The St. Louis Cardinals' five first-round picks are all going to be important to their farm system in the future—as it recovers from the recent or imminent graduations of players like Allen Craig, Matt Adams, Matt Carpenter, Lance Lynn, and Shelby Miller—but it's their second-round pick, Carson Kelly, who holds the key to their first-round strategy. They'll be able to sign Michael Wacha, James Ramsey, Stephen Piscotty, and Patrick Wisdom—but Kelly, a high schooler who's fancied both as a third baseman and a right-handed pitcher, is likely one of the reasons those first-rounders were all so signable.
A college senior like Ramsey—not to mention a pick like Wisdom, widely regarded as a bit of a reach, who has already signed—is likely to sign below his slot value. That leaves the Cardinals room to sign higher upside players like Carson Kelly. But if they don't manage to reel Kelly and company in, they've just economized for economy's own sake, cheaping out on one of the most cost-effective ways a baseball team can spend its millions. Saving money up is good, but in this case, if you don't spend it Major League Baseball is just going to take it away from you.
More MLB Draft 2012 coverage from SB Nation St. Louis:
- Even on Day 2 the Cardinals continued to raid the college baseball ranks.
- With their first pick the Cardinals chose Michael Wacha, an Adam Wainwright-sized starter.
- Among the Cardinals' Day 3 draft picks—Mike Matheny's son, Tate.