|01-25-2013, 04:27 PM||Topic Starter|
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***OFFICIAL*** 2013 STL Cardinals Thread
Cards Minor league system ranked #1 in baseball by Baseball America.
As the Cardinals reorganized the direction — and leadership — of their amateur scouting and minor-league system several years ago, executives pointed at times to rankings from media outlets such as Baseball America, including one that labeled them last in talent as recently as 2005.
“It was a wake-up call to get better,” Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said.
If rankings continued to be an indication, getting better was only the beginning.
When Baseball America’s 2013 Prospect Handbook reaches shelves early next month, the Cardinals will be unveiled as the annual publication’s No. 1 minor-league system in a ranking of all 30 clubs’ minor-league talent through mid-December, editors at the magazine confirmed.
If so, it will be the first time since Baseball America began ranking organizations in 1984 that the Cardinals will have earned the No. 1 spot. It is a significant turnaround for a club that was ranked 30th in minor-league talent in 2002 and 2005.
“People don’t remember how they had some tough drafts and a non-existent international program,” said Jim Callis, an executive at Baseball America. “It was a bad trend. I don’t think people realized how bad it was because of the success at the major-league level. That kind of masked it. It hid how bad the underpinnings were.”
Baseball America’s annual organization rankings are based on the conversations and individual rankings from four of the magazine’s editors. All four had the Cardinals ranked No. 1 this year, Callis said.
The rise comes eight seasons after the Cardinals ranked 30th and represents a steady climb up from a decade spent in the lower third of baseball.
From 2000 through 2007, the Cardinals highest rank was 21.
And yet in the eight seasons since being No. 30 the Cardinals have made strides at the minor-league level while winning two World Series and appearing in four NL championship series.
From 2005 to 2011, no team in the majors had as many drafted players contribute at the major-league level as the Cardinals.
They have not had a pick higher than 13th overall since 1999.
The Cardinals have been successful drafting and grooming complementary players and assets later traded such as former first-rounders Brett Wallace and Colby Rasmus. On the horizon this year are players viewed by several scouting publications as top-shelf talents. Callis has outfielder Oscar Taveras ranked as the second-best position player in all of the minors and righthander Shelby Miller as the second-best pitching prospect in all of the minors. Pitchers Carlos Martinez and Trevor Rosenthal and second baseman Kolten Wong also rate high compared to prospects in other systems.
“I look for elite talent,” Callis explained. “I think you do win with stars. I don’t think you can only win with being solid everywhere but not having a superstar. … I look for balance in the system. I look for how advanced the talent is through the system. (With the Cardinals) you’re looking at an extremely talented farm system with players like Shelby Miller and Trevor Rosenthal who are close to being big-league ready or already are.”
Callis pointed to the Cardinals 2012 draft as an example of the organization’s depth. The Cards had five picks in the first 59. Yet, Callis noted, only one of the picks was able to crack the top seven prospects (see chart).
“One of the things in this time period is that we have invest heavily in the draft, taking advantage of extra picks at the time, and improving what we do in the international market,” Mozeliak said. “It really is a great credit to our scouting, our international staff, and the player development group that turns what scouts give them into prospects.”
The full article here: