Cardinals pick Wacha and Ramsey in first round of MLB Draft

The St. Louis Cardinals, armed with five of the first 59 selections in the 2012 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, selected right-handed pitcher Michael Wacha out of Texas A & M University with the 19th pick overall and outfielder James Ramsey out of Florida State University with the 23rd overall selection in tonight’s 1st round. 

Wacha, 20, went 9-1 with a 2.06 ERA in 16 games for the Aggies this season, striking out 116 batters in his 113.1 innings pitched while walking just 20.  The 6-6, 200-pound Texarkana, TX native has a fastball that has reached 96 MPH and is considered to have one of the top changeups among pitchers in this year’s draft.  His ERA ranked 3rd in the Big 12 Conference this season and 4th in strikeouts.  His 336 career strikeouts are tops in Aggies history.

The left-handed hitting Ramsey was the 2012 Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year after batting .385 (2nd in ACC) with 13 home runs and 55 RBI in 61 games.  Ramsey, 22, drew 57 walks and had a .520 on-base pct. and 1.203 on-base + slugging mark (OPS). The 6-1, 190-pound “Captain” of the Seminoles helped FSU advance in NCAA postseason play this past weekend and they will now play Stanford in a Super Regional.

The Cardinals 19th and 36th picks tonight are compensatory picks for Type A free-agent Albert Pujols, the 52nd pick is for the loss of Type B free-agent Octavio Dotel and the 59th pick is for the loss of Type B free-agent Edwin Jackson.

The five combined 1st round and supplemental picks are the most the Cardinals have had since 1991 when they had three 1st round selections and two supplemental picks.  That year, the Cardinals took infielder Dmitri Young (4th overall), pitcher Allen Watson (21st), pitcher Brian Barber (22nd), pitcher Tom McKinnon (28th ) and infielder Dan Cholowsky (39th) with their first five picks.

This is the first time since 2005 (Colby Rasmus and Tyler Greene) that the Cardinals have received multiple 1st round picks, and only the sixth time (1988, 1990, 1991, 2000, 2005, 2012) in team history that the Redbirds have selected more then one player in the opening round since the draft’s inception in 1965.

The Cardinals have selected 27 pitchers, 3 catchers, 17 infielders and 7 outfielders with their first round selections.  The team’s highest overall selection was pitcher Braden Looper (3rd pick overall) in 1996.  The Cardinals have had just 11 top-10 selections, the last being outfielder J.D. Drew (5th overall) in 1998. Wacha is the team’s highest selection since pitcher Shelby Miller (19th overall) in 2009.