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Marco Gonzales, Rob Kaminsky, and Oscar Mercado Drafted in First Two Rounds by the St. Louis Cardinals

June 7th, 2013 at 8:00 AM
By Brandon Hunter

The St. Louis Cardinals broke tradition with their 2013 draft taking not one, but two left-handed pitchers in the first round. The Cardinals had not drafted a lefty pitcher in the first round since 1994. With the 19th overall pick in the first round the Cardinals selected LHP Marco Gonzales out of Gonzaga University. They picked again at 28th, which was compensation for Kyle Lohse from the Milwaukee Brewers, selecting high school LHP Rob Kaminsky. Finally, in the second round the Cardinals selected shortstop Oscar Mercado with the 57th overall pick.

Marco Gonzales was the best two-way player in the draft having a batting average of .311 to go along with two homers and 26 RBIs this college season. However, he is guaranteed to enter the Cardinals organization as a pitcher as he went 7-3 with a 2.80 ERA. He isn't the biggest of players with a 6'1", 185-pound frame, but while his fastball sits at just 88-91 mph, his changeup—much like last year's first round pick Michael Wacha—is devastating and was rated the best in this year's draft.
Rob Kaminsky was the Cardinals second pick of the first round with the 28th overall pick. He came out of high school in New Jersey where he was named the Gatorade Player of the Year.  Baseball America noted him as the "most advanced arm in the prep class" of this year's draft.  Kaminsky touches 94 mph with his fastball but his best pitch is his curveball which was also rated by Baseball America as the best in this year's draft. For these reasons he draws comparisons to a young Barry Zito or Jason Vargas.  Kaminsky is committed to the University of North Carolina but could easily sign with the slotted money the Cardinals have available to sign him.
One surprise for the Cardinals was high school shortstop Oscar Mercado falling to them at the 57th pick. He was rated by Baseball America as the 38th overall best prospect in the draft.  He doesn't have a ton of power but projects with plenty of gap power, similar to the Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia. However, he has a larger frame at 6'2" and 175-pounds but will need to put on some strength which should be no issue with his frame. Despite the potential of his bat, this is not the main feature to his game. He is arguably the best defensive prospect in this year's draft and comes with a great arm and outstanding fielding ability with great instincts on the base paths. Mercado has the potential to be a perennial All-Star at the shortstop position.
Tags: 2013, Barry Zito, Baseball, Baseball America, Draft, Dustin Pedroia, Jason Vargas, Kyle Lohse, Marco Gonzales, Michael Wacha, MLB, Oscar Mercado, Rob Kaminski, St. Louis, St. Louis Cardinals

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