(BaseballStL) -- When you get a minute, check out the 2009 draft for the St. Louis Cardinals. It’s quite remarkable when you look at it. From Shelby Miller in Round 1 to Joe Kelly in Round 3, Matt Carpenter in the 13th, Trevor Rosenthal in the 21st and Matt Adams in the 23rd it was - quite possibly - one of the greatest drafts in franchise history.
That kind of scouting will win you a lot of baseball games, not just in the short term, but in the long term as well because prospects have absolutely become the currency of baseball.
For the current Cardinals, however, their long standing success goes far beyond just the amateur draft held every June. It’s extended to the international signing period which has netted them prospects like Oscar Taveras and Carlos Martinez.
It’s even extended to veterans in free agency and the trade deadline. How many other teams have been able to acquire seemingly mediocre talent yet find a way to fix them and make them fit within the Cardinals system so well? Closer Edward Mujica was nothing more than a ho-hum middle reliever who had bounced around from Cleveland to San Diego to Miami and cost the Cardinals Zack Cox (that’s it) to acquire. All he’s done is go on to become an All Star whom the team may be able to actually turn into a draft pick this offseason.
Scouting wins in baseball. Long gone are the days when the biggest payrolls can go out and buy the best talent on the free agent market. Long gone are the days when spending equaled winning.
In fact, if anything, the opposite is true. The teams that spend more often than not DON’T win. Younger players are cheaper, healthier and hungrier than veterans. It’s just a fact of life. So if people out there are looking for a reason as to why year in and year out they see the Cardinals atop the standings and competing in October, this is it.
They scout better than anyone.
When the 18th round is taking place in the next MLB draft and you’re out doing whatever it is that you do, just know the future of some franchises are being decided at that very moment. The area scouts who have traveled the country in search of the next great baseball player are telling their general managers who they want the organization to take. And while it may seem like some average Joe right away to you, and for the next few years, when that name turns out to be - oh - Matt Carpenter you’ll be quite thankful the pick was made when it was.
Identifying talent is the most difficult yet important thing there is in sports. People look good but disappoint almost as often as those who look like nothing but for some reason exceed expectations. Knowing who is more likely to do what is what wins.
The Cardinals do that more so than the other 29 teams in MLB.