The St. Louis Cardinals go into the 2012 MLB Draft season with the best farm system they've had in years. Last season's first-rounder, Kolten Wong, is hitting .329/.418/.518 in AA Springfield as a 21-year-old. No. 1 prospect Shelby Miller is in AAA Memphis, and likely the first man up in case of a rotation emergency. And Oscar Taveras, the Cardinals' 20-year-old hitting star, is slugging .667 and throwing up the Bryce Harper signal after being tested with a AA promotion of his own.
And now they have draft picks. Lots of draft picks. The Cardinals' own No. 23 pick is joined by a No. 19 and a No. 36 for Albert Pujols's departure, No. 52 for Octavio Dotel, and No. 59 for Edwin Jackson. That raft of early draft choices could solidify the Cardinals' status as a top farm system in baseball.
Of course, there is one complication—the Cardinals' minor league guru, Jeff Luhnow, is now GM of the Houston Astros. In addition to Luhnow's departure the Cardinals will also have to reorient their pitching priorities with Dave Duncan away from the team.
More St. Louis Cardinals coverage from SB Nation St. Louis:
- Here's a look at the Cardinals' place in the 2012 MLB Draft order.
- Meanwhile, one of the Cardinals' priorities has already changed: Mike Matheny loves to run.