Cardinals take left-hander Gonzales with first pick in draft

News-DemocratJune 7, 2013 

— Left-handed pitcher Marco Gonzales, a junior at Gonzaga University, was one of the pitchers targeted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the amateur draft.

The Cardinals got their man in the first round Thursday, taking the 6-foot, 1-inch, 185-pound Gonzales with the 19th pick.

Gonzales, 21, known for having one of the best changeups in the draft class, was 7-3 with a 2.80 ERA and two shutouts in 17 games, with 96 strikeouts in 106 innings. His fastball rests between 89 and 91 mph and he also throws a curveball.

"Marco has plus command, a plus changeup and a good breaking ball," Cardinals Scouting Director Dan Kantrovitz said. "He's a bulldog on the mound and is a really good fit for our system."

Gonzales, ranked the 28th-best prospect by Baseball America, was 26-7 with a 2.34 ERA in his college career. He was selected in the 29th round by Colorado after his senior year in high school, but opted to attend Gonzaga.

The Cardinals have a $6.9-million cash pool to sign their picks. The slot for the No. 19 pick is $2,055,800.

Gonzales was the first left-handed pitcher taken by the Cardinals in the opening round of the draft since 1994 when they chose Bret Wagner. He was the Co-West Coast Conference Player of the Year.

Gonzales also batted a team-high .311 with two home runs and 26 RBIs. He played first base when not pitching.

"We're extremely excited to add Marco to our organization," Cardinals General Manager John Mozeliak said. "We feel he's an ideal fit, being a left-handed starter, and we're excited for him to start his career with us."

Gonzales was a member of four consecutive state-championship teams at Rocky Mountain High School in Fort Collins, Colo. He won the title game each season.

The Cardinals also had the 28th pick in the first round, compensation from the Milwaukee Brewers for their signing of former Cardinals pitcher Kyle Lohse.

With that selection, St. Louis took left-hander Rob Kaminsky, 18, of St. Joseph's Regional High School in Montvale, N.J.

Kaminskey led St. Joseph's to a 29-2 record by going 9-0. He walked five and struck out 118 in 58 innings. The switch-hitter also batted .506 with three homers and 19 RBIs.

The 5-11, 191-pound Kaminsky will attend North Carolina if he doesn't sign with the Cardinals. He has a fastball that reaches the mid-90s that is complemented by an above-average curveball.

"Rob has a plus-fastball, excellent command, and the best breaking ball of any high-school pitcher in the draft," Kantrovitz said. "He has an advanced feel for pitching and above-average makeup. He's somebody we have targeted for a long time and we're excited that he got to us with the 28th pick of the draft."

The slot money for the No. 28 pick is $1,785,300.

Baseball America ranked Kaminsky as the 21st-best prospect in the draft.

In the second round, the Cardinals selected shortstop Oscar Mercado, of Gaither High School in Tampa, Fla., with the 57th pick.

Mercado is a plus-defensive player who batted just .286 with five extra-base hits this season. He did, however, steal 26 bases.

The draft will conclude Friday and Saturday with 38 more rounds.

Contact reporter David Wilhelm at dwilhelm@bnd.com or 239-2665.

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