St. Louis Cardinals: The Best Draft Pick For Each Year Since 2010
By Trevor Hooth
The St. Louis Cardinals have a good farm system year in and year out. A continually good system starts during the draft.
Several of the most successful players that were brought up through the St. Louis Cardinals were not first round picks. Former-slugger Albert Pujols was a 13th-round pick in 1999. Or the beloved catcher Yadier Molina, he was taken in the fourth round of the 2000 draft.
There have also been certain classes that are more successful than others. The 2009 class for the Cardinals produced Matt Carpenter in round thirteen, Trevor Rosenthal in the 21st round, and Matt Adams in the 22nd. The first round pick that year was Shelby Miller, who was the main piece in the trade to send Dansby Swanson from Arizona to Atlanta.
Not every player brought up by the St. Louis Cardinals comes from the draft. The best example of this is Alex Reyes: a player who is set to have a breakout season in 2017. He came not from the draft but rather was signed by the Cardinals in 2012 as an amateur free agent.
Unlike the NFL or NBA drafts, the players who get drafted don’t make an impact immediately in the majors. They are groomed in the minors until they are ready. Some players like Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, and Stephen Strasburg show the talent to fly right through the minors to make a huge impact for their team.
Players can be taken out of high school, but getting drafted doesn’t mean they have to sign. Many late round picks decide to go to college to continue to grow their talent. This adds a different aspect to how teams decide who to take. If a player is drafted early and decides not to sign, that is a wasted draft pick. These means that around draft time, scouts and teams talk about signability.
Looking at the 2016 draft class, the highest Cardinal pick that decided not to sign was Matt Ellis. He was selected in the 17th round. He was one of eight total picks in 2016 who elected not to sign with the team.
The draft takes place in June every year. But as Spring Training rapidly approaches, recent picks will be making their case to either move up a level in the minors or, for a lucky few, make their mark for the big league club.
Some teams receive extra picks based on who they lost in free agency. These compensation picks come when a player is offered a qualifying offer and declines it. Once this player signs with another team, his original club gets compensatory picks.
Before the new CBA, teams could get first round picks for players who denied their qualifying offer. However, starting next year the pick that is lost depends on the team. If the team that signs the free agent is above the luxury tax, the team will lose a second- and a fifth-round pick. Teams under the luxury tax will lose a third-round pick.
So who are the top picks for the St. Louis Cardinals since 2010? For the purpose of this slideshow, the player must still be with the organization to be considered. They don’t have to have cracked the majors yet, otherwise the 2016 picks wouldn’t have a chance of being included here.