Amateur Signing Bonuses: Cardinals

Next up in our series looking at each team's amateur spending, the Cardinals…

  1. J.D. Drew, $3MM (1998)
  2. Shelby Miller, $2.875MM (2009)
  3. Rick Ankiel, $2.5MM (1997)
  4. Chad Hutchinson, $2.3MM (1998)
  5. Zack Cox, $2MM (2010)

A year before the Cardinals made Drew the third overall pick in 1998, the Phillies took him second overall. Advisor Scott Boras guaranteeed that the Florida State standout would not sign for less than $10MM, and he stuck to his word. After a stint with the independent St. Paul Saints, Drew spurned Philadelphia and re-entered the draft, landing in St. Louis. He was called to the big leagues just a few weeks after being drafted, and made his debut on the night that Mark McGwire hit his 62nd home run. Drew hit .282/.377/.498 in five-plus seasons with the Cardinals, making at least one trip to the disabled list in each season. He was traded to the Braves with Eli Marrero for Ray King, Jason Marquis, and a minor league pitcher named Adam Wainwright in December 2003.

Miller was the 14th overall pick in 2009, falling due to bonus demands despite being one of the best high school arms in the draft. In 107.1 career minor league innings, he owns a 3.69 ERA with 11.9 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9. Cox was the 25th overall pick in this year's draft, another top prospect who fell due to bonus demands. His bonus is part of a four-year, $3.2MM major league deal. In 17 plate appearances after signing, Cox hit .400/.471/.467. He will begin his career in earnest next season.

Everyone knows the Ankiel story. The 72nd overall pick and Boras client landed what was then the fifth largest bonus ever given to an amateur player, and he gave the Cardinals no reason to regret it. Ankiel made his big league debut barely a month after his 20th birthday, allowing three runs in five innings against the Expos. He finished second in the Rookie of the Year voting the next season thanks to a 3.50 ERA with 10.0 K/9 and 4.6 BB/9 in 175 innings. Of course he then unraveled in the playoffs and returned a few years later as an outfielder. Ankiel's career in St. Louis consisted of a .251/.311/.452 batting line and a 3.90 ERA in 242 innings before he signed with the Royals last offseason.

Hutchinson is a unique case. The Braves took him with their first round pick in 1995, but he chose not to sign and instead attended Stanford. Three years later the Cardinals took him 48th overall and bought him away from the NFL with a huge bonus. Hutchinson worked his way up the ladder and reached the big leagues in 2001, allowing 11 runs and 15 baserunners in just four innings pitched (three appearances). But that was it, Hutchinson called it a career after that season and instead pursued a career in football. He started nine games at quarterback for Dallas in 2002, and all told played in 15 NFL games with the Cowboys and the Bears.

In case you're wondering, the Cardinals drafted some kid out of Maple Woods Community College (Kansas City, MO) with the 402nd overall pick (13th round) in 1999, signing him for just $60K. His name? Albert Pujols.



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