The Cardinals have had one of the better farm systems the last few years, which reached a peak in 2012/2013 in being named unanimously at the top by about everyone who ranks MLB minor league systems. But there are a few things that were never part of the minor league depth all that time:
- Impact shortstop
- Major basepath threat
- Definitive leadoff hitter
We can finally fill all those needs by taking Tim Anderson with the number 19 pick in the MLB draft. If you are not sold yet, then watch this video.
On top of being considered a first round draft pick, you can tell from that video he is an extremely nice and humble guy. And to think, he’s only getting started in developing again due to took time off from playing baseball in his first 2 yrs in high school. Good thing he found that love again for the sport he grew up playing. Imagine what he can do spending a little more time in a system that has become known for getting more of their guys to the majors than most other teams.
He is probably the most athletic guy who will be drafted tomorrow, and has been drawing comparisons to Jimmy Rollins, Jose Reyes, a faster Orlando Hudson and/or Brandon Phillips (if he played shortstop). There have been a few questions about his bat, but not because of production. How can you question a guy who hits .495 with 10 HRs, .568 on base % with .879 slugging %, and only 12 Ks in 182 ABs? They say its about the competition. But how can that be the case when competition in JUCO has to be better than the typical high school. Many of the industry guys talk about him having an electric bat and a very exciting approach at the plate. There have been a few questions about his arm and ability to remain at shortstop, but I have to believe that is just a cop out to try and understand how he could go unnoticed until this spring. Kiley McDaniel has been quoted saying that he saw the arm recently and its definitely a plus tool. Maybe that is why he recently upgraded Anderson in his Top Prospects List.
The Cardinals are interested, but who knows what can happen in a draft. Maybe there is someone on their draft board who they think is higher but falls to #19. Or maybe a team ahead of them will draft him before our pick. Neither of those things can be controlled or predicted. All we know is that, he is in the draft range of that pick, we have a definite need in the system for an impact shortstop with leadoff and basestealing ability, and it might be difficult to get another good shortstop later on in the draft due to a scarcity of them and where they fall draft range wise in comparison to our later picks.
But it has to mean something when Mozeliak was quoted that the Cardinals will look at positions with a lack of depth when applicable during the draft. Hopefully it also means something that one of Anderson’s final pre-draft workouts happened (of which it was reported he impressed many) in St. Louis. And while we’re looking for signs of what may or may not happen, lets hope a memorable encounter Anderson had with a Cardinal legend means something too.