Cards get creative to sign top Draft selections

July 6th, 2017

ST. LOUIS -- Despite having the lowest Draft bonus pool ($2.176 million) in Major League Baseball, the Cardinals were able to creatively allot that money in order to sign each of their selections from the first 10 rounds, as well as three later-round picks for more than $125,000 apiece.
The Cards paid their first eight picks a combined $1,973,100. Third-rounder Scott Hurst received the highest bonus ($450,000), though it was less than the $570,900 slot value for the No. 94 overall pick. The Cardinals picked up additional Draft savings by signing Kramer Robertson (fourth round), Evan Kruczynski (ninth) and Brett Seeburger (10th) for below slot value.
2017 Draft: Signing and Bonus Tracker | Cardinals' 2017 Draft picks
With those savings, the Cardinals lured Zach Jackson (sixth) and Wilberto Rivera (eighth) away from college commitments with above-slot deals. They also had the money available to cover the overages on bonuses for Evan Mendoza (11th), Donivan Williams (14th) and Terry Fuller (15th). Any bonus higher than $125,000 for players drafted in the 11th round or later counts against the bonus pool.
MLB allows teams the flexibility to exceed their bonus pool by up to 5 percent without risking the loss of future Draft picks. The Cardinals' overage totaled $71,800, and they will incur a 75 percent tax on that excess.
In total, the club signed 34 of the 38 players it drafted. The Cardinals are not expected to announce any additional signings before Friday's 4 p.m. CT deadline.
Oh turns to curve
With his slider less effective this year, Cardinals reliever has recently turned more freely to the curveball, a pitch he threw 10 times last season and just five times through the first two months of this season.
But over his past six appearances, Oh has utilized the pitch eight times. Hitters were 0-for-4 against the pitch before crushed a curveball for a ninth-inning home run on Wednesday.
"I think it's a good pitch for him, but I think it's something he's trying to figure out, because the slider hasn't been so sharp," manager Mike Matheny said. "We talk so much about the slider and the changeup both hurting him that he's trying to figure out if there's another secondary pitch that maybe will lessen that risk. He's just trying to fight his way through."
Oh's curveball has an average velocity of 75.2 mph, a 10-mph drop from his slider.
Worth noting
(right heel spur) tested his foot running the bases in cleats on Thursday morning. He is already eligible to come off the 10-day disabled list, and the Cardinals have not ruled out a possible return before the All-Star break.

• According to Matheny, the Cardinals have not yet determined whether (cervical spine sprain), who threw a bullpen session without issue on Wednesday, will throw another side session on Friday or head out on a Minor League rehab assignment.
• In his first game of a rehab assignment with Double-A Springfield, (right triceps strain) went 2-for-3 with a double and run scored on Wednesday.
• Outfielder Randy Arozarena and pitcher were named the organization's Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Month for June. In 21 games for Class A Advanced Palm Beach (Fla.), Arozarena hit .295 with four home runs, 16 RBIs and six stolen bases. Mayers went 2-1 with a 0.72 ERA in four starts for Triple-A Memphis.