Evaluating the St. Louis Cardinals’ draft classes (1985-2004)

jbuchheit
Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals hits a home run against the Detroit Tigers during Game One of the World Series at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan on October 21, 2006. The Cardinals defeated the Tigers 7-2. (Photo by Scott Rovak/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals hits a home run against the Detroit Tigers during Game One of the World Series at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan on October 21, 2006. The Cardinals defeated the Tigers 7-2. (Photo by Scott Rovak/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /
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This article will cover the St. Louis Cardinals draft results from 1985 to 2004.

As the 1980s proceeded and the Cardinals found success, escaping the doldrums of much of the 1970s, teams began finding more relevant data and statistics for scouting players effectively. Because of this, the number of players drafted who had solid big-league careers increased, and draft became more about skill and less about chance. Instead of throwing a dart at a distant wall, front offices were throwing a dart at a slightly closer wall.

The 1990s and early 2000s were when the Cardinals seemed to really begin to pull away from the pack in terms of analytics, scouting and player development. While the Oakland Athletics were the team receiving the spotlight in “Moneyball” for their ability to look at more advanced stats in the early 2000s, the Cardinals were similar in their progressiveness and willingness to push the envelope on how to look at players.

As I did in the previous article, which you can find here, I will give a quick rundown of the player the Cardinals selected first in each draft from 1985 to 2004 as well as the player drafted in each year who supplied the most bWAR in his career.

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