With their top pick in this year's draft, the 94th overall choice, the Cardinals took outfielder Scott Hurst from Cal State-Fullerton. (Cal State-Fullerton)

By Rob Rains


Scott Hurst did not have much time to celebrate on Tuesday when he received a phone call telling him he was going to be drafted by the Cardinals.

Hurst’s team, Cal-State Fullerton, was about to begin its last practice at home before heading to Omaha to play in the College World Series.

“It was pretty emotional,” Hurst said during a conference call. “Something I’ll never forget. It’s absolutely amazing … it’s tough to put into words.”

The Cardinals, who did not have a pick on the first night of the draft, used their first selection in the third round, the 94th overall choice, on the Titans’ junior center fielder.

“Anytime you get someone who has his tool package at that spot in the draft, who has also performed and can do it on both sides of the ball, that makes it very interesting,” said scouting director Randy Flores. “Our hope is his adjustments, and his better days, are just beginning.”

This has been a pretty exciting couple of weeks for Hurst, whose team qualified for the trip to Omaha over the weekend.

That came after a game on May 20 when he hit four homers, and also doubled, in a win over Cal State-Northridge.

“When that happened, it was an out of body experience,” Hurst said. “It was something insane that was going on. It was tough to put into words. It was just really awesome. It was super fun being with my teammates in the dugout and them egging me on. It's hard to put into words even today. It was just an unbelievable experience and I was fortunate enough to be able to play a game like that and it was one I'll never forget.”

The Cardinals did not have a scout in attendance at that game, but Flores knew the field at Northridge.

"I’ve played at that field,” Flores said. “I think I’ve given up four home runs there in a game. That being said, we did see him impact the ball at other times.”

Hurst just missed hitting a fifth home run on that day, doubling off the wall on his third at-bat. “If I got a little more under it would have had a chance,” he said.

For the season, Hurst has played in 61 games, posting a .332 average with 12 homers and 39 RBIs.

Hurst said actually having to leave his apartment right after getting the news to go to practice made it an easier day for him.

“Being able to relax, just have a lot of fun out there, being able to practice on Goodwin Field for the last time,” Hurst said. “It was a little bit emotional, but it was awesome. I couldn't ask for a better day.”

Flores didn’t really know how Tuesday would be for him and the Cardinals, knowing they were trying to select players that they would be able to sign. The loss of draft picks cut the team’s signing budget to just under $2.2 million.

“You’re going to be outgunned at almost every turn,” Flores said. “It was a balancing act today of finding the right fit. In those scenarios, I was pleased with how we came out of it. … I don’t think in any year you take signability lightly, but our margin of error was much smaller this year.

“It was something that not many teams have prepped for. As the day went on, and the picks were coming off the board, I was very impressed with the canvassing our scouts did, the depth with which they explored the country for talent and with that the picks we were able to make. I feel good about the selections.”

Day three, which consists of rounds 11 through 40, on Wednesday should be a more normal day for Flores and his team of scouts. Only bonuses that exceed $125,000 count against the team’s spending cap.

Two local players were selected on Tuesday. Left-handed pitcher Josh Fleming became the first player ever drafted from Webster University when he was selected by the Tampa Bay Rays in the fifth round. Fleming, a junior, was 8-1 this season and led all D-III pitchers with a 0.68 ERA. He struck out 115 batters and walked 12.

In the eighth round, Oakland selected TCU right-handed pitcher Brian Howard, who went to Saint Louis University High School.

A capsule look at the Cardinals’ other seven picks on Tuesday:

Round 4 – Kramer Robertson, SS, LSU – A senior, Robertson has been the leadoff hitter and unquestioned leader on a team that is making another trip to the College World Series starting on Saturday in Omaha. Robertson is the son of Baylor women’s basketball coach Kim Mulkey.

Round 5 – Zach Kirtley, 2B, St. Mary’s (California) – Kirtley played in the Cape Cod League last summer and had workouts last week at both Anaheim and Oakland.

Round 6 – Zach Jackson, C, Winter Haven (Fla.) High School – A 6-foot-6 left-handed hitter, Jackson was drafted more for his bat than his current catching abilities. He hit .441 as a senior with nine home runs in 95 plate appearances and has a college commitment to the University of Florida.

Round 7 – Chase Pinder, OF, Clemson – The younger brother of the Oakland A’s Chad Pinder, he was one of the more interesting selections by the Cardinals because of his hobby - Pinder also is an accomplished artist. He hit cleanup for the Tigers this year.

Round 8 – Wilberto Rivera, RHP, Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy, Puerto Rico
– Rivera is 6-foot-3 and has a college commitment to Florida International University. He is projected as more of a reliever than a starter.

Round 9 – Evan Kruczynski, LHP, East Carolina. A 6-foot-5 senior, Kruczynski missed six weeks this season because of a broken leg but still recorded 48 strikeouts and only issued 7 walks in 56 innings. He was one of the team’s co-captains. As a junior, the native of Wisconsin was 8-1 with a 2.01 ERA.

Round 10 – Brett Seeburger, LHP, San Diego State – Another senior, Seeburger started 15 games for the Aztecs this season, going 10-3 with a 4.53 ERA.

Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains