The St. Louis Cardinals made their final 30 selections in the third day of the 2016 First-Year Player Draft on Saturday, June 11, covering rounds 11-40. Their initial choice of the day was left-handed pitcher John Kilichowski from Vanderbilt University,
Though uninformed observers pay little attention to Day 3 selections, the reality is that many good major leaguers are sourced from these picks. In fact, the Cardinals have been especially successful, with seven players currently on the major league roster once drafted in round 11 or later. They include all-stars Trevor Rosenthal and Matt Carpenter.
In Days 1 and 2 of the 2016 Draft, the Cardinals selected nine college players and three high schoolers. 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 undecided prep players and underclassmen with greater leverage, whether already selected or chosen during Day 3 of the draft.
The Cardinals are required to use a portion of their $9,143,300 pool allocation to cover bonuses for any of the Day 3 selections who receive more than $100,000 each.
Of the 42 players taken over the three days, St. Louis chose 19 pitchers (16 RHP, 3 LHP), nine infielders, 10 outfielders and four catchers. The split is 34 college (including two from junior colleges) to eight high school players.
Three of the 42 are still competing to reach the College World Series - Mississippi State pitchers Dakota Hudson (1st round) and Austin Sexton (18th) and outfielder J.R. Davis (15th) of Oklahoma State. Update: With Mississippi State eliminated Saturday night, only Davis remains with a chance to reach Omaha.
Link to The Cardinal Nation’s Draft Day 2 in-depth report – UNC P Zac Gallen Leads Cardinals Draft Day 2
Link to The Cardinal Nation’s Draft Day 1 In-depth report – Contentious Pick Perez Opens Cardinals Draft Day 1
Come back to The Cardinal Nation often on Saturday as information about all St. Louis’ draft picks will be posted shortly after they are made.
Link to 2016 Scout.com Draft Central, where an extensive library of draft materials, including scouting reports, mock drafts, interviews and much more awaits on all 30 MLB organizations.
Remember that by clicking on any highlighted player name, 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.
As Saturday progresses from afternoon into evening, this article will be updated as picks are made and information added, so please check back often.
St. Louis’ selections
11th round, 346th overall
John Kilichowski, LHP, Vanderbilt University
The Cardinals took another chance on a college pitcher with an injury issue by selecting left-hander John Kilichowski from Vanderbilt University.
Kilichowski drew significant interest last year as a draft eligible sophomore but made it clear he would be a difficult sign. The Chicago Cubs rolled the dice in the 39th round, but he returned to Vanderbilt. Kilichowski had just put up an excellent season with a 3-4 record along with a 2.83 ERA and 0.99 WHIP. In 66 2/3 innings in 2015, Kilichowski struck out 64 (8.64 K/9) and walked just 15 (2.02 BB/9).
His 2016 season opened with an injury, though. He didn’t make his season debut until April 5th in relief, and he didn’t start his first game until late May. In 10 appearances that included two starts, Kilichowski threw 26 2/3 innings with a 5.06 ERA and 1.42 WHIP. He struck out 21 (7.09 K/9) and walked 9 (3.04 BB/9).
Kilichowski also pitched 10 2/3 innings in the Cape Cod League last year. He reportedly worked his changeup in more than he had during the college season and saw good results from it. In three appearances (two starts), he struck out 10 and walked two while giving up just two earned runs for a 1.69 ERA and 0.84 WHIP.
Kilichowski is armed with a low-90s fastball and a legitimate swing-and-miss changeup. He also mixes in a curveball that he is able to throw for strikes.
12th round, 376th overall
Brady Whalen, SS, Union High School, Washington
The Cardinals picked up a large shortstop from the prep ranks in Round 12 by taking Brady Whalen from Union High School in Vancouver, Washington. The 18-year-old is listed at 6-foot-4 and 180 pounds by MLB.
With his size, it’s likely he’ll eventually have to move off the position, perhaps to third base or the outfield. But, scouts have been impressed with how well he handles the position for his size. The switch-hitter has a strong swing and a bit of a leg kick, but he can get a bit off balance with it. A stronger lower half as he matures and a straighter front leg can allow him to hit with more authority as he climbs the ranks.
Whalen does not have much speed thanks to his size, but he could be an average runner at the professional level.
Whalen is committed to the University of Oregon. He is very raw at this stage, but could grow into his body and become a legitimate threat in the batter’s box.
13th round, 406th overall
Shane Billings, CF, Wingate University
The Cardinals went to NCAA Division II to pick up a center fielder in junior Shane Billings from Wingate University. Billings is listed at 5-foot-11 and 180 pounds, but he reportedly plays much larger than his listing.
Billings became an instant starter for the Bulldogs in his freshman year and started all 51 games. He earned the South Atlantic Conference Player of the Week honors in his very first week of college baseball.
Billings has shown an impressive contact ability. He hit .328 his freshman year, good enough for second on the Bulldogs and 7th in the SAC. He followed that with a .408 average, .604 slugging percentage, 10 home runs, 16 doubles, 2 triples, and 26 steals in 27 attempts his junior year. He did, however, strike out 34 times in 255 at bats while walking 20 times. He also excelled in the SAC Tournament, leading the tourney with 19 hits and 14 runs leading to a .559 average with a homer, six doubles, seven RBI, and three stolen bases.
In his junior season, Billings put up a .444/.502/.639 line with four home runs, 16 doubles, seven triples, and 30 steals in 32 attempts. He also improved his pitch recognition, cutting his strikeouts from 34 last year to just 15 and walking 25 times.
Baseball America ranked him the 40th best North Carolina prospect this year.
14th round, 436th overall
Vincent Jackson, OF, University of Tennessee
The Cardinals snagged another senior sign by taking outfielder Vincent Jackson from the University of Tennessee in Round 14. Jackson played all four years for the Volunteers. He was previously drafted out of high school by the Yankees in the 23rd round of the 2012 draft. Baseball America ranked him as the 378th best prospect in this year’s class.
Jackson performed well his senior year by hitting .333/.426/.507 for a .933 OPS, second best on the team behind #2 overall pick this year Nick Senzel. He tied Senzel for the team lead in home runs with eight, but with three fewer at bats, he bested him in home run rate.
The 6-foot-4, 200-pound outfielder is an outstanding athlete with legit power and plus speed in the outfield. He has an above average arm and range, so he could stick in center field but likely makes more sense in right.
Jackson has drawn some comparisons to Alex Rios, and that’s a rather lofty ceiling. At his peak, Rios was a 5.0-5.5 fWAR player with a wOBA in the .355 range and serious 20-20 ability. Jackson has been inconsistent, but if he can put it all together, he could be a steal of a toolshed.
15th round, 466th overall
J.R. Davis, 2B, Oklahoma State University
In the 15th round, the Cardinals took another college junior with David Davis, Jr. from Oklahoma State University. Davis, who goes by J.R., is listed at 5-foot-9 and 190 pounds. Baseball America ranked Davis as the 11th best Oklahoma prospect this year.
Davis put up the second best OPS at .899 for the Cowboys, hitting .360/.441/.457. He led the regulars in batting average, and added 12 doubles, two triples, a homer, and nine steals. His lone home run came on April 3rd against West Virginia when he hit for the cycle, the first Oklahoma State player to do so in five yearrs. Davis was named a First-Team All-Big XII infielder this season.
Before transferring to Oklahoma State, Davis broke his ankle while playing for Contra Costa Community College, losing a year. However, he played summer ball with the Alameda Merchants and hit .333 while leading the team in runs, hits, RBI, stolen bases, and triples.
Davis’ swing is a bit handsy, but he is a legitimate athlete with a strong lower half and above-average speed. He has a quick first step at second base and a solid arm.
16th round, 496th overall
Tyler Lancaster, C, Spartanburg Methodist College
With their 16th round pick, the Cardinals snagged their first prospect from the junior college ranks in Tyler Lancaster from Spartanburg Methodist College. The big catcher is listed at 6-foot-3 and 225 pounds.
If Lancaster’s school sounds familiar, it shouldn’t be a surprise as a former Cardinals draft pick was his teammate. The Cardinals 2015 10th round choice, Kep Brown, transferred to Spartanburg Methodist from Miami in order to remain draft eligible this year.
Lancaster suffered a meniscus tear last season that cost him 3-4 months, but he came back strong this year. In 58 games and 194 at bats, the left-handed batter hit .376/.467/.608 with ninehome runs, tying him for third on the team. He also showed solid plate discipline, striking out 34 times against 36 walks.
While Lancaster’s swing can get long, that is something easily adjustable in the pros, and his strong pitch recognition should serve him well. Scouts believe he will have an above-average hit tool and raw power. Lancaster has soft hands and an accurate throwing arm. He has plenty of bust potential, but his ceiling is a catcher who is above average on both sides of the ball.
17th round, 526th overall
Matt Ellis, RHP, UC-Riverside
The Cardinals snapped up another senior sign, this time from the University of California-Riverside, in Matt Ellis. The right-handed pitcher is on the smaller side at just 6 feet tall and 190 pounds, but he has a big time arm.
Like former Cardinals prospects Jason Motte and David Carpenter, Ellis is a converted catcher who pitched out of the bullpen for the Highlanders. After a paltry .607 OPS in his sophomore season, the coaching staff slotted him into the bullpen while keeping him catching his junior year. He moved full time to the bullpen his senior year.
This season, Ellis notched 23 2/3 innings and struck out 21 batters. Unfortunately, he also coughed up 15 walks, 22 hits, and 12 runs. That is, however, not incredibly surprising for a power pitcher now with only 34 1/3 innings on his arm.
The athletic pitcher has hit 94 consistently on the mound. Ellis needs plenty of refining, but with the right coaching, he could become an asset from the pen.
18th round, 556th overall
Austin Sexton, RHP, Mississippi State
The Cardinals picked up first-rounder Dakota Hudson’s teammate in Mississippi State’s Austin Sexton in the 18th round. Sexton may sound familiar if you read our writeup on Hudson after he was selected. Sexton instructed Hudson in how to throw a changeup between their sophomore and junior seasons. The right-handed pitcher stands 6-foot-2 and weighs 185 pounds. Sexton was ranked 394th in this draft class by Baseball America.
This isn’t the first time the Cardinals have taken a rotation mate of their first-rounder. In 2013, the Cardinals’ final pick was used on Arturo Reyes, a Gonzaga teammate of Marco Gonzales.
While Hudson was the ace of the Bulldogs’ staff, Sexton was certainly able to hold his own as the team’s Saturday starter. He threw 95 2/3 innings over 16 starts with a 3.67 ERA and 1.26 WHIP. He struck out 92 batters (8.66 K/9) and walked 24 (2.26 BB/9).
Sexton also pitched in the Cape Cod League last summer going 2-4 in eight starts with a 3.18 ERA and 1.26 WHIP. He struck out 37 in 39 2/3 innings while walking 11, right in line with his college numbers.
Unsurprisingly based on the report about Hudson, Sexton has a plus changeup in the upper-70s he uses to keep hitters off balance. His fastball sits more in the 88-90 mph range, which could limit his upside as a starter. Sexton also adds a fringe-average breaking ball, but he pounds the bottom of the strike zone well and easily repeats his delivery.
19th round, 586th overall
Daniel Castano, LHP, Baylor University
The Cardinals continue to stock up on pitching with their third in a row, selecting Baylor’s Daniel Castano in the 19th round. The left-handed junior is listed at 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds.
After a solid but unspectacular sophomore year, Castano struggled in his junior year. He put up a 4.64 ERA and 1.48 WHIP in 14 starts covering 87 1/3 innings. He struck out just 63 batters and walked 36, giving him a poor 1.75 K/BB ratio. He pitched 35 innings in the Cape Cod League in 2015, posting a 3.34 ERA and 1.14 WHIP while striking out 25 and walking nine.
The big left-hander works in the 89-91 mph range with his fastball and tops out at 92. He also has an above average changeup that runs in the 78-81 mph range with late fade and could be at least an average offering at the big league level. He also adds a 72-76 mph curveball with a 1-to-7 rotation that has the potential to be average.
His mechanics actually remind me of Joe Kelly’s in college. Castano’s arm gets long as he loads for his pitch, and flies open just a bit too soon. If the Cardinals can refine his mechanics, he may have a chance to be another Tim Cooney type of starter who can spend some time in the back of a rotation. Another option is to put Castano in the pen and hope his velocity will play up a bit along with his changeup to enable him to become an effective reliever.
20th round, 616th overall
Stefan Trosclair, 1B, University of Louisiana-Lafayette
The Cardinals broke their streak of pitchers in the 20th round by taking a first baseman from the University of Louisiana-Lafayette, Stefan Trosclair. The senior stands 6-foot-2 and weighs in at 200 pounds. Coming into the season, Baseball America ranked him as the 26th best senior in the class.
After transferring from juco LSU-Eunice, the first baseman had put up a fantastic junior year, hitting .338/.441/.635 with 16 homers and 15 steals, but he faltered in his senior season. He clocked in at .277/.386/.468 along with seven homers and seven steals, but his BABIP dropped to .281 from .354, which may have had a strong influence on his deflated numbers. Trosclair also was hit 17 times by pitches.
Trosclair shows legitimate power to all fields, standing tall in the batter’s box, similar to Matt Holliday. Speaking of, Trosclair could probably tap into his power a bit more with a larger leg kick. Despite his down numbers, he still ranked second on the team in home runs and RBI along with third in steals and doubles. He also led the club with five triples, showing surprising speed for a player his size.
Trosclair’s plate discipline also improved this year, another potential factor in his drop in power and contact. He cut his strikeouts from 41 to 24 while walking once more than he did in his junior year. Trosclair possesses a very intriguing combination of speed, power, and plate discipline that could lead to success at the next level.
21st round, 646th overall
Cade Cabbiness OF, Bixby High School, Oklahoma
The Cardinals flipped back to another prep player in Cade Cabbiness from Bixby High School in Oklahoma. The outfielder stands 6-foot-4 and weighs 205 pounds. Cabbiness also excelled as a wide receiver on Bixby’s football team and helped lead them to back-to-back state titles. Cabbiness received All-State honors in both baseball and football. Baseball America ranked Cabbiness as the sixth best Oklahoma prospect and 366th overall.
With precious little surprise, Cabbiness is an excellent athlete. He has plenty of raw power and an excellent frame to go along with a plus arm that should definitely play in right field. That above-average power he possesses doesn’t get much into games yet, but that is not uncommon for high school hitters. With coaching, he can learn to refine his approach to tap into that power more in competition.
Cabbiness has worked to refine his swing and pitch recognition, and his hands work well in his swing. With proper development, he could become a legitimate power threat from right field.
Cabbiness is committed to Seminole State College in Oklahoma.
22nd round, 676th overall
Mick Fennell, OF, California University of Pennsylvania
In the 22nd round, the Cardinals went to California for their pick...sort of. The Cardinals selected center fielder Mick Fennell from California University of Pennsylvania. The senior stands just 5-foot-10 and weighs in at 190 pounds.
Fennell was a two-way player for the Vulcans. He pitched in nine games including six starts with a 4.91 ERA along with 28 strikeouts and 14 walks over 33 innings. The Cardinals are definitely putting him in the outfield, but the mound is always a fallback option for the right-hander.
In his senior season, Fennell hit .392/.482/.681 with eight home runs, 10 doubles, seven triples and 22 stolen bases. However, his most attractive feature may be his plate discipline. Fennell drew 24 walks and seven HBP in 199 plate appearances leading to a 12% walk rate. He struck out just eight times for a dental-floss-thin 4% strikeout rate. In fact, Fennell struck out exactly eight times every season for the Vulcans, meaning he struck out once every 23.5 games.
Plus, Fennell enters the field with a backflip like Cardinals great Ozzie Smith, so he will easily find favor with St. Louis fans.
Fennell’s plate discipline could allow him to climb to the big leagues, but he will need to keep making strong contact and show great speed in order to break away from becoming another Mike O’Neill.
23rd round, 706th overall
The Cardinals followed up in the 23rd round with another senior selection, 6-foot, 210-pound John Crowe from Francis Marion University. The lefty-hitting outfielder transferred there after a year at Auburn University. Crowe goes by JD.
While the Cardinals took Crowe as an outfielder, he has spent time all over the field for the Patriots, including catcher. Crowe was the second best hitter on the Patriots, hitting .390/.476/.554 for a 1.030 OPS along with six homers, 10 doubles, 46 RBI, 12 stolen bases, and a 19:32 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Crowe shows a very quick bat and good approach at the plate which leads to his impressive walk rate as well as his power potential. He is not going to be a middle of the order threat, but he should round into gap-to-gap power. Crowe could turn into a discount Stephen Piscotty before Piscotty retooled his swing to hit for more over-the-fence pop.
24th round, 736th overall
Anthony Ciavarella, LHP, Monmouth University
After four straight position players from the college ranks, the Cardinals flipped back to the mound and snagged a junior who is old enough to be a senior. The Cardinals used their 24th round pick on 23-year-old Anthony Ciavarella, a left-handed pitcher from Monmouth University.
Ciavarella is more of a contact pitcher as he struck out just 66 batters in 74 1/3 innings over 14 starts for Monmouth, but he walked just 21. He also gave up 85 hits for a 10.3 H/9, identical to his previous season. He had some mixed results in a summer in the Cape Cod League with the Harwick Mariners. In 10 relief appearances, Ciavarella posted a 4.24 ERA, but he also put in a 1.24 WHIP thanks to 17 hits against and just four walks. He added 21 strikeouts over 17 innings for a strikeout rate of 11.1 K/9.
The bullpen seems like the future for Ciavarella with his inability to limit baserunners as a starter. In his lone relief appearance for Monmouth over the last two years, he threw a scoreless inning.
25th round, 766th overall
Spencer Trayner, RHP, University of North Carolina
Similar to the combination of Dakota Hudson and Austin Sexton, the Cardinals added a teammate of second rounder Zac Gallen’s in right-handed pitcher Spencer Trayner from the University of North Carolina. Trayner, a reliever, stands 6 feet tall and weighs in at 185 pounds.
Although not the closer for the Tar Heels, Trayner was a vital middle reliever for UNC. He appeared in 34 games notching 36 innings. He struck out 33 batters and allowed 12 walks along with 27 hits leading to a 2.50 ERA and 1.08 WHIP. He was able to cut his walks from his sophomore season when he walked 12 in just 22 1/3 innings.
Trayner has a good fastball that hits the mid-90s and a solid offspeed pitch to keep hitters off balance. He has very broad shoulders that lead to his impressive velocity for his size. However, his less-than-ideal height leads to a delivery that somewhat falls forward, which can cause balance issues and lead to inconsistency on the mound. A more refined delivery could lead to him becoming a solid bullpen piece down the road.
26th round, 796th overall
Eric Carter, RHP, Louisiana-Lafayette
The Cardinals picked up another smaller right-handed reliever with the 796th pick of the 2016 draft by taking Stefan Trosclair’s teammate from the University of Louisiana-Lafayette in senior Eric Carter.
The 5-foot-11 right hander was an exceptional reliever for the Ragin’ Cajuns this year. He got into 26 games totalling 52 innings and picking up 4 saves in the process. He struck out 69 batters for an 11.94 K/9. He also only walked 12 batters for a 2.08 BB/9 and a 5.75 K/BB ratio. This was a huge improvement over last season when the Cajuns tried to slot him into the rotation and watched his strikeout rate plummet.
Carter relies on two above-average to plus pitches. He throws a fastball that is consistently 94 mph and has a bit more in the tank. He also has a curveball that is inconsistent, but when it’s on, it’s unfair. In fact, when it’s on, it’s almost Adam Wainwright unfair. This year, he added a cutter that he used to toy around with, but he was able to lock in the grip this year that allows him to give hitters another look that comes from the same tunnel as his fastball.
Carter’s size is going to be a hurdle for him to overcome, but he has the tools to be a successful reliever as he climbs the ranks of the minors.
27th round, 826th overall
Mike O'Reilly, RHP, Flagler College
The Cardinals continued to stock the pitching staffs of their lower level teams by picking up Flagler College pitcher Mike O’Reilly. The 6-foot-1 right hander started 14 games for Flagler this past season. Last year, O’Reilly was named the Peach Belt Conference Pitcher of the Year thanks to his 2.89 ERA and 94 strikeouts in 93 1/3 innings.
In 2016, O’Reilly didn’t excel as much. He faltered to a 4.07 ERA, but his peripherals were still rather strong. He put up a 1.18 WHIP thanks to another 20-walk season in 90 2/3 innings for the Saints. He upped his strikeouts to 99 for a 9.83 K/9 rate as well. O’Reilly really showed his abilities in March and was named the Athlete of the Month thanks to a 2-1 record with 34 strikeouts and five walks in 29 1/3 innings pitched. He allowed 11 earned runs in his four starts for a 3.38 ERA and tossed two complete games, one of which was a shutout.
Things fell apart for O’Reilly in April, though. He crashed to a 7.40 ERA thanks mostly to his start on April 23rd against USC-Aiken during which he gave up five runs on seven hits and two walks in only 2.1 innings. Despite that, his strikeout rate stayed strong at 10.89 K/9.
While he doesn’t blow hitters away, O’Reilly is a smart pitcher. According to his coach at Flagler, Dave Barnett, “He knows how to pitch and he has enough velocity.” O’Reilly’s frame doesn’t lend much to starting, but he could fit in a bullpen if he keeps his strikeout rates up.
28th round, 856th overall
Pat Krall, LHP, Clemson University
Enough with the short, right-handed pitchers. With their 28th round pick, the Cardinals snagged big left-handed pitcher Pat Krall from Clemson University. Krall stands 6-foot-6 and tips the scales at 220 pounds.
Krall dominated ACC hitters this year with fantastic command out of the Tigers’ bullpen. He went 10-2 and added five saves in 29 appearances, three of which were starts. Krall posted a 1.67 ERA and 0.93 WHIP and walked just 17 batters over 80 2/3 innings while striking out 65 for a solid 7.25 K/9 rate. His strikeout rate dropped a bit from his sophomore year when he struck out a batter per inning, but Krall threw just 38 innings in 2015. That was with Temple University, which dropped its baseball program.
Krall’s fastball isn’t incredible as it hangs in the upper-80s, but that is enough velocity for a lefty to survive. He has a usable changeup as well in his arsenal. Krall is not going to be able to rely on velocity, but he looks to be a crafty lefty who can get some outs.
29th round, 886th overall
Noel Gonzalez, RHP, Lewis-Clark State College
And we’re back to undersized right-handed pitching as the Cardinals selected Noel Gonzalez from Lewis-Clark State College. The junior from the NAIA school is listed at just 5-foot-11 and 190 pounds. Baseball America named Gonzalez the second best prospect for this year in the State of Idaho. To be fair, the vast majority of Idaho’s prospects come from Lewis-Clark State, and in fact, the top prospect from Idaho was Gonzalez’ teammate Jacob Zanon.
Gonzalez was a serious weapon out of the bullpen as the closer for the Warriors. He picked up eight saves, two shy of the single season record for Lewis-Clark, in 21 innings. His career saves total ties him for third all-time in school history. Gonzalez allowed 15 hits and 11 walks for a decent 1.24 WHIP, but was exceptional at limiting damage. Gonzalez allowed just three runs in those 21 innings, and only two of them were earned, for a 0.86 ERA on the year. He struck out 16 batters for the 2016 NAIA National Champions.
30th round, 916th overall
Josh Burgmann, RHP, Vauxhall High School, Canada
For the first time in 2016, the Cardinals went north of the border to select a player, right-handed pitcher Josh Burgmann from Vauxhall High School in Vauxhall, Alberta. The 6-foot-2, 200-pound Canuck is committed to the University of Washington.
Despite his size, Burgmann is still growing into his body, and his fastball sits 84-88 mph and has topped out at 92. However, it does show some nice armside run and some sink to it. Burgmann adds in a mid-70s curveball with a sharp, downward break. He throws an 80 mph changeup, but he uses it rarely and isn’t effective with it yet.
Burgmann’s delivery is fluid, but mechanically, it needs work. He lands a bit early with his left foot which leads to some arm drag which can limit his velocity, affect his command, and potentially put undue strain on his shoulder. These mechanical flaws are easily fixable, and Burgmann has plenty of time to refine his delivery.
Burgmann was selected to head to Toronto this fall to play in the Tournament 12, a Canadian amateur tournament held at Rogers Centre.
31st round, 946th overall
J.D. Murders, 2B, Bolivar High School, Missouri
After heading up to the Great White North in the 30th round, the Cardinals turned to their own backyard in the 31st. The Cardinals selected second baseman J.D. Murders from Bolivar High School in Bolivar, MO. He spent most of his high school career at shortstop, but the Cardinals and scouts see him flipping to the other side of the keystone.
After a junior season in which Murders hit .365 with a .580 slugging percentage and one home run, Murders capped off his high school time with a fantastic senior season. He hit .463 with six homers, 36 RBI, and 27 runs scored as the number three hitter in his school’s lineup.
Murders has a left-handed stroke that produces a good amount of power, and he has above-average speed. He is incredibly comfortable on the infield and should be able to stick at second base as he matures. Prep Baseball Report notes that Murders has "a quick bat, with pull power, balanced set up and good plate awareness."
Despite being a more local kid, Murders could be a difficult sign. He committed to Texas Tech University way back in 2014 and has reportedly built strong relationships with the coaching staff.
32nd round, 976th overall
Leland Tilley, RHP, Bellevue University
With their 32nd round pick, the Cardinals took the closer for Bellevue University in Nebraska, 6-foot-3 right hander Leland Tilley.
Tilley was the top closer in the Midlands Collegiate Athletic Conference. In 40 2/3 innings of work over 25 appearances (including one start), Tilley went 10-1 with nine saves. He posted a 2.43 ERA and utterly dominated hitters. Tilley struck out 43 and walked just nine batters. He was selected to the NAIA Opening Round all-tournament team and was First Team all-North Star Athletic Association in 2016.
Prior to heading to Nebraska, Tilley played two seasons at College of the Sequoias in Visalia, Calif, 2012 and 2013, and was a first team all-Central Valley Conference selection in 2013. He received a medical redshirt with Bellevue in 2014.
While there is no word on his arsenal, it is apparent Tilley has the stuff to keep hitters guessing and the pitching ability to put the ball where he wants it.
33rd round, 1006th overall
Caleb Lopes, 2B, University of West Georgia
The Cardinals added to their stable of diminutive middle infielders by taking 5-foot-8 Caleb Lopes from the University of West Georgia. Lopes was a transfer from Faulkner State Community College and put up strong numbers for the Wolves.
In 207 at bats in his junior year here in 2016, Lopes hit .425 with 17 doubles, nine homers, and nine stolen bases. Impressively, he drew 30 walks and struck out just 10 times for a 13.3% walk rate and a 4.4% strikeout percentage. Although Lopes spent most of his season as the Wolves’ shortstop, the Cardinals selected him as a second baseman.
Lopes is heralded by his coaches and teammates for his maturity. Already a husband and a father, Lopes’ teammates and family marvel at his ability to excel at home, on the field, and in the classroom.
In the batter’s box, Lopes prides himself on being an aggressive hitter, always looking to barrel up an early fastball or attack a breaking pitch when a runner is in scoring position. He focuses on always finding a pitch to drive and feels like he is a better hitter with two strikes because of his ability to focus on the ball and not getting beat.
34th round, 1036th overall
Jonathon Mulford, RHP, Adelphi University
The Cardinals continued to fill out their pitching staffs in the minors with Adelphi University’s ace right-hander and one of their captains, Jonathon Mulford. Mulford is another college senior who should sign for a very low dollar amount to begin his professional career, after the 6-foot-2 right-handed starter impressed in his time in college.
Some were rather surprised when Mulford wasn’t drafted last year after a stellar season for Adelphi. In 66 1/3 innings, Mulford held opponents to a 1.76 ERA and .197 BAA. He walked 19 batters for a 2.58 BB/9 rate and struck out 50, a 6.78 K/9 rate. His senior year wasn’t quite as good but still nothing to laugh at. In 73 1/3 innings, Mulford upped his strikeouts to 69 for a 8.47 K/9 rate and actually lowered his walks to just 14 for a 1.72 BB/9 rate. However, he did allow 88 hits, double what he allowed his junior year.
Mulford relies on two solid offerings. He throws a high-80s fastball, and he spins a great overhand curveball. He also has clean mechanics and good size for a right-handed pitcher.
35th round, 1066th overall
Jackson Lamb, RHP, University of Michigan
The Cardinals must not have wanted a pitcher with many miles on his arm with their Round 35 selection. The organization picked up right-handed pitcher Jackson Lamb from the University of Michigan. The reliever is a tall, lanky right hander standing 6-foot-7 and weighing just 214 pounds.
Lamb likely cost himself a large chunk of money three years ago. Coming out of high school as the highest rated pitcher in Michigan by Perfect Game, Lamb turned down a third-round offer, claiming that it wasn’t enough to buy him out of his scholarship and stop him from becoming a Wolverine. The Texas Rangers took a flyer on him in the 20th round, but Lamb did indeed Go Blue.
Unfortunately, he hasn’t spent much time on the mound there. Over three years with Michigan, Lamb has thrown just 24 innings due to an arm injury in 2015 that carried over through most of this season. In all, Lamb struck out 28 batters, showing that he has good enough stuff to take down opposing batters. He walked 12 in all in college for a 4.5 BB/9 mark. Lamb also only allowed four runs in his collegiate career for a 1.29 ERA. He picked up a pair of saves for the Wolverines this year as well.
36th round, 1096th overall
Robbie Gordon, RHP, Maryville University
The Cardinals went back to a local product in the 36th round, turning to Maryville University right-handed pitcher Robbie Gordon. The Ladue High School product stands 6-foot-2 and weighs 205 pounds.
Gordon made history back in March when he threw Maryville’s first ever perfect game, retiring all 21 Hillsdale Chargers he faced. He retired his final batter on a groundout to third before his teammates mobbed him on the field.
Gordon had a fantastic beginning to his 2016 season. In his first five starts, he gave up two earned runs over 23 2/3 innings for a 0.76 ERA with 28 strikeouts and five walks. However, things went off the rails after that. In his final 37 1/3 innings, Gordon yielded 25 earned runs from 16 walks and 42 hits for a 6.03 ERA and a 1.55 WHIP.
With precious little leverage and being a local kid, Gordon should be suiting up for one of the Cardinals short season teams in the not too distant future.
37th round, 1126th overall
Andy Young, 3B, Indiana State University
With their 37th round choice, the Cardinals took a senior who struggled after a strong junior season. The organization selected Indiana State University third baseman Andy Young.
Young transferred to Indiana State from Neosho County Community College in Chanute, KS. In two junior and senior years for the Sycamores, Young racked up 424 at bats with a .297/.397/.488 line thanks to 13 homers, 40 doubles, six triples, 44 walks to 60 strikeouts, and 29 times getting hit by a pitch. In his senior season, Young tied for second on the team in homers with six and OPS with an .894 mark.
Young was a consistent middle-of-the-order presence for the Sycamores. His ability to drive the ball should allow him some success in the professional ranks, but he will need to cut down on his strikeouts in order to grow.
38th round, 1156th overall
Robert Calvano, RHP, University of Nebraska Omaha
In the mold of previous picks Sam Tewes and Jackson Lamb, the Cardinals used their 38th round pick on another pitcher who struggled with injuries throughout college in Robert Calvano from the University of Nebraska-Omaha.
The right-handed pitcher threw only 16 innings over three years for the Mavericks after transferring from Johnson County Community College. In those three seasons, Calvano has an 11.81 ERA due to 21 earned runs, but 14 of those came in 2015. In 2016, he struck out five and walked three in 6 2/3 innings while allowing five earned runs.
Calvano has a long, whippy delivery that leads to control issues, but all-in-all his delivery is clean.
The Cardinals obviously see something in this oft-injured right-hander who struggles with command. I am not sure what it is, but it is something.
39th round, 1186th overall
Aaron Bond, OF, San Jacinto College
The Cardinals took just their second junior college selection with the 1186th overall choice by taking outfielder Aaron Bond from San Jacinto College-North in Texas. The tall, athletic outfielder is 6-foot-5 and 195 pounds.
The 19-year-old hit .343 for the Gators with eight homers, 22 RBI, 20 runs scored, and six stolen bases in 70 at bats. Bond did strike out 14 times while drawing eight walks, which is a bit of a concern but not incredibly surprising for a younger player. He showed some ability to elevate the ball with 14 extra base hits in 38 games and more flyouts than groundouts.
Bond’s coach noted that he is an athletic outfielder with a smooth, projectable swing, and the ability to play all three outfield positions. Another talent evaluator called him a potential five-tool player that knows how to play the game, able to hit for average and power while flashing the glove and arm in the outfield.
Bond is still years away from potentially reaching his ceiling, but it is possible the Cardinals found a gem in the late rounds if he signs with the organization.
40th round, 1216th overall
Jeremy Ydens, OF, St. Francis High School, California
With their last selection, the Cardinals took a flyer on another high schooler in Jeremy Ydens, a center fielder from St. Francis High School in Campbell, CA.
Ydens played center field and pitched for the Lancers. He capped off his high school career with a fantastic season, hitting .453/.550/.679 in 131 plate appearances with 38 runs, 14 RBIs, 11 doubles, five triples, and a homer. He drew 18 walks in 34 games while striking out 11 times. He also got plunked six times.
In his high school career, Ydens played in 99 games, posting a .403/.478/.572 line with three homers, 20 doubles, 10 triples, 57 stolen bases, 31 walks, and 40 strikeouts.
On the mound, Ydens went 8-0 in 11 appearances, striking out 55 in 65 2/3 innings but walking 25. He allowed nine earned runs for a 0.96 ERA and gave up 36 hits for a 0.93 WHIP.
Ydens features a smooth, right-handed swing that gets fantastic extension. He is a bit fidgety in the batter’s box, but that is not uncommon for a prep hitter. His hands are constantly moving, and he squats deeper into his crouch as the pitch is delivered. When he makes contact though, it is loud and effective. Ydens posted an exit velocity of 98 mph off his bat, and while that is inflated with a metal bat, it is something that certainly catches the eye of talent evaluators.
Ydens is committed to UCLA, so may be tough to pry away from his college plans.
TCN’s draft analyst Scott Schook is penning the player capsules with Brian Walton filling in the rest.
Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation: 2016 Cardinals Draft Preview: College Speedsters
Not yet a member?
Join The Cardinal Nation for the most comprehensive coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals from the majors through the entire minor league system. Take advantage of our seven-day free trial.
© 2016 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com and scout.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.null