A positional breakdown of the draft


The Cardinals drafted 50 players in the past three days and I’m sure you only know a good amount of information about Kolten Wong and and little to nothing about the other 49 players.  I’m not necessarily writing this post to enlighten.  I’m trying figure out what the strategy in the draft was.  How do you figure a strategy?  Look for trends.

Well, the first way to do this of course is to plot the players in groups, likely divided by high school and college, right-handed and left-handed, hitter or pitcher, productive or potential.  I’ll do it one at a time.  First, I want to see how many right-handed college pitchers, left-handed college pitchers, right-handed high school arms, and left-handed high school arms.  I’ll have the number of players drafted that fit each category and the percentage as related to the rest of the draft.

College RHP: 14 players;  28% – Four-year average – 31.5%

College LHP: 8 players; 16% – Four-year average – 12.5%

HS RHP: 2 players; 4% – Four-year average – 6%

HS LHP: 1 player; 2% – Four-year average – 3%

Pitchers: 25 players; 50% – Four-year average – 53%

Trends: The Cardinals drafted a considerable amount of left handed pitchers.  A 3.5% increase is nothing to scoff at and it’s not out of the realm the Cards went into the draft thinking to draft more lefties since the system is mostly barren of good lefties (When Nick Addition is your best hope…).  Other than that, they mostly drafted per usual when it comes to pitchers.

Next, I will attack the position players.  Instead of listing all eight positions, I’ll instead use the corner infield spots, the middle infield spots, catcher, and the outfield.

PositionCollege players/%4-year averageHS players/ %4-year average
C4 / 8%7%3/ 6%  > 14%0.5% – 7.5%
1B/3B3 / 6%9.5%0 / 0% > 6%0.5% – 10%
2B/SS6/ 12%9.5%1 / 2% >  14%4% – 13.5%
OF2/ 4%10.5%5/ 10% > 14%3% – 13.5%

Trends: Well the Cardinals drafted a lot more catchers, specifically high school catchers.  They drafted three high school catchers this year when in the past four years they drafted one overall for all four years.  That right there makes up the difference.  I suppose this year had a gluttony of sweet-swinging prodigies.  I don’t think it is a coincidence that, while the Cards are currently stacked at the catcher position, they stocked up more with catchers that need time.  Basically, they can afford to bust a few catchers with high upside while their current system is full of catchers in the later levels.

Another trend is high school outfielders.  Again, I sort of see the reasoning.  We have Colby Rasmus for at least three more years (barring the front office listens to the St. Louis media members thinking we should trade him), Matt Holliday for five more years, and Jon Jay and Allen Craig have five cost-controlled years.  Basically we are pretty set at outfield for a few years.  Perhaps not coincidentally, past those four outfielders, there’s not much else.  Tommy Pham is a long-shot prospect that is actually living up to the billing (for now), but other than that, Adron Chambers is our best hope and I don’t think he’ll be anything but a speedy fifth outfielder if that.

They drafted less corner infield types than in the past.  I doubt that will spark Albert Pujols rumors in a positive way even though if they did take a Top 5 round 1B, it would make rumors fly in a negative way.  The Cardinals are stacked at 3B as well in the later levels.  They have David Freese, with four cost-controlled years left, Matt Carpenter, rookie and owner of a .400+ OBP in AAA, and Zack Cox, 2010 1st round pick who is supposed to rise through the system.

Overall, this draft is easy to break down.  They drafted in spots that they were weak in and avoided spots that they were strong in.  Of course, with 50 spots, you can’t literally avoid any position so I mean that in the general sense.  This draft, while seemingly solid, is a little too need-happy for my tastes.  I mean Kolten Wong wasn’t a reach persay, but there were more talented players on the board according to nearly every expert and mock draft.  I don’t mean one or two either, there were at least three pitchers with higher upside, including Daniel Norris and Henry Owens, two LEFTY high school pitchers.  In this case, we passed up a position of need and didn’t take the BPA.

I’m arguing little mostly unimportant stuff however.  Admittedly, my minor concern is raised because I love the high upside more than the low ceiling, high floor type guys.  Wong is supposedly that guy, however, he had the second best park-adjusted weighted on-base average in college baseball.  The first one was a first baseman and he was a second baseman.  So basically, Wong was the second best hitter as an average second baseman.  So I’m anxiously awaiting how he finishes the 2011 season.

So to summarize this lengthy post, the draft was mostly an organizational weakness filler.  They filled up middle infielders, athletic young outfielders, and a lot of lefty pitchers.  Despite my concern about not getting high upside high school pitcher in first, they drafted a LOT of high school players.  This post was mostly a positional breakdown.  Later in month, I’ll focus more on the type of players we drafted.

Preview: We drafted a considerable amount of athletic, speedy, high on base outfielders who lack in the power department.