Livin' a dream: Weaver signs contract with Cardinals

News-DemocratJune 16, 2014 

— With the paperwork behind him, Luke Weaver is looking forward.

The 20-year-old Weaver, a right-hander from Florida State, was selected by the St. Louis Cardinals in the first round (27th overall) of the amateur draft June 5.

Weaver passed his physical and signed his contract Monday. He received $1.843 million, the suggested slot money for the 27th pick.

"It was an awesome feeling," Weaver said Monday afternoon during his first trip to Busch Stadium. "It was a great moment --one I always will remember. ... It's a sigh of relief. Knowing it's done, over with, and I can move on and play some baseball and watch some baseball, it's awesome."

The 6-foot-2, 170-pound Weaver, who throws a low- to- mid-90s fastball, a slider and a changeup, was 8-4 with a 2.62 ERA this spring with the Seminoles, walking 23 and striking out 85 in 106 1/3 innings.

A native of DeLand, Fla., Weaver will report Wednesday to the short-season Gulf Coast League Cardinals in Jupiter, Fla., where his workload will be limited.

"I'm ready to go play baseball," Weaver said. "I've been sitting on my butt, not doing much. Just throwing --the typical stuff. I'm ready to get down there and get situated.

"My goals are to maintain everything and go from there. Become stronger, keep the arm in condition, all the little things a baseball player tries to do."

Weaver said the rest he's enjoyed since he last threw for Florida State on May 31 has provided him with a "boost of energy."

That won't translate into unnecessary innings. The Cardinals will exercise discretion with Weaver as they did with Michael Wacha in 2012 when Wacha threw just 21 innings after being drafted in the first round from Texas A&M.

"We're definitely going to err on the side of caution," Cardinals Scouting Director Dan Kantrovitz said. "He didn't miss many starts, and he went pretty deep in every game."

Weaver has not been told whether he will start or relieve.

"I don't know if I'll start or come out of the bullpen," he said. "But either way, I'm going to be ready to go. My freshman year, I worked out of (the bullpen) a little bit, and a little bit my sophomore year. My junior year, I was fully a starter."

The Cardinals on Tuesday are expected to announce the signing of their other first-round pick, right-handed pitcher Jack Flaherty of Harvard-Westlake High School in Studio City, Calif. Flaherty was 10-0 with a 0.63 ERA this season after going 13-0 as a junior.

The 6-4, 205-pound Flaherty was the 34th pick overall and was compensation for the New York Yankees signing free-agent outfielder Carlos Beltran. The slot value for the 34th pick is $1,650,400.

The Cardinals have signed 23 of their 42 draft picks.

Contact reporter David Wilhelm at dwilhelm@bnd.com or 239-2665. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidMWilhelm.

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