ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals signed another two members from their 2013 First-Year Player Draft class -- infielder Malik Collymore (10th round) and right-handed pitcher Blake Higgins (16th round) -- on Thursday, increasing the organization's total number of signees to 34.
Higgins was taken out of Jackson Community College in Michigan, while Collymore was discovered while playing in Mississauga, Ontario. The amount of information that the Cardinals were able to gather about Collymore during his final season of high school is a direct byproduct of the organization's focused attempt to increase their presence in Canada.
During a meeting with general manager John Mozeliak after the 2012 First-Year Player Draft, Dan Kantrovitz, now in his second year as scouting director, identified Canada as an area where the Cardinals could improve their Draft coverage. That led to the hiring of scout Charles Peterson, who had been working for Major League Baseball's Scouting Bureau. Peterson was assigned to Canada as part of his coverage area.
"We did not just want to know the names of the good players so we could be covered on draft day," Kantrovitz said. "We wanted to be in position to draft the players on draft day. ... With Charles' experience covering Canada for the Scouting Bureau, we wanted somebody that could hit the ground running. We knew this was going to be a relatively strong year in terms of high school players coming out of Canada and wanted to get out in front of that. As soon as we hired Charles, getting a download of the top Canadian kids was one of the first things we did.
"And Malik was always at, or near, the top of his list. Charles has known Malik for a long time, and the relationship he established with the kid and family was key to making this come to fruition. If Charles was not with us, I'm sure we would not have been in position to draft and sign Malik."
Collymore passed on his commitment to play collegiately at the University of Missouri-Columbia in order to jump-start his professional career.
"The Cardinals were pretty straightforward with their offer, and both sides were pretty happy with how the negotiating went," said Collymore, who was in St. Louis to undergo a physical, sign his contract and take a round of batting practice on Thursday. "I was glad the Cardinals took me where they did in a situation I was comfortable with."
Collymore, 18, played the middle infield throughout high school, though he concentrated most heavily at short. He'll report to the Gulf Coast League after he obtains his work visa --- a process that the Cardinals expect to take another 7-10 days -- and will play short, second and center field for that short-season club.
In mid- to late-August, Collymore will leave the GCL Cardinals to join a Canadian national team that is competing in the 18-and-under World Cup. He'll participate in a pretournament camp in Australia, before the World Cup is played in Taiwan from Aug. 30-Sept. 8.
When he returns from the international competition, Collymore will end his season in the Cardinals' Fall Instructional League.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. Chad Thornburg is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.