MLB Draft: Cardinals snag pitcher with 'the best changeup in the -

MLB Draft: Cardinals snag pitcher with 'the best changeup in the draft' on Day 2

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ST. LOUIS (BaseballStL) -

In 2017, the Cardinals couldn't participate in the first night of the MLB draft. In 2018, they returned to the war room and broke convection.

With the 19th overall pick, the Cardinals drafted Nolan Gorman, an 18-year-old third baseman from Glendale, Arizona.

Out of Sandra Day O’Connor High School, Gorman is a left-handed hitter with a power bat folks are raving about. He hit .421 this season with a .583 OBP, 10 home runs and 32 RBIs. At 6’1”, Gorman has a body expected to profile as a third baseman, but the Cardinals aren’t drafting him for his defense. It’s his raw power that entices the imagination.

His offensive prowess is such that even if he doesn't develop defensively, could allow for a transfer to first base down the line. Gorman, ranked as the 12th best prospect by MLB, has drawn comparisons to Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager and has drawn nationwide attention for his swing. Fitting his reputation as a slugger, Gorman won two home run derbies in the past year: the Under Armour All-American Game and MLB All-Star Game High School derbies.

The Cardinals have often prioritized college pitchers early in the draft, so it’s interesting to see them land a potential power bat with their first pick this year. A lot has been made about the Cardinals’ lack of a franchise cornerstone type of power hitter in recent seasons. St. Louis is hoping Gorman can someday become that kind of player.

43rd pick: Griffin Roberts, RHP, Wake Forest

While the Cardinals went with for light-tower power with their first-round pick, their choice with the competitive balance selection at 43rd overall falls right in line with what St. Louis typically does in these spots: draft a pitcher who could progress rapidly through the minor league system. With the final pick of the bonus rounds, the Cardinals took 21-year-old Griffin Roberts, a college pitcher out of Wake Forest.

Roberts broke out as a sophomore at Wake Forest, earning All-ACC honors as the closer for the Demon Deacons behind a 2.19 ERA. That was enough for the Minnesota Twins to snag him in the 29th round last year, but Roberts elected to return to school for his junior season. He pitched out of the rotation this season, and though his ERA (3.82) regressed in a different role, Roberts led the ACC with 130 strikeouts, flashing the kind of electric stuff that could render him an elite relief pitcher in short order. His calling card is his slider, which is being described as big-league ready. It's easy to see why:

In the long run, Roberts would likely have the opportunity to develop as a starter, but some pundits believe Roberts could be a candidate to join the St. Louis bullpen as early as later this summer. While that would seem a little crazy for a player just drafted in June, it's not unprecedented, so it will be intriguing to note where the Cardinals place Roberts to begin his professional career.

The Cardinals hold one more pick on the first night of the draft. Though the team lost its second-round pick in the draft, which would have come in the 50s overall, it gained the 75th overall selection when Lance Lynn signed as a free agent with the Minnesota Twins.

75th pick: Luken Baker, 1B, TCU

With their final pick of the draft's opening night, the Cardinals went with their second corner infielder of the evening. Luken Baker is a big-bodied first baseman who hit .347 with 26 doubles, 28 home runs and 129 RBIs in 145 games during his career with the Horned Frogs.

His season ended April 17th when he broke his fibula and tore ankle ligaments in his left leg. His previous season also ended with an injury, but despite that history, Baker profiles as another slugger added to the Cardinals' system Monday, as evidenced by the kind of homers he was hitting even back in 2016:

95th pick: Mateo Gil INF, Timber Creek HS, Keller, TX

Mateo Gil, the son of former major leaguer Benji Gil, is committed to TCU. He's listed as a shortstop, but also pitched in high school. His fielding is considered polished for his age and his bat profiles to have gap power. His fastball, which sits around 92, has sharp movement and control.

He was selected as a Rawlings Perfect Game 3rd Team All-American for 2018.

123rd pick: Steven Gingery, LHP, Texas Tech

Gingery blew out his elbow in February and underwent Tommy John surgery, but his draft stock held up despite the injury. Named the Big 12 Pitcher of the Year in 2017, the lefty has drawn huge praise for his fading changeup, which analysts called the best in this year's draft. 

His fastball and breaking pitch aren't considered particularly special, but his devastating changeup is thought to be good enough to propel him to the majors. 

153rd pick: Nick Dunn, 2B, University of Maryland

Dunn was listed as one of the five best second basemen in the draft by Baseball America, and his bat is considered to be arguably the best at the position. 

This season as a junior at Maryland he hit .330 while slugging .561. He hit 10 homers and 17 doubles. He led the team in nearly every offensive category and was named a second-team All American, his second such honor. 

183rd pick: Edgar Gonzalez, RHP, Fresno State

Gonzalez came on strong in 2018, turning in a stellar 8-2 season for the Bulldogs. He finished with  2.84 ERA, striking out 110 batters and walking just 31. 

213th pick: Brendan Donovan, OF, University of South Alabama

243rd pick: Lars Nootbaar, OF, USC

273rd pick: Matthew Duce, C, Dallas Baptist

303rd pick: Kevin Woodall, 1B, Coastal Carolina University

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