Friday, June 10, 2016

Redrafting Five First Round Picks

Photo Credit: Rick Osentoski- USA Today Sports
What if?...

This one question can spur endless conversation among sports fans. What if the Timberwolves had drafted Steph Curry? What if Gary Anderson didn't miss the game winning kick? What if the Twins had made different draft picks in the last decade?

Major League Baseball's drafting process is a very different animal compared to other major sports leagues like the NFL and the NBA. In the other leagues, the players being drafted can be playing the very next season and making a major contribution. In the baseball world, this isn't the case as it can take years for talent from a specific draft pool to make their big league debuts.

Here are a few ground rules for this post:
  • I was limited to taking players selected after the Twins drafted their player.
  • This was assuming every pick before the Twins followed the same order.
  • I start with the 2011 Draft because most players from the 2012 Draft, like Byron Buxton, are just beginning their MLB careers.
  • In a true redraft, the players on this list would obviously be gone long before the Twins made their pick
In hindsight, there would have been plenty of changes to the draft but here's who the Twins should have taken each year.

2011 
Minnesota's Pick: Levi Michael, SS (30th overall)
Redraft Pick: Jackie Bradley, Boston Red Sox (40th overall)
The Twins hoped Michael's college success could translate to a strong professional career but he has developed into an organizational depth player. He might get a cup of coffee at the big league level but that would probably be the end of it. Bradley is developing into a core member of a young Red Sox squad that is trending upwards. Minnesota has other young prospects playing in the outfield like Max Kepler and Miguel Sano but Bradley would be another piece to add to the mix.

2010
Minnesota's Pick: Alex Wimmers, RHP (21st overall)
Redraft Pick: Noah Syndergaard, Toronto Blue Jays (38th overall)
Minnesota missed out in this draft as the team took a college starter for the second straight year. Wimmers has never panned out in the minors and there were some other strong names left on the board. Christian Yelich was taken by the Marlins two picks after Wimmers. Taijuan Walker was selected at the end of the first round by the Mariners. However, the player the Twins missed out on was Noah Syndergaard as he dropped all the way to the Blue Jays with the 38th overall pick. Syndergaard looks more and more like he will develop into a very strong piece of the Mets rotation. Young pitching is valuable and Minnesota swung and missed like most players do on a Syndergaard fastball.

2009
Minnesota's Pick: Kyle Gibson, RHP (22nd overall)
Redraft Pick: Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels (25th overall)
Almost every MLB team wishes they had a shot to redraft this first round. Mike Trout, one of the top players in the game, fell to the Angels with the 25th pick. Stephen Strasburg was a solid number one pick but any team would give up a lot to have Trout in the line-up on a daily basis. Gibson fell to the Twins after an injury late in college scared some team's away. He was also on the fast track to the big leagues before Tommy John surgery put him on the sidelines. Gibson could end up being a middle of the rotation starter but he definitely wouldn't be worth a Trout trade.

2008 
Minnesota's Pick: Aaron Hicks, OF (14th overall)
Redraft Pick: Jake Odorizzi, Milwaukee Brewers (32nd overall)
At the time, Hicks was a strong pick with plenty of upside. However, his flaws as a player have come to the surface during his big league career. His defense can be amazing but it doesn't look like he will be a consistent hitter at baseball's highest level. Minnesota took three players (Hicks, Carlos Gutierrez, and Shooter Hunter) before Jake Odorizzi came off the board at pick number 32. Odorizzi has turned into a solid starter for the Rays and he would be a welcome addition in the Twins current rotation. Overall, the 2008 first round has been rough with Buster Posey being the lone star.

2007
Minnesota's Pick: Ben Revere, OF (28th overall)
Redraft Pick: Josh Donaldson, Chicago Cubs (48th overall)
The Twins liked Revere's athleticism and speed so they took him one pick after the Tigers selected Rick Porcello. Todd Frazier was taken five picks after Revere but the biggest miss might have been passing on last year's American League MVP. Donaldson's career WAR only trails David Price, Madison Bumgarner, and Jason Heyward from the 2007 first round. There are plenty of other team's that passed on Donaldson but he could be a difference maker at third base for the Twins.

Here's how Minnesota's line-up could look with the moves made above:
1. Jackie Bradley Jr.- LF
2. Joe Mauer- 1B
3. Mike Trout- CF
4. Josh Donaldson- 3B
5. Miguel Sano- RF
6. Eduardo Nunez- SS
7. Brian Dozier- 2B
8. Byung Ho Park- DH
9. Kurt Suzuki- C

Starting Rotation
1. Noah Syndergaard
2. Jake Odorizzi
3. Ervin Santana
4. Tyler Duffey
5. Pat Dean

What are your thoughts? Who would you have taken? How could Byron Buxton fit into this crowded line-up? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

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