ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals closed out Day 1 of the MLB Draft on Monday by using their second-round pick to select third baseman Bryce Denton, the third high school player they took to open the organization's first Draft under new scouting director Chris Correa. It marked the first time since 1980 that the Cardinals opened a Draft with three straight high-school picks.
Denton, 17, comes out of Ravenwood High School (Tenn.), where he was recently named the District 11-AAA Player of the Year. He finished his team's regular season batting .478 with 11 doubles and four homers. A two-way player, Denton also posted a 6-0 record, 1.75 ERA and 47 strikeouts in 40 innings.
The Cardinals, who had Denton work out in front of the scouting staff at Busch Stadium on Sunday, project him as a corner infielder. Asked to provide a scouting report on the pick, Correa described Denton as "an advanced hitter with thunder in the bat."
Denton's selection followed the Cardinals' picks of high school outfielder Nick Plummer (No. 23) and high school right-hander Jake Woodford (No. 39) earlier on Day 1. The Draft will continue on Tuesday with Rounds 3-10. The MLB.com preview show begins at 11:30 p.m. CT, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 3-10 beginning at 12 p.m. CT.
Chosen with the 66th overall pick, Denton's selection is assigned a slot value of $935,400. However, it may take a bigger bonus than that to lure him away from his commitment to play collegiately at Vanderbilt University. The Cardinals have a total Draft bonus pool of $7.3876 million to pull from.
The organization may be helped by the fact that Denton has apparently grown up a Cardinals fan. His Twitter and Instagram accounts are dotted with photos of him in Cardinals gear and even features a photo with manager Mike Matheny snapped last June during the Cardinals' visit to Tampa Bay. He watched the Draft on Monday wearing a Cardinals hat.
"We're really excited about the players that fell to us today," Correa said. "I think we've got some really talented high school kids with a lot of upside, and we're looking forward to getting them in Cardinals uniforms."
Correa noted that the Cardinals did not enter the day intending to select solely high school players. But when it came time to make each selection, it was a high schooler who sat on top of the organization's Draft board. The Cardinals did not shy away from taking those players, even though high schoolers come with an extra risk and the leverage of college scholarships.
By the time Correa left Busch Stadium late Monday evening, his staff had already assembled its Day 2 Draft board.
"I think there are a lot of players still on the board that we're excited about," Correa said. "I understand there's some uncertainty and maybe the top of the draft class wasn't quite what some people hoped it was, but I do believe it was a deep draft class in some areas."