Cards begin Draft with position-player haul

St. Louis chooses CF Hurst, SS Robertson, 2B Kirtley on Day 2

June 13th, 2017

ST. LOUIS -- Restricted to spending Monday merely as observers while 75 players were selected on Day 1 of the MLB Draft, the Cardinals joined in on Tuesday by making their first eight selections from rounds 3-10.

Scouting director Randy Flores described the process as both interesting and complicated, particularly in the sense that the club had to be creative with its draft strategy as a result of having the lowest bonus pool ($2.176 million) of any club. That's one reason why the Cardinals ended up with six college players among their top eight selections. Four of those are seniors, whose lack of leverage will allow the club to allocate financial resources elsewhere.

"You're going to be outgunned at most every turn," Flores acknowledged. "It's something where, even when you're trying to find what guy may be a fit at what price, all it takes is one other person with a bigger gun to make that strategy a moot point. So it was a balancing act today of finding the right fit, at looking at the teams ahead, looking at who was on our board, and in those scenarios, I was pleased with how we came out."

Cardinals Draft Tracker

In an aberration from the norm, the Cardinals did not select a pitcher until the eighth round. Instead, they stuck to the middle of the field with their first five picks, nabbing two center fielders, two middle infielders and a high school catcher.

The Draft concludes on Wednesday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on at 11 a.m. CT.

Here is a look at each of the Cardinals' Day 2 picks:

Round 3: CF Scott Hurst (94th overall), Cal State University (Fullerton)

After a disappointing first two collegiate seasons, Hurst had a breakout junior year. With a .332/.424/.585 slash line, 15 doubles, five triples and 12 home runs in 61 games, he has helped lead Cal State Fullerton to the College World Series. Hurst had a record-setting day on May 20 when he went 5-for-5 with four home runs, six runs scored and seven RBIs.

The 5-foot-10, 175-pound outfielder was previously named the California Interscholastic Federation Player of the Year as a senior in high school. And though he wasn't taken until the 94th overall pick, Hurst will have the distinction of being the top pick in the Cardinals' 2017 Draft class. The value assigned to this pick is $570,900. More >>

Round 4: SS Kramer Robertson (124th overall), Louisiana State University

Robertson, a senior shortstop, has started all 65 games this season for LSU, which is also headed to the College World Series. Robertson helped them get there, too, with a standout game on Sunday in which he finished 3-for-5 with three runs and two RBIs to clinch the program's 18th trip to Omaha.

He comes from an athletic family, as his father, Randy Robertson, was a former quarterback at Louisiana Tech, and his mother, Kim Mulkey, a college point guard and Olympic gold medalist. Mulkey is now the women's basketball coach at Baylor University. More >>

Robertson passed on the opportunity to turn pro last year after being drafted by the Indians in the 32nd round. As a senior, the 5-foot-10 infielder has hit .319/.421/.504 with 18 doubles, eight home runs and 43 RBIs.

Round 5: 2B Zach Kirtley (154th overall), St. Mary's College

After going mostly unnoticed by scouts in high school, Kirtley caught the eyes of scouts with three strong college seasons and exposure in the Cape Cod League. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound infielder was named to the West Coast Conference All-Freshman team in 2015 and earned a spot on the All-WCC First team last year.

He posted a team-high .428 on-base percentage and .504 slugging percentage as a sophomore for St. Mary's. In this, his junior season, Kirtley slashed .292/.433/.439 with 16 doubles, five homers and 42 RBIs over 57 games.

Round 6: C Zach Jackson (184th overall), Winter Haven (Fla.) High School

Jackson was the first high school player drafted by the Cardinals, and to sign him, the organization will have to lure him away from a commitment to the University of Florida. The slot value for this pick is $243,500.

He is a left-handed-hitting catcher whose most intriguing tool, according to scouts, is his raw power. Jackson showcased it well, too, in his senior high school season, leading all Polk County players with nine home runs and 26 RBIs. Jackson, who batted .441 over 95 plate appearances, was coming off a junior season in which he hit .292 with one home run.

The 6-foot-3, 215-pound catcher has shown plus arm strength behind the plate, though his receiving skills need some seasoning. The Cardinals intend to give him a shot to stick behind the plate.

Round 7: CF Chase Pinder (214th overall), Clemson University (S.C.)

The younger brother of A's utilityman , Chase Pinder showed similar defensive versatility at Clemson University. After debuting as a second baseman his rookie year, Pinder moved to the outfield in 2016. This year, Pinder hit .305/.419/.464 with 16 doubles, seven homers and 32 RBIs.

The Cardinals, who have historically put a premium on strong Cape Cod League performers, likely took notice of Pinder there, too. Last summer, Pinder hit .278 with seven runs, three doubles and five RBIs in 22 summer league games.

Pinder, who is an avid artist off the field, profiles as a contact hitter who can offer above-average defense and plus-speed. He swiped 13 bases in 16 stolen-base attempts this season.

Round 8: RHP Wilberto Rivera (244th overall), Baseball Academy (Puerto Rico)

The high school senior, who is the first pitcher taken by the Cardinals in this Draft, hit 97 mph on the radar gun during a fall showcase at the Jupiter, Fla., complex shared by the Cardinals and Marlins. Rivera's fastball sits around 90-93 mph, and his breaking ball is still a work in progress.

Rivera was hampered by a hamstring injury last season, and his velocity dipped slightly when he returned. At 6-foot-3, 207-pounds, Rivera is expected to fill out his frame as he matures. He has a college commitment to Florida International University. Flores described Rivera as a pitcher with "great upside."

Round 9: LHP Evan Kruczynski (274th overall), East Carolina University

Kruczynski returned to ECU for his senior season, but he was able to make only 10 starts due to a broken leg that sidelined him for six weeks. In his 10 appearances, Kruczynski went 4-3 with a 4.47 ERA while striking out 48 in 56 1/3 innings. He limited opponents to a .279 batting average.

The 6-foot-5, 215-pound left-hander had a more dominant junior season, going 8-1 with a 2.01 ERA, the second lowest in the American Athletic Conference. His 116 2/3 innings in 2016 ranked second most in program history, and he became the 11th Pirates pitcher to lead the team in wins, ERA and strikeouts (95). He also notched ECU's first-ever Super Regional Win with a victory over Texas Tech last year.

All that success helped land Kruczynski on three preseason All-American lists this year. He was also tabbed as the AAC preseason Co-Pitcher-of-the-Year.

Round 10: LHP Brett Seeburger (304th overall), San Diego State University

Seeburger, a senior, split time as a starter and reliever during his career with the Aztecs. He started 15 games in 2017 and finished 10-3 with a 4.52 ERA, 69 strikeouts and 30 walks.

At 6-foot-2, 225 pounds, Seeburger led the staff with 93 1/3 innings. His fastball sits in the upper 80s, but Seeburger impressed scouts with his ability to induce weak contact. He was recently named the 2017 Mountain West Pitcher of the Year, becoming the first pitcher from SDSU to earn the honor since (2009).