The St. Louis Cardinals have prided themselves for decades on being a pipeline-driven organization. While that philosophy can be frustrating to fans at times, it's actually the most effective way to build a team that can contend for a World Series, and do so over many years.
The thing about MLB pipelines is that they take a while to build. You need great leadership in place, an even better philosophy, years of drafting and development, and a bit of luck to go your way. When your organization falters with it, even for just a few years stretch, things take a while to replenish.
That's where the Cardinals were at when Randy Flores took over as the head of scouting for the club. They were experiencing the repercussions of the hacking scandal, and they needed someone to come in and reestablish the organization as one of the best at identifying young talent. Take a look at this graph below of the players the Cardinals have drafted and the fWAR they have accumulated since Flores took over.
Crazy, right? They've accumulated by far the second most amount of fWAR by an organization, outpacing clubs that are typically raved about for their farm systems like the Dodgers, Rays, and Braves. The team that barely beat them out, the Houston Astros, had the number two overall pick and number five overall pick in the 2015 draft, while the highest the Cardinals have selected during this stretch was 18th.
Before you say anything about how the Cardinals have traded away a lot of that talent, that's not Flores' job. Flores identifies the talent and brings it into the organization. I'm sure he has some influence on who gets moved, but overall, that's not his decision currently. Down on the Farm noticed people saying this as well, and showed how a lot of that fWAR is from players they still have.
No wonder people like our own Mason Keith are advocating for Flores to be in line for the next President of Baseball Operations for the Cardinals. He has been incredible at leading the Cardinals' scouting department, and it may soon be time to let him also have control of who the Cardinals keep and trade away.
No team is perfect at drafting. Each team misses on prospects. Flores has had a few forgettable drafts. But when you look at the totality of his work, it's undeniable how good of an executive Flores is.