While working on a separate project, I recently compiled a lot of data about my beloved St. Louis Cardinals and the value provided to their roster by individual players. My other project focuses on the Cardinals in the Walt Jocketty and John Mozeliak eras, the two General Managers that have helmed player procurement since 1995. Collecting that data allowed me to create today’s graph, which illustrates how much value was provided to the organization each season by players acquired via three primary means- draft, trade, and free agency. To show value, I’ve used Baseball Reference’s WAR statistic- Wins Above Replacement, explained here. Basically, a player’s WAR is the number of wins he provides to his team over and beyond what a readily available replacement player could be expected to provide.
Two things instantly become recognizable when looking at the graph. First and foremost, you can see a massive organizational shift towards draft and development during the Mozeliak era. While that’s hardly news for most Cardinals fans or even most hardcore baseball fans, it’s interesting to see the degree to which this strategy is bearing fruit. Second, it verifies Walt Jocketty’s reputation as a shrewd trader, at least during the organization’s peak under his helm (2000-2005).
As always, click on the image for the full resolution.