ST. LOUIS (CARDINALS) – The St. Louis Cardinals concluded the 2017 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft by selecting 38 players, 30 from the college ranks and eight from high school or prep academies. The list included 22 pitchers (7 left-hander & 15 right-handers), four catchers, eight infielders and four outfielders.
Four of the players are still playing in the NCAA College World Series: outfielder Scott Hurst and infielder Taylor Bryant of Cal-State Fullerton, shortstop Kramer Robertson of LSU and pitcher Jim Voyles of Florida State.
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The draftees came from hometowns covering 18 states and Puerto Rico. The top producing state was California with nine players selected and Florida, Georgia and Texas were represented with three apiece.
Only one player drafted today by the Cardinals had been previously drafted, that being left-handed pitcher Andrew Summerville in the 34th round of the 2014 draft by the Seattle Mariners.
Four sets of college teammates were selected: Cal State-Fullerton had Scott Hurst (3rd round) and second baseman Taylor Bryant (33rd round); San Diego State had left-handed pitcher Brett Seeburger (10th round) and right-handed pitcher C.J. Saylor (28th round); Coastal Carolina had right-handed pitcher Will Latcham (17th round) and second baseman Wood Myers (29th round), although both transferred in and did not play for the 2016 National Championship squad; University of Arkansas-Little Rock had catcher Cameron Knight (32nd round) and right-handed pitcher Cory Malcom (34th round).
Players with athletic ties in their family included catcher Saul Garza (31st round) whose father Santana Garza played college baseball for University of Texas-Pan American; pitcher Jim Voyles (38th round) who has a twin brother Ed on the Florida State baseball team, and his father Ben and uncle Bill both played golf at Florida State.
Two-way players and players who switched positions include third baseman Drew Mendoza (11th round), who also pitched at North Carolina State, but was drafted as a third baseman, and C.J. Saylor (28th round), a converted catcher to relief pitcher, who nailed down 24 career saves for the Aztecs, tied for the second-most in the school’s history with current MLB pitcher Addison Reed.
Several of the team’s draftees came with exemplary athletic accolades. Outfielder Brandon Benson (20th round) batted .395 with 22 home runs, 79 RBI and a .819 slugging percentage at Georgia College and State University, ranking among the NCAA Division II leaders in home runs (2nd), RBI (3rd) and slugging (4th). Right-handed pitcher Jake Walsh (16th round) ranked 2nd in NCAA Division II with 12 wins while at Florida Southern College. Jake Dahlberg (21st round), a left-handed pitcher out of the University of Illinois-Chicago, was the first pitcher to be named Horizon League Pitcher of the Year twice, accomplishing the feat in 2015 and 2017. Thomas St. Clair (24th round), a right-handed pitcher out of Lenoir-Rhyne University, ranked 7th in NCAA Division II strikeouts with 116 including games with 17 and 16 strikeouts during the 2017 season. Right-handed pitcher Cory Malcom (34th round) set the University of Arkansas-Little Rock single-season school record with 109 strikeouts this year.