Let's be clear, I'd much rather be talking about the Cardinals postseason matchups this coming week than already be in offseason mode. It's frustrating that a team with high expectations coming into the year has fallen so hard since the moment the season started. But here we are.
While there is clearly a mess to clean up this offseason, the Cardinals are going to be in a very unique situation when it comes to addressing those needs. They just had their first trade deadline in the John Mozeliak era where they were true sellers, and the early returns look to be excellent for them. The front office, and hopefully ownership, are now being forced to take a hard look at how they team build as well, a much-needed conversation internally.
One thing I think is being overlooked at this point is the fact that the Cardinals are likely going to have a top-six draft pick for the first time since 1998, something that can transform this club's farm system come the 2024 MLB Draft.
Since taking over as the scouting director, Randy Flores has been one of the best in baseball at acquiring talent through the draft. What's most impressive about that is he has never had a draft selection higher than number 18 overall in any draft he's run, and that means he has also been selecting in the back half of every other round as well.
If you look at the 2023 MLB draft, five of those selections are already top-16 prospects in all of baseball according to MLB.com. In total, there are 11 players from that draft class who are already considered top-100 prospects. While the 2023 draft class was historic in terms of top-end talent (at least in terms of projections), it's likely the Cardinals will be able to land a difference-making talent with their first-round pick that they normally do not have access to.
The one-time a player that good slid to their pick was in 2020, and the Cardinals were able to draft the eventual top prospect in all of baseball, Jordan Walker. Baseball is not a sport where you have to have a top pick to get good talent, but it sure helps to have your pick of the litter.
I recently broke down how there are multiple exciting arms at the top of the 2024 class at the moment, and there are also some incredible bats as well. With the new draft lottery system, we won't know for a little while what pick the Cardinals will exactly have in the 2024 draft, but it could range anywhere from the number one overall pick to somewhere else in the top 10. At the time of writing this, the Cardinals are tied with the Nationals for the fifth-worst record in baseball, meaning they would have a 10% chance at the number one pick.