"Of course you have to fill your rosters, and every once in a while you take a player who is projected to be more of a Minor League player, with less of a chance to reach the Majors, and we did that with a few players."
Then there are the legacies. St. Louis drafted A.J. Van Slyke, the son of former Cardinal Andy Van Slyke, in the 23rd round, and Jesse Schoendienst, a second baseman from Old Dominion University, in the 40th round. Schoendienst's great uncle is Cardinals Hall of Fame second baseman Red Schoendienst. Pitcher Blake King is the great nephew of Yankees Hall of Famer Mickey Mantle.
"Van Slyke, the way we're thinking about his role right now, is moving him from the outfield to play first base at [rookie-level] Johnson City," Luhnow said. "He rates well on our statistical evaluation, and ... he's got tremendous raw power. He's a good athlete. He throws very much in the same fashion as his dad did, with the crow hop.
"So it's exciting for me to watch him, and we're delighted. I think both Andy and A.J. were delighted to get the call. ... We didn't want him to go to another club. We wanted to keep him in the family."
While the club is confident that Van Slyke will sign, the young Schoendienst is less of a sure thing.
"Jesse, we don't have an agreement with right now," Luhnow said. "We're going to talk to him and have discussions and figure out what's best for him and for us. We've obviously been watching him and keeping track of his progress."
The Redbirds are intrigued by high school left-hander Miers Quigley, whom some people believe to have first-round ability. Quigley was the team's 19th-round pick after he battled biceps tendinitis for much of the season. They will watch Quigley this summer before deciding whether to sign him.
Otherwise, however, little drama is anticipated when it comes to inking these young players to contracts. Nine draftees are considered draft-and-follow players, whom the Cardinals will watch and potentially attempt to sign at a later date.
"There are some draft-and-follows in the group, but most of them will sign and report to camp on Saturday in Florida," said Luhnow. "So we'll be ready to go."
Of the 51 players selected by the Cardinals, 17 came from the high school ranks, and another five from junior colleges. That's a contrast from last season, when 47 of St. Louis' 51 picks were four-year college players.
"We're picking the best players on the board," Luhnow said. "I think there's a general bias towards college players in this draft. We're reacting to it and going down the board exactly as we see the talent. And it's working out great for us. We are going to have a young team in Johnson City, and we're probably going to have young players in [short-season Class A] New Jersey as well."
Here is a rundown of all of the picks, including comments on the first day's selections:
Colby Rasmus, OF, HS: Considered a five-tool player, Rasmus broke Bo Jackson's Alabama state record for home runs in a season by a high school player. He's a left-handed hitter.
"He's about as low-risk a high school player as you can take." -- Luhnow
Tyler Greene, SS, Georgia Tech: A speedy infielder from one of the nation's top college teams, Greene hit for average and for some power in the extremely competitive Atlantic Coast Conference.
"There's no question in our minds about his ability to not only play shortstop very well, but hit in the future." -- Luhnow
Mark McCormick, RHP, Baylor: An extreme power arm, McCormick throws a curveball and a changeup to complement his heat.
"McCormick is a risk-reward guy. When you can get a guy who has that kind of power arm, it's tremendous." -- Luhnow
Tyler Herron, RHP, HS: Herron can also pump gas in the 90s, but his calling card is polish, which is unusual for a high school pitcher.
"Most people that see him are surprised that he's in high school because he can pitch to spots, he's got good offspeed pitches, he can do it all. He's got a changeup and he's got what scouts call pitchability." -- Luhnow
Josh Wilson, RHP, HS: A hard thrower from Texas, Wilson has committed to the University of Texas but is expected to sign.
"He's a power arm, but he's a young power arm. So that's the type of player that in the past, if we only had one pick, after taking Rasmus we probably would have gone safer with the next couple picks." -- Luhnow
Nicholas Webber, RHP, Central Missouri State: Webber was the closer for his college team and throws well into the 90s.
"It's always a plus if you can get a local kid. We didn't overdraft him just because he's a local kid. He deserved to be drafted probably ahead of where we took him." -- Luhnow
Daryl Jones, OF, HS: "He has five potential average to above-average tools. He's an excellent athlete." -- Mozeliak
Bryan Anderson, C, HS: "Left-handed hitting catcher. He has bat potential, average arm, good defensive skills. He's only been catching a couple years. We think he's a potential offensive player." -- Mozeliak
Mitchell Boggs, RHP, Univ. of Georgia: Boggs was much more effective for the Bulldogs as a reliever than as a starter.
"Average fastball. We think as he develops with his secondary pitches and his command he could have Major League upside." -- Mozeliak
Wilfrido Pujols, OF, HS: Pujols is the cousin of Cardinals star Albert Pujols. The younger Pujols has played quite a bit of summer-league ball with wooden bats.
"Excellent athlete. Scouts feel he has excellent potential on the offensive side of the ball. I think the key here is he is just a good athlete."
Nick Stavinoha, OF, Louisiana State: Stavinoha has racked up 18 home runs and struck out just 20 times in a full season for the always-powerful Bayou Bengals.
"He's an offensive player who put up great numbers in college. Obviously we think he's got the ability to swing the bat, and we'll see how it translates to wood."
Jason Cairns, RHP, Central Michigan: "He's another arm-strength guy. He's got a good secondary pitch."
Zachary Zuercher, LHP, Univ. of Rhode Island: "He's an excellent athlete. He was a two-way player at Rhode Island, but we obviously see him going out as a pitcher. He's got an average fastball, but he's a very competitive kid and we're excited about him."
Randy Roth, C, Southeastern Louisiana: "He's an offensive catcher. He hasn't been catching a lot, but we're betting on the bat."
Steve Gonzalez, C, HS: "He's a catch-and-throw guy. We're betting on the bat."
Daniel McCutchen, RHP, Univ. of Oklahoma: "He showed three average pitches. He had good success at Oklahoma."
Malcolm Owens, OF, San Bernardino Valley JC: "He's an offensive player with speed. That's obviously a tool set that profiles out to center field."
Michael Repole, RHP, Birmingham Southern College: "Bodies of that size (6-foot-5) seem to be a little more durable, and also it seems they have a little more velocity."
Adam Daniels, LHP, Oklahoma State: "You never know with a lefty. He played a competitive schedule and had good numbers."
Matthew Lane, RHP, Louisiana-Monroe: "He had minimal success. He's a guy we're doing a little projection on, because he's got a great body. He should be better than he has, and he's someone we think has a bright future."
Michael Cooper, RHP, Fresno State: "Average stuff. He pitched in a good league."
Brandon Garner, SS, HS: Garner was the final selection by any team on Tuesday.
"He's another guy that's a projection player. He's an average runner, has an average arm, and as he gets stronger he should have a chance to play at a higher level."
Miers Quigley, LHP, HS
Shaun Garceau, RHP, HS
Ryan Rohlinger, SS, Univ. of Oklahoma
Jaime Garcia, LHP, HS
Andrew Van Slyke, OF, University of Kansas
David Phillips, RHP, El Paso C.C.
Adam Rodgers, 1B, Rice
Steven Blackwood, OF, Georgia Tech
Charles Carter, OF, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
Donald Hearne, RHP, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
Dustin Price, LHP, College of Charleston
Matthew Trent, RHP, Wingate College
Christian Lopez, 2B, HS
Casey Rowlett, OF, Univ. of Arkansas
Scott Vanderweg, RHP, Lamar
Kyle Sadlowski, RHP, Kutztown University
Cory Meacham, RHP, Alabama Southern C.C.
Armando Carrasco, RHP, Saddleback C.C.
Kenneth Maiques, RHP, Rio Hondo J.C.
Steven Junker, LHP, HS
Tyler Leach, RHP, HS
Jesse Schoendienst, 2B, Old Dominion
David Fonseca, SS, HS
Josh Schwartz, LHP, Rowan University
Michael Meagher, LHP, Univ. of Maryland
Blake King, RHP, HS
Kevin Fitzgerald, RHP, Stony Brook University
Danny Feldman, RHP, HS
Adam Morris, 3B, Rice