Four Cardinals picked in MLB Amateur Draft

BEAUMONT – Four Cardinals, including 16th rounder Carson Lance, were picked to continue their baseball careers when they heard their respective names called by Major League clubs as they were selected in the MLB Amateur Draft Wednesday afternoon.

Lance – a junior - was chosen by the Detroit Tigers in the 16th round with pick 485. In the 23rd round, senior catcher Bryndan Arredondo was picked with the 698th selection by the Baltimore Orioles. Senior pitcher Jimmy Johnson was selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 28th round with the 832nd pick. Senior outfielder Reid Russell was chosen with the 991st pick in the 33rd round by the Houston Astros.

The four Cardinals selected gave LU the most picks in one draft since four were taken in 2009. In each of the last seven seasons, there has been at least one pitcher picked from the Cardinals’ program, and during that span nine total pitchers were chosen. Lamar has had at least one player drafted in 15 of the last 16 seasons, and the last seven straight.

The Southland Conference as a whole had 18 selections, led by the Cardinals’ four. Sam Houston State followed with three, and McNeese, Southeastern Louisiana and Central Arkansas all had two apiece.

Lance (7-7, 4.17 earned run average) in his first season with the Cardinals made his debut as the second starter of the LU rotation, but quickly found his way to the top spot by the third week of the Southland Conference season. He finished the season with the team’s most starts (15) and topped the team in innings pitched at 90.2. The 16th round selection was the highest pick (485) to come out of LU since Jonathan Dziedzic – now with the AAA affiliate of the Kansas City Royals – was selected in the 13th round.

In the Katy native’s innings pitched, he struck out 85 batters and walked 48. He held his opponents to a .225 batting average and tossed one complete game, against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. In that game, he allowed two runs on five hits, and struck out his season-high 11 batters with no walks.

He worked seven or more innings in six of his 15 starts, and all were in the 10 Southland Conference starts he made on the season. Against Nicholls, the junior worked eight innings with just one earned run allowed on six hits with five punchouts.

At Angelina Community College, Lance was voted as the Region 14 East Pitcher of the Year and was a first-team all-conference.

Arredondo – the first catcher to be drafted out of Lamar since Michael Ambort in 2007 - is a two-time All-Southland Conference catcher, selected as a first-teamer his junior season and a third-teamer in 2017. The Lubbock native finished this season with a .311 batting average (fifth on the team) with 33 runs scored and 32 driven in, the latter two were his bests in his two-year career. He recorded the team’s longest reached base streak at 21 games, and while on it he was 29-of-73 (.397) with 12 walks and 17 RBI.

He had 15 multi-hit games and nine multi-RBI contests this season, including in the last series of the season against McNeese when he lifted a two-run shot in the series opener. It was his fifth bomb of the season in a 3-for-4 day. That game was the last of six three-hit contests he had on the year, and three times he notched four RBI in a game (Illinois, Baylor and Southern).

The backstop – who called all his own pitches – finished his career at LU with a .313 batting average, 122 total hits, 20 doubles, eight home runs, 62 runs scored and 58 runs batted in. Twice he was listed to the Johnny Bench Award watch list.

Prior to Lamar, he helped Midland to the 2014 Junior College World Series, and showed his clutch hitting with a big homer that sparked a big inning.

Johnson served time as both a closer and starter in his two-year stay with the Cardinals. For his career, he pitched in 42 games and started 12 – 10 of those in his senior season. His record finished at 13-8 with seven career saves, and had a 4.73 earned run average across 125.2 total innings. He totaled 88 career strikeouts to 45 walks.

In 2016, he was voted as an honorable mention selection to the All-Southland Conference team after a 7-2 overall record – mostly out of the bullpen – and team-best five saves. He saw 22 appearances as a junior and recorded a 3.64 ERA. He notched wins against the likes of Southeast Missouri State, LSU and Texas – all who went on to the Regionals that season.

In 2017, he started out in the bullpen and notched a save against Fairfield on two perfect innings, and his second was against Texas Southern on two innings with just a walk allowed. Three weeks into the SLC season, he was plugged in as a starter and immediately went to work with a complete-game win over Incarnate Word. In that game, he allowed only one run on seven hits, and he struck out five with no walks.

Prior to Lamar, he helped Tyler Junior College to a Division III National Championship.

Russell – the 2016 Southland Conference Hitter of the Year – is a two-time All-Southland Conference pick after taking the first-team designation his junior season and third-team mark his senior season. He tied for the team’s lead in home runs (10), which gave him 28 career bombs that ranked fourth all-time at Lamar. He has the most homers hit for a two-year player at Big Red.

He led the team with 41 walks and was second in on-base percentage of .427. He finished his season with a .317 batting average with 52 runs scored and 43 runs batted in. He was one of two Cardinals who could claim 40-plus runs scored and runs batted in.

He had the team’s longest hit streak this season at 14 games, and was fourth with a 17-game reached base streak. His career long hit streak was 18 games, notched in 2016, which ranks sixth at Lamar for longest streak. Twice he was named Southland Conference Hitter of the Week and once as National Player of the Week. He was a 2016 Rawlings First-Team All-South Central Regional Team pick.

The converted outfielder from Longview was perfect in the field through his two-year stay. He finished his career with a .335 batting average, 144 base hits, 22 doubles, 93 runs scored, 105 runs batted in. He played in all 112 games of his career.

Teammates with Jimmy Johnson at Tyler, he helped TJC to back-to-back national championship prior to his time at Lamar. He is the first outfielder to be taken in the draft since Darian Johnson in 2013.