Cards use top pick on college pitcher

Tuesday, June 8, 2004

ST. LOUIS -- Just like Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter, Chris Lambert is a right-hander who hails from New Hampshire, ultimately chose baseball over hockey and was taken in the first round of the draft.

Unlike Carpenter, who leads the Cardinals' rotation with a 6-1 record and 3.44 ERA, Lambert still has to make a name for himself.

"I'd be surprised if he knew who I was," Lambert said. "But I know who he is."

Lambert, who went to Boston College, is on the right track to being better known after the Cardinals took him with the 19th pick of the first round in Monday's draft. The hard-throwing junior had 107 strikeouts in 92 1-3 innings and has a 97-mph fastball.

"We're very lucky to get the pitcher we got," said John Mozeliak, the Cardinals assistant general manager. "It should be a nice fit for us."

The team has more need for position players in the minors, considering the pitching prospects they have at the higher levels. The list includes Dan Haren, Adam Wainwright and Chris Narveson.

But Mozeliak, running his first draft, said the talent pool was so much deeper in pitching that the Cardinals had to lean in that direction.

"This was a pitching-rich draft," Mozeliak said. "It was really kind of a no-brainer. From a talent standpoint, he was just head and shoulders above any position players we had in that area."

All 18 players selected on the first day of the draft have college experience. Mozeliak said that was just a coincidence.

"That was not the plan," Mozeliak said. "The plan was just to take the best players available."

After selecting first baseman Mike Ferris, a left-handed hitter who hit 21 homers in 208 at-bats for Miami of Ohio, in the second round, the Cardinals went back to pitching. In the third round, they chose left-hander Eric Haberer of Southern Illinois.

Baseball America rated Ferris the seventh-best hitter in the draft. Mozeliak said the Cardinals were "shocked" that he was available with the 60th overall pick.

Haberer, who was 8-3 with a 3.54 ERA at Southern Illinois, began the season as the closer but quickly settled into the rotation. The Cardinals will initially use Haberer, who is from Bloomington, Ill., as a starter.

CARDINALS DRAFTEES

1, Chris Lambert, rhp, Boston College

2, Mike Ferris, 1b, Miami of Ohio

3, Eric Haberer, lhp, Southern Illinois

4, Donnie Smith, rhp, Old Dominion

5, Wesley Swackhamer, of, Tulane

6, Jarrett Hoffpauir, 2b, Southern Miss

7, Buck Cody, lhp, Texas

8, Matt Shepherd, ss, Southern Miss

9, Michael Parisi, rhp, Manhattan

10, Brady Toops, c, Arkansas

11, Simon Williams, cf, Maine

12, Mark Worrell, rhp, Florida International

13, Daniel Nelson, ss, Pierce J.C.

14, Jacob Mullinax, ss-2b, Nebraska

15, Jeremy Zick, rhp, Mississippi

16, Matt Scherer, rhp, Lemoyne

17, Chris Noonan, lhp, Seton Hall

18, Cameron Blair, ss, Texas Tech

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: