Ahead of the 2012 MLB Draft the St. Louis Cardinals lost Jeff Luhnow to the Houston Astros, but it looks like nothing has changed in their draft strategy: With the No. 19 pick they got as compensation for Albert Pujols they selected Michael Wacha, a big, right-handed starter with a good arm and solid college results. He's polished and close-to-major-leaghue-ready. He is, in short, every pitcher the Cardinals have ever wanted.
He's six-six, he throws a fastball in the low-to-mid-90s, and he profiles as a No. 3 starter. It looks like Luhnow and Dave Duncan have successfully created a succession plan that involves the Cardinals behaving like they never left. At No. 19 this is a perfectly plausible pick—if his upside isn't as high as 2006 first-rounder Adam Ottavino, who also fit this bill, he doesn't seem nearly as risky. And if you're going to draft a low-upside college pitcher in the first round, he'd better not be especially risky.
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