Cards take RHP Woodford No. 39 overall
ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals used their Competitive Balance Lottery selection in the 2015 MLB Draft to select Plant High School (Fla.) pitcher Jake Woodford with the No. 39 overall pick on Monday night.
Now Woodford, a 6-foot-5, 210-pound right-hander with a 94-mph fastball, must decide whether to honor his longstanding commitment to Florida or to sign with an organization known for developing the pitchers it drafts.
"It's going to be really tough," Woodford said Monday night. "It's just something I'm going to have to talk over with my family and make a decision here."
With their first pick, the Cardinals selected Brother Rice High School (Mich.) outfielder Nick Plummer No. 23 overall. The club chose Ravenwood High School (Tenn.) third baseman Bryce Denton in the second round at No. 66 overall.
The Draft continues on Tuesday with Rounds 3-10. The MLB.com preview show begins at 11:30 a.m. CT, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 3-10 beginning at 1 p.m. CT.
The Woodford pick was one of six Competitive Balance A selections preceding the second round. The Cardinals were granted the pick through a lottery that included teams that have either one of the 10 smallest markets or 10 smallest revenue pools.
The 39th pick carries an assigned slot value of $1.5854 million, and the Cardinals have a total draft bonus pool of $7.3876 million
"I think the way we view him, first and foremost, he has a really heavy fastball and he can control it," Cardinals director of scouting Chris Correa said. "That's rare to see at the high school level. Additionally, we've seen a good slider. We've seen a good changeup from him. We think he's got the ability to develop a three-pitch repertoire and become a durable starter going forward."
Woodford, who cited pitching legends Nolan Ryan and Bob Gibson as influences on his game, posted a 0.67 ERA and 7-0 record in his senior year while teaming up with the Draft's fifth overall selection Kyle Tucker at Plant High School.
"I really like to challenge people and I'd rather give up a hit than a walk," Woodward said. "I'm going to make you beat me and I'm not going to back down often on the mound."
The 18-year-old, who has been committed to Florida since before his sophomore season, spoke highly of the Cardinals' track record for building young pitchers. Four of the five pitchers in the St. Louis rotation were developed by the club's farm system.
"It means the world to me because it shows that in the Minor League system they take care of their pitchers and have the proper instructors to help mold these young arms," Woodford said. "It just shows that they really look after their guys and that they really care about their players."