St. Louis Cardinals history: The 10 worst first-round picks in the 21st century

The Cardinals have found some pristine talent in the first round of some drafts. but they've also had some duds.

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2. Pitcher Chris Lambert: 19th pick in the 2004 MLB draft

Lambert was an impressive pitching prospect after an accomplished collegiate career at Boston College, and he was thought highly of in a draft class that was predominately built on pitchers.

After being drafted, Lambert was assigned to Peoria and he made 9 starts with them, recording a 2.58 ERA and a strong 10.8 K/9 rate. He was even better in High A with Palm Beach in 2005 going 7-1 in 10 starts which led to a quick promotion to Double-A, but he was not as effective. In 18 starts at Springfield, he had a 6.35 ERA and a 1.71 WHIP, struggling with putting hitters away as he did in college. After recording a 5.30 ERA at Double-A in 2006, he was promoted to Triple A-Memphis for one start at the end of the season.

Before the 2007 season, the Cardinals decided to move Lambert to the bullpen and it was not successful at all. in 28 appearances at Memphis (24 in relief ) he had a 7.49 ERA and again was struggling with hits and walks, recording a 1.79 WHIP. Towards the end of the season, Lambert was traded by the Cardinals to the Tigers, in a trade that sent pitcher Mike Maroth to St. Louis. He ultimately did make it to the major leagues with the Tigers and Orioles across two seasons, but he did not put up the numbers you would expect from such a high pick.

As I mentioned earlier, the 2004 draft class was loaded with pitching, who did the Cardinals pass on to take Lambert? They missed out on taking Glen Perkins, Phil Hughes, J.P. Howell, Gio Gonzalez, and Huston Street, five pitchers that were taken in the first round after Lambert.