In the 2012 First-Year Player Draft, the St. Louis Cardinals brought in an interesting mix of polished college hitters and young high school players with tremendous upside. With such a diverse group, it is not surprising that a mixture of results is what played out on the field in their professional introductions.
The organization received solid debuts from players at the top of the draft as would be expected but had some possible finds in the late rounds as well.
James Ramsey (1)
Ramsey was a bit of a surprise pick for the Cardinals in the first round. Even more surprising was the organization assigning the outfielder to the Florida State League for his professional debut. The move seemed overaggressive at the time and Ramsey appeared overmatched from almost the beginning.
The former Seminole hit .229/.333/.314 with one home run in 210 at bats. In 56 games, he struck out 59 times while drawing 33 walks. Interestingly, the left-handed hitter hit .289/.386/.474 in 76 at-bats against left-handed pitching. Ramsey did steal 10 bases in 12 attempts.
Stephen Piscotty (1S)
Considered to be one of the top college bats on draft day, the former Stanford Cardinal proved the part during his professional debut at the Quad Cities. In 210 at bats, Piscotty hit .295/.376/.448 with four home runs and 27 RBIs.
The third baseman got better as he became more accustomed to professional ball. During the month of August, the 21-year-old slugged .466 while collecting three of his home runs and 17 of his total runs driven in.
Patrick Wisdom (1S)
The Cardinal Nation Minor League Rookie Player of the Year showed why the Cardinals nabbed him in the supplemental first round. Playing at Batavia, Wisdom posted an OPS of .837 with six home runs and 32 RBIs.
Of his 68 hits, 27 were for extra bases while he played a solid hot corner for the Muckdogs. The right-handed hitter's .465 slugging percentage was the fourth-best mark in the New York-Penn League.
Steve Bean (1S)
Bean's debut at Johnson City did not go like the Texas backstop would have liked. In 24 games, the left-handed hitter struggled to post a line of .125/.263/.213.
The organization sent him to the Gulf Coast League, where he was able to find his rhythm. The Texas recruit hit .320/.424/.400 with four double in 50 at bats. During the final month of the season, the then-18-year-old hit .357 and posted on OPS of .923.
Carson Kelly (2)
Kelly put up impressive power numbers for a high school player, but even more so when considering he did not turn 18 until July. The former Oregon prep star hit nine home runs, which was the second-best mark on Johnson City.
Though he struggled against right-handed pitching, Kelly really punished lefties. In 48 at-bats, the right-handed batter posted a line of .313/.377/.521.
Alex Mejia (4)
The slick fielding shortstop was hitting .250/.265/.333 before a knee injury ended his season after only 23 games. In 32 at-bats with runners on base, Mejia hit .313/.313/.375 with six RBIs.
Yoenny Gonzalez (8)
The raw outfielder was going to be a project and proved to be that in his Gulf Coast League debut. Gonzalez posted an anemic line of .227/.311/.258 with 28 strikeouts in 132 at bats.
The 20-year-old was also known as a speedster and he proved that as well. Gonzalez swiped 14 bases in 17 attempts, which was the second-best total on the team.
Rowan Wick (9)
The backstop really struggled to find his way during his Gulf Coast League professional debut. In 23 games, he hit .156/.233/.273 with 21 strikeouts in 77 at bats. On a positive note, the left-handed hitter slugged .409 against left-handed pitching.
Jacob Wilson (10)
The University of Memphis product enjoyed a solid professional debut at Batavia, hitting .275 with six home runs and 25 RBIs. The infielder slugged .444 overall while slugging .526 against left-handed pitching.
Wilson really seemed to find his groove late and probably would have preferred the season continue instead of ending on September 5. In his final 10 games, he hit .459/.500/.757 with three home runs and eight RBIs.
Brett Wiley (13)
After a two-game fill in at Quad Cities, Wiley enjoyed a solid season in the Gulf Coast League. The 20-year-old hit posted an impressive line of .300/.389/.443 with 11 doubles and 62 total bases in 40 games.
The middle infielder really found his groove in the final month of the season. In 16 August games, he hit .382/.453/.582 with his lone home run and seven RBIs.
Anthony Melchionda (14)
The Boston College product enjoyed an impressive debut considering he spent a majority of it at full season Quad Cities. After an underwhelming debut at Batavia, the 22-year-old filled a need for the River Bandits and performed better than expected.
Melchionda finished with a line of .288/.316/.445 with five home runs and 19 RBIs in 146 at bats. With runners in scoring position, the infielder batted .342.
Bruce Caldwell (15)
The 20-year-old played in 44 games at Johnson City before a late season promotion to Batavia. While at JC, he showed a polished left-handed stroke with the ability to make solid contact.
The left-handed batter finished his time in the Appy League with a line of .304/.361/.520 with six home runs and 26 RBIs. Caldwell's slugging percentage was the top mark on the team and would have been among the league leaders had he been with the club long enough to qualify.
Jeremy Schaffer (18)
The polished Tulane product roughed up the younger competition in the Appalachian League. Schaffer posted a line of .272/.329/.513 with 10 home runs, 20 doubles, and 51 RBIs. The first baseman did show fatigue down the stretch, hitting only .226 during the final month of the season.
The 22-year-old led the league in RBIs, doubles, while ranking second in total bases, fifth in slugging, and tied for fourth in home runs.
Matthew Young (20)
The hulking outfielder struggled to make consistent contact with 61 strikeouts in 171 at bats at Batavia. The 22-year-old with the wide batting stance finished the season with a line of .246/.335/.374.
The right-handed hitter posted only a .548 OPS against lefties while he posted a .748 against right-handers. In his final 10 games, Young slugged .567 with a .978 OPS during that stretch.
Jacoby Almaraz (21)
The 20-year-old son of a Cardinals minor league scout had a so-so professional debut. After a slow start in the GCL, Almaraz finished with an average of .246 with two home runs and nine RBIs. The left-handed batter did show good strike zone management with a .377 on base percentage.
Companion article coming soon – "2012 St. Louis Cardinals Draft Review: Pitchers"
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