"It was an honor," Mercado said. "I've got a long way to go, but I mean it's just exciting to know that I can be a part of this, and hopefully I'll be out here one day playing with these guys."
Mercado, who was born in Colombia and immigrated to the United States at age 8, turned down a scholarship to play baseball at Florida State. The 18-year-old prep prospect signed with the Cardinals for a $1.5 million signing bonus, significantly more than his slot value of $971,400.
"I love the organization I landed with," Mercado said. "That had a lot to do with it. When it comes to college, I did want to go to college. It was something that I had no problem doing. And obviously, it was going to take a good amount for me to bypass that, but all the right pieces landed together. I feel like I couldn't be happier with where I landed."
Mercado was excellent in the East Coast Pro Showcase last summer, batting .370 with 29 RBIs and 12 stolen bases, but his offensive production dropped during his senior year at Vivian Gaither (Fla.) High School. He hit .286 with only five extra-base hits this spring and said he was 100 percent healthy coming off the long summer.
"It's just something that happens, something I dealt with and I'm going to have to forget about and move on," Mercado said. "I always felt like a lot of teams had faith in me. I know they knew what kind of player I was and the way I performed over the summer. Obviously, the season didn't turn out to be how I wanted it to turn out. But at the end of the day, it all worked out for the best."
In addition to Mercado, the Cardinals announced Monday that they had signed right fielder Ricardo Bautista (12th round), center fielder DeAndre Asbury-Heath (15th round), shortstop Michael Schulze (19th round), center fielder Anthony Ray (36th round) and right-handers Arturo Reyes (40th round) and Brandon Lee (undrafted).
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. Chad Thornburg is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.