The fourth year in a series of draft reviews, the 2009 St. Louis Cardinals draft could go down as one of the best in franchise history. While it is too early to tell what kind of pro career many of these players will have, the Cards definitely hit on several top prospects in this draft. I have reviewed 2012, 2011, and 2010 so far and this one is the strongest of them all. Lets look at some of the 2009 draftees.
Shelby Miller – 1st round, 19th overall
The Cardinals made an organizational reach by drafting Miller in the first round. The last time the Cardinals selected a high school pitcher in the first round was in 1991 when they selected Brian Barber. Out of high school, Miller was known to have a huge arm but needed to improve his command of the strike zone.
Miller has flown through the Cards system and should begin the season as the Cardinals 5th starter with sights set on the top of the rotation in years to come. A great pick to start the draft for the Cardinals.
Joe Kelly – 3rd round, 98th overall
Kelly was drafted out of the University of California – Riverside and shot through the Cardinals system making his Major League debut in 2012. Kelly provided valuable innings as a starter first, and then later as a reliever. Kelly is a part of a crop of hard throwing pitchers the Cards have developed lately (Miller included).
Kelly will be battling with Miller for the 5th starter spot in spring training this season. I believe he is better suited for the bullpen as he could be a huge asset for the team there. Another very solid draft pick for the Cardinals.
Matt Carpenter – 13th round, 399 overall
Carpenter was a college draftee out of Texas Christian. The Cards drafted Carpenter as a third baseman, but have recently transitioned him to second base. Carpenter will compete with Daniel Descalso for the starting spot this spring. In three years in the minors, Carpenter never played a game at second base. 2011 was Carpenter’s best season in the minors. He played for Memphis and hit .300 with 12 home runs and 70 runs batted in, in 130 games.
For 2013, I expect Carpenter to win the second base job and be the everyday starter at second to begin the season. However, I think Kolten Wong will take his spot near the All-Star Break. Carpenter is a very solid bat that is better suited off of the bench.
Anthony Garcia – 18th round, 549 overall
Garcia was selected out of the San Juan Educational School in Puerto Rico. Drafted as a catcher, the Cardinals moved Garcia to the outfield as a result of average defensive skills behind the plate. Garcia played 2012 with the Quad City River Bandits and had a breakout season hitting .280 with 19 home runs and 74 runs batted in.
I am not quite sure what the Cards will do with Garcia to begin 2013. He could begin back in the Midwest League with Peoria and then jump to AA Springfield later in the season or he could start at High-A Palm Beach. I believe the latter will occur.
Trevor Rosenthal – 21st round, 639 overall
This could be the steal of the entire draft, not just for the Cardinals, but for any team. Rosenthal had recently been converted to pitcher when he was seen by a Cardinal scout. The scout took a gamble on him and it has paid off in a big way. Rosenthal made his MLB debut in 2012 and provided excellent work out of the bullpen down the stretch and in the playoffs.
For 2013, Rosenthal has a good chance of making the Cardinals rotation as he will be competing with two guys on this list, Miller and Kelly. If he does not make the rotation he should begin the season in the bullpen and could spot start due to injury. This fire baller is destined to be in the rotation eventually and could be an annual All-Star.
Matt Adams – 23rd round, 699 overall
Another middle-of-the-draft gem by the Cardinals, Adams has made his way into the top 10 of all Cardinals prospects on many lists. A big time power threat from the left side, Adams has accomplished everything he needs to at the minor league level, the problem is he is blocked at the major league level by Allen Craig.
2013 will be an interesting one for Adams. There are a few scenarios the Cards could employ for Adams. First, he could begin the season back at Memphis. Second, he could make the MLB roster as a bench player. Third, he could be dealt at some point this season. I believe he begins at Memphis but the Cards can’t keep him there long.
Other notable 2009 draftees
Robert Stock, 2nd round – Just transitioned to pitcher. Throw mid-90′s.
Ryan Jackson, 5th round - Could see MLB time at SS this season due to Furcal injury.
David Washington, 15th round - Solid first baseman who could start the year at Peoria
Keith Butler, 24th round - 2012 closer at AA Springfield who has high strikeout rates
When it’s all said and done, I believe this draft class will be one of the best classes in a very long time. Three hard throwing pitchers who should make a big impact on the major league level, the potential starting second baseman, a capable starter at first base, plus a possible power hitting outfielder make this draft the best that I have covered so far.
Yes, the jury is still out as these guys are just now reaching the major league level, but they should have very solid careers ahead.