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  1. Scouts may have been right about Ackley and Carpenter after we account for organizational effects on player development. Now imagine if Ackley had been drafted by the Cardinals?

    Comment by mrlewis — June 6, 2013 @ 2:45 pm

  2. “At this point, everyone knows the story of the Cardinals stealing Albert Pujols in the 13th round of the 1999 draft. In terms of production for the cost, it’s probably the best draft pick in Major League history.”

    Mike Piazza says hi from the 62nd round.

    Comment by atoms — June 6, 2013 @ 2:52 pm

  3. Sorry, Cub fans.

    Comment by Steve — June 6, 2013 @ 2:52 pm

  4. An absolutely terrific analysis! His OBP of over .400 is quite impressive.

    Comment by Ryan — June 6, 2013 @ 2:58 pm

  5. I think the difference in value between a 13th round and a 62nd round pick is pretty trivial, and Pujols has been the more valuable of the two players by quite a lot.

    Comment by Sparkles Peterson — June 6, 2013 @ 3:01 pm

  6. I wonder how reliable his positive UZR is. Before the season started, it was doubtful if he could handle 2B, and now he is an above aberage defender on a new position.

    Comment by Stefan K. — June 6, 2013 @ 3:10 pm

  7. But, over the last few years, the Cardinals have watched Carpenter begin to develop.

    Correct me if I am wrong, but the above sentance seems to show a faulty assumption. Specifically, your focus is completely on player talent and skill while ignoring organization effects on development.

    Also, the Cardinals current roster has several examples of players who were deemed to old to be prospects. Identifying and developing non-traditional prospects has paid dividends for the Cardinals in recent years.

    Comment by Anon — June 6, 2013 @ 3:10 pm

  8. I don’t understand why the rest of the league doesn’t look at what the Cardinals have done the past 10 years and copy every aspect of it. They develop young stars the right way (Pujols, Jay, Craig, Miller, M. Carpenter, Molina, Wainwright, Lynn, Garcia, Morris), turn scrapheap pitchers into stars or at least 10 game winners (C. Carpenter, Westbrook, Lohse, Suppan, Marquis) and spend on the right free agents/made trades that fit their team and style (Rolen, Edmonds, Holliday, Beltran). Those are all just off the top of my head, I’m sure I missed some. They even managed to avoid the decline of one of the best hitters of the modern era by not resigning Pujols. It’s a pretty remarkable organization. I’m a life-long Phillies fan, but boy howdy do I wish they did things more like the Cards (*cough*ryanhowardcontract*cough*).

    Comment by Emcee Peepants — June 6, 2013 @ 3:24 pm

  9. Thumbs up to anyone who drafted him/bid a dollar for him in Fantasy.

    Comment by LarryJonesJr — June 6, 2013 @ 3:25 pm

  10. You forgot about Larry Walker, but just ignore that Mulder trade.

    Comment by Anon — June 6, 2013 @ 3:45 pm

  11. Not according to Dan Symbozki

    Insider required.

    1. Pujols = plus 71.5 WAR
    2. Boggs
    3. Clemens
    9. Piazza = plus 49.9 WAR

    He went into pretty great detail how this worked.

    Comment by Jeffrey — June 6, 2013 @ 3:51 pm

  12. Dan Szymborski


    Comment by Jeffrey — June 6, 2013 @ 3:51 pm

  13. The Mulder trade would have worked OK if he hadn’t turned into a pumpkin.

    Comment by olethros — June 6, 2013 @ 3:52 pm

  14. They also pioneered the strategy of extending young stars well before arbitration.

    Comment by olethros — June 6, 2013 @ 3:53 pm

  15. He looks pretty smooth over there. Good footwork, smooth transitions. Great arm for the position.

    I don’t know how long he’ll maintain that defensive value, or how reliable it is. But it seems to be somewhat accurate.

    I would say he is a nice +5 defensive second basemen.

    Comment by Jeffrey — June 6, 2013 @ 3:53 pm

  16. Yup. Was my last round flier pick. Then pressed into service at 3rd because my two drafted 3Bs (Headley, Lawrie) started the year on the DL. Couple weeks later when they got healthy I flipped Carpenter for Mike Minor.

    Too bad the rest of my team sucks …

    Comment by David — June 6, 2013 @ 4:04 pm

  17. Yeah, I was kicking myself for not going after him sooner, but managed to land him in my 2 dynasty-type, 16-18-team leagues afterall — one is a points league using XR for offense while the other is salary dynasty 6×6 Roto w/ OPS (and Holds) added to the standard.

    Here’s to hoping he turns into that star 2B/super-utility-guy… :-)

    Comment by TheUncool — June 6, 2013 @ 4:08 pm

  18. I wonder that as well, though given what we’ve seen of his bat, he’s probably the kind of guy who will get every ounce of production from his modest talent. He can stick there a few years, though with Wong coming up by 2014, he might end up at 3B for his pre-arb years (if the Cards decide to deal Freese and save some money this offseason). Or he might be a Tony Phillips-esque everyday utility leadoff man.

    Comment by Dan Greer — June 6, 2013 @ 4:11 pm

  19. If only it were so easy! I have a feeling the Cardinals don’t like to put young players in the box of what they *can’t* do – but look at what they can do and consistently challenge these guys to improve in some way. Obviously every minor league system should be focused on player development, but the Cards are consistently better at getting real production from marginal (and underrated) talents. They end up with these multi-position “old prospects” (which is another way of saying cheap and in their prime), and work them into the lineup often enough to not rot away on the Major League bench. And it’s working. Even “blocked” guys like Matt Adams are getting chances thanks to the versatility of Allen Craig. And he’s helping the team instead of stagnating at AAA. Maybe he’ll be traded eventually, but he’s getting the chance to prove he’s a big leaguer. Carpenter got that chance last year thanks to his versatility, and now he’s a probable All-Star secondbaseman.

    Comment by Dan Greer — June 6, 2013 @ 4:20 pm

  20. A strategy the Phillies re-pioneered by signing an already declining Howard to a lengthy extension well before his current contract expired. Womp womp.

    Comment by Emcee Peepants — June 6, 2013 @ 4:24 pm

  21. I think you are reading too much into the phrase. I don’t think that by using the word “watched” Dave meant to suggest the Cardinals were a proverbial observer sitting behind a 2 way mirror as Carpenter just magically figured out baseball by himself.

    Comment by Wobatus — June 6, 2013 @ 5:27 pm

  22. Heh. Yeah, somebody should tell Amaro that that’s not what “reverse engineering” means.

    Comment by olethros — June 6, 2013 @ 5:54 pm

  23. I would give a -1 to this post, but I’m not sure it wasn’t sarcastic. (Unlike the two posts following,)

    Comment by scraps — June 6, 2013 @ 6:05 pm

  24. …convinced the projetion systems that…

    You forgot the “c”; you can’t spell Carpenter, Cardinals and Champions without a C. You should know that Cameron.

    C what I did there?

    Comment by Brazen Reader — June 6, 2013 @ 6:43 pm

  25. this article is silly. hes the 3rd best fantasy 2B so far this season.

    i wouldve appreciated it if this article came out a lot earlier.

    Though we all know he was already a star becuz the coaches raved about how good he was in spring. thus most of the public drafted him in the mid rounds.

    zzz come on dave cameron tell me something i dont know!

    Comment by a — June 6, 2013 @ 7:18 pm

  26. This isn’t Rotographs. Nobody cares about your silly fantasy team.

    Back in the real world, this is interesting stuff.

    Comment by joser — June 7, 2013 @ 2:48 am

  27. I watch my plants develop even though I water them every day and treat them to fertilizer and pest treatments as needed. They’d die without me, but I can’t make them grow — that’s entirely up to them.

    Comment by joser — June 7, 2013 @ 2:50 am

  28. Don’t forget he leads NL second basemen in WAR, wOBA, OBP, AVG, and SLG%. And yet he’s fourth in the All Star voting. Dude should be starting easily.

    Comment by bmarkham — June 7, 2013 @ 3:23 am

  29. Cleveland Invented Signing young stars in the 90s. Cards were early copiers though.

    Comment by NATS Fan — June 7, 2013 @ 4:22 am

  30. *vomit*

    Comment by BVHeck — June 7, 2013 @ 10:03 am

  31. I just have to say that those swing rate heat maps are really cool.

    Cool, meaning interesting, of course.

    Comment by Vin — June 7, 2013 @ 12:37 pm

  32. I just want to know how many superstar players I played with growing up didn’t get drafted, but a middle infielder whose swing didn’t include weight transfer somehow managed to get a sniff? Carpenter looks like one of the poster boys for Malcolm Gladwell’s opportunity plus 10,000 hours of hard work equals success.

    Comment by Cus — June 7, 2013 @ 1:11 pm

  33. It’s almost as if all-star voting is based on fan votes and not stats.

    Comment by aaaa — June 7, 2013 @ 5:47 pm

  34. If they didn’t even get drafted, they weren’t “superstars.” Plenty of mediocre college players get drafted much later than Carpenter did.

    Comment by aaaa — June 7, 2013 @ 5:49 pm

  35. Ha! I WISH he went for a dollar in my league. I was targeting him, as was another guy in my league, and even though he came up in the latter portion of the draft (I was hoarding my darft dollars), I ended up going all the way up to $15 for him!

    I was most attracted to his OBP and positional flexibility, seeing him as, at worst, a guy I could plug in all over the place as other guys had off days, and in the best-case scenario a guy whose on-base skills at the top of a good lineup would provide some graet numbers at a relatively shallow position.

    Comment by salvo — June 7, 2013 @ 5:57 pm

  36. It’s almost as if all-star voting is based on the first third of the year.

    Comment by Scraps — June 7, 2013 @ 8:59 pm

  37. Regarding the All-Star voting I just saw that Brandon Belt is actually ahead of Paul Goldschmidt at 1B. If that doesn’t scream that we need to take the voting away from the fans I don’t know what does.

    Comment by Jim — June 8, 2013 @ 1:04 am

  38. Joel Pineiro is another good one.

    Comment by Max — June 8, 2013 @ 11:21 am

  39. So true.

    The Cardinals are probably the best team in baseball in terms of developing hitting prospects.

    Comment by Cool Lester Smooth — June 9, 2013 @ 4:22 am

  40. Yeah, Matt Carpenter without a weight transfer was on such a higher echelon than the “superstars” this dude played with growing up that it isn’t even funny.

    The best athlete I’ve ever met in my life just got drafted out of JuCo.

    It was in the 15th round.

    Comment by Cool Lester Smooth — June 9, 2013 @ 4:37 am

  41. I’ve admired this approach as well and get to frequently see these players perform as a Pirates fan. I think Pittsburgh may finally be catching on a little with how they’ve managed marginal players into successful roles with the likes of Neil Walker, Garrett Jones/Gaby Sanchez, and Travis Snider/Jose Tabata platoons. Also using Jordy Mercer as a MLB utility man at 2B, SS, 3B. But they still haven’t completely shaken their love for mediocre vets with John McDonald and Brandon Inge. Maybe someday…

    Comment by gorillakilla34 — June 9, 2013 @ 5:56 am

  42. Not really. John Hart started that practice in Cleveland way back when.

    Comment by jirish — June 14, 2013 @ 2:16 am

  43. OOPS!!! Like NATS Fan says. It was Cleveland.

    Comment by jirish — June 14, 2013 @ 2:19 am

  44. And pitching prospects, and everything. God I wish I was a cardinals fan. Stupid phillies…

    Comment by Matt — June 17, 2013 @ 1:44 pm

  45. Great article. Any chance you dig deeper into the Cardinals development system and formula?

    Comment by channelclemente — July 16, 2013 @ 1:15 pm

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