St. Louis Cardinals Draft Review 2020

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The “Cardinal Way” has evolved over the years in praise of the many Cardinals draft success stories. From Albert Pujols to Matt Carpenter to Paul DeJong, numerous Cardinals draft picks have emerged as MLB stars despite being overlooked previously. In the shortened 2020 draft, the Cardinals front office will hope to continue their run of dominance.

Round 1 and Round 2

Round 1, Pick 21: Jordan Walker, 3B, Decatur H.S. (Stone Mountain, GA)

Full Draft Profile

MLB.com Scouting Report

Moving away from the first-round trend of college players, the St. Louis Cardinals took Jordan Walker, a power-hitting corner infielder from Georgia. The 6-5, right-handed-hitting Walker was a standout at Decatur High School, slashing .458/.567/1.038 according to MaxPreps. In his shortened senior season, Walker was named Georgia’s Gatorade Player of the Year.

Walker had committed to play for Chris Pollard at Duke University, but he will very likely sign with St. Louis after being taken so high. He will have a tough road to the big leagues with both Tommy Edman and Nolan Gorman showing star potential at third base, but has the talent to make his mark within the next few years. 

Round 2, Pick 54: Masyn Winn, SS/RHP, Kingwood H.S. (Houston, TX)

Full Draft Profile

MLB.com Scouting Report

Opting for the high-school route in the second round as well, the Cardinals add to their crop of young arms with Masyn Winn. Winn is a 5-11, 180 lb. two-way athlete from Houston, but projects best as a pitcher. He is currently committed to the 2018 national runner-up University of Arkansas.

However, John Mozeliak and Co. felt their chances of signing Winn were strong enough to take him at 54. High school pitchers are among the riskiest picks in a typical draft, but Winn’s elite stuff was too much to pass up. 

Competitive Balance Picks

Comp. Balance Round B, Pick 63: Markevian Hence, RHP, Watson Chapel H.S. (Pine Bluff, AR)

Full Draft Profile

MLB.com Scouting Report

Hence is another prep right-handed pitcher with a commitment to the Arkansas Razorbacks. His youth, not turning 18 until August, was a drawing factor for the St. Louis front office. Hence features a very solid four-pitch arsenal that will need to be refined in the pros, but he shows great potential.

Some scouts might have been surprised to see Hence, the 84th-ranked prospect per MLB.com, go as high as 63. He would greatly benefit from three years in the nationally prominent program in Fayetteville. Even so, Hence might take a leap of faith and sign with the hopes of one day taking the mound at Busch Stadium. 

Compensation, Pick 70: Alec Burleson, OF/LHP, East Carolina

MLB.com Scouting Report

The first college prospect taken by the Cardinals, Alec Burleson is a true two-way player. The 6-2, 212 pound junior was a solid left-handed arm for the Pirates, posting a 3.47 ERA and 139 strikeouts in 137 ⅔ innings over his career. However, his future is in the field, as he showed in his .341/.387/.496 slash line in college per ecupirates.com.

Burleson has not shown great home-run power so far. Despite doubts surrounding his power potential, many scouts love his consistent, line-drive swing. The Cardinals could try to develop his skill on the mound as well, but he will likely remain set in the outfield. 

Round 3, Round 4, and Round 5

Round 3, Pick 93: Levi Prater, LHP, Oklahoma

MLB.com Scouting Report

Continuing the pitching-heavy trend, Levi Prater is now a Cardinal. Prater has shown great consistency and competitiveness at Oklahoma University, even posting a lower ERA of 3.42 than his first-round teammate Cade Cavalli this spring according to soonersports.com. That perseverance and desire was inspired by his loss of two fingers on his non-pitching hand before he even turned two. It has translated extremely well to the college ranks, where Prater struck out 194 over 154 ⅓ innings.

He sits in the low-90s, with a quality slider and changeup that make up an arsenal greater than the sum of its parts. Prater’s ceiling is not particularly high, but he could become an effective weapon for St. Louis down the road. 

Round 4, Pick 122: Ian Bedell, RHP, Missouri

Full Draft Profile

MLB.com Scouting Report

Mozeliak again goes with the premier arm talent, this time an in-state product from Mizzou. Ian Bedell has shown great consistency and command in Columbia. Like Hence, Bedell’s youth at just 20 years and nine months as a college junior is also very attractive.

Bedell does not have lights-out stuff at this point in his career but has excelled at pounding the strike zone. He features a very effective low-80s changeup, and has dominated high-level summer league competition in Cape Cod. Bedell’s ceiling is limited by his current arsenal. However, his stellar command and pitchability give him a shot to contribute at the big-league level. 

Round 5, Pick 152: LJ Jones IV, OF, Long Beach State 

Jones is a stocky, 6-0, 225 lb. corner outfielder from Chula Vista. In his 2018 and shortened 2020 seasons, Jones showed great all-around hitting ability. He slashes .315/.365/.436 for the Dirtbags according to longbeachstate.com, and drew lots of attention from scouts despite missing the 2019 season with a hand injury.

Coming out of high school, Jones was ranked as the 368th-best outfield prospect in the nation by Perfect Game. However, his stellar season-and-a-half bumped his stock up to the later part of the draft. The Cardinals front office will be very intrigued to see what he can do at the professional level. 

Sources: MLB.com, Prospect Pipeline, MaxPreps, Prospects Live, 2080 Baseball, ecupirates.com, soonersports.com, Baseball-Reference, Perfect Game, longbeachstate.com, Oklahoman.com

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