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Cardinals calling up No. 22 prospect Gallegos

MLB.com

ATLANTA -- While he celebrated Memphis' first Triple-A National Championship on Tuesday night, Giovanny Gallegos learned that, unlike his teammates, his season wasn't over.

Gallegos will join the Cardinals in St. Louis on Friday as the club's final September callup. He'll give the Cardinals an additional right-handed reliever and bring the total number of players on the active roster to 35.

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ATLANTA -- While he celebrated Memphis' first Triple-A National Championship on Tuesday night, Giovanny Gallegos learned that, unlike his teammates, his season wasn't over.

Gallegos will join the Cardinals in St. Louis on Friday as the club's final September callup. He'll give the Cardinals an additional right-handed reliever and bring the total number of players on the active roster to 35.

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The Cardinals acquired Gallegos and lefty Chasen Shreve in the non-waiver Trade Deadline deal that sent Luke Voit to the Yankees. Gallegos joined Memphis and went on to throw 23 2/3 innings, including the final one in a 14-4 win over International League champion Durham (Rays) in the Triple-A National Championship Game. In total, Gallegos allowed three runs on 11 hits and struck out 20 with the Redbirds, who won the Pacific Coast League.

"I haven't seen him pitch, so it's hard to say how he'll fit in," Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said. "I think right now we'll evaluate him as we go like we do all the guys. Clearly, he's done well. He has a good arm. All the reports have been favorable and really positive on him. Just put our eyes to him and see what he can do."

Gallegos, the Cardinals' No. 22 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, does have a sprinkling of past Major League experience. He made 16 appearances with the Yankees last season and another four earlier this year. Gallegos has posted a 4.75 ERA over 30 1/3 big league innings.

Carpenter sits
For the second time in five days, Shildt kept leadoff hitter Matt Carpenter out of the starting lineup hoping that at least a partial day off could jump-start the National League MVP Award candidate's bat. Coupled with an off-day on Thursday, Carpenter will have ample time to recharge.

Carpenter, who struck out three times in Tuesday's 8-1 win, is hitless in his past 16 at-bats and 4-for-33 (.121) with 13 strikeouts since Sept. 9.

"Look, if you're going to game plan ... clearly he's going to be pitched tough," Shildt said. "I see a combination of things. A lot of tough pitches and a couple hard outs at people that aren't getting results. Matt's going to be just fine. Matt Carpenter is the least of my worries."

Carpenter has been stuck on 35 homers since the month started, and that represents his longest homerless drought of the year. After entering September with a league-high .966 OPS, Carpenter has watched it drop to .916 while tallying only two extra-base hits this month.

Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

St. Louis Cardinals, Giovanny Gallegos

New acquisitions shuffle Cards' prospects list

Gomber filling in for C-Mart in rotation; Wong, Wainwright progressing in rehab
MLB.com

ST. LOUIS -- While the Cardinals' flurry of Trade Deadline activity was extensively evaluated for the impact it could have on the Major League product, the moves also quietly enhanced the organization's Minor League system.

Five of the players the Cardinals acquired in their four trades moved into the club's Top 30 Prospects list, compiled by MLB Pipeline. Outfielders Justin Williams (No. 9) and Conner Capel (No. 10) rank the highest. Also denting the list are Genesis Cabrera (No. 14), Seth Elledge (No. 22) and Giovanny Gallegos (No. 23).

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ST. LOUIS -- While the Cardinals' flurry of Trade Deadline activity was extensively evaluated for the impact it could have on the Major League product, the moves also quietly enhanced the organization's Minor League system.

Five of the players the Cardinals acquired in their four trades moved into the club's Top 30 Prospects list, compiled by MLB Pipeline. Outfielders Justin Williams (No. 9) and Conner Capel (No. 10) rank the highest. Also denting the list are Genesis Cabrera (No. 14), Seth Elledge (No. 22) and Giovanny Gallegos (No. 23).

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The Cardinals now have six outfielders among their top 18 prospects. Tyler O'Neill, the club's No. 2 prospect, should graduate from the list soon.

MLB Pipleline also recently released its refreshed midseason Top 100 rankings, and two Cardinals -- Alex Reyes (No. 34) and O'Neill (48) -- made that cut.

Rotation plans

Used primarily in relief by the Cardinals this season, Austin Gomber will now get an extended look as a starter as he slides into the club's open rotation spot. The Cards needed to add another starter to the mix after Carlos Martinez went on the disabled list, and using Gomber will give the team a left-handed look in an otherwise all-righty rotation. He'll start Saturday in Pittsburgh.

Video: STL@CIN: Gomber takes no-hitter into the 7th inning

"Pitching is pitching, but obviously I'm definitely excited to be in the rotation, definitely excited about the opportunity," Gomber said. "It kind of [stinks], because obviously we're a better team when Carlos is healthy. Nobody wants to see him get hurt, but I'm just going to try and do what I can do to replace him to the best of my ability."

Gomber, who has appeared in relief 17 times this year, made his first big league start on July 24 and carried a no-hitter through 6 1/3 innings. He finished with two runs allowed on a pair of hits. Gomber has a 3.22 ERA and used a 14-pitch appearance out of the 'pen on Wednesday as a tune-up for his outing on Saturday.

Medical report

Second baseman Kolten Wong joined Class A Peoria for a one-day rehab stint on Thursday. Wong is scripted to play seven innings before flying to Pittsburgh to join the Cardinals. Wong, who has been sidelined by left knee inflammation since July 22, could be activated from the DL as early as Friday.

Video: STL@CHC: Wong makes diving stop, glove flips for out

Adam Wainwright (right elbow inflammation) and Martinez (right shoulder strain) plan to join the club midway through its upcoming road trip as they progress through their respective rehab programs. Wainwright through a high-intensity bullpen session on Wednesday, and he plans to do so again over the weekend. He will then check in with the Major League staff and medical team before beginning a Minor League rehab assignment.

Dominic Leone (upper arm nerve irritation) began a rehab assignment on Wednesday with a scoreless inning for Triple-A Memphis. He struck out two.

Worth noting

• The Cardinals will get a close-up look at one of the newest impact players in the National League Central on Friday, when starter Chris Archer makes his debut for the Pirates. St. Louis will counter with John Gant.

• Memphis outfielder Adolis Garcia extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a two-homer night on Wednesday. Garcia has hit seven home runs in the past six games.

• The Cardinals announced the additions of four new Theme Nights to their season schedule. Those include BBQ Night (Aug. 13), Fredbird's Birthday Party (Sept. 2), College Night III (Sept. 24) and Memphis Redbirds Night (Sept. 26).

Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

St. Louis Cardinals, Seth Elledge, Giovanny Gallegos, Justin Williams

Cards trade Pham to Rays for 3 prospects

St. Louis nets 2 additional Minor Leaguers from Indians for outfielder Mercado
MLB.com

ST. LOUIS -- Seeking to walk that tricky tightrope of creating big league opportunities for young players while still trying to remain in the playoff hunt, the Cardinals capped a five-day flurry of transactions by executing two more trades just ahead of Tuesday's 3 p.m. CT non-waiver Trade Deadline.

Those included sending starting center fielder Tommy Pham, along with $500,000 in international bonus pool money, to the Rays in exchange for Minor Leaguers Justin Williams, Genesis Cabrera and Roel Ramirez. The Cardinals also swapped Minor League outfielder Oscar Mercado to the Indians for low-level outfielders Conner Capel and Jhon Torres.

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ST. LOUIS -- Seeking to walk that tricky tightrope of creating big league opportunities for young players while still trying to remain in the playoff hunt, the Cardinals capped a five-day flurry of transactions by executing two more trades just ahead of Tuesday's 3 p.m. CT non-waiver Trade Deadline.

Those included sending starting center fielder Tommy Pham, along with $500,000 in international bonus pool money, to the Rays in exchange for Minor Leaguers Justin Williams, Genesis Cabrera and Roel Ramirez. The Cardinals also swapped Minor League outfielder Oscar Mercado to the Indians for low-level outfielders Conner Capel and Jhon Torres.

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But despite a week in which the Cardinals have purged excess from their Major League roster, president of baseball operations John Mozeliak cautioned against characterizing the club as a Deadline seller. Rather than package prospects for proven big league talent as most contending clubs do at this point in the season, the Cardinals sought to open a path for those prospects to be the help they need to make a push in the Wild Card race.

The Cardinals began the day four games back in those standings. Five teams sit ahead of them.

"I feel like what we were trying to do was put ourselves in position to get a peek at the future," Mozeliak explained. "They're probably not the most exciting moves to all the people out there watching, but for us, we did feel like we accomplished some things. The way it was going wasn't working. Trying to do something different was our approach."

Video: COL@STL: Mozeliak talks about trading Pham to Rays

Subtracting Pham from the mix opens up an opportunity for rookie outfielders Harrison Bader and Tyler O'Neill to share playing time in center. O'Neill, who led Triple-A Memphis with 26 homers and 61 RBIs in 61 games, was recalled on Tuesday and plugged into the starting lineup.

Playing time, Mozeliak said, is likely to be split fairly evenly between the two.

The chance to see what both can do with extended opportunities mirrors the organization's approach with the bullpen. Since the All-Star break, the Cardinals have added four pitchers from Triple-A (Austin Gomber, Daniel Poncedeleon, Dakota Hudson and Tyler Webb) and another (Chasen Shreve) acquired via trade.

In essence, the Cardinals have turned the present over to their future. And the organization is gambling that the chance to win now has improved through that approach.

"We're not trying some unique experiment," Mozeliak said. "We're taking guys who we feel are ready to perform up here. Now, their roles might be a little different than what they were down in Memphis. But they were having a lot of success down there, and now we're hoping to have a lot of that success up here.

"I think when you look back at our history of how we have utilized our Minor League system, that tends to be our more successful recipe. And so when we look at where these guys were, we felt like it was better to give them a chance, instead of just trying to flip them for something else."

The belief that the Cardinals can still compete for a postseason berth is also why they did not further deplete their Major League roster. Closer Bud Norris and first baseman/outfielder Jose Martinez were among the players the Cardinals shopped to other teams before deciding to hang onto both. The Cardinals were not enticed by the potential returns they were offered.

"Just having short-term gratification was not our goal," Mozeliak said. "Do I come here telling you we hit a home run over the last 24 hours? No. But we still were able to successfully go down the path we felt we needed to. It was an incremental strategy that we feel, in the end, will have long-term benefits."

A breakout star a year ago, Pham found out his 12-year tenure with the organization had ended when he woke up to a phone call from Mozeliak. Returning as the club's starting center fielder this year, Pham was among the Majors' most productive players in April, but he had endured a drastic drop in production beginning with an 0-for-31 stretch during the latter part of June.

Pham heads to the Rays with a .248/.331/.399 slash line and .730 OPS.

In dealing the 30-year-old Pham, the Cardinals lost a player over whom they carried three more years of control. Pham had been interested in pursuing a long-term contract with the club over the offseason, but he did not think the Cardinals' two-year, $4 million offer was strong enough.

Though all three of the Cardinals' Opening Day outfielders have underperformed this season, Pham was the one best positioned to be dealt. Dexter Fowler is under contract for another three seasons and has a no-trade clause. Marcell Ozuna, whom the Cardinals gave up several prospects to acquire, will be arbitration-eligible again next year.

"When you look at where we were, I think staying status quo was not getting it done," Mozeliak said. "Obviously, trying to create opportunity also for O'Neill and Bader was something we thought we needed to do. It had to do with creating opportunity for others. And look, performance matters."

Video: Top Prospects: Justin Williams, OF, Rays

An organization already overrun by outfield talent did add more to the mix through Tuesday's trades. But the Cardinals like that Williams and Capel hit from the left side, and they were willing to part with Mercado in exchange for outfielders who will slot in lower in the farm system.

Capel, 21, will be assigned to Class A Advanced Palm Beach. Torres, 18, is expected to join the Cardinals' Gulf Coast League affiliate.

Williams (No. 9) and Cabrera (No. 14) immediately slide into the Cardinals' Top 30 prospect rankings, according to MLB Pipeline. Williams, an outfielder, had appeared in one game for the Rays.

Mozeliak described Cabrera as "an electric arm" who adds to the organization's left-handed pitching depth. Ramirez, 23, will pitch in relief for Double-A Springfield. 

Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

St. Louis Cardinals, Tommy Pham, Justin Williams

Rays get Pham from Cardinals

3 prospects sent to St. Louis for outfielder, international bonus pool money
MLB.com

ST. PETERSBURG -- Consistent with how the Rays do business, they made a trade for Cardinals outfielder Tommy Pham and international bonus pool money in exchange for three Minor League prospects: outfielder Justin Williams, the Rays' No. 14 prospect, left-hander Genesis Cabrera (No. 25) and right-hander Roel Ramirez.

While Chris Archer had been the focus of trade rumors involving the Rays -- and was dealt to the Pirates before Major League Baseball's 4 p.m. ET Deadline -- the Pham deal seemingly came out of nowhere.

ST. PETERSBURG -- Consistent with how the Rays do business, they made a trade for Cardinals outfielder Tommy Pham and international bonus pool money in exchange for three Minor League prospects: outfielder Justin Williams, the Rays' No. 14 prospect, left-hander Genesis Cabrera (No. 25) and right-hander Roel Ramirez.

While Chris Archer had been the focus of trade rumors involving the Rays -- and was dealt to the Pirates before Major League Baseball's 4 p.m. ET Deadline -- the Pham deal seemingly came out of nowhere.

Video: COL@STL: Mozeliak talks about trading Pham to Rays

"I woke up to [Cards president John Mozeliak] calling me early this morning with the news, so I was really shocked," Pham told MLB Network Radio. "That's the first thing, you know, you wake up to your boss calling you that you've gotten traded, it's shocking."

Pham is hitting .248 with 14 home runs and 41 RBIs.

"It hurts," he said. "More specifically, for me, I've been underperforming from my expectations, and I feel like if I had done my job better, [the Cards] wouldn't be so far down in the standings."

A late bloomer, Pham emerged with both his bat and his glove to break into St. Louis' lineup last season, hitting .306 and slugging .520 with 23 homers. Pham, 30, is making just $570,000 this season and is under team control through 2021. He will become eligible for arbitration for the first time this winter. In March, details emerged that Pham rejected the Cardinals' offer of a two-year, $4 million contract extension.

Tweet from @snellzilla4: Let���s go!!!! Welcome to the family!! @TphamLV

Williams, 22, who came to the Rays in the November 2014 trade that sent Jeremy Hellickson to the D-backs, played in one game for the Rays this season. He was hitting .258 with eight home runs and 46 RBIs for Triple-A Durham.

Cabrera, 21, was 7-6 with a 4.12 ERA in 21 games at Double-A Montgomery while Ramirez, 23, was 3-1 with a 2.53 ERA in 42 games for Montgomery and Class A Advanced Charlotte.

With Pham out of the mix, the Cardinals have various directions they can now turn to plug the opening in their outfield. Harrison Bader, who is hitting .265/.338/.400 over 83 games, is the best defensive outfielder on the team's 25-man roster. This could also make room for outfielder Tyler O'Neill, who has 26 homers and 61 RBIs in 61 games with Triple-A Memphis. He, too, can play center.

Williams will be part of the outfield mix, as well, though the Cardinals plan to send him to Memphis for now. A second-round Draft pick in 2013, Williams appeared in 94 games for Tampa Bay's Triple-A affiliate this season. He hit .258/.313/.376 as the club's everyday right fielder.

Tampa Bay entered Tuesday 21 games out of the American League East lead and 10 games back of the league's second Wild Card spot, so this would appear to be a move directed more toward the club's future beyond 2018.

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Petersburg.

St. Louis Cardinals, Tampa Bay Rays, Tommy Pham

Cards land 2 relievers from Yanks for Voit, cash

MLB.com

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals' roster churn continued Saturday night, as they dealt first baseman Luke Voit to the Yankees for a pair of relievers -- Giovanny Gallegos and Chasen Shreve. St. Louis also sent the Yankees $1 million in international bonus pool money to complete the deal, a source told MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez.

Shreve will join the Cardinals on Monday, where he will become the latest addition in the team's revamped bullpen. Since Friday, the Cardinals have added four new relievers to the mix. Gallegos, ranked by MLB Pipeline as the No. 26 prospect in New York's farm system, has been assigned to Triple-A Memphis.

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals' roster churn continued Saturday night, as they dealt first baseman Luke Voit to the Yankees for a pair of relievers -- Giovanny Gallegos and Chasen Shreve. St. Louis also sent the Yankees $1 million in international bonus pool money to complete the deal, a source told MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez.

Shreve will join the Cardinals on Monday, where he will become the latest addition in the team's revamped bullpen. Since Friday, the Cardinals have added four new relievers to the mix. Gallegos, ranked by MLB Pipeline as the No. 26 prospect in New York's farm system, has been assigned to Triple-A Memphis.

General manager Michael Girsch confirmed the Cardinals and Yankees had been discussing possible trade scenarios for weeks, with the Yankees particularly interested in acquiring international cap space. The Cardinals had excess money to deal and were motivated to sort through their surplus of right-handed bats.

Voit, who appeared in eight games for the Cardinals this season, had been stuck in that logjam.

Shreve, 28, has made 195 career appearances with the Braves and Yankees since debuting in 2014. He had a 1.50 WHIP and 4.26 ERA with 46 strikeouts and 18 walks in 38 innings this season. His biggest issue has been keeping the ball in the park -- Shreve allowed eight homers this season and has a career rate of 1.6 surrendered over nine innings.

The Cardinals believe several factors -- including pitching in Yankee Stadium -- have inflated that total. Twenty-two of the 34 home runs Shreve allowed came in that ballpark.

"We also just in general know that Major League pitchers who strike out a third of the players they face don't have a quarter of all the balls hit to the outfield go over the wall," Girsch said. "That's just not sustainable in any meaningful way in the big leagues, so our bet is that it will regress to something more in line with what's normal."

Shreve will be arbitration-eligible this winter, meaning he'll be under team control for another three seasons. That was attractive to the Cardinals, even though they're taking on a lefty reliever who has no options remaining.

The Cardinals have been looking to add left-handed depth for a while now after not getting reliable relief from Brett Cecil or Tyler Lyons this season. A season-ending injury to Ryan Sherriff further depleted the options.

Gallegos, 26, debuted with the Yankees last season and had appeared in four games for New York this season. Combined, he has allowed 17 runs (16 earned) in 30 1/3 big league innings. Gallegos made 17 Triple-A appearances this season and posted a 3.90 ERA while striking out 41 in 27 2/3 innings.

Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

St. Louis Cardinals, Chasen Shreve

Martinez on track for Monday return from DL

Poncedeleon optioned after great debut; Bader recognized with award
MLB.com

CINCINNATI -- When a mild oblique strain sidelined Carlos Martinez last weekend in Chicago, the Cardinals were hopeful the righty's disabled list stint would be a short one. That hope inched closer to reality on Tuesday, when Martinez tested the injury in a flat-ground session on the outfield grass at Great American Ball Park.

The next hurdle for Martinez will be a bullpen session scheduled for Friday, and if he completes that without issue, he could return to the Cards rotation on his first day of eligibility, on Monday against the Rockies. Doing so would mean Martinez avoids a rehab start.

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CINCINNATI -- When a mild oblique strain sidelined Carlos Martinez last weekend in Chicago, the Cardinals were hopeful the righty's disabled list stint would be a short one. That hope inched closer to reality on Tuesday, when Martinez tested the injury in a flat-ground session on the outfield grass at Great American Ball Park.

The next hurdle for Martinez will be a bullpen session scheduled for Friday, and if he completes that without issue, he could return to the Cards rotation on his first day of eligibility, on Monday against the Rockies. Doing so would mean Martinez avoids a rehab start.

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Cardinals interim manager Mike Shildt called the plan "tentative" on Tuesday.

Video: CIN@STL: Martinez retires Barnhart to escape a jam

Martinez originally tweaked his oblique last Thursday in Chicago, lunging for a batted ball in the fourth inning of a 9-6 loss to the Cubs. The outing was the latest in an uneven year for Martinez, who has struggled to regain his early-season form after missing three weeks to a strained lat. Martinez was 3-2 with a 1.62 ERA before the first injury, but he is 3-4 with a 5.32 ERA in nine starts since.

Austin Gomber was recalled from Triple-A Memphis to fill Martinez's rotation spot Tuesday. He pitched 6 1/3 no-hit innings before giving up two runs in a 4-2 win over the Reds.

Without Martinez available, the Cardinals will start Luke Weaver, Miles Mikolas and John Gant in this weekend's rematch against the Cubs at Busch Stadium.

Poncedeleon optioned after stellar debut
The realities of roster construction took precedence over Daniel Poncedeleon's dazzling Monday night Major League debut, as the Cardinals optioned the right-hander to Triple-A Memphis on Tuesday.

The move was "pretty much set" before Tuesday's 2-1 loss to the Reds, Shildt said. 

Poncedeleon became the first Cards rookie nearly six decades to take a no-hitter into the seventh in his MLB debut. Poncedeleon completed seven no-hit innings before being removed after 116 pitches in a performance that capped a 14-month recovery from emergency brain surgery and made national headlines. Poncedeleon remained with the team Tuesday to receive treatment and rehash his journey on a mini-national tour, which included a spot on CNN's "New Day" morning program.

The television appearance came after he was informed he'd be heading back to Memphis.

"He was respectful but not blissful," Shildt said. "Ponce is a true pro. That's a tough turnaround. Seven innings of no-hit baseball. 'Nice job, congratulations. And by the way, tomorrow you're going back down to Memphis.'

"Everybody gets that, including Ponce, but that's some tough love right there."

The reality is Poncedeleon is likely to help the Cards again at some point later in the year, perhaps out of the bullpen.

"I think he has the flexibility to do so based on our roster, and the confidence we have in him," Shildt said.

Video: STL@CIN: Poncedeleon hurls 7 no-hit frames in debut

The latter can also be said of Gomber, who emerged as St. Louis' most-trusted left-handed reliever earlier this season. The Cardinals are making "reorganizing" their struggling 'pen a priority headed into the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, a source told MLB.com on Tuesday. That could mean Gomber and Poncedeleon assuming more prominent roles, likely in place of Greg Holland and/or Brett Cecil, who could be moved before the Deadline.

St. Louis' relief corps has allowed 21 runs in six games since the All-Star break, a 2-4 stretch that has pinned the Cardinals at .500 (50-50) through 100 games. They sit in fourth place in the National League Central with a week until the Deadline.

But their short-term priority remains augmenting a rotation without stalwarts Martinez and Michael Wacha. Gomber is technically taking Martinez's spot, and he could earn another start there if Martinez is unable to return when eligible next week.

Bader earns honor
The Major League Baseball Player Alumni Association revealed the 30 preliminary winners of the 2018 Heart and Hustle Award on Tuesday, with one player from each team is chosen based on their passion, desire and work ethic demonstrated both on and off the field. Earning the Cardinals' recognition was right fielder Harrison Bader, who will be honored at an upcoming game at Busch Stadium.

An overall winner will then be selected through a combination of fan, alumni and player voting later in the season. The 2018 winner will be announced on Nov. 8. This remains the only award in Major League Baseball that is voted on by former players. The last player to win the overall vote as a member of the Cardinals was Albert Pujols in 2009.

Joe Trezza is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joetrezz.

St. Louis Cardinals, Austin Gomber, Daniel Poncedeleon

Prospects Knizner, Ortiz added to Futures Game

MLB.com

Top prospects Andrew Knizner of the Cardinals and Luis Ortiz of the Brewers have been named replacements for the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game on Sunday at Nationals Park in Washington.

Knizner will take the spot of A's catcher Sean Murphy, who was placed on the disabled list on Monday. The right-hander Ortiz will fill in for righty Forrest Whitley of the Astros, who left his start on Monday with an injury.

Top prospects Andrew Knizner of the Cardinals and Luis Ortiz of the Brewers have been named replacements for the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game on Sunday at Nationals Park in Washington.

Knizner will take the spot of A's catcher Sean Murphy, who was placed on the disabled list on Monday. The right-hander Ortiz will fill in for righty Forrest Whitley of the Astros, who left his start on Monday with an injury.

SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game rosters

Knizner, 23, is ranked the Cards' No. 5 prospect, and is hitting .318/.386/.430 between stints at Double-A Springfield and Triple-A Memphis. Power may be the last raw tool that eludes him as he continues his ascent toward the Majors; he has just three homers in 223 at-bats this year. Knizner spent three weeks with Memphis earlier this season -- the first time he's reached that level -- when Carson Kelly was called up to St. Louis to fill in while Yadier Molina recovered from emergency surgery following a pelvic injury. In that stretch, Knizer impressed with a .333/.400/.444 line.

:: 2018 Futures Game coverage ::

Taken with what was touted as a sneaky solid pick in the seventh round in 2016 by St. Louis, Knizner had his true break out during the Arizona Fall League last season.

Ortiz, 22, is Milwaukee's No. 4 prospect, and remains at Double-A Biloxi as he works toward a season in full health after battling forearm and hamstring issues early in his young career. He's on his way to exceeding the career-high 94 1/3 innings this year, now at 49 frames with a career-high 4.41 ERA across 12 outings. He also has 51 strikeouts and a 1.235 WHIP.

Ortiz, who was drafted by the Rangers with the 30th overall pick in 2014 and came over in the Jonathan Lucroy trade with Texas in 2016, got his first glimpse of Spring Training with the big league club this year. Scouting reports indicate that if Ortiz can remain healthy and condition his body to fully exploit his 6-foot-3 frame, he has the potential to be a No. 3 starter in a big league rotation.

Daniel Kramer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @DKramer_.

Milwaukee Brewers, St. Louis Cardinals, Andrew Knizner, Luis Ortiz

Cards continue pipeline to Cuba, to ink Nunez

MLB.com

The Cardinals have been active on the Cuban market in recent years and are once again tapping into talent from the island to bolster their Minor League system.

Cardinals assistant general manager Moises Rodriguez confirmed Monday that the club agreed to a deal with third baseman Malcom Nunez of Cuba, as well as Dominican right-hander Victor Villanueva, on the first day of the new international signing period.

The Cardinals have been active on the Cuban market in recent years and are once again tapping into talent from the island to bolster their Minor League system.

Cardinals assistant general manager Moises Rodriguez confirmed Monday that the club agreed to a deal with third baseman Malcom Nunez of Cuba, as well as Dominican right-hander Victor Villanueva, on the first day of the new international signing period.

:: 2018 International Signing Period ::

According to MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez, Nunez received a $300,000 bonus, which was the maximum that the Cardinals could offer. They, like the A's, Astros, Braves, Nationals, Padres, Reds and White Sox, are serving a penalty for previously exceeding their bonus pool and cannot sign any individual player for more than $300,000 during the current period. Villanueva agreed to a bonus well below that max amount.

Standing at 6-foot-1 and 195 pounds, Nunez, 17, has a strong body and is physically mature. He has exhibited strength in his swing and displays projectable hitting ability and power. Overall, he's known for his plate discipline and offensive instincts.

On defense, Nunez has an above-average arm, though he's not exceptionally agile. The Cardinals believe he has a shot at sticking at third base for the long term.

The Cardinals first started scouting Nunez when he was a 14 year old playing in Cuba's 15U Latin American Championship. The following year, Nunez starred in the 15U World Cup, leading the tournament in batting average (.667), on-base percentage (.750) and stolen bases (seven).

"We are pleased to sign a hitter of Malcom's caliber and viewed his bat among the best available," said Rodriguez, who served as the Cardinals' director of international operations before being promoted last September. "He has a track record of performing at a high level in both Cuban youth leagues and international competition, where he stood out among his peers. We thought he'd be a long shot given our signing limitations, but [director of international operations] Luis Morales, [Dominican Republic scouting supervisor] Angel Ovalles and local scouts did an excellent job of getting to know the player and putting us in position to sign him."

Nunez, who became eligible to sign during the 2017-2018 period, has been training in the Dominican Republic, which gave the Cardinals more opportunities to evaluate him and sell Nunez on their organization.

Both Nunez and Villanueva have already been assigned to the Cardinals' Dominican Summer League team. The Cardinals expect to finalize a number of additional international signings within the next two weeks.

The list of Cuban players to sign with the Cardinals during the last few years includes infielder Aledmys Diaz, who signed in 2014, outfielder Randy Arozarena, center fielder Jonatan Machado and right-handed pitcher Johan Oviedo, who all signed in 2016. Right-handed pitcher Hector Mendoza and outfielder Jose Adolis Garcia signed with the club last year.

According to the rules established by the Collective Bargaining Agreement, clubs that received a Competitive Balance Pick in Round B of the MLB Draft received a pool of $6,025,400, while clubs like the Cardinals that received a Competitive Balance Pick in Round A of the Draft received a pool of $5,504,500. However, the Cardinals lost $500,000 for their signing of Greg Holland to drop their available pool to $5,004,500.

The club is allowed to trade as much of their international pool money as it would like but can only acquire 75 percent of a team's initial pool amount. Additionally, signing bonuses of $10,000 or less do not count toward the club's bonus pool, and foreign professional players who are at least 25 and have played in a foreign league for at least six seasons are also exempt.

Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Jesse Sanchez, who has been writing for MLB.com since 2001, is a national reporter based in Phoenix. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB and Facebook.

St. Louis Cardinals

Pham misses finale with flu-like symptoms

Pitching prospect Hudson has Matheny pondering Major League role
MLB.com

MILWAUKEE -- Roughening what he called already "a tough stretch" have been the flu-like symptoms Tommy Pham has fought for the better part of the Cardinals' current road trip. On Sunday, the illness was enough to scratch him from St. Louis' lineup.

Pham was originally in his typical No. 2 spot in the order when he arrived at Miller Park for the finale of a four-game set against the Brewers, but he was removed after feeling lightheaded in the batting cage and replaced by Harrison Bader in center field.

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MILWAUKEE -- Roughening what he called already "a tough stretch" have been the flu-like symptoms Tommy Pham has fought for the better part of the Cardinals' current road trip. On Sunday, the illness was enough to scratch him from St. Louis' lineup.

Pham was originally in his typical No. 2 spot in the order when he arrived at Miller Park for the finale of a four-game set against the Brewers, but he was removed after feeling lightheaded in the batting cage and replaced by Harrison Bader in center field.

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"They just kicked me out of the cage, dead serious, because I wasn't feeling well," Pham said. "I can't go hit now."

Pham said he first became ill in Philadelphia, where the Cardinals played a three-game series before coming to Milwaukee. One night there, he slept with the air condition in his hotel room at 60 degrees and woke up with a bug.

"It was at 69 degrees and I was sweating," Pham said.

He's struggled at the plate as his health worsened in the days that followed, going 0-for-14 with eight strikeouts over his past four games. Pham has struck out in each of his last six at bats, including five straight looking.

Pham is hitting .196/.241/.373 with 17 strikeouts in his last 13 games.

"I don't think it's vision-related," said Pham, who has famously battled eye problems over his career. "There have been some tough pitches. … I feel like I'm in a tough stretch right now. Once I get my mechanics under control, I'll be all right, because I can get hot for a month."

Video: STL@PHI: Ramos K's Pham to strand a pair in the 7th

Hudson continues to make his case

Though club officials considered promoting highly-touted right-hander Dakota Hudson to start Monday against the Indians, they ultimately opted for John Gant in Michael Wacha's place. But Hudson's debut appears pegged for the immediate future, whether in the Cardinals' rotation or bullpen.

It was the club's No. 3 prospect's most recent performance that had Matheny hypothesizing how he could help in either role, a day after Hudson continued to knock on the big league door. The right-hander lowered his Pacific Coast League-leading ERA to 2.04 on Saturday night at Triple-A Memphis, allowing one run over eight innings in a 2-1 Redbirds win over New Orleans, the Marlins' affiliate.

Hudson outpitched former Cardinals top prospect Sandy Alcantara in the game and is 4-0 with a 0.64 ERA over his last four starts.

"Dakota looked like he was really good," Matheny said. "A lot of ground balls. That movement [on the sinker] is outside of ordinary. What Dakota does can be translated long term into stating, but you can also picture it as being short-term help in the bullpen. You see guys with abnormal ground-ball rates, that usually means they are having success."

The Cardinals would not need to risk losing a player to add him to the 40-man roster. Instead, they could transfer Ryan Sherriff (Tommy John surgery) or Alex Reyes (season-ending lat surgery) to the 60-day disabled list.

Joe Trezza is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joetrezz.

St. Louis Cardinals, Tommy Pham

Inbox: Prospect Hudson nearing callup?

Reporter Joe Trezza answers questions from Cardinals fans
MLB.com

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals just finished a nine-game stretch against the National League's three last-place teams. After going 4-5 in those games, they sit in third place in the NL Central with the Cubs coming to town.

This weekend should serve as something a litmus test. What better way to start it off than with your Cardinals questions?

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals just finished a nine-game stretch against the National League's three last-place teams. After going 4-5 in those games, they sit in third place in the NL Central with the Cubs coming to town.

This weekend should serve as something a litmus test. What better way to start it off than with your Cardinals questions?

Any chance we see Dakota Hudson sometime soon?
-- Adam Mettrick, via Twitter

The club's No. 3 prospect per MLB Pipeline, Hudson would have to be added to the 40-man roster, which would typically provide a sizable barrier. However, the Cardinals essentially have a 40-man spot open with Alex Reyes out for the year but not yet placed on the 60-day disabled list. That makes Hudson's path here easier. But in reality, his arm is carving that path more than any logistical obstacles are standing in its way.

The power sinkerballing righty is barreling through Triple-A Memphis in his second stint there. He's gone 8-2 with a 2.18 ERA and just one home run allowed in 74 1/3 innings across 12 starts. He's been used exclusively as a starter for the past two seasons, and doesn't generate a lot of swings and misses. That's why I don't see him being called up to reinforce the bullpen, like Austin Gomber or Daniel Poncedeleon have recently. Hudson's future lies in the rotation, and it wasn't too long ago that we were saying the Cardinals had too many starters. Now with Reyes out and Luke Weaver struggling, Hudson's arrival could be pegged for some point this summer.

What's the leash with Kolten Wong and Dexter Fowler? Both are still hitting under .200 in June.
-- @314fan, via Twitter

At this point, there is no sugarcoating the offensive struggles of Wong and Fowler, who are putting up punchless seasons by virtually every metric. The short answer is they've both already played themselves into part-time roles. Neither is likely to start much this weekend, when the Cubs throw two left-handed starters.

But they also present the club with two vastly different situations. Fowler, 32, is a former All-Star in the second year of a five-year, $82.5 million contract. Teams invest in free agents because they believe in them and because they want the deals to work out. Those calling for Fowler to be designated for assignment or traded don't grasp the realities of his market at this point -- or the Cardinals' financial commitment to him.

Wong is in the third year of a much team-friendlier five-year, $25.5 million contract. He's five years younger than Fowler. And unlike Fowler, he's mitigated his offensive struggles by providing surplus defensive value. Wong rates as one of the top fielding second basemen in all of baseball, which is why he'll continue to play in some capacity, whether a starter or late-game defensive replacement. The whole package -- age, cost, athleticism -- would also make Wong easier to move at this point, should the team explore that route.

On the field, finding opportunities for Fowler becomes much trickier, especially with Harrison Bader playing like his hair is on fire. Bader has gobbled up Fowler's at bats against lefties while proving a far superior defender, and he continues to turn heads with his elite speed.

I thought the comments of president of baseball operations John Mozeliak on the matter from earlier this week were very telling:

"You're trying to get people going, you try to get people opportunities. But when someone is playing well, how do you pull them out of the lineup? I think the manager is in a tough spot," Mozeliak said. "This is the big leagues. We're here to win baseball games. The big leagues is not a developmental league. At some point, you have to go with who you have the most faith in at the moment, or the hot hand."

What's the plan for Jordan Hicks' workload?
-- @CardinalsGIFS, via Twitter

I asked Mozeliak this very question earlier this week. He told me it was "a great question," which I of course found flattering. But then I remembered why people use that phrase -- not to compliment the interviewer, but to express that they, in fact, are still searching for the answer themselves.

In short, the Cardinals are still trying to figuring it out. Hicks is a unique case, given his age and the ferocity with which he delivers the baseball. A 21-year-old who throws 105 mph? Who shot up from Class A? There are literally no comps. So this is sort of new territory for everyone.

Here are the facts: Hicks is very young. His fastball eclipses 100 mph more than any other pitcher on Earth. He pitched 105 innings last year, a career high, and 60 2/3 innings the year before that. He was in high school the year prior. More facts: This season, Hicks has made 31 appearances through 68 games, throwing 35 innings. That puts him on a roughly 73-appearance pace -- exactly the number Brett Cecil made last season, tied for fourth most in the NL.

"Our hope is that he does not approach 75 appearances," Mozeliak said. "Clearly at this pace, he would be. Which is why we have to find someone else we can go to in that bullpen."

"We have to be smart," he continued. "The one problem we have right now is that he's been very successful of late in a bullpen that's struggled. So you naturally want to go to him. We have to force ourselves to manage that."

Mozeliak did not rule out the possibility of taking Hicks off the Major League roster at some point, his performance notwithstanding, to do so.

Joe Trezza is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joetrezz.

St. Louis Cardinals

Cardinals sign top 2018 Draft pick Gorman

MLB.com

ST. LOUIS -- Before Nolan Gorman became the first player born in the 2000s drafted by a Major League club, before he was awed by a handshake offered from Yadier Molina, before he cranked his first batting practice home run out of Busch Stadium, the 17-year-old received some big league advice. The lesson came courtesy of former All-Star first baseman and current MLB Network analyst Sean Casey.

Draft Tracker: Every Cardinals pick

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ST. LOUIS -- Before Nolan Gorman became the first player born in the 2000s drafted by a Major League club, before he was awed by a handshake offered from Yadier Molina, before he cranked his first batting practice home run out of Busch Stadium, the 17-year-old received some big league advice. The lesson came courtesy of former All-Star first baseman and current MLB Network analyst Sean Casey.

Draft Tracker: Every Cardinals pick

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"It's a grind and you have to keep yourself under the water of that the whole time," Gorman recalled Casey telling him recently. "You can't come up for air. That was the biggest piece of advice I've been given."

Gorman will soon put it into practice. The Cardinals first-round pick's professional career is slated to begin at Class A Johnson City later this week after officially signing with the club Monday, when he was introduced at Busch Stadium. A source confirmed Gorman agreed to the slot value of $3,231,000 for his Draft-pick selection (No. 19 overall).

The club is also in agreement with supplemental first-round selection Griffin Roberts. A right-hander from Wake Forrest with experience as both a starter and reliever, Roberts is scheduled to undergo a physical later this week. MLB Pipeline's Jim Callis reported the deal is for full slot value of $1,664,200 (No. 43 overall) on Monday afternoon.

Gorman and Roberts are the Cardinals' first 2018 Draft selections to agree to contracts with the club.

"Hopefully, we'll see a bunch more signings in the next four to five days," president of baseball operations John Mozeliak said.

Video: Draft 2018: Cardinals draft RHP Griffin Roberts 43rd

A third baseman from Sandra Day O'Connor High School in Phoenix, Ariz., Gorman was among the premier power hitting prospects in this year's Draft class. He was ranked MLB Pipeline's No. 12 overall prospect in this year's Top 200 crop, thanks in large part to an ability to hit for power scouts touted as high as 70 grade on the 20-to-80 scouting scale.

Gorman rocketed up draft boards last summer after winning two prestigious national home run derbies, one at the MLB All-Star Game in Miami and another at the Under Armour All-American Game in Chicago.

"You don't need to project his power," Girsch said. "It's more of a projection of, how does that power translate into games? Does he have enough contact ability to let that power play? But for a guy like Gorman, his power is 'now' power. We're not dreaming on it. He has power today."

On Monday he showed a glimpse of that, sending several pitches into the seats during four rounds of batting practice prior to the Cardinals' series opener against the Padres. Gorman was given a temporary locker in the Cardinals' clubhouse, where he was welcomed by members of the current team, including Molina, whom he said he grew up watching.

Accompanied by his parents, Brian and Jennifer, grandparents Anna and Tom, brother and girlfriend, Gorman's first trip to St. Louis included a visit of the Cardinals Hall of Fame on Monday. He said an extended tour of the city is planned for the coming days, before his Minor League journey commences.

"It's been amazing. I've dreamed of this my whole life," Gorman said "This stadium is really cool. It's huge, and there are a lot of people watching you."

Joe Trezza is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joetrezz.

St. Louis Cardinals

Cards pick Gil follows dad's path to pro ball

Third rounder's father, Benji, won World Series with Angels in 2002
MLB.com

Mateo Gil woke up around 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday -- 30 minutes before Day 2 of the 2018 MLB Draft started. He was up late after an emotional first night, when he and his family thought he could be picked.

Then, with the 95th overall pick in the Draft, the St. Louis Cardinals selected the Keller Timber Creek (Texas) High School shortstop.

Mateo Gil woke up around 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday -- 30 minutes before Day 2 of the 2018 MLB Draft started. He was up late after an emotional first night, when he and his family thought he could be picked.

Then, with the 95th overall pick in the Draft, the St. Louis Cardinals selected the Keller Timber Creek (Texas) High School shortstop.

:: 2018 Draft coverage ::

"It was like a tornado going through my house with my parents talking to my agents. It was crazy and it happened so fast," Gil said. "After I got picked, it felt like everything was just done, like finally it was all over with."

Gil comes from a baseball family. His parents, Carly and Benji, met on a blind date. Carly sang the national anthem at a Rangers game while Benji was playing for Texas. Benji spent his eight big league seasons with the Rangers and Angels, winning a World Series championship with Anaheim in 2002. And while Benji was away from home playing ball, three-year-old Gil sat in right field during tee ball, picking flowers.

"I was honestly never really interested in baseball at that age, when he was still in Major leagues," Mateo said. "I wasn't into the game at all."

After Benji's professional career in the MLB was finished, he played and eventually coached the Tomateros de Culican in the Mexican Pacific League. For the first six or seven years of Gil's life, Benji was away.

"I think when kids are little, [baseball life] takes away their dad, and who wants to do that? So he was gone a lot of the time and it left Mateo to learn a lot of it himself," Carly said.

Benji said Carly picked up the slack in raising their two children, Mateo and Gehrig, for the years he was mostly away for. In the meantime, Mateo was manufacturing his own path in baseball.

Tweet from @Carly_J_Gil: 2002 World Series seems like yesterday! What an amazing baseball experience both the #LADodgers & #Astros gave us! Congrats #AstrosWin ! pic.twitter.com/HBKJCCsVGO

When Mateo was seven, he joined a youth coach-pitch team, where he first began dominating the competition.

"I thought I was doing better than all the other guys, and that I was going to be a Hall of Famer, because coach-pitch was so easy," Mateo said.

And what better way is there to learn the professional game than from a pro himself? When Mateo was 7 years old, his father was able to be home more. Being able to learn baseball from his father gave him an advantage few others had. Carly said she always knew Mateo would be a pro ballplayer, because there was no Plan B, and at around age 12, Gil and Benji saw it was a feasible goal, too.

"I really thought I had a chance around that age, when I started playing with older kids, and I can do things the other kids can't without much effort," Mateo said.

Having Benji in his corner was crucial, but Mateo didn't always recognize it as such.

"I really didn't even think of him as a baseball player, just as my dad. He took a managing job down in Mexico, and that's when my eyes really opened up, because all these players are listening to what he has to say," Mateo said. "Maybe I was little bit stubborn, because he was my dad."

Video: Perfect Game Nationals Showcase: Mateo Gil

Mateo has always been a standout player. In his senior year at Timber Creek, he batted .380/.474/.758 with seven home runs, 44 RBIs and 22 stolen bases. He's had a plethora of instructors, including his hard-working mother, who made constant sacrifices to raise him and Gehrig, and his father, who got to pass on his pro-ball wisdom.

"A lot of people say and know that it's a game of adjustments, and I've tried to explain what those are along the way," Benji said. "Sometimes it's hard for a young player that doesn't struggle often, because they play competition where [their own] talent surpasses the competition. There will be struggles and difficulties through your career. It's going to happen, and learning to make adjustments quickly will help the slumps not last as long."

That's just one lesson Mateo will take with him on his professional journey to the Cardinals.

Sean Collins is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Louis.

St. Louis Cardinals

Cardinals add plethora of arms to finish Draft

Club selects 19 pitchers over three days
MLB.com

ST. LOUIS -- 2018 was a different feel for the Cardinals in the MLB Draft. Last year, the Cards had no picks in the first two rounds, and scouting director Randy Flores said they were ready to get going this year.

"My hope is that balance is part of it. My hope is that no overarching theme, year over year, presents itself," Flores said. "Today, we were really looking for some arms, as you could tell. Additionally, compared to years prior, I don't think that you saw as much of a senior influence, or presence or mandate, right out of the gate."

ST. LOUIS -- 2018 was a different feel for the Cardinals in the MLB Draft. Last year, the Cards had no picks in the first two rounds, and scouting director Randy Flores said they were ready to get going this year.

"My hope is that balance is part of it. My hope is that no overarching theme, year over year, presents itself," Flores said. "Today, we were really looking for some arms, as you could tell. Additionally, compared to years prior, I don't think that you saw as much of a senior influence, or presence or mandate, right out of the gate."

The Cardinals selected slugger Nolan Gorman from Sandra Day O'Connor (Ariz.) High School in the first round (No. 19 overall) on Monday. Gorman offers unique power at the plate, and the Cardinals have him slotted as a third baseman.

Video: Draft 2018: Cardinals draft 3B Nolan Gorman No. 19

The Cards also took some risks. Slugger Luken Baker (TCU), who was selected in the second round, and left-hander Steven Gingery (Texas Tech), who was taken in the fourth round, missed this season with injuries. Baker fractured his left fibula and Gingery underwent Tommy John surgery, but the Cardinals still see their upside to be worthy of early-round selections.

:: 2018 Draft coverage ::

High school players weren't a major focus for the Cardinals, but after Gorman, they selected Mateo Gil, son of former Angels and Rangers player Benji Gil, in the third round (No. 95 overall). Flores said they like what Gil offers up the middle of the diamond at shortstop, and learning from his father could be beneficial.

On Day 3, the Cardinals showed a theme: interest in college pitchers. The Cards' Minor League system needed replenished with arms, and they used 16 picks on pitchers Wednesday. St. Louis also drafted six shortstop and four catchers.

Another consistency was family. The Cardinals selected catcher Carson Kelly's brother, Parker.

"How cool was that? We were thrilled for that, what a great opportunity, and we're just pumped for the Kelly family," Flores said.

The Cardinals also selected catcher Benito Santiago Jr., whose father played in the Major Leagues for 20 years, in the 34th round.

"If you're wondering how he looks behind the plate, whether he's rough or smooth, I'd guess on the smooth side," Flores said.

Video: MLB Draft: Flores talks Cards' Day 2 selections

Overall, the Cardinals selected 19 pitchers, six shortstops, four catchers, five outfielders, three second basemen, two third basemen and two first basemen. They drafted five high schoolers, two junior college players, 18 college juniors and 15 college seniors.

"We'll now see what the result of it is years from now, after the cameras go away and after the first-10-day stat line is tweeted out and years go by, then we really see how this worked out," Flores said. "But to work this hard, with this group of people, is an amazing feeling."

Sean Collins is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Louis.

St. Louis Cardinals