Do over: Re-drafting the class of 2005
Knowing what we now know, how might the first round go?
They say that hindsight is 20-20. There may not be an arena where that is truer than in the world of scouting and the First-Year Player Draft.
Since the Draft's inception in 1965, it's been easy enough for Monday-morning scouting directors to look back after a few years' time and see where teams might not have made the best decision. It certainly is easy to look back and think about how Albert Pujols went undiscovered until the 13th round of the 1999 Draft. Even this year, wannabe GMs look at Jason Heyward and wonder why 13 teams passed on him in 2007.
As one scout said, "That's our entire world. It's how we all lose or keep our jobs."
It's an interesting exercise to look at past Drafts and see how things might be different if everyone could go back and do it again, based on what's happened since.
Five years ago, in 2005, a Draft class emerged that had a reputation of being one of the best ever, in terms of talent. And, true to its billing, many from this class have risen up to become Major League stars. Others taken highly haven't done quite as well, though it's obviously too early to truly close the book on just about everyone from this class. And then there are the later picks who have outstripped those taken in the rounds before them.
With all of that in mind, here's a look at what the 2005 first round might look like if it were re-done today. A few ground rules were set in this exercise:
1. When possible, like positions were used. At the very least, if a team took a hitter, then the replacement is also a hitter. The same goes for pitchers. It wasn't always possible to match up college for college or outfielder for outfielder, but an attempt was made to stay as close to that script as possible.
2. Unsigned players from the Draft were not included. If they didn't sign then, it didn't seem fair to have them "signed" now. So that means no Brian Matusz (fourth round out of high school), Tim Lincecum (42nd round as a Draft-eligible sophomore) or Buster Posey (50th round out of high school).
With that out of the way, let's let the games begin.
1. Arizona Diamondbacks: Justin Upton
Still only 22, Upton's already got an All-Star Game appearance under his belt. The scary thing is he's just scratching the surface of his ability.
2. Kansas City Royals: Alex Gordon
While it's too early to give up on Gordon, who's in the Minors learning to play left field, it's fairly evident that another college third baseman would make more sense. This one finished second in Rookie of the Year voting, made it to an All-Star Game and has a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger under his belt.
Re-draft: Ryan Zimmerman
3. Seattle Mariners: Jeff Clement
With Clement struggling to keep a job in Pittsburgh, it's clear the Mariners shouldn't have gone to USC, but to the University of Miami, where they would have found a Rookie of the Year, a two-time All-Star and Silver Slugger winner.
Re-draft: Ryan Braun
4. Washington Nationals: Ryan Zimmerman
With Zimmerman off the board at No. 2, the Nats go for the next best college position player. This one finished second in Rookie of the Year voting in 2007 and fifth in the MVP vote a year ago.
Re-draft: Troy Tulowitzki
5. Milwaukee Brewers: Ryan Braun
With Braun in Seattle, the Brewers had to go with the next best bat, but this time it's a high school hitter. This one finished fourth in ROY voting last year and could be headed to his first All-Star Game this July after going No. 11 in the 2005 Draft.
Re-draft: Andrew McCutchen
6. Toronto Blue Jays: Ricky Romero
Considering Romero won 13 games as a rookie and is off to a fine start this season, an argument could be made to keep the pick as-is. But there is an upgrade to be made here, with a 22nd-round draft-and-follow who finished third on Rookie of the Year voting in 2009.
Re-draft: Tommy Hanson
7. Colorado Rockies: Troy Tulowitzki
Tulo's off the board, so who's the next best bat? The jury might still be out on that, but let's go with the speedy college outfielder who was taken No. 23 overall in this Draft, finished third in AL ROY voting in 2008, won two stolen base titles and has a World Series ring.
Re-draft: Jacoby Ellsbury
8. Tampa Bay Rays: Wade Townsend
Townsend never made it out of Double-A, so the Rays will get to take a pitcher who went No. 25 overall, saving them from having to trade for him in the first place.
Re-draft: Matt Garza
9. New York Mets: Mike Pelfrey
Pelfrey's been up-and-down, though he's been solid in 2010 in what could be a breakout year. There'd be nothing wrong with sticking with him, but with Romero dropping here, the Mets go with the lefty.
Re-draft: Ricky Romero
10. Detroit Tigers: Cameron Maybin
No one is ready to give up on Maybin just yet because of his tremendous tools, but there's no question things haven't turned out as hoped. The Tigers were able to get Miguel Cabrera for him (among others), but let's have them go with another high school outfielder from the class.
Re-draft: Colby Rasmus
11. Pittsburgh Pirates: Andrew McCutchen
With McCutchen gone a few slots higher, the Pirates go with another high school bat from the first round. After finishing fifth in NY ROY voting in 2008, he's had a little trouble establishing himself, but he is just 23.
Re-draft: Jay Bruce
12. Cincinnati Reds: Jay Bruce
The Reds were no doubt muttering when their guy got snatched one pick ahead of them, so they'll take the next best bat, high school or college. This Tennessee product was actually a second-rounder and seems to be settling in as a quality big leaguer.
Re-draft: Chase Headley
13. Baltimore Orioles: Brandon Snyder
There's certainly still time for Snyder to deveop into a big-leaguer, but with him still in Triple-A, the O's look for another hitter. This one made the uncommon transition from Cuban defector to Draft-eligible, going in the second round and finishing sixth in ROY voting in 2007.
Re-draft: Yunel Escobar
14. Cleveland Indians: Trevor Crowe
Crowe's getting some time now in Cleveland, but has just a .242/.288/.348 line in 72 big-league games. Gordon, for all his disappointment, does have 38 homers and 28 steals in his MLB career.
Re-draft: Alex Gordon
15. Chicago White Sox: Lance Broadway
Broadway was in the bigs by 2007, but he's never been able to stick and is now pitching in Triple-A for his third organization. Instead, the White Sox will go with the big Wichita State right-hander who's "slid" a little.
Re-draft: Mike Pelfrey
16. Florida Marlins: Chris Volstad
While there are some other arms who could possibly move up to this spot, Volstad is still just 23 and establishing himself as a solid starter. Might be just for potential, but this one stays.
17. New York Yankees: Carl Henry
In this Draft, the Yankees took two multi-sport athletes and signed them both. Henry certainly didn't work out, but the other guy they took in the eighth round was used to bring Curtis Granderson to New York and, even with the high strikeout rate, seems intent on being an AL ROY candidate with the Tigers.
Re-draft: Austin Jackson
18. San Diego Padres: Cesar Carrillo
Carrillo did make it up to the big leagues last year, but that didn't go so well and he's back pitching in Triple-A this year. So the Padres will go with another college right-hander with mound savvy, one originally taken in the second round who has compiled 31 big-league wins to date.
Re-draft: Kevin Slowey
19. Texas Rangers: John Mayberry
The Stanford product did make his big-league debut last year and hit a few homers, but he's back in Triple-A, seemingly a bit stuck. His replacement was a fourth-rounder out of Miami who might be contending for NL Rookie of the Year honors this season.
Re-draft: Gaby Sanchez
20. Chicago Cubs: Mark Pawelek
Pawelek got released by the Cubs, pitched with the Reds last year and now appears to be out of affiliated baseball having never reached above A-ball. They may prefer a lefty taken in the 22nd round of this Draft who's an early ROY candidate in St. Louis.
Re-draft: Jaime Garcia
21. Oakland A's: Cliff Pennington
It's not that he's been overwhelming, but he is playing everyday as the A's shortstop, and the other potential middle infield options weren't an upgrade.
22. Florida Marlins: Aaron Thompson
Thompson is no longer with the organization and is pitching in Double-A with the Nationals, so the Marlins will simply take the guy they took in the supplemental first round, a big lefty who's back in Triple-A but was up for much of last year.
Re-draft: Sean West
23. Boston Red Sox: Jacoby Ellsbury
With Ellsbury long gone, the Red Sox go looking for another speedy leadoff type. They find what they're looking for at the College of Charleston, a third-rounder taken by their archrivals in New York.
Re-draft: Brett Gardner
24. Houston Astros: Brian Bogusevic
It was tempting to say the Astros would just take the same player, but make him an outfielder immediately, but since their intent was to get a college lefty, they'll get one from the University of Michigan taken originally in the eighth round.
Re-draft: Clayton Richard
25. Minnesota Twins: Matt Garza
Kudos to the Twins for getting Garza this late, but he's long gone in this role play, so they'll dip down to the supplemental first-round for a right-hander who looks like he's starting to fulfill his potential this year.
Re-draft: Clay Buchholz
26. Boston Red Sox: Craig Hansen
Hansen did make it up to the big leagues and helped the Sox get Jason Bay, but has never been able to establish himself as a Major League reliever. His replacemnt was taken 27 rounds later and has put up some outstanding numbers over the past two-plus seasons as a setup/middle man.
Re-draft: Sergio Romo
27. Atlanta Braves: Joey Devine
The Braves dipping into the college pool this year didn't really work out, though Devine did make it to the bigs and was establishing himself as a closer when he got hurt. They'll instead go to a University of Georgia fifth-rounder who's started and relieved and seems to be settling into the latter role.
Re-draft: Mitchell Boggs
28. St. Louis Cardinals: Colby Rasmus
Rasmus moved way up in this scenario. If the Cardinals were still looking for a high school bat, particularly one that can play center field, it's not too late to give Maybin another shot.
Re-draft: Cameron Maybin
29. Florida Marlins: Jacob Marceaux
The Marlins took a whole bunch of pitching in this draft and Marceaux, who never pitched above Double-A and isn't pitching currently, is one of the bigger disappointments. They'll dip down to the seventh round for someone who was then a high-school lefty taken by a division rival.
Re-draft: Jon Niese
30. St.Louis Cardinals: Tyler Greene
There were some middle infielder types to possibly plug in here -- Jed Lowrie, Chris Getz -- but instead the Cardinals will go with what might be the best available bat, a Princeton product trying to stick in the San Diego outfield.
Re-draft: Will Venable
Jonathan Mayo is a reporter at MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.