The Cardinals will have to wait for their investment in former Navy ace Mitch Harris to pay dividends. But it is a good gamble.
Harris is 23 and has four years of pitching at the Naval Academy under his belt where he struck out an average of nearly 12 hitters a game. But the Cardinals snagged him in the 13th round of the draft because he is obligated to serve in the Navy after his graduation and other teams didn't want to wait to see what would happen.
Potentially, Harris won't be able to be a fulltime baseball player until 2013 when he is 27. But, is that so bad?
Harris is saving a lot of wear and tear on his arm and he is maturing as a person as he completes his military service. And the Cardinals know while he is in the Navy he's going to stay in good shape. That combination should put Harris light years ahead the other prospects when he starts his career in earnest.
How many young pitchers hurt their arms while their bodies are still growing and filling out? With the life span of a young arm as short as it is, Harris could be more durable and still have a 10-year career once he arrives on the scene.
So, if they could get early round talent at late round prices, why not take a gamble?