Cards take LHP Marco Gonzales (Gonzaga) as top pick

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

With the first of their two first-round selections in the 2013 First-Year Player, the Cardinals used the 19th-overall selection to nab left-hander Marco Gonzales out of Gonzaga University. Gonzales, the first lefty to be drafted in the first round by the Cardinals since 1994, was ranked by MLB.com as the 14th best player available in the Draft.

The Cardinals have shown a propensity to learn toward taking college players with their top Draft picks, and Gonzales fits that trend. Each of the organization’s last four top picks has been an advanced college player. The most recent, Michael Wacha, made his Major League debut last week. Wacha was taken 19th overall out of Texas A&M in 2012.

Gonzales, a native of Fort Collins, Colo., led Gonzaga with 106 innings pitched as a junior in 2013. He finished 7-3 with a 2.80 ERA. He allowed 102 hits and walked 25, while striking out 96. Gonzales led the club in starts (16) and shutouts (2), as well as batting average with a .311 mark.

He was recently named one of 30 semifinalists for the Golden Spikes Award, a yearly award that recognizes the nation’s top amateur player. He was also honored as the West Coast Conference Co-Player of the Year.

According to MLB.com, Gonzales’ best pitch is a changeup, which is already considered above-average. His fastball sits in the low 90s and he complements it with a slider. He was drafted out of high school in the 29th round of the 2010 Draft by the Rockies before deciding to instead head to Gonzaga.

The Cardinals will make two more selections before Day 1 of the Draft wraps up. The club secured the 28th overall selection as compensation for losing Kyle Lohse to free agency over the offseason. The club will make its second-round pick at No. 57.

The slot value assigned to the 19th pick is $2.0558 million, though the Cardinals can negotiate another dollar value with Gonzales, if desired. What the club is most cognizant of is the Draft pool of $6.9079 million that it has to spend on its first 11 picks. Clubs spending more than their allotments will be taxed and, if the overage is high enough, penalized future picks.

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

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