"They're all special to me right now," said Kantrovitz upon completion of the 2013 First-Year Player Draft. "I could go on and on about all of them."
The Cardinals refueled their farm system with 41 fresh faces: 30 college players and 11 high schoolers, all of which the club will be looking to lock down with a contact in the coming days and weeks. Negotiations between the Cardinals and their drafted players will begin immediately. The two sides have until 4 p.m. CT on July 12 to reach an agreement on a signing bonus.
"It all came together really seamlessly," Kantrovitz said. "Although all of us are exhausted, it was just a lot of fun and I couldn't be more happy with the players that we selected. Now comes the hard part -- we have to get these guys signed."
If there was a theme to this year's draft, Kantrovitz said, much like last year, it's pitching. Beginning with first-rounders Marco Gonzales and Rob Kaminsky, the Cardinals selected 22 pitchers in addition to the 11 infielders, five outfielders and three catchers filling out this year's Draft class.
"When we weren't taking pitchers, the plan was to take athletes or players that had some versatility with where they might end up," Kantrovitz said, adding that in most cases, that means taking a shortstop, a position that lends itself to flexibility.
The Cardinals took an aggressive approach to Day 1, drafting what Kantrovitz called three first-round talents in Gonzales (LHP), Kaminskiy (LHP) and Oscar Mercado (shortstop). But on Day 2, they made some "cost-certainty" selections to preserve cap space, allowing for a Day 3 that began with promising prep prospects Steven Farinaro (No. 335) and Ricardo Bautista (No. 365).
Farinaro, a UCLA committ, could turn out to be one of the Cardinals' most difficult signs, but Kantrovitz said he has first- and second-round talent.
"We're thrilled with how it all played out," Kantrovitz said. "Based on saving some money yesterday through some more cost-certainty maneuvers, we could then translate that into some higher-upside guys early on [Saturday]."
Although many of this year's 1,216 Draft selections will never reach the big leagues, Kantrovitz cautioned not to sleep on any of the later-round players, adding that signing bonus, not round selected, is most indicative of how a club views a player's Major League prospects.
"For example, a guy like Steven Farinaro, who we took [Saturday]," Kantrovitz said. "If we're fortunate enough to sign him, his bonus will be a lot more than some of the guys that went before him. … Teams tend to spread out their money in different ways, but we definitely have a good feel for what players' chances are of reaching the Major Leagues."