Originally posted on Fox Sports Midwest  |  Last updated 6/4/13
ST. LOUIS -- Bright and early Tuesday morning, the Cardinals entertained about 20 draft prospects they had invited to Busch Stadium for the fourth and final of the team's regional pre-draft workouts. About half of the hopefuls were local products, including Hazelwood West right-hander Devin Williams, 6-foot-9 right-hander Brian Howard of Saint Louis University High and just-crowned state champion Calvin Munson, a right-hander out of Francis Howell. Williams did nothing to hurt his chances of being a first-round pick by topping out at 96 mph, which he said equaled the hardest he has thrown. As for the others in attendance, who knows where they might land? This draft seems to be an even bigger crapshoot than most, partly because it is considered one of the weakest in recent memory and partly because, according to one agent, teams haven't been reaching out much to early-round prospects to gauge signing-bonus wishes. However the draft plays out, this isn't a crapshoot: The Cardinals are sitting pretty, as you would expect for a team that already has the game's top-ranked farm system, not to mention a team with the majors' best record that was built largely through the draft. The Cardinals own two first-round picks, the 19th and 28th (compensation for Kyle Lohse). Their second-round pick is 57th overall, which means they'll take three players when the first two rounds are held Thursday night, the first of the draft's three days. Dan Kantrovitz, in his second year as the club's director of scouting, said after the workout Tuesday morning that he wasn't at liberty to discuss individuals. Kantrovitz also said not to read much into the fact that three of the 10 position players at the workout were listed as shortstops. For one reason, just because they're a shortstop now doesn't mean they'll stay there. "That's a conversation that takes up a lot of time in our draft room," he said. "Does this guy stick at this position? Shortstop is no different because he can slide to second, third or center field." One shortstop who impressed at the workout was Tim Anderson, the 25th-ranked prospect by MLB.com and 34th by Baseball America. Anderson, from East Central Community College in Mississippi, is one of the 10 players who have been invited to draft central in New York for Thursday night. Anderson, who is being advised by Larry Reynolds, displayed smooth moves and a strong arm, though his main asset is considered to be his speed. Reynolds said he expects Anderson to go between 13th and 23rd in the first round. And he hopes teams don't try to move him to center field. "He's too good for that," he said. Bobby Dalbec, a third baseman out of Legend (Colo.) High School, showed why his draft stock is on the rise when he smacked a ball in batting practice just to the left of the Big Mac Land sign in the upper deck in left field. Dalbeck, a 6-4, 220-pound 17-year-old, is considered a second-to-fourth-rounder. Parkway South left-hander Jake Brentz, a Missouri commit who spent the spring with a showcase team in Iowa, also touched 96 mph. Overall, Kantrovitz sounded impressed with the performance of the locals. "You can't really tell from a talent standpoint who were the local kids and who were the non-local kids because they're all really good players," Kantrovitz said. About as many Cardinals scouts attended the workout as draft hopefuls. The scouts have convened from their outposts all over the country to set up the "war room" for the draft. The Cardinals have pretty much set their first 50 players on the board and will spend the next two days deciding on the next 50. The club has 6,907,900 to spend on its picks, including 2.05 million and 1.7 million on the first two. The club also has some flexibility to go over the "slotted" amounts. "I don't think we've set on an exact threshold that we're going to be able to go over or not," Kantrovitz said. "Historically, Bill has been very pro draft. I wouldn't expect that to change this year." The Cardinals also will take their same approach into this draft, which would mean more college than high school players, especially in the first round. Shelby Miller in 2009 was the last high school player the Cardinals took in the first round. Kantrovitz, however, didn't divulge any specific strategy. "We're going to try to take players with our first two picks that are true first-round talents," he said. You can follow Stan McNeal on Twitter at @stanmcneal or email him at stanmcneal@gmail.com.
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