The St. Louis Cardinals were given the seventh overall pick in the Major League Baseball Amateur Draft in 2024. The draft lottery was held on Tuesday night, and the Cardinals will pick in the top seven of the draft for the first time since 1998 when they picked the outfielder J.D. Drew out of Florida State University fifth overall.
The Cardinals haven't had a draft pick in the first ten picks since then either, a testament to their success throughout these past two decades. Despite draft picks in the back end of the first round, St. Louis has been able to churn out a consistent thread of major-league talent.
While there are plenty of players we can speculate Randy Flores will spend his top-seven pick on, it is always fun to reflect on which players St. Louis has previously drafted in the first seven picks of the MLB Draft. Since 1965-the inaugural year for the MLB Draft-St. Louis has selected a player in the top seven picks only eight times. For context, the Washington Nationals have had a top-seven selection ten times since just the turn of the century.
Here are the eight players whom the Cardinals have drafted in the top-seven of the MLB Draft since 1965.
Leron Lee was drafted number seven overall in the 1966 MLB Draft out of Grant High School in Sacramento, California. He was drafted as an infielder, but Lee ended up playing most of his games in the outfield or as a pinch hitter. He made his MLB debut on September 5th, 1969 against Montreal.
After just three seasons in St. Louis, Leron was traded to the San Diego Padres. He is most known for breaking up one of Tom Seaver's no-hitters on the Fourth of July in 1972; he hit a single with one out in the ninth inning of that game.
In eight professional seasons, Lee only tallied 2.1 bWAR, and he hit a total of thirty-one home runs. His career was, as a whole, uninspiring. Lee retired in 1976 at the end of the season. He went on to play baseball in Japan. He led the league in home runs in his first year, and he held the record for the best career batting average in Japan until 2018. Lee was the batting coach for the Oakland Athletics in 1989, the same year the A's won the World Series.