Four Cards 2008 Picks Ready to Report

St. Louis Cardinals draft picks Ryan Kulik, Matt Rigoli, Matt Frevert and Joe Babrick tell their hometown papers where they'll be playing next week. Another draftee says he is attending college instead.

Often, information from hometown newspapers provides the first indication that recently-drafted players have or will very soon be signing. Such is the case on Sunday, with three players taken early, in the middle and late in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft. The three will likely be assigned to different levels in the Cardinals minor league hierarchy in sync with their drafting position. At this point, all signing news is unofficial.



8th Rounder Ryan Kulik to Batavia


Ryan Kulik, a senior at Rowan University in Glassboro, PA, was chosen by the Cardinals in the eighth round with the 245th pick overall. The 5-foot-11, 205-pound left-hander told the Burlington County Times that he will be heading to Batavia in the New York-Penn League as soon as the final details on his contract are worked out.


Over his four-year Rowan career, Kulik compiled a 29-10 record with a 2.81 ERA. He holds school records for strikeouts in a game (15), season (144) career (337), strikeouts per nine innings (13.77). He also owns the career innings pitched mark (330) and shares the school record for most starts (49). This spring, Kulik had a 10-2 record, with a 1.72 ERA and 144 strikeouts.


"I was a little disappointed that I wasn't drafted on the first day but that's just how things worked out,'' Kulik told the Times. "People told me I would probably go somewhere in rounds three through eight. It was still a huge thrill to get that phone call from the Cardinals and see my name come across the computer screen.''


21st Rounder Matt Rigoli to Johnson City


The Cardinals chose first baseman Matt Rigoli of Pace University in Pleasantville, New York in the 21st round. Despite having a good tryout for the Cardinals, the New Jersey native was surprised to go so soon.


"I was hoping to get picked, but not by the 21st round," Rigoli told the Daily Record of New Jersey. "I had a good workout with the Cardinals. I wasn't the best one there, but it didn't look like I didn't belong."


The 6-foot-1, 200 pound son of Cardinals scout Joe Rigoli finished his two seasons at Pace with a .283 batting average, two home runs, 34 RBIs, 83 hits, 16 doubles and 46 runs scored. This season, Rigoli posted a .295 batting average good for fifth on his team, while ranking third in runs with 30 and hits with 54. Rigoli will soon report to Johnson City, Tennessee in rookie-A ball.


"I've been packing all day. I'll probably be going there next week," Rigoli said.


28th Rounder Matt Frevert to Batavia or Johnson City


Matt Frevert, a right-handed pitcher from Missouri State, was drafted by the Cardinals in the 28th round. He told the Columbia Tribune that he will be signing soon.


"Here in the next day or two, I'm going to meet with the scout that drafted me," Frevert said. "Pretty much all that's left here is the formalities and the paperwork. Hopefully, we can hammer that stuff out and get to playing as soon as possible."


Frevert told the paper that his adviser negotiated the framework of a deal with the Cardinals just prior to him being taken with the 845th overall selection. He is expecting to receive a signing bonus more typical of a 12th- or 13th-round pick.


Frevert finished his second season as Missouri's State's closer and earned first-team all-Missouri Valley Conference honors in 2008  He went 6-1 with eight saves and a 4.19 ERA with 42 strikeouts in 341/3 innings this season. Over three college campaigns, he logged 15 saves, 124 strikeouts and had a 3.41 ERA.


43rd Rounder Joe Babrick to Gulf Coast League


Joe Babrick, an outfielder drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 43rd round of the 2008 MLB First Year Player Draft has reportedly signed a professional contract with the organization.  According to the South Florida Sun Sentinel, the contract includes a $40,000 signing bonus and the player from King High School in Tampa will report to Roger Dean Stadium on Monday.


From the Sun Sentinel:  "I think today was the perfect celebration for getting drafted," said Babrick, who expected to be drafted in the 20th round and said he was glued to his computer for three hours before finally getting the call. "All of the anticipation of what was going to happen, happened yesterday and to be able to come out today and celebrate it was great. I will never forget today."


Babrick played in the 21st annual Dick Howser Senior All-Star Showcase at Roger Dean Stadium.  After going 1-1 with a run batted in and a run scored, Babrick was named the Most Valuable Player of the North squad. 


31st Rounder Justin Leith to attend college


Left-handed pitcher Justin Leith, the 31st round pick of the Cardinals in 2008, has decided to honor his commitment to Florida International.  According to the Naples Daily News, Leith, who was also recruited by the University of Miami, made the decision late Sunday "after talking to people with minor league ties and college coaches." 


The graduate of Barron Collier High School possess a high eighties fastball and struck out 74 in 53.1 innings during his senior season. 


The Daily News is reporting "he talked to St. Louis "quite a bit" over the weekend, and though he was "honored" by their commitment and confidence, said he felt he'd better develop, personally and on the mound, in college." 


The Cardinals have until August 15 to change Leith's mind.



Josh Jones also contributed to this report.


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