The Cardinals drafted lefthander Steven Gingery from Texas Tech in the fourth round on Tuesday even though he had Tommy John surgery in February. (USA Today Sports) 

By Rob Rains

There was a good reason the Cardinals did not have much of a scouting report on Texas Tech junior left-hander Steven Gingery this spring.

Gingery’s season, literally, was over almost as soon as it began.

Making his first start of the season on Feb. 17 against Maine, after being named the Big 12 pitcher of the year as a sophomore, Gingery threw only 19 pitches in 2 1/3 innings before suffering a season-ending injury which required Tommy John surgery.

Despite that setback, and the fact he won’t be able to pitch for a year, the Cardinals had enough information from Gingery’s previous two seasons with the Red Raiders to select him in the fourth round of the draft on Tuesday.

“As we looked at him going into the year, we were really excited,” said scouting director Randy Flores. “He was on our list and was going to get national crosschecks. We were making sure we were doing our due diligence, analytically he was positioned in a spot where this guy was going to be in play for us early in the draft.

“You have a whole staff who didn’t see him this year but who have seen him before. You have to rely on that staff and their notes, and to evaluate in the context of that year. You have to have a medical department to trust their read of the likelihood of rehabilitation. And you have buy in from our analytics group … at the end of that, when you look at the other players on the board and the other pitchers, we were able to make that happen.”

As was the case with day one pick Luken Baker, who suffered a season-ending broken leg in a collision, Flores said he did not think the Cardinals could have drafted Gingery in the fourth round if he had been healthy all season.

“The last thing I want to do is start making that a pattern in our draft behavior but with the opportunity provided this year we were willing to take that risk,” Flores said.

As a sophomore Gingery was 10-1 with a 1.58 ERA en route to winning the conference pitcher of the year award. He recorded 107 strikeouts in 91 innings.

For his college career Gingery was 14-3 with a 2.23 ERA. He pitched in the College World Series when he was a freshman.

Baseball America said that before Gingery was injured he had the best changeup of any college pitcher in the country.

“I think if you were to mark down any one pitch of his I don’t know if anyone in here would say, ‘Come here, look at this pitch,’ but there’s a lot of players who are going to play between these lines who match that profile, especially when you are left-handed,” Flores said. “For him to do it the way he did it, and on the stage where he did it, that was something we were very comfortable with.”

Texas Tech coach Tim Tadlock said before the draft, “If I was running a team, I’d take Steven Gingery. He’s going to be healthy in a year and you can stick him wherever. That guy can really pitch.”

Gingery was one of eight players selected by the Cardinals on the second day of the draft. Seven of the eight were college players, with the only high school selection coming in the third round, shortstop Mateo Gil out of Texas.

Gil is the son of former major-leaguer Benji Gil. He is 17, and won’t turn 18 until July. Gil is committed to TCU.

“We like his ability up the middle of the diamond,” Flores said.

In the fifth round, the Cardinals selected second baseman Nick Dunn from Maryland, who was the co-MVP of the Cape Cod League playoffs last summer. A junior, Dunn hit .330 for the Terrapins this season with 10 home runs. He started every game in his three seasons at Maryland and this year struck out only 19 times in 213 at-bats.

The team’s other selections on Tuesday were right-handed pitcher Edgar Gonzalez of Fresno State in the sixth round, outfielder Brendan Donovan of South Alabama in the seventh round, outfielder Lars Nootbaar of USC in the eighth round, catcher Matt Duce of Dallas Baptist in the ninth round and first baseman Kevin Woodall Jr. of Coastal Carolina in the 10th round.

Duce and Woodall are seniors, the others juniors. Woodall, who is 6-foot-7, hit 19 homers this year after hitting 18 as a junior. He helped Coastal Carolina win the College World Series during his sophomore season.

“What was raved about was the makeup of those guys,” Flores said. “We were thrilled to add those guys at that spot in the draft.”

Other notable picks on Tuesday included the Astros selection of shortstop Jeremy Pena, the son of former Cardinals’ infielder Geronimo Pena, in the third round; in the fifth round the Phillies selected St. Louis native Matt Vierling, an outfielder from Notre Dame, who was drafted by the Cardinals out of CBC High School three years ago but elected to go to school; and in the sixth round, Tampa Bay selected right-handed pitcher Miller Hogan from Saint Louis University.

The draft concludes on Wednesday with rounds 11 to 40.

Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains