The St. Louis Cardinals recently named John Mozeliak as the twelfth General Manager in the team's history. Through the years, Mozeliak has filled a variety of roles for the Cardinals, such as heading up the draft in 2003 and 2004.
Jeff Luhnow is now leading the Cardinals' drafts, but we will review the last two drafts under Mozeliak. With the Cardinals rededication to the farm system and player development, a look at those two could be educational as well as entertaining.
2003 - What Might Have Been
This draft had the potential to really change the course of a farm system that has struggled mightily to develop pitching. The Cardinals were unable to come to terms with prep right-handers and future first rounders, Ian Kennedy, Brett Sinkbeil, and Max Scherzer. This draft though has produced some depth and two players that have held the distinction as the top prospect in the system. But with the loss of three prep pitchers, this draft is more likely to be looked at as what might have been.
The Cardinals were thought to have over drafted high school catcher Daric Barton. Many industry insiders thought he would still be available in the second round, but the Cardinals' scouts loved his left-handed bat and didn't want to take any chances. Barton quickly established himself as the best hitting prospect in the system but he was moved out from behind the plate and tried as an outfielder.
The Cardinals then traded him along with Dan Haren and Kiko Calero in December of 2004 for Mark Mulder. Barton has gone on to establish himself as one of the better prospects in all of baseball and he will have a chance to make the A's as their starting first baseman in 2008.
Second round pick Stuart Pomeranz was also drafted out of high school and struggled in his first taste of professional baseball. He quickly paid dividends for the Cardinals though, with a 12-4 record in his first full professional season at low Class A Peoria in 2004.
Pomeranz was moving steadily through the system until a shoulder problem sidelined him for most of 2007. Pomeranz has since bounced back with an impressive performance early on in the Arizona Fall League. He could definitely contribute as a mid to back of the rotation starter or a steady middle reliever.
ahead to the 15th round, the Cardinals took a chance on an
oft-injured pitcher out of the
Dennis Dove was selected out of
Seventh-round pick Brendan Ryan was one of the biggest surprises for the 2007 Cardinals. Called up due to an injury to shortstop David Eckstein, Ryan had played too well to send back down once Eckstein returned. Ryan has firmly established himself as a part of the Cardinals' future and could possibly go to spring training as the starting shortstop depending on the upcoming off-season.
round selection Jason Motte was a solid defensive, but questionable hitting
catcher out of
With a mid-nineties fastball, Motte has been fast-tracked through the system, appearing in 45 games for Double-A Springfield in 2007. Early results from the Arizona Fall League have been promising. He should start the year at Triple-A Memphis.
mentioned above, 14th round pick Ian Kennedy was unable to come to an
agreement with the Cardinals and went on to star at
round pick Brett Sinkbeil failed to come to terms and went on to be the highest
drafted player in the history of the
round pick Max Scherzer was drafted out of
2004 - "Moneyball"
Widely panned throughout the industry, the Cardinals drafted almost entirely college players. The team stuck with the "Moneyball" philosophy, selecting stat-heavy college players instead of high-upside high school talent. The final count was 43 college players drafted compared to only four high school players.
Three and a half years later, this draft still makes most draftniks cringe. The Cardinals' top selection never panned out and is with another organization. 75% of those drafted no longer are members of the Cardinals minor league system. The organization can only hope for a possible utility infielder, a back of the rotation starter, and a few intriguing bullpen arms.
Hoffpauir, a sixth round selection, seems to be the only player drafted that has
a chance of being an everyday player.
An afterthought for most of his professional career, Hoffpauir broke out
in 2007. Starting the year at
Double-A Springfield, he was named a Texas League All-Star. He was then promoted to
The 24 year-old was rewarded for his excellent season with a trip to the Arizona Fall League. Due to lack of depth in the middle infield, Hoffpauir could have a shot at the second base job for the Cardinals but he projects more as a utility infielder. Think Aaron Miles with a little more pop.
Cardinals selected Chris Lambert of
had a lot of trouble with command and the Cardinals moved him to the
bullpen. Lambert still struggled to
find any consistency and was the player to be named later in the Mike Maroth
the starters chosen, ninth-round pick Mike Parisi seems to be the only pitcher
capable of helping the rotation and he is coming off a 13-loss season at
pick Mike Ferris was selected out of
selection Eric Haberer has struggled with command for most of his career. The former
Twelfth round selection Mark Worrell and 21st round pick Mike Sillman are side-winding relievers who have had success in relief throughout their Minor League careers. Worrell seems to have a little more upside and might pan out as a situational right-hander.
The best that can be said about these two drafts are the results are mixed. If the team could have come to terms with the three prep right-handers, this organization would be set with starting pitching for years to come. Instead, this team is struggling to find options for its rotation.
Let's hope that Mozeliak overseeing the entire organization in the future pays bigger dividends than these two drafts have provided.
Dustin Mattison can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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