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
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.
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.
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.