The St. Louis Cardinals made eight selections in the second day of the 2016 First-Year Player Draft on Friday, June 10, covering rounds 3-10.
Their initial choice of the day was pitcher Zac Gallen of the University of North Carolina, making three straight college right-handers for the Cardinals after a pair of prep picks to open the draft.
In Day 2, the Cardinals selected seven college players and just one high schooler, following a two-and-two split on Thursday. Of the 12, four are right-handed pitchers, all collegians. The others include two catchers, two shortstops, a third basemen and three outfielders.
Only one of the college players is a senior, the 10th round pick. Though other selections that may have seemed early could also free up money to sign some of the underclassmen with greater leverage, whether already selected or are coming up in Day 3 of the draft.
Overall, through Day 2, encompassing their first 12 picks, the Cardinals have been allocated $9,143,300 in bonus pool money.
Link to The Cardinal Nation’s Draft Day 1 in-depth report – Contentious Perez Pick Opens Cardinals 2016 Draft
Come back to The Cardinal Nation often on Friday as information about all St. Louis’ draft picks will be posted shortly after they are made. Same with rounds 11-40 coming on Saturday.
Link to the 2016 Scout.com Draft Central, where an extensive library of draft materials, including scouting reports, mock drafts, interviews and much more awaits.
Remember that by clicking on any highlighted player, you will be taken to his individual player profile page. There, a wealth of past information about him is available – articles, injury news, photos, videos, interviews and more - all in one place.
Again, as Friday progresses from afternoon into evening, this article will be updated as selections are made and information added, so please check back often.
St. Louis’ selections
Third round, 106th overall
Zac Gallen, RHP, University of North Carolina
The St. Louis Cardinals opened their Day 2 selections by taking their third straight college right-handed pitcher, Zac Gallen from the University of North Carolina. Gallen is actually one of the younger college pitchers as he does not turn 21 until August of this year. Gallen is a smaller pitcher, listed at just 6-foot-1 and 185 pounds on MLB’s Draft Tracker, but his size should not turn fans away from the talent in his arm.
Baseball America ranked him as the 97th best prospect in this draft class and the third best in North Carolina. MLB ranked him 78th, and Scout’s Jeff Ellis mocked Gallen to the Dodgers with the 96th pick after ranking him 91st overall.
Gallen shows command of three pitches, which leads to scouts debating which is his best. Gallen works mainly in the 90-92 mph range with his fastball, but he has hit 94. Despite his size, Gallen generates plenty of downhill plane on the pitch, which allows it to play up. He throws an 83-85 mph cutter/slider that has impressive movement, but he can get too dependent on the pitch. The Cardinals should be able to coach him to back off the breaking ball enough to utilize his other options. Gallen’s changeup has some tumble to it and has the potential to be a plus offering if he continues to develop it. Scouts grade all three of his pitches as above-average offerings, and with his command, he knows how to use them effectively. He’s even flashed a curveball, but he’s used it so rarely he may just scrap it in professional ball.
Despite not being a huge prospect, Gallen immediately went into UNC’s rotation as a freshman and started 17 games, putting up a 4.64 ERA and 1.36 WHIP. He improved in his sophomore season with a 2.79 ERA and 1.08 WHIP while raising his strikeouts and lowering his walks. Gallen then dominated ACC hitters this season. Gallen turned in 90 2/3 innings over 13 starts for the Tar Heels. Despite going 5-6, he struck out 95 batters for a 9.43 K/9. He walked just 21 batters for a 2.08 BB/9 and an impressive strikeout-to-walk ratio just at tick over 4.5. Gallen wasn’t hittable, either, allowing just 68 hits leading to a 0.98 WHIP and surrendering just two home runs.
Just as the Cardinals like, Gallen is an athletic pitcher who repeats his delivery well. He should be able to quickly move through the minor leagues, but it is doubtful he will be an impact starting pitcher. He certainly has the potential to be a backend starting pitcher who eats up innings, keeps the ball on the ground, doesn’t issue walks, and misses enough bats to be effective. Or, Gallen could shoot through the minors as a starter and end up in the Cardinals’ bullpen where his fastball could add a tick or two of speed and his breaking pitch could keep hitters whiffing. Gallen seems like a typical Cardinals’ draft pick: a player that doesn’t get a lot of hype, but three years from now, people will be asking, “Where did this guy come from?”
The pool amount for this pick is $563,100.
Fourth round, 136th overall
Jeremy Martinez, C, University of Southern California
In the fourth round, the Cardinals took their first college hitter, Jeremy Martinez, a catcher from the University of Southern California. The backstop was ranked 77th by Scout.com, 137th by MLB and 202nd by Baseball America. He was previously drafted in 2013 in the 37th round by the Chicago Cubs after winning a pair of NHSI titles and taking two turns with the US National U18 team, but he turned them down to honor his commitment to USC.
To start his college career, Martinez struggled significantly with the bat. He spent his first two seasons hitting for solid average (.296), but he had nearly no power behind his bat. He slugged .368 his freshman year and followed that with a .367 slugging percentage in his sophomore year. However, things clicked this year, especially offensively. Martinez put up a .376/.460/.563 slash line in his junior season to lead the Trojans in slugging percentage and OPS.
Nothing stands out in Martinez’s tools, but he does everything fairly well. He’s a consistent presence behind the plate, and he definitely has a chance to stick at catcher in the big leagues should he make it there. One other aspect that sticks out for Martinez is his plate discipline. He simply doesn’t strike out. He has never struck out more than he walked in a season at USC. Over three seasons and 624 at bats, Martinez has 71 walks and just 43 strikeouts. MLB’s Jonathan Mayo sees Martinez as a solid performer but not an All-Star, and he stands out as a leader behind the plate, a quality shared by Cardinals like Yadier Molina, Mike Matheny, and Tom Pagnozzi.
Martinez isn’t a lock to make the big leagues, but if he makes it there, he should become a solid everyday performer or a valuable backup. Even his power doesn’t develop like he showed this year, his ability to draw a walk will keep his bat valuable enough to not be an offensive black hole.
The pool amount for this pick is $421,600.
Fifth round, 166th overall
Walker Robbins, OF, George County High School, Mississippi
After loading up on four straight college talents, the Cardinals went back to the prep side of the draft by selecting outfielder Walker Robbins with their fifth round choice. The left-hander was ranked as the 93rd best prospect by MLB and 116th by Baseball America. Coincidentally, Robbins was ranked by BA as the second best Mississippi prospect behind the Cardinals third pick, Dakota Hudson. Former draft analyst for Scout and current writer for D1 Baseball, Frankie Piliere, heard some buzz about Robbins going to the Cardinals before the draft, but he anticipated the Cardinals taking him with one of their supplemental picks. He also heard rumors of the Phillies being interested in Robbins at 42.
The Mississippi native is committed to attend Mississippi State in the fall. The 18-year-old finished his senior season going 42-for-88 (.471) with 9 doubles, a triple, 3 home runs, 18 runs scored, and 16 RBI. In his 127 high school games, which actually started when he was in 8th grade, Robbins hit .351 with a .445 OBP. Robbins also excelled on the mound this year, going 8-2 with a 0.67 ERA and a perfect game under his belt.
Robbins is an advanced high school bat who uses all fields thanks to a compact, line-drive stroke. He does not hit for much power now, but as his body matures, the bat speed he currently shows should translate into more and more doubles and homers. Assuming he continues to grow and turns on pitches more, Robbins has the talent to become a .270s hitter with 15-20 home runs.
While he is not exactly a burner, Robbins has impressive movement at first base and looks to be an asset there, though the Cardinals announced him as an outfielder. He shows quick feet, soft hands, and very good athletic movements around the bag. As evidenced by his success as a pitcher, Robbins has a strong arm which has touched 91 mph on the mound.
MLB’s Jim Callis believes Robbins should have gone higher than he did, but if the Cardinals believed in taking him in the fifth round, he should be signable, keeping him away from Mississippi State. He also called Robbins one of his favorite high school bats in the entire draft.
While Robbins is quite a ways away from his ceiling, he could become a poor man’s Brandon Belt as a strong first base defender with solid power from the left side of the plate.
Update: Robbins plans to sign with the Cardinals, per Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com.
The pool amount for this pick is $315,600.
Sixth round, 196th overall
Tommy Edman, SS, Stanford
With a pair of intriguing high school bats in the stable in Walker Robbins and Dylan Carson, the Cardinals opted to go to the college ranks for a middle infielder in the sixth round by selecting Tommy Edman from Stanford University. Edman seems to be a bit of a reach for the Cardinals as he was ranked by Baseball America as the 475th best prospect in the draft and didn’t crack the MLB top 200 prospect list.
Edman is an average all-around player who hit in the middle of the lineup for the Cardinal with the team’s second highest OBP among regulars. Edman hit .286/.358/.371 with 24 RBIs, eight steals, 10 doubles, and four triples. Unsurprisingly from his slugging percentage, Edman hits for precious little power. In his last two seasons, Edman has just one home run, which came in his sophomore year. Despite this, he has been a three-year starter for Stanford.
MLB’s Jonathan Mayo notes that Edman is a prototypical potential utility guy. He is a hard-nosed, gritty player that outplays his tools. The switch hitter does excel at anything in particular but could fight his way to the big leagues.
Edman did hold up rather well in the Cape Cod League last summer, hitting .318/.382/.405. That line gave him the 16th best OPS in the league at .787, in front of two players taken not long before him this year, Errol Robinson (Mississippi) and Colby Woodmansee (Arizona State). Edman’s ability to handle a wood bat and gritty attitude may have been what attracted the Cardinals’ attention.
The pool amount for this pick is $236,400.
Seventh round, 226th overall
Andrew Knizner, C, North Carolina State
The Cardinals decided to take another college catcher in the 7th round by selecting Andrew Knizner from North Carolina State University. The 6-foot-1, 200 pound receiver was ranked the 257th overall prospect by Baseball America, but MLB placed him as the 195th best prospect.
Knizner opened his career at NC State as a Freshman All-American, hitting .330/.373/.450 as the starting third baseman for the Wolfpack. Heading into his sophomore season, he was moved behind the plate, and his offense started to trail off a bit. He finished his junior year with a .290/.359/.367 line which gave him the lowest OPS among NC State’s everyday players. Knizner had 112 at bats in the Cape Cod League last year and struggled mightily with a .232/.353/.313 line with 18 strikeouts and 15 walks.
Despite this, scouts like the strength Knizner possesses and believe he can develop into average power. He does not have the bat speed to match his strength right now, but his swing could be coached to refine the bat speed. Defensively, the Virginia native is inconsistent behind the plate. Sometimes he looks fantastic and zips the ball on a line to second base thanks to his solid arm strength. Other times, his arm motion gets long and results in sloppy play. Despite his exceedingly poor speed, he is agile enough to play behind the dish.
Scouts see Knizner stuck in a tweener kind of position right now. The Cardinals could live or die with him behind the plate and hope that learning from teachers like Yadier Molina and Mike Matheny will refine his game enough to turn him into an everyday catcher, but his offense will likely never develop to its full potential. On the other hand, St. Louis could move him from behind the dish back to third base full-time as they did with 2015 pick Paul DeJong and hope that his offense will rebound to the kind of potential he showed as a freshman.
The pool amount for this pick is $185,300.
Eighth round, 256th overall
Sam Tewes, RHP, Wichita State
With their eighth round selection, the Cardinals bought a lottery ticket in another right-handed college pitcher, Sam Tewes from Wichita State. While he did not crack MLB’s top 200 draft prospects, Tewes was ranked at 159 by Baseball America.
Here’s the good news about Tewes. First, he has a great pitcher’s frame, standing 6-foot-5 and weighing 200 pounds. He has a clean and repeatable delivery. Tewes possesses a strong arm with a fastball that sits in the low-90s and tops out at 95 mph. He also throws a plus slider with good late bite on it. Like most amateur pitchers, his changeup is his third best pitch, but it is certainly improving. He also has a curveball in his repertoire. Tewes was the top prospect from Nebraska when he was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 22nd round of the 2013 draft before he decided to honor his commitment to Wichita State.
Here is the bad news: Tewes has had serious trouble staying healthy. Last season, he left his fifth start with an elbow injury to his pitching arm. Tewes was in the middle of a strong start to his season, striking out 22 and walking three in 22 1/3 innings with a 2.42 ERA. He was able to avoid surgery and came back to lead the 2016 Wichita State staff, but Tewes then left his fourth start of the year after just one out against Cal State Fullerton. He had Tommy John surgery on March 31st.
Tewes will not be ready to pitch until next summer, so it is a gamble to see if he can develop into a big league player after sitting out his first year of professional baseball. If he does sign and can return to prior form, his collection of pitching and size could turn into a solid pitcher...if he stays healthy.
The pool amount for this pick is $172,900.
Ninth round, 286th overall
Matt Fiedler, OF, University of Minnesota
In the ninth round, the Cardinals picked up a player that does a little bit of everything for the University of Minnesota in two-way player Matt Fiedler. In fact, Fiedler is in the running for the John Olerud Award, given to the nation’s best college two-way player, an honor received by another Cardinals draft pick, Marco Gonzales, in 2013.
Fiedler shows average speed and defense in the outfield and likely profiles best as a fourth outfielder. Even though he does not have great power, he hit .366 with eight home runs for the Golden Gophers after hitting .310/.367/.425 in his sophomore year. His showing in 2016 earned him the honor of Big Ten Player of the Year and All-Big Ten First Team awards.
Last summer, Fiedler played in 41 games in the Northwoods League, a summer wood bat circuit similar to the Cape Cod League. He hit .354/.418/.558 with eight homers, 37 RBI, six doubles, and nine stolen bases.
The 5-foot-10 right-hander hits 91 mph from the mound, but his size combined with his contact ability lead most to believe that his future is in the outfield, though the mound is always a fallback option.
The pool amount for this pick is $161,700.
Link to WCCO-TV (Twin Cities) report on Fiedler's success as a two-way player: http://cbsloc.al/22jHdP8
Tenth round, 316th overall
Danny Hudzina, 3B, Western Kentucky
To finish Day 2 of the 2016 MLB Draft, the Cardinals selected their first college senior in third baseman Danny Hudzina from Western Kentucky University. The 5-foot-11, 185-pound third baseman spent his last two seasons at Western Kentucky after transferring from Palm Beach State College. Coming into the 2016 season, Baseball America ranked him as the 19th best college senior.
While the same kind of production at the big league level is doubtful, Hudzina is going to draw some light comparisons to current Cardinal Matt Carpenter. Carpenter was also a senior sign out of Texas Christian University. Scouts are divided on where Hudzina’s eventual defensive home will be: some see him sticking at third, others think he can handle short in a pinch, some think he should move to second base, and since he has the experience, there is even some belief he could catch. In summary, it seems like his best position fit may be utility infielder.
While Hudzina played in a less-heralded college conference in Conference USA, he dominated this season, hitting .408/.470/.564 with four homers, 18 doubles, two triples, and 32 RBI. Add in the fact that he struck out just 12 times against 26 walks, and in the last two years at Western Kentucky, he struck out just 28 times in 469 at plate appearances, a 6% rate. He has more hit than power, but if his plate discipline carries over to professional ball, he should be able to handle his own. Hudzina even carried a 29-game hitting streak that extended back to 2015 before it was snapped in April.
Hudzina has a long road ahead of him as a senior from a smaller school, but the right-handed hitter’s ability to draw walks could give him the edge to climb through the minors and reach the bigs.
The pool amount for this pick is $156,600.
TCN’s draft analyst Scott Schook is writing the player capsules and Brian Walton is filling in the rest.
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