The Colorado Rockies and other MLB teams missed out on future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols more than a dozen times.
In the 13th round of the draft, the Colorado Rockies drafted a pitcher by the name of Rick Cercy. Heard of him? Probably not … and for good reason. He never got to the majors and never got above Double-A.
But his draft pick is more significant when you look at the player that was drafted just two picks later: a third baseman by the name of Albert Pujols.
Pujols was the 402nd pick in the draft. Within two years, he ended up winning the 2001 NL Rookie of the Year Award, three NL MVP awards, 10 All-Star selections, six Silver Slugger Awards, and two Gold Gloves with a career rWAR of 99.6. Through 2016, his rWAR was 101.4.
He was a third baseman, first baseman, left fielder, and right fielder for the Cardinals for the first few seasons before he became a full-time first baseman in 2004.
In the 15th round with the 472nd pick of the draft, the San Diego Padres drafted pitcher Jake Peavy. He was a three-time All-Star, won the 2007 NL Cy Young Award, and he is on the 2022 MLB HOF ballot.
12 picks before him, the Rockies drafted third baseman Dan Phillips. Phillips never made it above Double-A either.
Two missed picks for the Colorado Rockies and 27 other teams missed out on Pujols and Peavy but Pujols was obviously a huge miss for the Rockies.
He wouldn’t have been the Rockies everyday first baseman with Todd Helton occupying the position but just imagine the Rockies having Helton, Pujols, and Larry Walker in 2001 through 2004, Helton, Pujols, and Matt Holliday from 2005 through 2006, and those three along with Troy Tulowitzki and Brad Hawpe in 2007 and 2008.
Those were already good lineups without Pujols but with him? Those lineups would have been phenomenal.
Our series will continue next with the 2000 Draft when the Rockies and their 1st round draft pick regretted their choice.