The Cardinals will hold the distinction of taking the first player born in the 2000s. With the 19th overall pick, St. Louis selected third baseman Nolan Gorman out of high school in Phoenix. He’s considered one of the top slugging prospects in the draft, but the Cardinals must convince him to give up his commitment to the University of Arizona.
He was once considered a top-10 pick, but his high swing and miss rate may have scared some teams off. However, this is the era of swing big or go home and strikeouts don’t seem to be as big of a concern for clubs. For example, Aaron Judge of the Yankees just set a record striking out eight times in a doubleheader on Monday.
This is a different approach by the Cardinals who usually like to take a pitcher or a multi-skilled outfielder with late first round picks, but Director of Scouting Randy Flores said Gorman was too good to pass up.
With the final pick of Competitive Balance Round A, the Cardinals selected right-hander Griffin Roberts from Wake Forrest. Roberts went 5-4 with a 3.82 ERA in 14 starts for the Demon Deacons this spring, striking out 130 batters in 96 2/3 innings.
The Cardinals also selected college slugger Luken Baker at No. 75 overall. A former two-way player, Baker switched full-time to hitting as a sophomore at Texas Christian University. He hit .319 with nine home runs as the Horned Frogs’ first baseman this spring before a broken leg ended his season after 31 games.