With no games happening anytime soon, we're all feeling a bit nostalgic. And being a bit of a draftnik, what better time to take a look at how some of the previous drafts might go down if given the opportunity to re-draft. We start with the 2013 draft; a class that is a bit light on depth, but offers some real star potential at the top and -- like all drafts -- quality players throughout.
A quick look at some rules:
- The focus is mostly on what the player can offer in the future, but their previous success is also applied.
- Every team gets a pick, and teams that had more than one first-round selection had their extra choice removed.
- Positional need was not considered, a best-player-available approach was taken with all selections.
Now, on to the redraft:
1. Houston Astros
The pick: Cody Bellinger, OF/1B
Originally drafted: 4.124 (Dodgers)
Actual 1st selection: Mark Appel, RHP
There’s definitely a 'Big Three' in this draft, and as good as the next two names are on this list, Bellinger is the obvious choice. He owns a career .928 OPS in his 450 games with the Dodgers, and he was your 2019 NL MVP. It's tough to imagine that he's losing his spot as the top player from the 2013 draft anytime soon, if at all.
Appel, meanwhile, flamed out and retired from baseball after being traded to the Phillies in 2016. It’s safe to say the Astros wouldn’t mind this exercise becoming a reality.
2. Chicago Cubs
The pick: Kris Bryant, 3B/OF
Originally drafted: 1.2
Actual 2nd selection: Bryant
This was hard. Serious thought was given to a certain Yankees’ slugger with this selection, and while there's an argument to be made that Judge has more upside at this point in his career, we have to take into consideration what they’ve contributed, and Bryant has been a more consistent player and isn’t exactly lacking in ceiling for the remainder of his career, either. If we did this redraft in 2017 Bryant would be the first pick and it wouldn’t be close; he just doesn’t have the same kind of talent Bellinger does, with all due respect.
3. Colorado Rockies
The pick: Aaron Judge, OF
Originally drafted: 1.32 (Yankees)
Actual selection: Jon Gray, RHP
Judge has been better than anyone expected out of Fresno State, and if this writer was voting for the 2017 MVP Award, the vote would have been his. Sure he strikes out a ton, but he’s a very competent defender, he has a great approach at the plate, and his power competes with anyone. Also, close your eyes, and imagine Aaron Judge playing 81 games in Coors Field. Yeah, that’s fun. Gray doesn’t stay on the board for all that much longer, but Judge is obviously a better pick with hindsight on our side.
4. Minnesota Twins
The pick: Austin Meadows, OF
Originally drafted: 1.9 (Pirates)
Actual 4th selection: Kohl Stewart, RHP
Meadows was considered a potential contender for the first pick in 2013, but a so-so senior season as a prep saw him slip to the ninth pick. He was then considered one of the top outfield prospects in baseball, but saw his stock slip due to injuries and then traded in the Chris Archer trade. Long story short, Meadows kept getting underestimated, and now he’s one of the most exciting young outfielders in baseball.
Stewart, on the other hand, was the top prep pitcher in the class coming into the event, but he’s struggled to miss bats as a professional and is really nothing more than organizational fodder at this point; signing with the Orioles this offseason.
5. Cleveland Indians
The pick: Jeff McNeil, INF/OF
Originally drafted: 12.356 (Mets)
Actual 5th selection: Clint Frazier, OF
What a difference seven years make. McNeil was drafted out of Long Beach State after 355 players came off the board, and he’s gone from organizational fodder to intriguing utility player to one of the best pure hitters for average in the game the last two seasons. He’s also proven to be a competent defender at multiple positions, and he’s shown more power than anticipated, to boot. McNeil may be 28, but he’s a young 28, if that makes sense.
6. Miami Marlins
The pick: Tim Anderson, SS
Originally drafted: 1.17 (White Sox)
Actual 6th selection: Colin Moran, 3B
If Anderson has another season like he did in 2019, this will be a few spots too low. The speedy shortstop hit a league-leading .335 for the White Sox in 2019, and he added 17 steals and 18 homers. The question is, can he keep this up while having one of the worst approaches in baseball (71 walks in 521 career games)? The speed and usable defense at shortstop will certainly keep him relevant, but if he can hit for a similar level of power .508) and make enough hard contact to overcome the lack of walks -- and let’s keep in mind he’s just 26-years-old -- there’s more.
Moran has been a starter for the Pirates the last two years at third base, but he’s put up pedestrian numbers and isn’t the likely long-term answer at third for the Bucs.
7. Boston Red Sox
The pick: Mitch Garver
Originally drafted:9.260 (White Sox)
Actual 7th selection: Trey Ball, LHP
Garver was not a high-profile backstop in the 2013 draft after playing at New Mexico, but he quickly established himself as the best catching prospect in the Minnesota system, and after a solid 2018 season, he exploded in 2019 with a .995 OPS, 31 homers and 67 RBI in just 93 starts for the AL Central champions. He’s also a fine defender behind the plate, so there’s no reason to think he’s not a long-term backstop.
Ball was an intriguing two-way prospect coming of an Indiana high school but focused on pitching, and after posting a 5.02 ERA in 134 career games, he’s now trying to make a comeback as a hitter.
8. Kansas City Royals
The pick: Sean Manaea, LHP
Originally drafted: 1.34 (Royals)
Actual 8th selection: Hunter Dozier, INF/OF
The Royals were able to get Manaea with the 34th pick in 2013, but they won’t be fortunate enough to procure his services this late in a redraft if they want him. And they should. This is not exactly a draft that is loaded in pitching, but the 28-year-old has been the most consistent hurler in the class, and he’s the rare pitcher of his age that still has upside left in the tank. You can make the argument that a few other arms could go with this spot, but combining ceiling and floor -- even after just making five starts last year -- make him the pitcher/player the Royals want in this spot.
9. Toronto Blue Jays
The pick: Trey Mancini, OF/1B
Originally drafted: 8.249 (Orioles)
Actual 9th selection: Meadows (Pirates)
Here’s where our redraft takes a bit of a turn, as this pick was originally handed to the Pirates after they failed to sign Appel in 2012. There are a few hitters of Mancini’s skill set that compete for this spot, but the 28-year-old has the best combination of upside and previous success. The former Notre Dame slugger was particularly good in 2019 with a .291/.364/.535 line, and he hit 35 homers and drove in 95 runs in 154 games for the Orioles. It is worth pointing out that Mancini did have surgery to remove a malignant tumor from his colon in the offseason, but we’ll assume everything works out, and he should be a middle-of-the-order hitter over the next few seasons.
10. New York Mets
The Pick: Jon Gray, RHP
Originally selected: 1.3 (Rockies)
Actual 10th selection: Phil Bickford (Blue Jays)
Gray was easily the top pitching prospect in this class after putting up impressive numbers at Oklahoma, but he hasn’t quite developed into the ace many expected. Still, let’s remember that he’s had to pitch in some very unfriendly confines, and strikeouts have not been an issue for the 28-year-old. It’s safe to say that he’d be much better if he’s pitching somewhere else -- anywhere else, really -- for his home starts.
Bickford didn’t sign with the Jays, and he has struggled to stay on the mound after being selected by the Giants with the 18th pick of the 2015 draft.
11. Seattle Mariners
The pick: Hunter Dozier, INF/OF
Originally selected: 1.8 (Royals)
Actual 11th selection: Dominic Smith, 1B (Mets)
Dozier was drafted as a shortstop out of Stephen F. Austin State, and while he struggled with injuries and consistency in the early part of his career, he had a breakout season for the Royals; hitting .26 homers, 10 tripled and posting an .870 OPS in his second full-season of MLB action. While it was his second season of playing more than 100 games, this was really his first year of being a regular, and he was more than up to the challenge. Expect Dozier to be just as good -- if not better -- in 2021 (or 2020 if we do get a season) for the rebuilding Royals.
12. San Diego Padres
The pick: Oscar Mercado, OF
Originally selected: 2.57 (Cardinals)
Actual 12th selection: D.J. Peterson, INF (Mariners)
It’s sort of amazing how baseball profiles change. Mercado was drafted as a glove-first shortstop in 2013 by the Cardinals, but he made the move to the outfield and was shipped in a prospect-for-prospect move that netted St. Louis Conner Capel and John Torres. After being promoted to Cleveland in the middle of the 2019 season, Mercado was a bit up-and-down, but 15 steals, 15 homers and a .761 OPS in a rookie campaign is nothing to sneeze at.
Peterson was able to put up video-game numbers with New Mexico, but has yet to advance past Triple-A and spent half of 2019 with the Sugar Land Skeeters in the Atlantic League.
13. Pittsburgh Pirates
The pick: Matthew Boyd, LHP
Originally selected: 6.175 (Blue Jays)
Actual 13th selection: Hunter Renfroe (Padres)
If you just look at Boyd’s career numbers (4.92 ERA, 1.32 WHIP in 122 starts), you’ll be wondering what he’s doing being selected this high. Keep in mind that this is not just about what they’ve done, it’s what they’re capable of, and Boyd still has a bright future. He also struck out 238 hitters in 185 1/3 innings last year, and much of his struggles had to do with allowing 39 homers. Assuming the baseball is a little more pitcher-friendly -- or less hitter-friendly, anyway -- and Boyd is moved to a contender sooner than later, and he should post much better numbers. There’s reason to believe teams feel the same, and he’d be a Top 15 pick if this sort of thing existed.
14. Arizona Diamondbacks
The pick: Ryan McMahon, INF
Originally selected: 2.42 (Rockies)
Actual 14th selection: Reese McGuire (Pirates)
McMahon was drafted out of baseball (and every other sport) powerhouse Mater Dei HS in Santa Ana, and quickly established himself as one of the best prospects in the Colorado system. The 25-year-old “finally” got a chance to play everyday in 2019, and he hit .250/.329/.450 with 24 homers and five steals in 141 games for the Rockies. While it may seem like McMahon has been around forever, the left-handed hitting infielder is still just 25 until December, and there’s reason to believe that we’re just scratched the surface.
McGuire was drafted as a defense-first catcher with the second of the Pirates’ first-round picks, and while he’s hit very well in his limited time in the majors after being traded to the Blue Jays, he projects as a second backstop at this point in time.
15. Philadelphia Phillies
The pick: Hunter Renfroe
Originally selected: 1.13 (Padres)
Actual 15th selection: Braden Shipley (Diamondbacks)
If we would have done this redraft in 2019, Renfroe is a Top 10 pick, easily. Unfortunately for the outfielder, he was awful last summer with a .216/.289/.489 line in 140 games with 154 strikeouts. Still, the power is obvious with 89 homers in three-plus seasons, and there’s time for Renfroe to turn it around. It'll be interesting to see if he can make the adjustments after being dealt to the Rays in the Tommy Pham trade this winter.
Shipley was considered one of the most athletic hurlers in the class, but he hasn’t shown a lick of consistency at any level, and he’s not going to be anything more than organizational depth, it appears.