Cardinals 2002 Draft Overview
By Will Lingo
Scouting Director: Marty Maier (first year: 2001).
2000 Draft (First three rounds, picking 13th)
2001 Draft (First three rounds, picking 28th)
The best record puts the Cardinals at the end of the draft line, which would be a handicap in itself for an organization in need of restocking its farm system. But the Cardinals also signed free agents Jason Isringhausen and Tino Martinez in the offseason, giving up their first- and second-round picks in the process.
So for a minor league system low on premium players, starting the draft with pick No. 102 creates a bit of an obstacle.
There is more good news, though. The Cardinals have been able to find talent beyond the third round, which allowed them to build talent in their farm system in recent years. Examples include Jimmy Journell (fourth round, 1999), Albert Pujols (13th, 1999), Bud Smith (fourth, 1998) and Jack Wilson (ninth, 1998).
Such talent allowed the St. Louis player-development program to do its job admirably in recent years, supplying such players as J.D. Drew and Pujols to the major league team and providing trade fodder to bring in players like Jim Edmonds and Edgar Renteria.
But the Cardinals have harvested so many prospects in recent years that they're left with a thin crop now. They'll have to rebuild the system the same way they built it up in the first place: through good drafting.
The job falls to scouting director Marty Maier, who'll lead the second draft of his second stint with the Cardinals. Maier originally came to the organization in 1979, becoming scouting director in October 1993. He left to work for the Dodgers from 1998-2000 and returned to the Cardinals in January 2001.
In his absence, Ed Creech and then Jeff Scott headed up the St. Louis drafts. No matter who has been in charge, though, the philosophy has remained consistent: The Cardinals have an affinity for college players, particularly pitchers.
Even last year, recognizing that the system desperately needs impact position players, the Cardinals went with college pitchers early because they saw that as a strength of last year's draft class.
The situation on the farm remains the same this year, with obvious needs just about everywhere on the diamond. Without a pick until the third round, though, it's impossible to guess the target.
One of the many Scott Boras clients in this year's draft might bear watching because the organization has been successful signing Boras players in the past, including Drew, Rick Ankiel and Chad Hutchinson. Ankiel and Hutchinson are particularly notable because they were premium talents who fell out of the first round because of signability concerns.
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