Re-Drafting Epic 2011 MLB Draft Class: Mookie Betts or Gerrit Cole at No. 1?
Who doesn't love a little revisionist history?
However, it also featured an absolute steal in fifth-rounder Mookie Betts, which raises an interesting question of who would be the No. 1 overall pick if the players were redrafted with the benefit of hindsight.
That's exactly what we set out to answer with our full re-draft of the 2011 MLB draft class.
Any player who signed as part of the 2011 class was eligible to be included in the player pool for the re-draft, with a revised selection and breakdown provided for each of the 33 first-round picks from that season. A quick list of the supplemental-round choices that ran from Nos. 34-60 is also provided at the end to round things out.
Let's dive right in.
1. Pittsburgh Pirates: RF Mookie Betts
There is simply no passing on Mookie Betts.
The 27-year-old has piled up 41.8 WAR over six MLB seasons with four Gold Glove Awards, three Silver Sluggers and 2018 American League MVP honors on his resume.
Outside of Mike Trout, there's a strong case to be made that he's the best all-around player in baseball.
Looking specifically at how this move would impact the Pittsburgh Pirates, Betts debuted with a 126 OPS+ and 2.3 WAR in 52 games down the stretch in 2014. The Pirates finished two games behind the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Central standings that year and lost to the San Francisco Giants in the Wild Card Game.
Could Betts have pushed them over the top in the division race and allowed them to avoid the do-or-die play-in game?
There's also the matter of his trade value.
The Pirates sold low on Gerrit Cole when they traded him prior to the 2018 season. Had they chosen to deal Betts at the same point, he would have been coming off a 6.3-WAR season and would have undoubtedly fetched a greater haul.
The stalled development of Gregory Polanco only furthers the appeal of selecting Betts at No. 1 overall.
Actual Pick: RHP Gerrit Cole
Betts' Actual Draft Position: No. 172 overall (Boston Red Sox)
2. Seattle Mariners: RHP Gerrit Cole
After whiffing on University of Virginia left-hander Danny Hultzen with their actual selection, the Seattle Mariners will happily select another college arm in Gerrit Cole to join Felix Hernandez atop the rotation.
The UCLA standout showed flashes in 2013 and 2014 with a 3.45 ERA over 41 starts, then he took his game to another level in 2015 when he finished fourth in NL Cy Young voting.
How would that timeline have impacted the Mariners?
While they had a losing record in 2015, the Mariners were in the thick of the wild-card race the following year, ultimately finishing three games back of the No. 2 spot. They won 86 games despite a starting rotation that ranked 19th in WAR.
Adding Cole to that staff might have been enough to snap a postseason drought that stretches back to 2001.
Actual Pick: LHP Danny Hultzen
Cole's Actual Draft Position: No. 1 overall (Pittsburgh Pirates)
3. Arizona Diamondbacks: SS Francisco Lindor
In their 22 years of existence, the Arizona Diamondbacks have had 11 different Opening Day starters at the shortstop position with Stephen Drew and Nick Ahmed representing the best of the bunch. That revolving door would come to a screeching halt with the selection of Francisco Lindor.
The four-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove winner is a rare five-tool talent at the shortstop position with 30-homer power, 20-steal speed and one of the slickest gloves in baseball.
Still just 26 years old, he's put together four straight seasons with at least 5.0 WAR, and there's a strong case to be made that he's currently the best shortstop in baseball.
One interesting domino effect to consider: Do the D-backs still target Ketel Marte in the Nov. 2016 trade that sent Jean Segura to Seattle if they have Lindor? While he spent last season shuffling between second base and center field, Marte began his career as a shortstop, and that's where he spent the bulk of his first season in Arizona.
Actual Pick: RHP Trevor Bauer
Lindor's Actual Draft Position: No. 8 overall (Cleveland Indians)
4. Baltimore Orioles: 3B Anthony Rendon
Anthony Rendon was in the mix to go No. 1 overall in the 2011 draft before a shoulder injury limited him to DH duties for much of his junior season at Rice University.
He ended up slipping to No. 6 as a result, and he doesn't make it that far in our re-draft.
The Orioles thought they were getting a future ace when they made Dylan Bundy the first high school pitcher selected in the 2011 class, but he never delivered on his tremendous upside.
This time around, the Orioles grab the best college bat in the class in Rendon, which creates a ripple effect on the left side of their infield.
Veteran J.J. Hardy never signs a three-year, $40 million extension following the 2014 season and departs in free agency, at which point Manny Machado shifts back to shortstop while Rendon takes over as the starting third baseman.
With that extra money to spend, perhaps the front office can aim a bit higher than Yovani Gallardo in their efforts to improve the starting rotation during the 2015-16 offseason, and maybe they don't tumble down the standings in the years to come.
Actual Pick: RHP Dylan Bundy
Rendon's Actual Draft Position: No. 6 overall (Washington Nationals)
5. Kansas City Royals: CF George Springer
A two-sport standout in high school who was also a 4-star quarterback prospect, per 247Sports, Bubba Starling was signed away from a commitment to the University of Nebraska with a $7.5 million bonus that ranked as the second-highest in draft history at the time.
He finally made his MLB debut last year at age 26 and hit .215 with a 50 OPS+ and a 28.4 percent strikeout rate in 56 games.
Meanwhile, George Springer has developed into one of the most dynamic outfielders in baseball, earning three straight All-Star selections while slugging 160 home runs and tallying 25.4 WAR over six seasons.
Shortstops Javier Baez and Trevor Story are also on the board here, but given the promise Adalberto Mondesi has shown and the glaring lack of long-term pieces in the Kansas City outfield, Springer looks like the best fit.
Actual Pick: OF Bubba Starling
Springer's Actual Draft Position: No. 11 overall (Houston Astros)
6. Washington Nationals: SS Javier Baez
Javier Baez has spent the bulk of his time in the majors playing up the middle, but he also has 104 games of experience at third base, where he has tallied 6 DRS in 629.1 innings.
Adding him to the middle infield mix potentially negates the Daniel Murphy signing, which provided the Washington Nationals with 7.7 WAR over the first two seasons of a three-year deal.
However, the defensive versatility and powerful bat Baez brings to the table at a much lower cost and with ongoing club control makes that a worthwhile trade-off. The Nationals could always have signed Murphy anyway and simply shifted Baez to the hot corner given the ability he has shown handling the position.
There are a lot of moving parts here, but Baez looks like the best fit.
Actual Pick: 3B Anthony Rendon
Baez's Actual Draft Position: No. 9 overall (Chicago Cubs)
7. Arizona Diamondbacks: RHP Sonny Gray
The best player on the board here is shortstop Trevor Story. However, after the D-backs scooped up Francisco Lindor with the No. 3 overall pick, it makes sense for them to turn their attention to the pitching side of things.
Right-hander Sonny Gray has endured some ups and downs over the course of his seven-year career, peaking with a pair of top-10 finishes in the Cy Young balloting in 2015 and 2019.
All told, he has a 3.53 ERA and 116 ERA+ in 1,076 innings in the majors, and he was at his best last season when he went 11-8 with a 2.87 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and 205 strikeouts in 175.1 innings while calling hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark home.
Would the D-backs still break the bank to sign Zack Greinke during the 2015-16 offseason when Gray was just coming into his own with a third-place finish in AL Cy Young voting in 2015?
Actual Pick: RHP Archie Bradley
Gray's Actual Draft Position: No. 18 overall (Oakland Athletics)
8. Cleveland Indians: SS Trevor Story
If Francisco Lindor is the best shortstop in baseball right now, Trevor Story might be No. 2 heading into the 2020 season.
His numbers are inflated by Coors Field, as evidenced by his good-not-great 113 OPS+, but his mix of power, speed and glove work makes him a dynamic all-around player and a suitable replacement for the current face of the franchise.
It's also worth wondering if the Indians might have a better chance of signing Story to a long-term deal than they do with Lindor, who seems destined to hit the trade block before he reaches free agency.
Actual Pick: SS Francisco Lindor
Story's Actual Draft Position: No. 45 overall (Colorado Rockies)
9. Chicago Cubs: RHP Kyle Hendricks
Kyle Hendricks was essentially a throw-in piece in the 2012 deadline deal that sent veteran starter Ryan Dempster from the Chicago Cubs to the Texas Rangers in exchange for top-100 prospect Christian Villanueva.
He has since emerged as a consistent presence in the Cubs rotation and one of the most underrated pitchers in all of baseball.
This gives the Cubs a chance to cut out the middleman and add him to the organization straight away following his collegiate career at Dartmouth College.
The 30-year-old is 63-43 with a 3.14 ERA and 132 ERA+ in 966 innings at the MLB level, and he etched his place in franchise lore when he posted a 1.42 ERA in 25.1 innings during the 2016 playoffs and took the ball in Game 7 of the World Series.
Actual Pick: SS Javier Baez
Hendricks' Actual Draft Position: No. 264 overall (Texas Rangers)
10. San Diego Padres: LHP Blake Snell
The San Diego Padres have been looking for a controllable ace on the trade market for several years now, and while they appear to have one rising through the minor league ranks in the form of MacKenzie Gore, he's still at least a year away.
Blake Snell would fill that void and provide the team with another long-term piece for the ongoing rebuild.
The left-hander turned in one of the best single-season pitching performances in recent memory in 2018 when he went 21-5 with a 1.89 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and 221 strikeouts in 180.2 innings to win AL Cy Young honors. His 217 ERA+ that year is tied for the 22nd-highest mark in MLB history.
Under team control through the 2023 season, he would be a huge addition to a squad on the rise that's pushing back toward contention.
Actual Pick: 2B Cory Spangenberg
Snell's Actual Draft Position: No. 52 overall (Tampa Bay Rays)
11. Houston Astros: RHP Mike Clevinger
After a forgettable start to his pro career, Mike Clevinger was traded from the Los Angeles Angels to the Cleveland Indians in exchange for reliever Vinnie Pestano in 2014.
He broke out at Double-A the following year and saw his first MLB action in 2016 when he logged a 5.26 ERA over 53 innings.
Despite that inauspicious debut, he has since developed into one of the best in the business, posting a 2.96 ERA and 152 ERA+ with a 1.15 WHIP and 10.3 strikeouts per nine innings in 447.2 frames over the past three seasons.
If he winds up with the Astros and breaks out for them during the 2017 season, do they still trade for Justin Verlander that August and Gerrit Cole that offseason?
Actual Pick: OF George Springer
Clevinger's Actual Draft Position: No. 135 overall (Los Angeles Angels)
12. Milwaukee Brewers: SS Marcus Semien
Orlando Arcia has failed to develop into the franchise shortstop many expected him to be for the Milwaukee Brewers, and the position remains a question mark in both the short- and long-term.
Marcus Semien would plug that hole nicely.
Originally selected in the sixth round out of the University of California, where he hit .275/.371/.415 with 19 extra-base hits in 61 games during his junior season, Semien has soared past expectations.
He's been worth 20.5 WAR in five seasons with the Oakland Athletics after coming over in the blockbuster 2014 deal that sent Jeff Samardzija to the Chicago White Sox. With 83 extra-base hits and 8.9 WAR last season, he finished third in AL MVP voting.
Just imagine the offensive impact of a Keston Hiura and Semien middle infield tandem.
Actual Pick: RHP Taylor Jungmann
Semien's Actual Draft Position: No. 201 overall (Chicago White Sox)
13. New York Mets: RHP Trevor Bauer
The New York Mets reached the World Series in 2015 on the strength of a strong starting rotation that included Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey and Bartolo Colon.
Two years later, they lost 92 games during a season in which Harvey saw his ERA spike to 6.70 and Syndergaard was limited to just seven starts.
Would they have managed to remain competitive with Trevor Bauer also in the rotation mix?
At the very least, last year's surprising deadline deal to acquire Marcus Stroman probably doesn't happen with Bauer around, and that means holding onto highly regarded pitching prospects Simeon Woods Richardson and Anthony Kay.
Actual Pick: OF Brandon Nimmo
Bauer's Actual Draft Position: No. 3 overall (Arizona Diamondbacks)
14. Florida Marlins: RHP Jose Fernandez
Would the Florida Marlins make this pick all over again knowing its eventual conclusion?
The impact Jose Fernandez made in his brief four-year stint with the team was profound, and it stretched beyond just his performance on the mound to his charitable work and public persona in the Miami community.
The 14.2 WAR he compiled ranks fifth among all pitchers from the 2011 draft class, trailing only Gerrit Cole (23.9), Kyle Hendricks (19.4), (Sonny Gray (18.1) and Trevor Bauer (14.8).
While he died at age 24 in a boating crash that killed two others, the memories he provided Marlins fans—and baseball fans in general—will endure the test of time.
Actual Pick: RHP Jose Fernandez
Fernandez's Actual Draft Position: No. 14 overall (Florida Marlins)
15. Milwaukee Brewers: RHP Tyler Glasnow
The Milwaukee Brewers have not had a true ace since Yovani Gallardo was in his prime, and the current staff is relying heavily on the continued development of Brandon Woodruff to fill that role.
While Tyler Glasnow is also still establishing himself at the MLB level, he offers the top-of-the-rotation upside the team should be prioritizing.
Everything seemed to click for the towering 6'8" right-hander after he was traded from Pittsburgh to Tampa Bay in the ill-fated Chris Archer blockbuster, and he was on his way to a breakout season last year when injury struck.
The 26-year-old finished 6-1 with a 1.78 ERA and 76 strikeouts in 60.2 innings before a forearm strain brought his season to an abrupt halt, but he was able to avoid surgery. Slotting him atop the Milwaukee staff would significantly change the look of that rotation.
The actual pick here, Jed Bradley, is now out of affiliated ball with a grand total of seven MLB innings to his credit.
Actual Pick: LHP Jed Bradley
Glasnow's Actual Draft Position: No. 152 overall (Pittsburgh Pirates)
16. Los Angeles Dodgers: 2B Kolten Wong
Kolten Wong finished third in NL Rookie of the Year voting in 2014, and he has been worth 16.3 WAR over the past six seasons as the St. Louis Cardinals' starting second baseman.
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Dodgers have spent that same stretch searching for stability at the position, using the likes of Dee Gordon, Howie Kendrick, Chase Utley, Logan Forsythe, Brian Dozier, Enrique Hernandez, Max Muncy, Chris Taylor and several others along the way.
Wong, 29, does not have gaudy offensive numbers, but with a stacked lineup, the Dodgers can afford to go with a more defensive-minded player at second base.
Last season, Wong posted a career-high 5.2 WAR while finishing 20th in NL MVP voting and winning his first Gold Glove. Only Cody Bellinger (9.1) and Muncy (5.7) posted higher WAR totals among all Dodgers players in 2019.
Actual Pick: LHP Chris Reed
Wong's Actual Draft Position: No. 22 overall (St. Louis Cardinals)
17. Los Angeles Angels: RHP Joe Musgrove
The Los Angeles Angels need pitching in the worst way.
After failing to land Gerrit Cole in free agency, they settled for adding Dylan Bundy and Julio Teheran to a rotation that was one of the worst in baseball in 2019. So while others in this draft class have accomplished more, no one left on the board offers more upside in a glaring area of need than Joe Musgrove.
He finished 2019 with a 4.44 ERA and 3.82 FIP over a career-high 170.1 innings, and he took his game to another level over his final seven starts with a 3.57 ERA and 42 strikeouts in 40.1 innings.
That could be a springboard to a breakout season, and that upside makes him a solid pick for the Angels.
Actual Pick: 1B C.J. Cron
Musgrove's Actual Draft Position: No. 46 overall (Toronto Blue Jays)
18. Oakland Athletics: SS Nick Ahmed
With Marcus Semien snatched up earlier in this re-draft, the shortstop position becomes an area of need for the Oakland Athletics.
Nick Ahmed was not an MVP candidate like Semien in 2019, but he did win his second straight Gold Glove Award while setting career highs in home runs (19) and RBI (82).
The 30-year-old was acquired by the D-backs in the 2013 deal that sent Justin Upton to Atlanta, and after serving in a utility role to begin his career, he's quietly been worth 8.7 WAR the past two seasons.
With a staggering 76 DRS in 613 MLB games, anything he provides with the bat is icing on the cake.
Actual Pick: RHP Sonny Gray
Ahmed's Actual Draft Position: No. 85 overall (Atlanta Braves)
19. Boston Red Sox: 1B Josh Bell
Incumbent first baseman Mitch Moreland has posted a 104 OPS+ while averaging 19 home runs and 68 RBI for the Boston Red Sox over the past three seasons.
During that same span, Josh Bell has a 122 OPS+ with averages of 25 home runs and 89 RBI. The 27-year-old took his game up a notch in 2019 when he hit .277/.367/.569 for a 143 OPS+ with 37 doubles, 37 home runs and 116 RBI.
That said, the offensive upgrade over Moreland would come at the cost of defense.
While Moreland is a former Gold Glove winner, Bell has posted brutal defensive metrics (minus-31 DRS, minus-8.8 UZR/150), which is part of the reason he slips a bit lower than some might have expected in this re-draft. Still, it's hard to overlook the numbers he posted last season.
It's also worth mentioning that it took $5 million to sign Bell away from a firm commitment to the University of Texas, a record bonus for a player selected outside the first round. That price may be a detriment to some teams, but the deep-pocketed Red Sox can afford it.
Actual Pick: RHP Matt Barnes
Bell's Actual Draft Position: No. 61 overall (Pittsburgh Pirates)
20. Colorado Rockies: RHP Ken Giles
The Colorado Rockies sunk $52 million into signing Wade Davis in an effort to shore up the back end of their bullpen.
Two years into that three-year deal, he's been worth minus-0.4 WAR, and a brutal 8.65 ERA in 42.2 innings last year cost him the closer's role.
Drafting Ken Giles might have saved them from making that mistake.
Over six seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies, Houston Astros and Toronto Blue Jays, Giles has racked up 114 saves in 129 chances with a 2.67 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and 12.2 K/9. The 29-year-old was one of the most dominant relievers in baseball last year with a 1.87 ERA and 14.1 K/9 in 53 appearances while nailing down 23 of his 24 save opportunities.
Actual Pick: LHP Tyler Anderson
Giles' Actual Draft Position: No. 241 overall (Philadelphia Phillies)
21. Toronto Blue Jays: CF Jackie Bradley Jr.
The Toronto Blue Jays could simply opt to re-up with defensive whiz Kevin Pillar with this pick. That relationship was worth 14.0 WAR over parts of seven seasons after he made good as a 32nd-round pick.
However, the upgrade Jackie Bradley Jr. would provide in center field during the 2016 season alone is reason enough for the team to go in a different direction. Here's a look at how the two players compare that year:
The Blue Jays reached the ALCS that season. Could Bradley have been the missing piece to push them over the top?
It's worth noting that either player would be preferable to their actual pick, Tyler Beede. He didn't sign and honored his commitment to Vanderbilt.
Actual Pick: RHP Tyler Beede (did not sign)
Bradley's Actual Draft Position: No. 40 overall (Boston Red Sox)
22. St. Louis Cardinals: RHP Seth Lugo
Few teams are better at developing pitching talent than the St. Louis Cardinals.
What would that mean for Seth Lugo's career trajectory?
The 30-year-old has emerged as a lethal bullpen arm for the New York Mets the past two seasons after failing to establish himself in the starting rotation. Last year, he posted a 2.70 ERA and 0.90 WHIP with 104 strikeouts in 80 innings, tallying six saves and 21 holds in a career-high 61 appearances.
At the very least, he would give the Cardinals a quality late-inning arm, shoring up an area that has been shaky at times in recent years. But maybe an organization with a strong track record on the developmental side of things would be able to unlock his full potential as a starter.
Actual Pick: 2B Kolten Wong
Lugo's Actual Draft Position: No. 1,032 overall (New York Mets)
23. Washington Nationals: RHP Zach Davies
The Washington Nationals have had a tough time finding any stability in the No. 5 starter spot over the past several seasons. Joe Ross, Edwin Jackson, A.J. Cole, Jeremy Hellickson, Jefry Rodriguez, Erick Fedde and Austin Voth are among the pitchers the team has turned to in an effort to fill the void.
While Zach Davies does not have electric stuff, he has proved to be an effective MLB starter.
In 2019, he went 10-7 with a 3.55 ERA, 1.29 WHIP and 102 strikeouts in 159.2 innings, and he carries a career 3.91 ERA over 614.1 innings. He would look awfully good penciled into that No. 5 spot behind Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Patrick Corbin and Anibal Sanchez.
Actual Pick: RHP Alex Meyer
Davies' Actual Draft Position: No. 785 overall (Baltimore Orioles)
24. Tampa Bay Rays: RHP Adrian Houser
More accomplished pitchers are still on the board at this point, but none of them offers the level of upside Adrian Houser carries heading into the 2020 season.
The 27-year-old began last season in the minors, and he didn't become a full-time member of the starting rotation until July. By season's end, he was one of the team's most reliable starters, posting a 3.02 ERA and 1.03 WHIP while holding opponents to a .201 average and tallying 52 strikeouts in 47.2 innings over his final 10 starts.
Putting him in the hands of a Rays organization that has done a tremendous job developing pitching over the years might expedite his arrival as an impact arm.
Actual Pick: RHP Taylor Guerrieri
Houser's Actual Draft Position: No. 69 overall (Houston Astros)
25. San Diego Padres: CF Kevin Pillar
The San Diego Padres have shuffled through Cameron Maybin, Will Venable, Travis Jankowski, Jon Jay, Manuel Margot and several others in center field going back to the 2012 season.
They will have a new face roaming the position now after acquiring Trent Grisham from the Milwaukee Brewers during the offseason.
Kevin Pillar might not be the sexiest name in this draft class, but he would have helped bring stability to that position with his standout defensive work. Over seven MLB seasons, he has 58 DRS in the outfield and 15.3 WAR.
Actual Pick: RHP Joe Ross
Pillar's Actual Draft Position: No. 979 overall (TOR)
26. Boston Red Sox: RHP Cody Allen
Cody Allen had 147 saves with a 3.03 ERA and 11.8 K/9 over the five-year span from 2014 through 2018 while serving as the Cleveland Indians closer.
Here's a look at where the Boston Red Sox ranked in relievers' ERA during that stretch:
It's been an inconsistent relief corps with a lot of turnover.
While Allen would not have been closing games over Koji Uehara or Craig Kimbrel, he would have been an excellent late-inning addition.
Actual Pick: C Blake Swihart
Allen's Actual Draft Position: No. 698 overall (CLE)
27. Cincinnati Reds: RHP Anthony DeSclafani
The Cincinnati Reds acquired Anthony DeSclafani in the deal that sent Mat Latos to the Miami Marlins prior to the 2015 season. That was the second time he had been traded as he was also part of the 12-player blockbuster that saw Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle dealt from Miami to Toronto.
Injuries have kept him from fully establishing himself, limiting him to under 125 innings in 2016 and 2018 and costing him the entire 2017 season, but he has shown enough potential for the Reds to cut out the middleman in this re-draft.
The 30-year-old went 9-9 with a 3.89 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and 167 strikeouts in 166.2 innings last year, and he has a solid 4.13 ERA and 102 ERA+ in 622.2 career innings.
With the injury bug seemingly in his rearview, the best may be yet to come.
Actual Pick: RHP Robert Stephenson
DeSclafani's Actual Draft Position: No. 199 overall (Toronto Blue Jays)
28. Atlanta Braves: RHP Blake Treinen
The Atlanta Braves have been searching for consistency in the bullpen since Craig Kimbrel was traded to the San Diego Padres following the 2014 season. That was especially true during the 2018 campaign when Arodys Vizcaino (16 SV) and A.J. Minter (15 SV) led a group of nine players who recorded at least one save.
How much better would that team have been with Blake Treinen slamming the door?
The sinkerballer turned in one of the best seasons by a reliever in recent memory in 2018 when he converted 38 of 43 save chances with a 0.78 ERA, 0.83 WHIP and 11.2 K/9 in 68 appearances to finish sixth in AL Cy Young voting.
While that was his best season, he's been effective throughout his career, posting a 2.97 ERA with 71 saves in 345 appearances.
Actual Pick: LHP Sean Gilmartin
Treinen's Actual Draft Position: No. 226 overall (Oakland Athletics)
29. San Francisco Giants: RHP Michael Fulmer
Michael Fulmer was perhaps the toughest player to place in this re-draft exercise.
The 27-year-old came out of nowhere to win AL Rookie of the Year honors in 2016, going 11-7 with a 3.06 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and 132 strikeouts in 159 innings for the Detroit Tigers after coming over in the trade that sent Yoenis Cespedes to the New York Mets.
However, he failed to match that level of success with a 4.21 ERA and 106 ERA+ over the next two seasons before missing the entire 2019 campaign recovering from Tommy John surgery.
He's still young enough that he offers some intriguing upside if he can get healthy, which makes him a solid high-risk, high-reward pick for a San Francisco Giants team in the early stages of a rebuild.
His presence in 2016 might also prevent the ill-advised Matt Moore trade that was made at the deadline to shore up the rotation.
Actual Pick: 2B Joe Panik
Fulmer's Actual Draft Position: No. 44 overall (New York Mets)
30. Minnesota Twins: RHP Archie Bradley
Archie Bradley failed to deliver on the ace upside that made him the No. 7 overall pick in the 2011 draft.
However, he has developed into a quality late-inning reliever, and that is something the Minnesota Twins have found themselves searching for frequently in recent years.
Since All-Star closer Glen Perkins saved 32 games during the 2015 season, the team has turned to unlikely sources like Brandon Kintzler, Fernando Rodney and Blake Parker in the ninth inning before handing the job to Taylor Rogers last year.
Bradley converted 18 of 21 save chances with a 3.52 ERA and 10.9 K/9 last year after racking up 59 holds in a setup role the previous two seasons.
Actual Pick: 2B Levi Michael
Bradley's Actual Draft Position: No. 7 overall (Arizona Diamondbacks)
31. Tampa Bay Rays: 3B Travis Shaw
- 2017: 121 OPS+, 31 HR, 101 RBI, 3.5 WAR
- 2018: 119 OPS+, 32 HR, 86 RBI, 4.2 WAR
Travis Shaw put together a pair of huge offensive seasons as the starting third baseman for the Milwaukee Brewers in 2017 and 2018:
The Rays traded longtime third baseman Evan Longoria to the San Francisco Giants after the 2017 season, and the third base position has been a bit of a revolving door the past two years as a result.
Shaw's numbers would have made him the team leader in home runs and RBI in 2018.
With an abundance of early picks in this draft, it's well worth using the No. 31 overall selection on those two standout seasons of offensive production.
Actual Pick: OF Mikie Mahtook
Shaw's Actual Draft Position: No. 292 overall (Boston Red Sox)
32. Tampa Bay Rays: RHP Chris Bassitt
The Oakland Athletics acquired Chris Bassitt in the same 2014 trade that landed them Marcus Semien from the Chicago White Sox in exchange for Jeff Samardzija.
After showing some flashes in years past, he quietly had an excellent season in 2019, going 10-5 with a 3.81 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 141 strikeouts in 144 innings.
The Rays love pitching, and perhaps in the right hands, his breakout performance comes far sooner than his age-30 season.
Regardless, he's arguably the most accomplished arm on the board at this point. After going with a bat at No. 31 overall, shifting the focus back to the mound makes sense.
Actual Pick: 2B Jake Hager
Bassitt's Actual Draft Position: No. 501 overall (Chicago White Sox)
33. Texas Rangers: OF Brandon Nimmo
Could Brandon Nimmo be the answer to the Texas Rangers' ongoing center field question?
The 27-year-old has been shuffled around the New York Mets outfield since making his debut in 2016, and while he has failed to fully establish himself, his elite on-base skills carry a lot of value.
Despite a middling .254 batting average and minimal power production, he boasts a .387 on-base percentage and a 15.2 percent walk rate in 1,084 career plate appearances.
With a move to a more hitter-friendly environment and an everyday position to call his own, perhaps he delivers on the upside he's sporadically shown during his time with the Mets.
Actual Pick: LHP Kevin Matthews
Nimmo's Actual Draft Position: No. 13 overall (New York Mets)
34. Washington Nationals: RHP Chris Devenski
35. Toronto Blue Jays: RHP Dylan Bundy
36. Boston Red Sox: 2B Joe Panik
37. Texas Rangers: C James McCann
38. Tampa Bay Rays: 1B C.J. Cron
39. Philadelphia Phillies: RHP Joe Ross
40. Boston Red Sox: RHP Matt Barnes
41. Tampa Bay Rays: LHP Amir Garrett
42. Tampa Bay Rays: C Austin Hedges
43. Arizona Diamondbacks: IF Tommy La Stella
44. New York Mets: LHP Daniel Norris
45. Colorado Rockies: RHP Jakob Junis
46. Toronto Blue Jays: 1B Daniel Vogelbach
47. Chicago White Sox: RHP John Brebbia
48. San Diego Padres: C Austin Barnes
49. San Francisco Giants: RHP Scott Barlow
50. Minnesota Twins: IF Brad Miller
51. New York Yankees: LHP Andrew Chafin
52. Tampa Bay Rays: RHP Kyle Crick
53. Toronto Blue Jays: LHP Tyler Anderson
54. San Diego Padres: OF Jake Cave
55. Minnesota Twins: RHP John Gant
56. Tampa Bay Rays: IF/OF Jon Berti
57. Toronto Blue Jays: RHP Jerad Eickhoff
58. San Diego Padres: C Curt Casali
59. Tampa Bay Rays: RHP Robert Stephenson
60. Tampa Bay Rays: OF Alex Dickerson