The Cardinal Nation blog

Brian Walton's news and commentary on the St. Louis Cardinals (TM) and their minor league system

Cardinals draft yield – the Luhnow years


A question was posed on the Batavia roster thread about the success rate of signing St. Louis Cardinals draft picks. I don’t have the highest percent signed by year in the history of the draft, but I do have the results from recent seasons – the years Jeff Luhnow has led the organization’s drafts.

I included both quantities signed as well as noting the top pick that remained unsigned. The lowest-yield year was 2006, but even then, the Cards signed their top ten picks and 20 of their first 22.

The failed Kyle Russell (pictured) negotiations in 2007 kept the fourth-rounder from Texas in school. Though there was disappointment at the time, at least the player himself seems to have been overrated. Still, with the benefit of clear hindsight, having been able to use that selection on another quality player would have been preferred.

The 2008 record of top 30 picks signed is admirable, but there is a necessary asterisk applied. 13th rounder Mitchell Harris‘ Navy commitment keeps him off the mound for a considerable period. He is technically signed, but obviously unable to contribute.

The Cardinals have a good start in 2009, with as many as 38 already committed at the time this post was made. While picks number one, three, four, seven and ten are among the unsigned, there remains plenty of runway to get their deals done. If so, a take of 43 would be very consistent with recent years.

Of course, signing is but one measure. Though a necessary step, it is a very early one. More important is the quantity and quality of major leaguers that evolve from these drafts, a final verdict for which the jury will remain out for some time.

Draft Signed Picks % Signed Top Signed 1st Unsigned Name
2009 TBD 52
2008 43 51 84.3% 1st 30* 30th round* RHP Brett Bruening
2007 45 52 86.5% 1st four 4th round OF Kyle Russell
2006 38 53 71.7% 1st 12 10th round RHP Blair Erickson
2005 43 51 84.3% 1st 15 12th round RHP Daniel McCutchen

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