(BaseballStL) -- When you're putting a baseball team together in February - or over the offseason for that matter - I can't fathom most general managers would say they envision going into that season with more than ten rookies making significant contributions while losing core players for a huge chunk of time.
Cards GM John Mozeliak didn't have the luxury of being lucky this season. His closer needed Tommy John surgery before spring training even ended. His set up guy turned closer was so bad he ended up getting traded for international signing bonus money. His All Star first baseman might even be out for the year with a foot injury.
But the Cardinals highly rated minor league not only kept this team afloat, it helped them thrive. And that makes this NL Central division title - the team's first since 2009 - that much sweeter.
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"To accomplish this is a step that we wanted to see happen and it's obviously a wonderful moment for everyone involved but it's a step," Mozeliak said. "It's one I hope everyone can enjoy. There will be a time that everyone can reflect on it in the future. Clearly we want to continue this.
"When I look back at the season I just admire how we did it. It wasn't exactly how we drew it up in February or March but to see these young players come up and contribute the way they did it makes for a very special night."
Other organizations have publicly called the St. Louis Cardinals the "model" organization in Major League baseball. For someone who just took over as GM after the 2007 season, how in the world has Mozeliak gotten this team that level so quickly?
"I think it's a lot of things. And it's really a lot of people. I think the approach of bottom to top (drafting and developing talent through the minor league system) makes a lot of sense for us because how we develop and how we train our young players, when they're ready for (St. Louis) they're ready. And as you can see this past year they contribute," Mozeliak said.