St. Louis Cardinals: MLB.com ranks Cards as 7th best farm of the decade
By Matt Graves
In what was an amazing decade of success, the St. Louis Cardinals also had one of the best farm systems. MLB.com ranked them 7th, why do they deserve it?
One of the hardest feats for a baseball team in the MLB is to have both on-field success and a fantastic farm system that feeds the on-field product. In the past decade, the St. Louis Cardinals have been able to accomplish that and now, MLB.com has recognized them for it.
In this article by Jim Callis, he ranks the top 10 farm systems of the decade, mostly by the WAR earned by the players who had graduated out of that farm system. By Callis’ take, the Cardinals are the seventh-best of the decade, which puts them in some special company.
Callis’ list is as follows:
- Red Sox
Why does the Cardinals inclusion on this list put them in a special company? There are two reasons. One, the Cardinals are one of seven to win a World Series on this list. This is more of a knock on the Marlins, Braves, and Diamondbacks more than anything, as they didn’t win one, but it is still a big deal. Two, the Cardinals are the only team on this list who did not have a losing season the entire decade.
That is no small feat. You have one man to thank: John Mozeliak. If you are going to blame Mozeliak for all the bad things that happen on the field, you have to praise him for them too.
The Dodgers had just one losing season (2010 when they went 80-82) which isn’t very fair to include, but it was in the past decade. The teams that tanked at the beginning/middle of the decade (Astros, Nationals, Braves, and Cubs) are among the best now. The Royals tanking led them to their two postseason runs in 2014 and 2015. The Red Sox have had sustained success, but the World Series hangover in 2014 netted them a losing season.
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Sustaining success like the Cardinals have this decade is really hard. Winning every year means low-first round draft picks every year. While they may have had a losing season or two, the Red Sox and the Dodgers join the Cardinals as teams who have all been super successful in the past decade in terms of winning and playoff appearances.
John Mozeliak’s model is to sustain success. His draft strategy and personnel decisions led to this sustained success. Of course, there are a million people that work in the draft and development departments, but the person who put them there was Mo.
Jack Flaherty, Matt Carpenter, Lance Lynn, Paul DeJong, headline the leading 19 players who have come out of the Cardinals farm to produce at least a 5.0 bWAR in the MLB. Again, no organization in the 2010s was better at spitting out consistent major league contributors.
The pitching heavy farm at the beginning of the decade has tilted back the other way now towards bats like Dylan Carlson. While the team may not have a super highly ranked farm at the moment, guys like Tommy Edman have always seemed to come out of nowhere and produce for the Cardinals.
While this is a testament to John Mozeliak and his staff, it is a testament to the draft and development teams too. The entire path from the Draft to the MLB has been expertly crafted by the Cardinals. If the Cardinals had been drafting in the top five for half the decade, they’d have a better farm too. No team has done as much with as little as the Cardinals.