ST. LOUIS -- If balance is what the Cardinals wanted with the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, then balance is what they got.
The Cardinals took 27 pitchers and 24 position players, headlined by Brett Wallace -- the No. 13 overall pick. In taking Wallace, the organization picked one of the finest hitters in the Draft.
Looking to bolster the pitching in their farm system, the front office selected nine left-handed pitchers, though their first lefty did not come until the seventh round.
"It's fairly traditional," General Manager John Mozeliak said. "I think early on we had a pretty diverse first few rounds, and [then we were] trying to make sure we [filled] our needs."
While many consider the Draft to be a crapshoot, the Cardinals were able to select several talented players who slipped into some of the middle rounds.
Though he didn't play in a traditionally strong conference, first baseman Xavier Scruggs from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas gives the Cardinals another powerful bat in the lineup. Rated as 197-best player in the Draft by Baseball America, Scruggs went to St. Louis in the 19th round, No. 575 overall.
Scruggs hit .379 with 20 home runs and 65 RBIs and was named the Mountain West Player of the Year. Scruggs also earned the Louisville Slugger Second Team All-America honors and earned the Triple Crown in the Mountain West Conference.
"As the Draft unfolds, you're always getting players of interest," Mozeliak said.
But perhaps the most intriguing pick for the Cardinals was their 13th-round selection -- Mitchell Harris of the U.S. Naval Academy.
A right-handed pitcher who was selected No. 395 overall, Harris throws a fastball which tops out at 94 mph. With a solid slider and cutter, he was considered one of the top seniors in the Draft.
Cards' top five selections
|13.||3B||Brett Wallace||Arizona St U|
|39.||RHP||Michael Lynn||U Mississippi|
|59.||OF||Shane Peterson||Cal St Long Beach|
|91.||SS||Ernest Vasquez||Durango HS (Nev.)|
|125.||RHP||Scott Gorgen||UC Irvine|
|Complete Cardinals Draft results >|
However, it was his commitment to the Naval Academy that turned off many organizations. Because the Navy may not allow him to sign with a team before he finishes his active duty, it was a risk using a pick on him.
Mozeliak said that the team did understand the risk, but could not pass up on his excellent stuff of the mound.
Overall, the Cardinals took eight outfielders, four second basemen, four catchers, three first basemen, three shortstops and two third basemen.
Lee Hurwitz is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.