Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 MLB Draft will only consist of five rounds. Over the years, the Cardinals have had some great luck picking in later rounds, including possibly the greatest draft pick of all time.
These are the four best draft picks the Cardinals wouldn't have been able to make in the 2020 Draft format.
4. Placido Polanco
Despite only playing four full seasons in St. Louis, Placido Polanco exceeded expectations after being selected in the 19th round of the 1994 MLB Draft. Over the course of 15 seasons in the MLB, Polanco posted a career average of .297, winning three Gold Gloves as a second baseman. His best season came in 2007 with Detroit, when he hit .341.
3. Matt Carpenter
Matt Carpenter has been a staple of the Cardinals lineup for nine seasons. As a 13th-round pick in 2009, the Cardinals got an absolute steal in Carpenter. Carpenter broke out in 2013, finishing fourth in MVP voting after leading the majors in runs, hits and doubles. He also hit .318 on the path to leading the Cardinals to a World Series appearance. In recent years, Carpenter has added power to his game, hitting 36 homers in 2018.
2. Keith Hernandez
One of the greatest players in Cardinals history, Keith Hernandez was surprisingly a 42nd round pick in 1971. It took a few years for Hernandez to explode in MLB, but that's exactly what he did in 1979, winning the NL MVP along with the batting title, posting a .344 average. He went on to help the Cardinals to the 1982 World Series title before being dealt to the Mets in a blockbuster trade in 1983.
1. Albert Pujols
One of the few active Hall-of-Famers in MLB today, Albert Pujols was selected in the 13th round (!!!) of the 1999 MLB Draft. Pujols immediately made an impact, winning Rookie of the Year and finishing fourth in MVP voting in his debut season. In one of the greatest rookie seasons of all time, Pujols hit 37 homers, drove in 130 runs, and batted .329. Pujols went on to win three MVPs, a batting title, and two World Series in his time with the Cards.