St. Louis Cardinals Draft Day Recap: Day 3

The St. Louis Cardinals finished out Day Three of the MLB Draft by loading up on right-handed pitchers.

The St. Louis Cardinals closed out draft day three by choosing 20 more new "prospects". Though most of these players will never see a big league diamond as a player, the team did choose a couple interesting players that seem to be more than roster filler. Remember, Curt Smith, last season's Appalachian Player of the Year, was chose in the 39th round. The organization successfully hoarded right-handed pitchers, selecting 11 in their 21 picks on Thursday.

The first pick of the day, Tyler Bighames, seems like a very interesting late round choice. Committee to play college ball at Oregon, Bighames rated as the fourth best player in the 2009 class for the whole state of California just three years ago. His father's job forced a move across the country causing Bighames to play against the likes of first round pick Bobby Bochering.

According to the scouting service Perfect Game, "Tyler has a strong athletic build, good balance and actions in infield, good arm strength, comes in on ball well. Good balance in swing, very good strength, attacks ball, very good bat speed, impressive BP, good games swings, ball jumps off bat, 95 off bat in games, very interesting player both in the field and at the plate." He reminds me a lot of Tommy Pham.

Writers note: It would seem odd to draft a kid with such a strong college commitment with the team's first pick of the day. It makes me wonder if an overnight deal might have been struck.

Travis Lawler is a right-handed pitcher honing his craft at Midland College. Two seasons ago he was primed to play at the University of Florida. His father Jim is now the head coach at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock following a 21-year tenure as the top assistant and recruiting coordinator at Texas A&M.

One scouting service had this to say about him, "he has a tremendous feel for pitching, a great mound presence and will throw in the 87-91 mile per hour range with his fastball. All of his off-speed pitches are above average."

Lawler has a great frame, 6'4 and 175 pounds, who appears to have a lot of upside.

Delta State's Devin Goodwin is a grinder type who hit .345 with a team-leading 68 runs scored and 18 doubles. The power-hitting short stop also hit 12 home runs and drove in 51 runs. The Alabama native stole 18 bases in 19 attempts. Last summer, he played in the Northwoods League All-Star Game.

Canadian David Kington played at Southern Illinois University where he pitched out of the Saluki bullpen. The right-hander logged 27 strikeouts compared to 19 walks in 37 innings.

Andrew Moss played college baseball at Lincoln University and had to grow up a Cardinal fan in rural Piedmont, Mo. The 6'1 right-hander was named All-Conference after striking out 100.

Justin Smith saved the best for last, wining seven of his last eight decisions. In one of those wins, the Utah Valley right-hander struck out 10 in 8.1 innings in the islands against Hawaii. He finished the season with 91 strikeouts in 91 innings.

Smith was named the Great West Conference Pitcher of the Week four times this spring. In high school, he was recruited by the likes of BYU, Nevada, and New Mexico. Reports say that Smith has an above average curveball and a fastball that reaches 93.

Rich "The Rock" Rocobaldo batted .417 with 15 home runs and 64 RBIs this spring. The Mount Olive College third baseman stole 22 bases to become the only player in his conference this season with at least 10 home runs and 20 stolen bases. After playing third base in 2008, Racobaldo moved to shortstop this season. Played last summer in the Coastal Plains league last summer.

John Durham is a left-hander out of NAIA Warner Southern College. Last summer he played in the Florida Collegiate College.

Prep shortstop Taylor Terrasas is the son of New York Mets' scouting director Rudy Terrasas. He has committed to Louisiana Tech after playing on the showcase circuit.

Scouting reports say he has a "Lean athletic build, good hands, quick feet with good body control, strong arm, quick to the ball, makes solid contact, good bat speed, high level prospect with projectable tools."

Jesse Simpson of the College of Charleston was on the Brooks Wallace Award watch list to start the season. The six-foot right-hander was 18-7 over his two seasons with the Cougars. He posted a 9-4 record with a 5.52 ERA this past spring. One scouting report had this to say about the Louisiana native:

His two-seam fastball routinely sits 86-88 and looked to have good movement. It tails in on righties and dips away from lefties. His changeup sat at 79 mph and is a swing and miss pitch. He throws a 10-4 power curveball that lacks consistency.

Simpson has a good pitcher's body that's compact and lean. His delivery is repeatable and fundamentally sound. There didn't appear to be any added wear-and-tear on his elbow.

He started his college career at Ole Miss, making him the third pitcher the Cardinals selected in this draft who had played with the Rebels. Also, he is the second player from the College of Charleston and the third in two years.

Right-handed pitcher Cale Johnson was the Co-American Midwest Conference Pitcher of the Year after being named sole recipient of the award in 2008. This season at McKendree College he struck out eighty-seven while walking 22 in 89 innings of work.

In 11 starts, Johnson had eight complete games and a record of 5-3. The 21-year-old's earned-run average of 2.15 which led the AMC in 2009.

The Cardinals next selected Aaron Terry, a RHP out of Southern Arkansas University. The 5'11 hurler struck out 78 in only 60.2 innings this past spring.

Still in the search of lefties, the team selected Manuel De La Cruz in the 43rd round. The 6'2, 220 pound southpaw was drafted out of Imperial Valley College. This season he was an All-Pacific Coast Conference honorable mention.

The Cards looked to the state to the north for their next selection. Iowa's Kyle Heim is a college situational lefty who grew up in St. Joseph, MO. The 6'4 pitcher with a mid-eighties fastball appeared in 13 games covering 8.2 innings this spring.

He should definitely be fresh.

Adam Heisler is a scrappy outfielder from the University of South Alabama. His scouting report says that he is extremely fast and can cover a lot of ground in the outfield. He does a good job of swinging the bat and can handle the bat well with two strikes.

The left-handed hitter led his team with a .397 batting average and a .449 on-base percentage. He also ranked second on the team with 16 stolen bases, a .520 slugging percentage and 43 RBIs.

Jim Klocke is a catcher out of Southeast Missouri State that I had the chance to see several times this year. Like second round pick Robert Stock, Klocke also served as his team's closer.

This season, the St. Louis native finished the season ranked in the top 100 in the nation in batting average (.394, 86th), doubles (20, 64th), and on-base percentage (.484, 73rd). Klocke also hit nine home runs to go along with 46 RBIs and a .654 slugging percentage.

Behind the plate, Klocke possesses an above average arm (88 MPH on the mound) and improving footwork. He needs a lot of work but he does have a good foundation to build on.

Klocke is going to be a tough sign. He will be playing baseball in the Cape Cod League this summer.

Michael Thompson leaves Bellarmine College as the career leader in strikeouts and innings pitched. The right-hander finished the season with an 8-2 record and a 2.84 earned run average. He ranked third nationally with 118 strikeouts on the season, a new school record. His fantastic season earned him the Great Lakes Valley Conference Baseball Pitcher of the Year award.

UCLA's Jason Novak is a Pac-10 veteran having appeared in 86 career games (the sixth-most pitching appearances in program history). In his career, he posted a record of 6-3 with a 4.98 ERA in 137.1 career innings. In 22.2 innings this spring, he struck out 24 K while allowing 13 walks.

In the 49th round, the Cardinals rolled the dice on Andrew Hillis out of Brentwood HS in Tennessee. Hillis is a big-bodied kid who stands 6'7 but in scouting videos he doesn't take advantage of his big frame. He really needs to take advantage of his height and pitch down hill.

According to Baseball America, "scouts aren't high on Hillis' makeup, though he has a pro body and average stuff (88-90 mph fastball)."

Rated by PGCrosschecker.com as the No. 118 ranked overall prospect in the country, he is committed to Tennessee. Check out his website at http://www.andyhillis.com/home.cfm.

With its final pick in the 50th round, the Cardinals chose a right-handed pitcher out of San Diego State. No, they did not choose that pitcher. The pick was Tyler Levine who finished with a record of 8-2 along with a 3.05 earned run average. He was a second-team all-Mountain West Conference selection whose strikeout total of 87 ranked second in the MWC only to teammate Stephen Strasburg.

Look for a draft review and commentary coming next week.

Dustin can be contacted at dustin@whiteyball.com.

 

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