Day one arms: Trying to stay grounded

9 Jun

Out of all of the day one pitchers selected, none of them really lit my fire as most of you already know. My favorite was Jess Todd, and some scouts think that because of his delivery he may end up just being a set up guy. Something however has recently come to my attention from one of the posters who goes by the moniker Shhh, and I thought it was interesting enough to write up a post about. (Yes, I am bored today.) It seems Dave Duncan and Tony La Russa aren’t the only big wigs in the Cardinal organization who have a ground ball fetish. Jeff Luhnow has one, too. Per College Splits-

  • Clayton Mortenson-2.19 ground out to fly out ratio, K/9 9.52. K/BB 2.91. 36th pick. Ranked 119th nationally by Baseball America.
  • David Kopp-2.66 GO/AO. K/9 7.21. K/BB 2.78. 71st pick. Ranked 81st by BA.
  • Jess Todd-2.00 GO/AO. K/9 12.71. K/BB 4.92. 82nd pick. Ranked 110th by BA.
  • Thomas Eager -.095 GO/AO. K/9 7.4. K/BB 1.98. 172nd pick. Ranked 133rd by BA.

Nothing wrong with getting pitchers who can miss bats and keep the ball on the ground. For some of the complaining I made earlier, I must say Luhnow did a good job finding pitchers that already fit the the “La Runcan profile”. There’s will be no struggle with transforming these guys into sinkerballers like they have with Ottavino and Anthony Reyes, they are sinkerballers. Whether or not TLR/DD will still be manning the ship when these guys are major league ready is up in the air, but if they are these guys come already housebroken, with the exception of Eager.

Also, I note that of of these picks were highly rated arms. Personally, I thought with all the high school talent available the Cards might to a different route. When they didn’t, I was disappointed. I still feel like some a lot of the players they passed on have higher ceilings while these guys seem to profile as bottom of the rotation pitchers. Not that there’s not value in that these days, mind you. And it’s too early to call that. For now, this helps me get a peek into the reasoning behind some of these picks.

Another peek comes from Derrick Goold. Players the Cardinals were after had to be seen as signable, and with some of the new rule changes in the labor agreement, that’s smart. The Cardinals picked their spot to roll the dice when they drafted Kyle Russell, who is a sophomore. John Manuel of Baseball America didn’t seem to optimistic about the Cards chances, saying in a recent chat:

IF they sign Russell, I’ll be surprised, he’s a 3rd or 4th round talent consensus with first-round demands and the chance to go back to Texas and try to get out of a regional, which the Longhorns haven’t done in two years. I see him going back, just a hunch.

<Fingers in ears> la la la la la! </fingers in ears> I didn’t want to hear that! Russell doesn’t really say either way talking to Goold, but it sounds like he could be swayed without too much difficulty. From Goold’s piece:

On Friday, Russell said this is a “win-win situation” for him.

“My mind is not totally set on going back to college,” Russell said. “I would like to be a Cardinal. If it works out, if the offer is right and everybody plays their cards right, then I’m coming. I’m on my way. I’m ready for the next challenge in my life.”

Russell, who hit 28 home runs this season and is a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award, said as a high schooler he spread the word through scouts that he was going to attend Texas by saying he wanted a “really large amount of money no team would pay.”

He said that won’t be the case this time.

“I wanted to tell them, ‘I’m ready to go,’” he said. “Draft me.”

Luhnow is, however, mindful of a budget.

“We have to decide on what we feel his value is and if that matches with what he thinks, then it will work out,” Luhnow said. “We’re not going to be the first to break away, but if everybody is going to break away and we have a chance to get an impact player like him we don’t want to be at a disadvantage because we’re not doing what other clubs are.”

Sounds good…ah, right? Sure. I’m not so sure I like the sound of that “mindful of budget” talk.

Final note, DanUp has his take on each of the six picks they made. He’s sorta feeling the way me and AZ are feeling about this whole thing. And I propose we call him De-Slacko.

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3 Responses to “Day one arms: Trying to stay grounded”

  1. Brock20 June 9, 2007 at 11:57 pm #

    Hey Guys:

    Back from my road trip, which was incredible. Digested both of your thoughts on the draft and the great questions and observations posted by the rest of the fellowship. Erik, I seem to remember last year you and I having this disagreement on VEB, which is I mainted the Cards should have one more fairly conservative draft to build the system while you mainted more of a shoot for upside draft. Do either of you see the draft strategy as suggesting that the company went more for my approach in that the picks might have been as sexy as you guys wanted, but it was designed to build a system.
    Second, don’t know if you guys caught this but Luhnlow was on the game broadcast last night. The only remotely meaty things he said were, “we went for best available” and “we tried to draft athletes.” Care to comment on that?
    Larry said all the nice and right things in a post below, but please let me echo them. Thanks for making my draft following more knowledgeable. I appreciate greatly what I learn by reading this blog.

    Peace,

    B20

  2. erik June 10, 2007 at 12:37 am #

    Brock,
    Well, I don’t think they did take the best available according to what the consensus was saying, but I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and say the consensus may be wrong. The consensus is that Kozma was safe, Mortenson was a huge overdraft, Kopp and Todd were about right, De-slacko was a 5 to 10 rounder with a bad body, Russell could be a good pick in the 4th round if you can sign him and Eager is ok.
    I thought they would take high school talent this year, the only high schoolers they took was Kozma who many felt was a sandwich round pick, and then a few in the somewhat later rounds on the 2nd day. I just was reading again and again by the experts, that this was the year for the high school pitcher. I’ve seen the college pitchers the Cardinals have been taking the last few years, and while some have been impressive in the lower minors, the reports I’m reading a lot of these players, guys like Brad Furnish and Gary Daley, profile as 5th starters or middle relievers. I was hoping they would go after a few more high schoolers, and they had several staring them in the face like Nevin Griffith or Will Middlebrooks to name a couple, and yet they passed again and again. Many players were considered to have high ceilings, and they take a college senior like mortenson, who wasn’t even drafted until now, and select him 36th.
    i just seemed insane. but again, these guys have a lot more info then PG Crosschecker, Baseball America, etc. I’ll trust their judgment for now and try and find the bright spots. As for Kozma, I’m hearing more and more that he wasn’t really much of an overdraft, so I’ll choose to believe that. When I hear that he’s comparable with Jack Wilson or Mark Loretta, I was hoping the Cards could do better then that. But hearing about his high school numbers, and his athleticism, i’m optimistic and actually pretty excited about what he could become. At 19, he can’t be put in any box now. If the Cardinals love him, I’m sure there’s a good reason.
    We’ll know in a couple years or so.

  3. azruavatar June 10, 2007 at 6:04 am #

    The one addition I’d make to erik’s comment is that I do think they attempted to address the deficiencies in the system, namely middle infielders. I don’t think they went about that in the right fashion by drafting Kozma so high but I can see them trying to even the system out as it is really top heavy right now with some great prospects (Rasmus, Anderson, Garcia) and then a pretty significant drop off in talent/ceiling/potential-impact at the majors.

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