St. Louis Cardinals 2021 Pre-Draft Basics

All the background information to prepare for the St. Louis Cardinals’ 21 selections ahead in the 2021 First-Year Player Draft.


The 20-round 2021 First-Year Player Draft consisting of 612 selections will stretch over three consecutive days. (Actually, it begins on Sunday evening!)

Round 1+ (first 36 picks)

  • Sunday, July 11, 7 p.m. ET
  • MLB Network, ESPN and
  • Four, then two minutes between selections

Rounds 2-10

  • Monday, July 12, 1 p.m. ET
  • Round 2 only on MLB Network with Rounds 3-10 on
  • One minute between selections

Because the Cardinals have a Competitive Balance Round B selection, they will make 10 picks across these nine rounds, including a total of three in the first 70 and five in the initial 120.

Rounds 11-20

  • Tuesday, July 13, noon ET
  • No time between selections

Who and Where?

Xavier Scruggs will be the Cardinals’ representative in Denver so the organization’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion consultant should get a lot of TV face time.

The former MLB first baseman will receive instructions from the brain trust in St. Louis, led by director of scouting Randy Flores.

How Much can they Spend?

The Cardinals have been allocated cap space of $8,167,100 to sign their 11 selections through round 10.

Individual slot values are shown below and are the same as in 2019 and 2020.

The total amount must also accommodate incremental spending on any individual players signed for more than $125,000 each in rounds 11-20. However, every team does have a bit more flexibility. It can overspend by up to 5% of the total without incurring future draft pick penalties.

Based on the reverse order of 2020 standings, St. Louis would pick 19th in each round. However, Houston forfeited its first and second round selections, bringing the Cardinals up to 18th.

Round-pick 2021 draft Pick value
1-18 $3,481,300
2-54 $1,338,500
2-70 CBB $906,800
3-90 $657,600
4-120 $478,300
5-151 $353,700
6-181 $270,300
7-211 $211,500
8-241 $171,200
9-271 $153,300
10-301 $144,600
Pool total $8,167,100

Where will the Cardinals focus?

Everyone would like to know if St. Louis will continue its recent trend of focusing on position players early or return to its traditional pitching core. They also wonder if the organization will take a chance on riskier, but higher upside high schoolers or go with more conservative collegians.

Of course, the front office does not share their draft board or even hint as to who is on it. In fact, they may not yet know who they will select. It would not be due to a lack of preparation, however, since the direction may depend on the 17 players taken before St. Louis’ first turn at no. 18 overall.

Having said that, a number of national draft observers believe that college pitching is the strongest segment of this class. Given the magnitude of pitching struggles at all levels of the Cardinals minor league system, going with the flow may be the best approach.

How soon will signings occur?

By delaying the draft a month, the annual conflicts with the NCAA College World Series are no more. Signings should begin relatively quickly, with the normal caveats of examinations needing to occur before official announcements are made.

Draftees, whether high school or college, will have less than three weeks – until August 1 – to make their signing decision.

What is next?

Check back at The Cardinal Nation for daily draft coverage with player scouting reports by Blake Newberry and commentary by Brian Walton.

For more

To track the status of the Cardinals’ 40-man roster as well as all players in the system by position and level, check out the Roster Matrix, always free and updated here at The Cardinal Nation. Also included is every player transaction across the full organization all year long.

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