Astros and Cardinals Draft Comparison

New Astros owner Jim Crane has made it known that there are no shortcuts to recovering from the franchises worst season, and plans on rebuilding the team from the ground up. With the focus on building through the draft and the farm system Crane hired Cardinals' Jeff Luhnow to be the General Manager of the Astros. Luhnow has been involved in the Cardinals drafts since 2005, and played a role in improving the Cardinals farm system over the years.

With that in mind I decided to take a look at the Cardinals and Astros drafts from 2008-2011, which is the time frame in which Ed Wade became GM, and the draft started to become relevant again for the Astros. Since very few of these players drafted during this time period have made it to the majors, and the ones that have made it don't have a large enough sample size to determine what type of player they will be, I focused on the types of players drafted along with minor league career stats. This includes comparing college players and high school players, position players and pitchers, and how many of each category were signed by both teams, in addition to looking at minor league performance for rounds 1-10 from 2008-2010.

The first chart below shows the Astros and Cardinals Draft Distribution for 2008-2011, and the second chart shows the amount of money each team spent on the draft for the same time frame per Baseball America:

Astros_and_cardinals_draft_distribution2_medium

Bonus_expenditures_medium

A Few Observations

• The Cardinals had a much higher success rate at signing their draft picks than the Astros did. In 2008 the Cardinals signed 82.35% versus the Astros 61.54%, 86% versus 72.92% in 2009, 84.62% versus 67.31% in 2010, and both teams signed 70% of their draft picks in 2011. The Cardinals signed more players than the Astros did while spending less on the draft as a whole each year except for 2009. Over the four year period the Cardinals spent a total of $22,176,700 on the draft while the Astros spent $23,578,630.

• The Cardinals drafted a greater number of college players than the Astros did, while the Astros drafted a higher number of high school players. Both teams drafted close to the same amount of pitchers and position players each year.

Reviewing Rounds 1-10

Rounds_1-10_medium

• The Astros continued to draft a higher number of high school players than the Cardinals in every draft except for 2011, while the Cardinals draft heavily favored College players in the first ten rounds. The Cardinals signed every player drafted in the first ten rounds for all four drafts, while the Astros were only unable to sign two (Chase Davidson 2008, Adam Plutko 2010) in the first ten rounds.

As far as actual minor league performance is concerned the Cardinals draftees in the first ten rounds have outperformed the Astros.

Below is a look at the average batting averages, on-base percentages, and slugging percentages for the drafts 2008-2010. 2011 is not included since the players drafted did not have a full season in the minors.

Cardinals 2008: AVG - .271, OBP - .364, SLG - .423

Astros 2008: AVG - .268, OBP - .336, SLG - .396

Cardinals 2009: AVG - .254, OBP - .330, SLG - .400

Astros 2009: AVG - .262, OBP - .343, SLG - .374

Cardinals 2010: AVG - .273, OBP - .349, SLG - .402

Astros 2010: AVG - .252, OBP - .321, SLG - .370

The Astros 2009 top ten picks outperformed the Cardinals in both batting average and on-base percentage, but not slugging. Other than that draft class, the Cardinals have outperformed the Astros in every category.

The pitchers were a little harder to compare the same way due to the fact that some of the pitchers have selected in these rounds have a very small sample size, especially in the 2009 and 2010 drafts, but below is the comparison between the Cardinals and Astros pitchers.

Cardinals 2008: ERA - 3.92, H/9 - 8.8, BB/9 - 3.5, K/9 - 7

Astros 2008: ERA - 4.98, H/9 - 9.8, BB/9 - 3.7, K/9 - 7

Cardinals 2009: ERA - 4.76, H/9 - 8.5, BB/9 - 5.1, K/9 - 9.3

Astros 2009: ERA - 5.99, H/9 - 10.7, BB/9 - 4.2, K/9 - 6.9

Cardinals 2010: ERA - 3.46, H/9 - 8.2, BB/9 - 3.5, K/9 - 8.3

Astros 2010: ERA - 3.99, H/9 - 8.9, BB/9 - 2.8, K/9 - 7.9

The Cardinals pitchers drafted from 2008-2010 outperformed the Astros in every category except for walks.

To wrap things up, Astros fans could see a difference in approach in terms of the draft going forward depending on big of a role Luhnow played in the Cardinals drafting strategies. Since Ed Wade and Bobby Heck has been at the helm we have heard a lot about projection and potential, but so far that hasn't translated into actual stats. It would be a nice change of pace to see performance matching expectations.

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