ST. LOUIS – As someone who possesses blazing speed on the basic paths but also has a lot of pop in his left hand swing, Victor Scott II sometimes considers his unique skills as something “a blessing and a curse in same time”.
The Cardinals tended to focus more on Scott’s rare blend of speed and power as a blessing, and they thankfully made him their fifth-round pick in the MLB draft on Monday. Scott, 21, knows that while he was able to swing for the fences occasionally while playing at West Virginia University, he’ll likely need to be more disciplined professionally to reduce the 53 strikeouts he has. had this past. season. As for Scott’s speed, he doesn’t plan on slowing down anytime soon.
“I try to use my speed anytime I can in a game,” said Scott, who had 38 of 45 stolen base attempts last season for the Mountaineers. “If I ever hit a single or get walked, I’m always like, ‘Oooh, I gotta turn this into a triple. I do everything I can to get the best jump possible and do as much havoc on the bases as possible.
The Cardinals used 13 of their 20 pitching picks in the three-day draft. St. Louis opened the draft picking three left-handed pitchers with their first three picks, highlighted by Oregon State All-American selection Cooper Hjerpe in the first round. After taking five pitchers in Monday’s second round, the Cardinals added six more pitchers on the final day of the draft. One of those pitchers chosen Tuesday was 6-foot-8, 242-pound right-hander DJ Carpenter, who was a teammate of Hjerpe last season at Oregon State. The Cardinals clinched Carpenter — who had 31 strikeouts in 24 1/3 innings last season for the Beavers — in the 14th round with the 427th overall pick.
When they weren’t focused on throwing, the Cardinals turned to adding a speedster such as Scott. A native of Powder Springs, Ga., Scott comes from a fast-paced family with his father, Victor, and mother, Mary, being former track stars. Victor is a member of the Morris Brown College Hall of Fame for his achievements in athletics in the 100 and 200 meters. Scott, 21, played three sports until his teens, but eventually gave up soccer and basketball to focus exclusively on baseball. He considers his speed a real weapon on base paths and in the outfield — an assessment that Cardinals assistant general manager/director of scouting Randy Flores wholeheartedly agreed with.
“We liked that there was a unique tool there in round five. When you get to this point in the draft, it [speed] is something that could impact the game right off the bat,” said Flores, whose organization selected 13 pitchers, four outfielders, two shortstops and one receiver in the draft. “Then when you add the fact that there’s also some sneaky power there, our scouting department raved about the potential to combine those things as they continue to have professional reps.”
Last season at West Virginia, Scott hit .278 with six home runs and 47 RBIs. His OPS climbed to .850, while his slugging percentage was an impressive .454. The knock, however, was that Scott hit 53 times and had far too many instances where he went out of his hitting approach when trying to hit long balls.
“I’m still young and still maturing in that aspect,” Scott said with a laugh. “Sometimes I can get out of my approach to home plate because I’m like, ‘Woooo, I can hit a home run right now with this guy!’ But that’s not necessarily my game I have to stick to this online driving game, hit the ball in the gaps and put myself in the base for the real powerful guys to come and drive me But I can always showing flashes of power here and there.