FanGraphs Baseball


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  1. Jon Jay was drafted out of the University of Miami.

    David Freese wasn’t drafted by the Cardinals.

    Comment by EEOC — January 16, 2013 @ 1:10 pm

  2. The Athletics’ position makes sense to me from their general aversion to drafting high school players in the upper rounds of the draft (where you’re most likely to get guys who debut at all) over the last couple decades. If you figure their average draftee is 21 or 22, and that the average time in the minors is 2-3 years, you can see how that philosophy would push them toward the top.

    You might also include how the pressure to find production from the scrap heap has led to pilfering of other teams’ organizational depth. That can typically mean making regulars out of players who flame out at AAA elsewhere, in other words, guys who are already 24 or 25.

    Comment by Jonathan — January 16, 2013 @ 1:17 pm

  3. Another side to the competitiveness argument. Better record teams get lower draft picks, which tend to be worse than higher picks. Better prospects advance quicker through the minors.

    The Cardinals have never had a #1 overall pick in the draft. Lately, they have consistently been in the bottom half of the first round.

    It certainly isn’t the only factor, but it may be a significant factor.

    Comment by Anon — January 16, 2013 @ 1:18 pm

  4. Dammit I edited out the Freese one, don’t know how that ended up in there. Sorry. Fixed both.

    Comment by Eno Sarris — January 16, 2013 @ 1:18 pm

  5. I suspect that the final sentence of the article explains this phenomenon.

    Comment by olethros — January 16, 2013 @ 1:18 pm

  6. I highly expect this Trent to be broken with Oscar Taveras.

    Comment by Grant — January 16, 2013 @ 1:24 pm

  7. *trend

    Comment by Grant — January 16, 2013 @ 1:25 pm

  8. The Braves are tied with the Marlins since 1990 and I think they’ve been pretty good since then.

    One thing I think would make this better (not that I’m volunteering) is to limit the players that are counted in some way that only includes guys that are likely to be real prospects, as opposed to journeymen filler.

    Perhaps you could limit it to players with a certain number of PAs in their first 3 years, such as maybe 400? That would include most players that teams actually believe in, while excluding most AAAA players.

    Comment by TKDC — January 16, 2013 @ 2:06 pm

  9. Given how WAR falls precipitously from the 1st pick down it makes a lot of sense

    Comment by Tomcat — January 16, 2013 @ 2:07 pm

  10. This sparks my interest in a pick by pick/round by round breakdown of HS vs college league wide and teams that are outliers either way. Has there been a study/article recently about that?

    Comment by d_i — January 16, 2013 @ 2:20 pm

  11. Craig isn’t turning 29 until July 18th. He’s hardly “turning 29″ here in January.

    Comment by padsfs — January 16, 2013 @ 3:32 pm

  12. Craig debuted in 2010 and was blocked that year at 1B by Pujols and in the OF by Holliday/Ludwick/Jay

    He also spent the majority of 2011 with the ML club, behind Pujols/Berkman/Holliday

    I would call 2013 his third full big league season and at 28 years old (not 29), that isn’t such a suprisingly late debut.

    Comment by padsfs — January 16, 2013 @ 3:36 pm

  13. He’s turning 29 this season, that’s all I meant. And on most other teams, he’d have debuted earlier. The fact that he was blocked was tackled in the piece, and the fact that the Cardinals have had old debuts goes beyond Craig. He was just an entry point.

    Comment by Eno Sarris — January 16, 2013 @ 3:46 pm

  14. Maybe its the sites I read, or selective memory, but I am surprised the Mets came in first on your table. I have (had) the sentiment that they rush their players. Probably from FMart being around their system for so many seasons.

    Comment by tommy — January 16, 2013 @ 4:56 pm

  15. It is something interesting.

    The Cardinals have never seemed to avoid “older” prospect or minor league players. Even back in the years (80s) when they seemed to have 6 major league outfielder, but only 3 could start). I’m thinking of acquisitions like Ryan Ludwick, david Freese, etc … guys that were no longer really considered “prospects” but developed major league talent.

    StL does not seem to be afraid of age or aging at all, given their roster.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — January 16, 2013 @ 5:05 pm

  16. It’s hard to look at how well Craig hit in the minors and not believe that on another team he would have likely made his ML debut by 2009.

    Comment by TKDC — January 16, 2013 @ 6:02 pm

  17. It’s also widely believed in St.Louis that Tony LaRussa wasn’t fond of young players. Tony’s name isn’t mentioned in your article but I think he really set the tone. One can’t argue with Tony’s success, so maybe his approach was a good one, but it also alienated guys like Brendan Ryan, Anthony Reyes, and Colby Rasmus.

    Comment by Rick — January 16, 2013 @ 7:13 pm

  18. While I do tend to agree with you, we should look at it both ways…… he did give Wainwright a chance to close in the playoffs, he let albert pujols start at age 20 (I believe), Kyle McClellan made the team straight out of AA (or lower) he let yadiers bad bat play at the MLB level while a lot of people prob would have kept him in the minors. I’m sure we are forgetting examples of both, but I think Tony wanted a maturity more than anything

    Comment by kramer — January 16, 2013 @ 9:58 pm

  19. Cards like to maximize player values by controlling them during their prime years 28-32. They accomplish this by delaying their start times for players.

    Comment by Bryce — January 16, 2013 @ 10:15 pm

  20. 28-32 are not prime years.

    Comment by themiddle54 — January 17, 2013 @ 12:15 am

  21. You could say he doesn’t like young players such as the ones you mentioned… or you could say he doesn’t like bad plays. As Kramer pointed out, he let Pujols play (albeit after the injury to Bonilla) and he’s let other young guys have big roles when they’ve really earned it.

    People blame LaRussa for the poor performance of guys like Rasmus and Reyes, but given the play of Rasmus and Ryan and Reyes after leaving the Cardinals… the only conclusion is that it’s more on those players.

    Comment by Samuel — January 17, 2013 @ 5:13 am

  22. Blocked and tackled … Poor, Sarris, poor.

    A couple of minor corrections. Matt Carpenter actually made his debut at age 25, in a brief 2011 cameo. Matt Adams debuted at age 23. Freese debuted at 25. (As others have pointed out, he wasn’t a Cardinals draftee, coming over from San Diego in a trade for Jim Edmonds, after having reached only high-A at age 24. The Cardinals weren’t the only team bringing him along slowly.) None of these affect your basic point.

    Comment by Bad Bill — January 17, 2013 @ 10:30 am

  23. The importance of the Cardinals almost never having a really high draft choice can’t be overestimated. If one looks at the average age of players on their first appearance in the major leagues (no matter how brief) as a function of draft slot, based on the most recent ten in that slot who’ve made it, the curve looks like:
    Slot 1: 21.5
    Slot 2: 21.9
    Slot 3: 22.3
    Slot 4: 22.5
    Slot 5: 22.3
    Slot 10: 22.6
    Slot 20: 22.7
    Slot 50: 23.7
    Slot 100 (you have to go all the way back to 1977 to find ten guys from this slot who made it): 23.6

    Given that only once since 2000 have the Cardinals had a draft pick in the first 15, it’s hardly surprising that their players take a little longer to make it to the Show; so, among draftees taken after the first ten or so, do everyone else’s. You just don’t find a Harper-style prodigy when you’re drafting 22nd, which has been the Cardinals’ average slot for the last ten years.

    Comment by Bad Bill — January 17, 2013 @ 11:12 am

  24. It might still make sense. If you have five years of a player, it might make sense to start those five years at 25 with position players, on average, rather then let them go right at their peak by starting them at 23.

    Comment by Eno Sarris — January 17, 2013 @ 12:16 pm

  25. “Trout was drafted by the Angels 25th overall in the 2009 MLB Draft.”

    It does happen, it’s just rare for the entire league to misread a prospect that good.

    Comment by Sparkles Peterson — January 17, 2013 @ 1:04 pm

  26. “The signing of Jason Simontacchi” – legendary socks

    Comment by SeanTronX — January 17, 2013 @ 1:06 pm

  27. This idea makes some sense, but it’s probably not truly involved in the Cardinals’ decision calculus.

    I suppose it’s possible since they know they could delay moving up a player like Craig due to the fact that they simply didn’t need him on the roster, but if they had room he surely would have been playing.

    Comment by Samuel — January 17, 2013 @ 4:34 pm

  28. Wake up youngins, they’ve been doing this since Bob Gibson.

    Comment by NoItAll — January 17, 2013 @ 5:54 pm

  29. Being a birds on the bat fan I believe our draft preparation and execution was crap before Jeff Luhnow. Walt Jocketty sign and traded for veterans , TLR played his veterans, and Dave Duncan could resurrect ANYONES career. This created a perfect storm. In response to Kramer there’s no denying Pujols or Wainwrights curve. That is what left Beltran looking …

    Comment by Bryce V — January 17, 2013 @ 5:58 pm

  30. Lol. IMO

    Comment by Bryce V — January 17, 2013 @ 6:04 pm

  31. The over 26 rookie list means nothing. Look at the Team at the top. The Twins were one of the best between 200 and 2010. Winning the division 6 times in 10 years. Then look at the Rays only 1 player But before 2009 they stunk. Like i said it doesn’t mean anything

    Comment by Jacob — January 19, 2013 @ 12:28 am

  32. Ha, he “let” Pujols start. I think it had a lot to do with LaRussa. He very much liked vets. The braves have been about as successful as the cards, but Bobby Cox was more apt to favor young players. I think in those 2 instances, because of how long the regimes lasted and their obvious philosophies, you can look at the manager and deduce a strategic philosophy.

    Comment by Antonio bananas — January 25, 2013 @ 6:39 pm

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