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Cardinals complete draft 'portfolio' with .400 hitter, graduate-student closer and top-100 talent

Cardinals complete draft 'portfolio' with .400 hitter, graduate-student closer and top-100 talent

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Auburn pitcher Jack Owen throws a pitch against LSU during the first inning against LSU in an NCAA college baseball game at the Southeastern Conference tournament Thursday, May 23, 2019, in Hoover, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

The word that Cardinals' draft helmsman Randy Flores used late Tuesday night was "portfolio," and after a pitcher-heavy start to the 2019 Major League Baseball Draft that is exactly what he'll use Day 3 to fill out for the club.

The picks will come fast and furious during the final day of the annual amateur draft -- they've already started rolling in over -- as teams complete rounds 11 through 40. There is talent to be found, but for the Cardinals there is also depth. After selecting seven pitchers in their first 10 rounds and two outfielders, the Cardinals had yet to take an infielder by the start of the 11th round and only one catcher.

Guiding their decisions during Day 3 will be completing the lower-level rosters, filling out positions of need in the minors, and perhaps some reaches for tough signs.

The Cardinals left the first two days of the draft confident that their $6.9-million bonus purse will be able to cover the bonuses commanded by their early picks. After round 10, the ability to reach on larger-bonus players changes -- and in front becomes more strategic and perhaps more appealing. Players signed after the 10 rounds still count against the over all spending limit, but only after the first $100,000 of the bonus.

For example, a 10th-round pick that signs for, say, $50,000 for count entirely against a team's pool. An 11th-round pick who signs for $125,000 would only count $25,000 against the pool. That's why you saw some the players taking the 11th round ranking higher on pre-draft ranks than seniors and such taken in the 10th round.

This article will track the Cardinals picks on Day 3 and circle back whenever possible offer some scouting reports or stories about these picks. It's going to move fast. I'll try to keep up.

• 11th round: Connor Lunn, RHP, USC

Baseball America had Lunn, from Flores' alma mater, ranked as the 306th-best prospect entering this draft. He took over the Trojans' No. 1 spot in the rotation this past season and did well with a projectable mix of pitches, as you can tell from the BA scouting report: "He won five of his first six starts, including beating No. 1 UCLA and then-No. 7 Arizona State in consecutive weeks, and assumed the role of the Trojans No. 1 starter. He went 7-4, 3.69 overall with 79 strikeouts and 23 walks in 83 innings. Lunn’s fastball sits 89-92 mph as a starter and 91-94 as a reliever. His heater plays up with natural cut and quality at the top of the strike zone, generating bad swings and staying off of barrels. Lunn tunnels his average breaking ball well off of his fastball to help both pitches play up. His control is inconsistent."

• 12th round: Patrick Romeri, RF, IMG Academy (Fla.)

• 13th round: Tommy Jew, CF, UC-Santa Barbara

Jew went off to the Cape Cod League and had success there as a different style of hitter. He embraced power and sought it out and exchanged some strikeouts for additional power, ditching the slap swing for batting average and turning into the type of hitter that seeks SLG. That shift in approach carried into his college season as he excelled in the Big West for the conference champs. "Jew’s 11 home runs at the end of the regular season topped the nine homers he hit as a freshman and sophomore combined," Baseball America wrote about him. "Jew has plus speed in center field and projects to stick at the position. He has an average arm, good instincts and is fast in every direction. He uses his plus speed effectively on the basepaths and successfully stole 20 bases in 23 tries during the regular season. Previously more of a slap hitter, Jew began swinging to do damage this season and showed average power. His swings and misses increased with his power spike."

• 14th round: Tyler Statler, RHP, Hononegah High (Ill.)

• 15th round: David Vinsky, OF, Northwood University

The first player from the Timberwolves' baseball program to be selected in the MLB draft, Vinsky had a career .411 average in three years for Northwood. He emerged as a .400 hitter as a freshman, and over time his average settled and his power surged. This past season he hit .367/.472/.624 and had as many home runs as a junior (12) as he did the previous two years combined. A lefthanded thrower and righthanded hitter -- ala, say, Ryan Ludwick or Rickey Henderson -- Vinsky had more walks (38) than strikeouts (25) in his final college season. His 71 runs scored led his conference.

• 16th round: Thomas Hart, RHP, Wakeland (Texas) High

It didn't take long for the 16th-rounder to update his social media page. Already on Twitter, in his bio, he lists "St. Louis Cardinals organization." Hart is a 6-foot-2, 155-pound righthander from Frisco, Texas, who had reportedly committed to Howard College. He got his fastball above 90 mph this past season. 

• 17th round: Michael YaSenka, RHP, Eastern Illinois

From his school bio at Eastern Illinois for the 2019 recap: "Appeared in 15 games making 15 starts on the mound for the Panthers..finished the 2019 season with a record of 4-7..recorded 100 strikeouts through 90.2 innings..recorded his longest outing against Murray State on March, 15th with eight innings.. recorded a season-high eleven strikeouts against EKU on April, 13th..finsihed the season with a 5.56 ERA."

• 18th round: Aaron Antonini, C, Middle Tennessee State

• 19th round: Zarion Sharpe, LHP, UNC-Wilmington

Recently named a member of the Colonial Athletic Association All-Tournament team, Sharpe was 3-3 in 16 games (13 starts) with a 4.21 ERA and 61 strikeouts in 57 2/3 innings. Opponents hit .220 off of him, but only five home runs in 223 at-bats against. In the CAA tournament, which also featured John Brebbia's Elon team, Sharpe had an exceptional start to push UNC-Wilmington to the tournament title and into an NCAA Regional this past weekend. Sharpe struck out seven, did not walk a batter, and held William & Mary's team to one run in 7 2/3 innings.

• 20th round: Adrian Mardueno, RHP, San Diego State

• 21st round: Jack Owen, LHP, Auburn

A sophomore, Owen does have some leverage when it comes to working out a bonus that woos him away from his junior year for Auburn. The headline about his May start suggests he "might be Auburn's most important pitcher." Like a few other pitchers selected by the Cardinals this season, Owen worked his way into the weekend rotation and took over on Friday nights after struggling the year before. He had an ERA approaching 6.00, and the article above mentioned that Auburn had him earmarked for midweek work in his sophomore season. That puts him in the bullpen for the weekend series and conference. Yet, there he was facing down SEC foes on Friday. He was 4-2 with a 2.45 ERA in 12 games (eight starts) and he struck out 55 in 58 2/3 innings with 10 walks.

• 22nd round: Zade Richardson, C, Wabash Valley College

• 23rd round: Brylie Ware, 3B, Oklahoma

• 24th round: Will Guay, RHP, Concord University 

• 25th round: Alexander McFarlane, RHP, Habersham Central High (Ga.)

• 26th round: Jeremy Randolph, RHP, Alabama

A graduate student at Alabama who emerged as the Crimson Tide's closer. He had been a starter and reliever at Wright State before transferring to Alabama for the 2019 season.  

• 27th round: Eric Lex, RHP, Santa Clara

• 28th round: Tyler Peck, RHP, Chapman University

• 29th round: Scott Politz, RHP, Yale

• 30th round: Cameron Dulle, RHP, Mizzou

• 31st round: Dylan Pearce, RHP, Oregon State

• 32nd round: Chandler Redmond, 2B, Gardner-Webb University

• 33rd round: Anthony Green, RHP, Jefferson College

• 34th round: Ben Baird, SS, Washington

• 35th round: Logan Hofmann, RHP, Colby Community College

• 36th round: Kyle Skeels, C, Coastal Carolina

• 37th round: Chris Newell, OF, Malvern Prep School (Penn.)

Baseball America and had Newell as a top 100 talent entering the draft, and the Cardinals got him toward the end of Day 3. He's spent most of this year recovering from elbow surgery, and he has committed to Virginia. Here's a scouting report on him from BA: "An athletic outfielder with a lean, 6-foot-3, 187-pound frame, Newell has an enticing toolset and significantly raised his draft stock last summer. At a Perfect Game event in Atlanta, Newell was one of the showcase’s best hitters and also displayed strong defensive potential in center field. Offensively, he has above-average raw power from the left side, with twitchy bat speed and a smooth, uphill, fly ball-oriented swing. He’s also an above-average runner and shown above-average arm strength in the past, but that has been inconsistent this year as Newell has been recovering from Tommy John surgery. While he’s not a pitching prospect, he had been in the low 90s on the mound previously, which speaks to his arm strength at it’s best. The questions with Newell are in regards to his hit tool, and the fact that he doesn’t have much of a track record outside of the Atlanta event."

• 38th round: Kurtis Byrne, C, CBC (St. Louis)

Local St. Louis-area catcher is a TCU commitment. You can read about his signing and his background here from a story at

• 39th round: T.J. McKenzie, SS, The Benjamin School (Fla.)

• 40th round: Cash Rugely, SS, Navarro College 


Check back as the day rolls on here. There will be updates all the way up to Round 40 and afterward as the Cardinals complete their Class of 2019.

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