Maj Second-to-Last Cards Draftee to Sign?

The St. Louis Cardinals signed 45th round pick Jameson Maj and could still land Texas' Nick Peoples. Eight other 2007 draftees are unsigned and gone with the passing of the new August 15 signing deadline.

While other Major League organizations scurried to sign high-profile members of their draft class of 2007 as Wednesday night's deadline approached, the St. Louis Cardinals knew they had already completed much of their work. Coming into the final day, August 15, the club had 42 of their 52 players selected this June in house.

With nine of their top ten picks and 22 of 25 previously signed, the three highest-drafted players in limbo were sophomore outfielder Kyle Russell of the University of Texas (fourth round), junior right-handed pitcher Mike Stutes of Oregon State University (ninth round) and senior second baseman Nick Peoples, also from the Texas Longhorns (19th round).

Russell, Stutes, six others gone

With remaining collegiate eligibility, both Russell (pictured) and Stutes had significant leverage. The top home run hitter in the NCAA this spring, Russell has struggled in wooden-bat leagues the last two summers and his reported contract demands seemed out of line with his results.

Neither Stutes nor Russell came to terms with the Cardinals by the midnight Wednesday evening signing deadline. As a result, they and six more of the remaining ten are no longer eligible to sign and will become draft-eligible again next spring.

Since organizations only receive compensatory picks for unsigned players in the top three rounds, the Cardinals have to consider the eight as lost picks.

That leaves two.

Peoples still possible

Russell's former teammate, Peoples, is an interesting case. Just a few days prior to the draft, on June 3, the 22-year-old suffered a broken collarbone while competing for UT in the NCAA Regionals in front of his home crowd.

Given the normal recovery period from a broken collarbone, Peoples is likely still not ready to suit up again. However, it is not universally understood that the new August 15 signing deadline applies only to underclassmen, not players whose eligibility has been exhausted.

As a result, while Peoples is not yet under contract, the Cardinals still retain the ability to sign him later if both sides can reach an agreement.

The 5-foot-9, 188 pound Round Rock, Texas native batted .329 and was successful in 18 of 23 stolen base attempts this past season. He played in centerfield and at third base at UT but was listed as a second baseman on draft day.

Maj to Batavia

The Cardinals did have one final signing in the hours leading up to the deadline. Their 45th round selection, right-handed pitcher Jameson Maj, a junior from Abilene Christian University of Texas, came to terms with the organization.

For the Wildcats, Maj tied the NCAA Division II record with 20 saves this spring on his way to first team All-America honors. The 6-foot-5, 210 pounder finished the season with a 5-3 record and 1.00 ERA to go along with 72 strikeouts in 54 innings of work.

This summer, Maj was impressive in his first season in the Texas Collegiate League, posting a 2-1 record and four saves and earning an All-Star berth. In 17 appearances (24 innings of work), Maj allowed just five earned runs while walking just three batters and striking out 26. He compiled a 1.88 ERA and opposing hitters batted only .172 against him.

Maj is expected to be on a plane to the Cardinals' short-season Class-A affiliate in Batavia, New York in the next day or two to begin his professional career.

In conclusion

For Jameson Maj, the suspense is over. For Nick Peoples, the door is still open. For eight others, including Kyle Russell and Mike Stutes, they are free to continue their career aspirations without regard for the St. Louis Cardinals.

Yet, for 42 other young men, their professional baseball careers have begun. All-in-all, it was a promising draft and sign season for the Cardinals in 2007.

For reference, here is a summary of players drafted and signed by position and class as well as a master list of all 52 drafted and where they are currently playing.

(Ensure you click on any player's name to be taken to his detailed Scout.com player page, where further information can be found.)

Cardinals 2007 Draft by Class

Drafted 52     Signed 43  
High School 8       7  
Jr. College 7   5  
    3rd year 1   1
    2nd year 4   3
    1st year 2   1
College 37       31  
    Senior 14 13
    Junior 20 17
    Soph. 3     1

Cardinals 2007 Draft by Position

Drafted 52     Signed 43  
Outfielders 12       10  
Catchers  3       2  
Pitchers 23       19  
    Left 4 3
    Right 19   16
Infielders 14       12  
    Middle 5 3
    Corner 9     9

Cardinals 2007 Draft Summary

Rd Name Pos School Club
1 Pete Kozma SS Owasso, HS (OK) Johnson City
1a Clayton Mortensen RHP Gonzaga Univ Quad Cities
2 David Kopp RHP Clemson Univ Batavia (DL)
2 Jess Todd RHP Univ of Arkansas Batavia
3 Daniel Descalso 3B Univ of California Batavia
4 Kyle Russell OF Univ of Texas
5 Thomas Eager RHP Cal Poly Batavia
6 Oliver Marmol SS College of Charleston Quad Cities
7 Deryk Hooker RHP Mira Mesa HS (CA) GCL Cards
8 Tyler Henley OF Rice University  Batavia
9 Mike Stutes RHP Oregon State Univ
10 Beau Riportella OF College of Sequoias Johnson City
11 Adam Reifer RHP UC Riverside Injured
12 Brett Zawacki RHP La Salle To be assigned
13 Steven Hill 1B/C Stephen F Austin Univ Quad Cities
14 Josh Dew RHP Troy University  Batavia
15 Chuckie Fick RHP Cal State Northridge  Quad Cities
16 Antone DeJesus OF Univ of Kentucky Quad Cities
17 Matt Arburr 3B Pace University Johnson City
18 Andrew Brown OF Univ of Nebraska Batavia
19 Nick Peoples 2B Univ of Texas
20 Brian Cartie 3B McNeese State Univ Batavia (DL)
21 Brian Broderick RHP Grand Canyon Univ Batavia
22 Charlie Kingrey OF McNeese State Univ GCL Cards
23 Joey Hage OF M Stoneman HS (FL) Johnson City
24 Samuel Freeman LHP N Central Texas College
25 J.D. Stambaugh LHP Brigham Young Univ Batavia
26 Tony Cruz 3B Palm Beach CC Quad Cities
27 Brian Buck OF Santa Barbara College GCL Cards
28 Ross Oeder 2B Wright State Univ Batavia
29 Charlie Pelt 1B Georgia State Univ Batavia
30 Nick Derba C Manhattan College Quad Cities
31 Dylan Gonzalez RHP Pepperdine Univ Johnson City
32 Nick Vera 3B Trinity University Johnson City
33 Josh Fritsche LHP Oklahoma St Univ Batavia
34 Steve Hill RHP Southeastern Univ Johnson City
35 Mike Blazek RHP Arbor View HS (NV) GCL Cards
36 Collin Fanning OF Brigham Young Univ Batavia
37 Craig Ziegler 1B Univ of Arizona
38 Adron Chambers OF Pensacola JC Johnson City
39 Rigoberto Lugo RHP PR BB Academy HS GCL Cards
40 Justin Dalles C  St Petersburg JC  
41 Ramon Delgado RHP Pima CC  GCL Cards
42 Mike Folli 2B Univ of Buffalo Johnson City
43 Davis Bilardello LHP Univ of South Florida Batavia
44 Daniel Thomas RHP Univ of South Florida
45 Jameson Maj RHP Abilene Christian Univ Batavia
46 Rob Sanzillo C Johns Hopkins Univ Johnson City
47 Mateo Marquez OF Cal State Dominguez Batavia
48 Jason King OF Dublin Jerome HS (OH)
49 Ronald Russell RHP Harmony Grove HS (AR) GCL Cards
50 Stephen McCray RHP Young Harris College




Brian Walton can be reached via email at brwalton@earthlink.net.

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