Here’s a look at the St. Louis Cardinals top signed pick and career bWAR leader in every draft from 1965 to 1984.
When one looks at the years immediately following the implementation of the MLB draft, it’s easy to see that scouting wasn’t quite up to snuff. Sabermetrics were decades away, and even the most analytical of scouts could only go off of surface-level stats such as batting average, earned run average, and, yes, wins and losses. Because of the limited stats available to them, the St. Louis Cardinals and other teams were lucky if even three players in their drafts ever made it to the major leagues. While baseball drafts today are still seen as more of a guessing game than other sports’ drafts, this was even more true in the draft’s early years.
While nobody’s quite sure what the famous “Cardinal Way” precisely entails, it appears that a part of it comes from drafting and developing successfully. With that in mind, I’m going to attempt a massive undertaking: I’m going to take a look at every Cardinals draft since its inception in 1965 until 2014 (to make a nice, even 50 years) and see how each one turned out regarding its first selection and the bWAR leader in picks the Cardinals signed each year. The first article will cover the first 20 years of Cardinals drafts.