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.
St. Louis Cardinals Photo Day
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5. Pitcher Justin Pope: 28th pick in the 2001 Draft

Pope was a standout pitcher at the University of Central Florida (UCF) breaking several school records in his time there, which led to his first-round selection in 2001. His professional career got off to a strong start, pitching to a 2.60 ERA in 15 starts in the New York/Penn League, then had a very strong year in 2002 with Peoria. In 12 starts that year, he went 8-1 with a minuscule 1.38 ERA and showed some great control, only allowing 12 walks across 78.1 innings. Unfortunately for Pope and the Cardinals, he could not follow that year up.

In the 2003 season, Pope was promoted to High-A Palm Beach and really struggled, a 4-11 record with a 4.92 ERA in 18 starts, a 10.4 hits/9, and just a 5.9 K/9. This was Pope's last season with the Cardinals organization, as he was traded to the Yankees at the 2003 Trade Deadline in the trade that sent Pitcher Sterling Hitchcock to St. Louis. Pope would spend 6 more seasons in the minor leagues, making it up to Triple-A but never getting to the show, he is now coaching in the minor leagues. Based on his massive achievements in College, it was a surprise to see Pope not pan out in his Major League career.

This draft did not have a whole lot of successful major league careers come out of it, especially in the late first round on down, but who was selected 9 picks after the Cardinals took Pope? It was David Wright, the 7-time All-Star, 2-time Gold Glove winning, 2-time Silver Slugger winning Third Basemen for the New York Mets.