Neyer: Oral history of the Cardinals’ exemplary 2009 draft class

From SABR member Rob Neyer at on June 5, 2014:

The 2013 St. Louis Cardinals won 97 games during the regular season, then eliminated the Pirates and Dodgers before finally losing to the Red Sox in a six-game World Series. It was a tremendous season, capped by the franchise’s 19th National League pennant. And perhaps the most amazing thing about that season is this: Five of the Cardinals’ best players were drafted just four years earlier — three of those players drafted well after the top prospects were off the board. Overall, seven players from the Cardinals’ 2009 draft class have reached the majors, leading’s Jonathan Mayo to anoint the class as the best of the last 10 years: that is, No. 1 of 300 drafts.

Nearly five years later, I spoke to some of the key figures in that phenomenally successful draft, beginning with Jeff Luhnow. Now the Houston Astros’ general manager, Luhnow took over as the Cardinals’ director of scouting in 2005. In Luhnow’s first three drafts, the Cardinals drafted 31 eventual major leaguers. The 2008 draft didn’t go as well, with Lance Lynn the only productive major leaguer produced (so far).

In 2009, the Cardinals owned the 19th pick in the first round of the Rule 4 amateur draft.

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Originally published: June 5, 2014. Last Updated: June 5, 2014.