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St. Louis Cardinals pull off draft steal by inking Dobzanski

While the St. Louis Cardinals seem to be content with how the top end of their 2014 draft played out, they must be absolutely elated with how the bottom end has panned out.

The team pulled off a major steal Tuesday when it learned its 29th round pick, recent high school grad Bryan Dobzanski, suddenly changed his mind about attending the University of Louisville to ink a professional contract with the St. Louis organization.

According to multiple reports, Dobzanski was rated as high as a fifth rounder on some draft boards. But he was considered such a lock to go to college that he slipped down the board. Waaaaay down the board. The Cardinals, basically, decided he was worth the gamble of a late pick. Then they happily inked Dobzanski to relatively high pick money when he agreed to sign for $700,000.

Dobzanski had an 0.91 ERA with 68 strikeouts in 46 innings pitched in 2014. He has a 90 MPH fastball. But, of course, there's a lot of room for growth there as he's only 18 and is bound to get stronger and to fill out.

The Cardinals have made a habit the last couple of years of taking more-established college pitchers like Michael Wacha and Marco Gonzales who will make his major league debut today in Colorado. It's a sound move because, as those two players' quick ascent proves, they're more of a known quantity.

But was a shrewd move to snag a player with Dobzanski's upside in the late rounds because the Cardinals basically awarded themselves the equivalent of another early pick without having to take a gamble with one of their more valuable picks. 

By gambling now, the Cardinals paid a fraction of what the young hurler would cost if he eventually improved his stock into the first couple of rounds. The top pick in the draft had an MLB suggested bonus of $7.92 million and the $700,000 figure is the slotted bonus for a player taken in the third round of the draft, not the 29th. Players taken beyond the 10th round have no assigned slot value.Besides, there's no guarantee the Redbirds could have picked him in a future draft before another team could snag him.

Some players wouldn't take a contract witha 29th round selection because there is a perception that they're not a priority within an organization. But Dobzanski told the South Jersey Times that by offering third round money the Cardinals impressed him that they're serious about his future and that fact convinced him to give up pitching in college.