Pujols was at the top of the list of local scouts and the team chose to pass. Can you imagine what this scout did next?
The headlines could have read: “Former Tampa Bay Rays first baseman Albert Pujols potentially retires after 2021 seasonInstead, speculation of a generational talent starting their farewell tour, sparked by an Instagram post from his wife, is another reminder of what could have been
This brings me back to one of my favorite stories in Rays / Devil Rays folklore: Fernando Arango was an area scout for the Devil Rays and came across a relatively unknown high school prospect for good reason Albert Pujols and his family had recently moved to the United States from the Dominican Republic when he was 16 and he was just making a name for himself as a high school baseball player
I first learned this story years ago from reading The Extra 2% by Jonah Keri ESPN released a snippet of the story and it’s clear that Arango was fully confident in the potential that Pujols had to be a star in the majors
Steadfast, Arango told his bosses: “All I want to say about this guy is that one day he will hit 40 home runs in the big leagues.Jennings wasn’t ready to dismiss Arango’s report or his ranking of the best prospect in the Arango Five-State Zone So he sent RJ Harrison, a national auditor (who would take over, years later, as Director of Screening) Harrison’s Verdict: “I can’t do anything with this guy”
Despite the relationship Arango built with Pujols and the raw skills that were displayed during a pre-draft practice at Tropicana Field, the Rays moved on to writing the future Hall of Famer.
Many people claim that all other teams also missed their draft – for 13 rounds – however, it’s important to wonder how many of those other teams had a scout begging and begging to recruit him
The other common talking point is that in that same draft, the Devil Rays selected Josh Hamilton with their two top picks in the draft.
Instead of settling for just those two picks, acknowledging that Hamilton’s MLB accomplishments came from outside the Tampa Bay organization, they picked eight straight sixth through 13th round players who have never made the majors for a day, a game, a round, a minute or a second unless they bought a ticket, period
Any of these selections could have, should have and would have been Pujols if the front office had listened to their scout’s trusted advice
Of course, there are many variables that could have derailed this revisionist story fantasy that doesn’t make it any less real that the Devil Rays could have had a young and talented trio with such success that we would never change the name , the jerseys or the name of Stu Sternberg
Unfortunately for Rays fans, this is just one story that hurts every time you relive it
So far Pujols has hit 271/316/519 with 15 homers in 54 games against the Rays You may remember some of those performances against Tampa Bay:
For some, it’s a painful reminder every year, and will be until Pujols retires Steve Jobs said: “It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do We hire smart people so they can tell us what to do “
Fernando Arango resigned from his post after the team refused to take his recommendation on the player he deemed the best in his region But that’s not the end of his baseball story
In 2003, he joined the Milwaukee Brewers and was promoted to Coordinator – Latin America, then Director of Scouting for the Dominican Republic Before retiring in 2015, he also spent his three years as a cross checker for the St Louis Cardinals (after the departure of Pujols for the Angels)
Arango succeeded in 2019 Along the way he remained a close friend of Pujols, a man who should have been a Devil Ray
News from the world – United States – Never forget: Albert Pujols should have been a devil’s ray