Cardinals select college lefty Zack Thompson with top draft pick

The St. Louis Cardinals picked Zack Thompson, a junior pitcher from the University of Kentucky, with their top pick in the major league draft.

The 6-foot-6, 220-pound left-hander from Selma, Ind., went No. 19 overall.

“We always enter the draft trying to find someone we feel will have an impact on our major league team with our first selection,” said John Mozeliak, the Cardinals president of baseball operations. “Zack was someone we identified who could do just that.”

Thompson, 21, was 6-1 with a 2.40 ERA for the Wildcats this season, striking out 130 batters in 90 innings. He was 16-5 with a 3.20 ERA in three seasons.

“Zack Thompson is one of those guys when you watch him live, you come away really impressed with his physicality, you come away impressed with his ability to spin the ball, and you truly come away impressed with his guts and grit on the mound,” said Randy Flores, the team’s director of scouting. “He’s someone who has improved every year, checks a lot of boxes for us.”

The Cardinals used their second-round pick (58th overall) on an outfielder, Trejyn Fletcher of Deering High School in Portland, Maine. Fletcher, who has committed to Vanderbilt, batted .456 with three home runs and 17 stolen bases in 16 games as a senior.