Cards keep routine despite no Day 1 pick

June 12th, 2017

ST. LOUIS -- Second-year scouting director Randy Flores gathered with his staff on Monday, just as he would on the first day of any MLB Draft. For the Cardinals, however, it was far from a normal Day 1 Draft experience.

Seventy-five amateur players were selected on Monday, yet none of those picks were made by the Cardinals. Their first selection won't come until the third round on Tuesday, when the Cards make the 94th overall pick.

The position is an undesirable one, but also one the organization has prepared for. In December, the club forfeited its first-round pick by signing , who had declined a qualifying offer. Because the Cardinals did not make any qualifying offers of their own, they were not able to net any additional early picks.

:: 2017 MLB Draft coverage ::

The Cards then had their next two selections -- Nos. 56 and 75 -- reassigned to the Astros by Major League Baseball as a penalty for the actions of former scouting director Chris Correa.

The task for Flores now is to ensure that those lost picks don't leave the Cardinals unable to procure future impact talent.

"The bar has been set high by this organization from culling big leaguers from all parts of the Draft," Flores said. "There is zero semblance of a hall pass because of where we pick, because historically we have found major contributors from all spots. That bar has been set so high and has been a major motivating factor for our scouts this year."

The Draft continues on Tuesday with Rounds 3-10. The preview show begins at 11:30 a.m. CT, with exclusive coverage beginning at noon.

The third round alone has produced five big league players -- including , Joe Kelly and -- for the Cardinals since 2007. Ray Lankford, who ranks 17th on the Cards' all-time WAR list, was also once a third-round selection.

Flores described preparation for this Draft as "a balancing act," in that his scouts had to be especially intentional about how they split their time. Flores didn't want his group to completely ignore players who are likely to be taken before the Cardinals' first pick, but he also chose to forgo multiple looks at the best talent in order to allocate resources elsewhere.

"I found it dangerous to try and guess months out where we would be at pick 94 and then try to scout to that spot when you need anchors at picks 10, 15, middle of the second round and on in order to properly rank the board so that you're making the right pick for the right reasons," Flores explained.

Last year, the Cards were reminded of how unpredictable the Draft can be when they unexpectedly found shortstop Delvin Perez still on the board when the organization made the 23rd overall selection. A failed drug test days before the Draft changed Perez's standing.

Flores' strategy also comes from a desire not to completely rewrite the blueprint he laid last year. The idea of ripping it up due to a one-year change in circumstance was not appealing -- and, in particular, not fruitful, he said, for the new scouts and crosscheckers the organization brought on board.

That's one reason why Flores' scouts and other front-office staff walked into the office on Monday still ready to work.

"Here these guys are, working just as hard this year as any other year," Flores said. "It's important for them to see where players in the Draft go relative to how they have them ranked. And so I did not want to have a Day 1 experience with our staff and some new members of the staff that is entirely different than what it is going forward. We will be participants of the Draft."