pitcher 4 2013
2011 Kolten Wong 22 college hitter 4 2012
2010 Zack Cox 25 college hitter 2 2011
2009 Shelby Miller 19 HS pitcher 2 2010
2008 Brett Wallace 13 college hitter 2 2009
2007 Pete Kozma 18 HS hitter 16 2008
2006 Adam Ottavino 30 college pitcher 5 2007

Interestingly, only the most recent five remain with the Cardinals organization. The most recent two, Plummer and Luke Weaver, are still working their way up. Marco Gonzales is on the cusp of the Majors while Michael Wacha and Kolten Wong are established with St. Louis.

The next three – Zack Cox, Miller and Brett Wallace – were traded away. Kozma was allowed to leave as a minor league free agent and Ottavino was claimed off waivers. Of the departed five, only Miller and Ottavino are clear MLB players. Cox has yet to reach the bigs while Wallace and Kozma have had chances, but have been unable to claim long-term jobs.

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Brian Walton can be reached via email at Also catch his Cardinals commentary at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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