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Draft Preview: Cards have low selection slot

Draft Preview: Cards have low selection slot

A team that has become less predictable and more aggressive on Draft day in the past couple of years, the Cardinals go into the 2010 First-Year Player Draft with a challenge they haven't faced in a few years. They pick 25th in this year's Draft, their lowest selection spot since 2006.

On the bright side, they have two extra selections early -- a pair of supplemental first-rounders, compensation for losing free agents Mark DeRosa and Joel Pineiro. The last time they were in a similar position, with a low first pick but bonus picks soon after, was 2005 -- a Draft that produced six players who have appeared for the 2010 Cardinals, including key contributors Colby Rasmus and Jaime Garcia.

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Draft Central

MLB.com will offer live coverage and analysis of the entire First-Year Player Draft from June 7-9 on MLB.com/Live. The first round and Compensation Round A will be broadcast live on MLB.com and MLB Network on Monday, June 7, beginning with the Draft preview show at 6 p.m. ET.

MLB.com Draft expert Jonathan Mayo will join Greg Amsinger, Harold Reynolds, John Hart, Peter Gammons and Baseball America executive editor Jim Callis on Monday's broadcast.

Coverage for rounds 2-50 will shift exclusively to MLB.com/Live. Rounds 2-30 will be streamed on Tuesday, beginning at noon, and rounds 31-50 will be streamed on Wednesday, starting at noon. Host Pete McCarthy will be joined by Mayo and former general manager Jim Duquette.

CARDINALS FIRST-ROUND PICKS
Year
Player
Current team
2009Shelby MillerQuad Cities (A-)
2008Brett WallaceLas Vegas (Blue Jays AAA)
2007Pete KozmaSpringfield (AA)
2006Adam OttavinoSt. Louis
2005Colby RasmusSt. Louis
2005Tyler GreeneMemphis (AAA)
Here's a glance at what the Cardinals have in store as the Draft approaches:

In about 50 words
The goals are somewhat similar to 2009, but more pressing. A system that has been depleted by trades and promotions needs infusions of top-end talent and depth. So the Cardinals would love to add a combination of safe, predictable system depth and potentially risky, high-reward players as well.

The scoop
"I think you always look at the Draft as like trying to diversify your portfolio. It does seem to be really pitcher-rich, arm-rich. If you end up taking a pitcher first, you might end up taking pitchers second and third, because that might be the bounty of the Draft." -- general manager John Mozeliak

First-round buzz
It's tougher to project what a team will do at No. 25 than at, say, No. 10, just because it's harder to know who will be there. But the Cards showed an increasing willingness last year to spend on amateur talent, so if a player with signability issues falls to them, they might take the risk. Mozeliak said, though, that it doesn't appear there will be many of those players this year. It seems to be still fairly wide-open at this point.

Shopping list
The top two areas of need, according to Mozeliak, are left-handed pitching and speed. The club has drafted players based on performance in recent years, sometimes at the expense of "toolsy" players. It's reasonable to expect a few more picks trending toward athletic, projectable but less predictable players this time around.

Trend watch
For many years, the Cards were known as a team that drafted college pitchers above anything else. That's changed a bit in recent years, with only one of their past six first-rounders fitting that description.

Recent Draft History

Rising fast
Right-hander Lance Lynn -- one of those college pitchers -- has soared through the system. Drafted in 2008, he started at short-season Batavia and ended his first pro season at low Class A Quad Cities. He played at high Class A, Double-A and Triple-A in his first full season of '09, and this year, he's a maintstay in the rotation at Triple-A Memphis.

Cinderella story
Twenty-second round catcher Casey Mulligan, drafted in 2006, is now a fast-rising reliever. Since being converted to the mound in '08, Mulligan has been dominant. He's still only 22, and over his first 19 appearances in 2010, Mulligan racked up 39 strikeouts in 23 2/3 innings between high Class A Palm Beach and Double-A Springfield.

In The Show
Right-handers Clayton Mortensen, a sandwich pick, and Jess Todd, a second rounder, both made brief appearances with the Cardinals before being traded in separate deals last summer. They are the only players from the Cards' last three Drafts to make the Majors at this point.

Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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{"content":["first-year_player_draft" ] }
{"content":["first-year_player_draft" ] }