Cards take a few chances on Day 2
Club surprised righty Reifer was available in Round 11
ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals chose 52 players in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft, including 24 pitchers and 28 position players, but the ultimate organizational grade for the Draft for St. Louis may hinge on whether a few of the club's second-day gambles pay off.
"It was a long day, the longest day we've ever had with the Draft," farm director Jeff Luhnow said. "Our scouts did a great job of identifying players early in the day that are prospects that have high ceilings. That was the goal. The big difference this year versus last year was less teams were doing the Draft and follow strategy. But most clubs went all the way, that was probably a little bit surprising."
A bigger surprise was some of the talent still available after the Cardinals plucked their priority targets of shortstop Oliver Marmol (sixth round), right-hander Deryk Hooker (seventh), outfielder Tyler Henley (eighth), right-hander Michael Stutes (ninth) and outfielder Beau Riportella (10th).
The Cardinals were thrilled to use their 11th-round pick on right-hander Adam Reifer, the closer for Cal-Riverside.
"Adam was a guy we thought might be considered for the top two rounds," Luhnow said. "He's got a plus-fastball, a hard, late slider, has all the elements you look for in a premier college closer who could move pretty fast through the system."
A shoulder injury late in the season dropped Reifer's appeal, but he hasn't needed surgery, so the Cards figured he's worth the gamble.
"To get a top-of-the-Draft arm in the 11th round is great," Luhnow said. "Obviously we have to be careful with him. To get a first- or sandwich-round talent in the [11th] round that could be something that really makes this Draft."
Luhnow said the club will likely keep Reifer in a relief role.
"If we sign him the next couple of days, we'll send him down to Jupiter [Fla.] and have our doctors look at him and come up with a program," Luhnow said. "Some of our scouts think he could start. He's got a 91-94 [mph] fastball and a slider at 84."
Twelfth-round pick Brett Zawacki, a right-handed pitcher from the Chicago area, is another second-day find who has displayed early-round potential.
|1. TB||LHP||David Price||Vanderbilt U|
|2. KC||SS||Michael Moustakas||Chatsworth HS (Calif.)|
|3. CHC||3B||Josh Vitters||Cypress HS (Calif.)|
|4. PIT||LHP||Daniel Moskos||Clemson U|
|5. BAL||C||Matthew Wieters||Georgia Tech|
|6. WSH||LHP||Ross Detwiler||Missouri St U|
|7. MIL||LF||Matthew LaPorta||U Florida|
|8. COL||RHP||Casey Weathers||Vanderbilt U|
|9. ARI||RHP||Jarrod Parker||Norwell HS|
|10. SF||LHP||Madison Bumgarner||South Caldwell HS|
"He has an average fastball right now, [but] he has a curveball that has a chance to become his best pitch," Luhnow said. "We had him [going] Day 1, so to get him in the [12th] round was fabulous for us. Both he and Hooker were two pitchers we had seriously considered in the early rounds."
Hooker, a 6-foot-4 high school pitcher from Mira Mesa, Calif., walked 10 and struck out 98 this season.
"Several high school pitchers in this year's Draft class showed impeccable control given their age, and this was one of them," Luhnow said.
Mateo Marquez, an outfielder taken in the 47th round, is another prospect Luhnow is high on and one of several center fielders the Cards selected.
"He's got five tools; his big issue is that he strikes out a lot," Luhnow said. "He's put up some pretty impressive numbers, he can play center, he can play right. [The] strikeouts are a little bit of a concern, [but] we think he's the type of guy that there's enough there to work with -- he can be pretty exciting."
This year's Draft saw the Cardinals once again lean heavily on college talent. Thirty-nine of the 52 selections were collegians.
Jim Molony is a writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.