Re-Drafting the 2013 MLB Draft: Aaron Judge or Cody Bellinger at No. 1?May 28, 2020
Re-Drafting the 2013 MLB Draft: Aaron Judge or Cody Bellinger at No. 1?
A trio of superstars headlines the 2013 MLB draft class in Cody Bellinger, Kris Bryant and Aaron Judge.
Bryant went No. 2 overall after winning the Golden Spikes Award with a dominant junior season at the University of San Diego, Judge was the No. 32 overall pick out of Fresno State and Bellinger slid all the way to the fourth round as an Arizona prep standout.
Where would those guys have gone in the 2013 MLB draft if teams had the benefit of hindsight? That's what we set out to answer.
Any player who signed as part of the 2013 class was eligible to be included in the re-draft, which includes a revised selection and breakdown for each of the 27 first-round picks. To round things out, we have added a list of Compensatory Round and Competitive Balance Round A choices from Nos. 28-39.
1. Houston Astros: 1B/OF Cody Bellinger
Mark Appel is one of just three No. 1 overall picks to retire from professional baseball without reaching the majors, so it won't be hard for the Houston Astros to improve on their original selection.
Cody Bellinger, Aaron Judge and Kris Bryant all have cases to be the No. 1 overall pick in this re-draft, but we'll go with the reigning National League MVP, who would slot nicely in right field as an upgrade over Josh Reddick and provide a contingency plan in center field if George Springer decides to walk in free agency.
Here's a fair question: Would Bellinger actually sign?
"I thought the apologies were whatever. I thought Jim Crane's was weak. I thought [MLB Commissioner Rob] Manfred's punishment was weak, giving them immunity. I mean these guys were cheating for three years," Bellinger told reporters after punishments were handed down for the Astros' sign-stealing scandal. "Everyone knows they stole the ring from us."
If teams get the benefit of hindsight in this re-draft, it's only fair that players are afforded that same luxury.
With that in mind, there's a very real chance that Bellinger decides to honor his commitment to the University of Oregon, putting him in line to be an early selection in the 2016 draft.
Actual Pick: RHP Mark Appel
Bellinger's Actual Draft Position: No. 124 overall (Los Angeles Dodgers)
2. Chicago Cubs: 3B Kris Bryant
Kris Bryant was instrumental in the Chicago Cubs' success during their run to a World Series title in 2016.
On the heels of winning NL Rookie of the Year, Bryant hit .292/.385/.554 for a 146 OPS+ with 35 doubles, 39 home runs, 102 RBI and an NL-leading 121 runs scored in a 7.3-WAR season. That netted him NL MVP honors and vaulted him to superstardom.
While he has dealt with some ups and downs in the three years since, he has still been extremely productive, posting a 133 OPS+ and 11.2 WAR.
Given the opportunity to swap Bryant for Aaron Judge in this draft, chances are the Cubs front office would not think twice about re-upping with Bryant at No. 2 overall.
Actual Pick: 3B Kris Bryant
Bryant's Actual Draft Position: No. 2 overall (Chicago Cubs)
3. Colorado Rockies: OF Aaron Judge
Aaron Judge playing at Coors Field?
Not that Yankee Stadium is a pitcher's paradise by any means, but it's fun to imagine what his 52-homer rookie season might have looked like with half his games played at altitude.
An inability to stay on the field the past two seasons raises some red flags about Judge's long-term outlook, especially with his atypical 6'7", 282-pound frame. But he still managed to tally 11.4 WAR while averaging just 107 games.
In the end, this draft has three bona fide superstars. Even for the pitching-starved Colorado Rockies, it's a no-brainer to pick whoever is left from that trio at No. 3 overall.
Potentially avoiding the ill-advised Charlie Blackmon extension is another silver lining to selecting Judge, which could in turn give the front office more financial flexibility to address the pitching staff.
Actual Pick: RHP Jon Gray
Judge's Actual Draft Position: No. 32 overall (New York Yankees)
4. Minnesota Twins: IF/OF Jeff McNeil
Jeff McNeil was not even ranked among the top 30 prospects in the New York Mets system when he made his MLB debut as a 26-year-old in 2018.
He went on to hit .329/.381/.471 (138 OPS+) with 20 extra-base hits in 63 games to finish sixth in NL Rookie of the Year voting. However, a .359 BABIP and his limited track record of success raised questions about the sustainability of that performance.
Those questions were answered resoundingly in 2019.
The 28-year-old hit .318/.384/.531 (144 OPS+) with 38 doubles, 23 home runs, 75 RBI and 83 runs scored in a 4.9-WAR season while also showing valuable defensive versatility with time at second base, third base, left field and right field.
The Twins wouldn't need to sign Marwin Gonzalez to a two-year, $21 million deal prior to last season with McNeil in the mix.
Actual Pick: RHP Kohl Stewart
McNeil's Actual Draft Position: No. 356 overall (New York Mets)
5. Cleveland Indians: OF Austin Meadows
It took six seasons in the Pittsburgh Pirates' minor league system and a trade to the Tampa Bay Rays before Austin Meadows finally developed into the star he was long expected to become.
The 25-year-old hit .291/.364/.558 (143 OPS+) last year during his first full season in the majors, leading a 96-win Rays team in home runs (33), RBI (89) and total bases (296).
Not bad for a guy who entered the season with just 59 big league games under his belt.
The corner outfield spots have been a consistent area of need for the Cleveland Indians in recent seasons, and Meadows would give the cost-conscious club a cheap, controllable player on the rise.
Actual Pick: OF Clint Frazier
Meadows' Actual Draft Position: No. 9 overall (Pittsburgh Pirates)
6. Miami Marlins: RHP Jon Gray
Jon Gray has been quietly effective while pitching in an extremely difficult environment.
His 4.39 ERA over the past four seasons does not exactly jump off the page, but a 112 ERA+ and 630 strikeouts in 600.2 innings paint a better picture of the type of pitcher he has been.
The 28-year-old had a 135 ERA+ last season, good for 18th among all pitchers who worked at least 150 innings and ahead of guys like Lucas Giolito (134), Luis Castillo (133), Walker Buehler (127), Jose Berrios (124) and many others.
Under club control through the 2021 season, he would be a solid building block or a valuable trade chip for the rebuilding Miami Marlins.
Actual Pick: 3B Colin Moran
Gray's Actual Draft Position: No. 3 overall (Colorado Rockies)
7. Boston Red Sox: LHP Sean Manaea
Sean Manaea shot up draft boards after posting a 1.22 ERA with 85 strikeouts in 51.2 innings in the Cape Cod League following his sophomore season at Indiana State, but he did not consistently show the same electric stuff during his junior year and also dealt with a hip injury.
That caused him to slip out of the No. 1 overall conversation, and he ended up falling all the way to No. 34 overall, where the Kansas City Royals signed him to a massive $3.55 million bonus that was afforded by their decision to reach for Hunter Dozier at No. 8 overall and sign him below-slot.
The 6'5" left-hander was ultimately traded to the Oakland Athletics in exchange for Ben Zobrist prior to making his MLB debut, and he has quietly developed into a terrific MLB starter.
Shoulder surgery cost him most of the 2019 season, but he returned to post a 1.21 ERA with 30 strikeouts in 29.2 innings over five starts down the stretch to earn the nod in the American League Wild Card Game.
The 28-year-old has a 3.77 ERA and 110 ERA+ in 493.2 career innings.
Actual Pick: LHP Trey Ball
Manaea's Actual Draft Position: No. 34 overall (Kansas City Royals)
8. Kansas City Royals: SS Tim Anderson
Chicago White Sox fans will insist Tim Anderson deserves to go higher in this re-draft.
The 26-year-old is coming off a breakout season in which he won the AL batting title with a .335 average while tallying 32 doubles, 18 home runs, 56 RBI, 81 runs scored and 17 steals.
That said, he is headed for some unavoidable regression.
His .399 BABIP ranked second among all qualified hitters and was roughly 100 points above the league average. While he has solid wheels, that's simply not a sustainable number. On top of that, his 2.9 percent walk rate was the second-lowest among 135 qualified hitters, meaning his offensive value was tied almost entirely to a batting average that is destined to regress.
With all of that said, he is still a dynamic young player with an appealing mix of power and speed.
The Kansas City Royals already have a slick-fielding shortstop in Adalberto Mondesi, which means Anderson would be able to move off a position at which he struggled mightily last year (minus-12 DRS, minus-11.7 UZR/150).
Actual Pick: 3B Hunter Dozier
Anderson's Actual Draft Position: No. 17 overall (Chicago White Sox)
9. Pittsburgh Pirates: C Mitch Garver
In his first extended MLB action, Mitch Garver hit a modest .268/.335/.414 (104 OPS+) with seven home runs and 45 RBI in 335 plate appearances.
Not bad for a 27-year-old rookie.
Still, it gave little indication of the breakout performance that was forthcoming in 2019 when he hit .273/.365/.630 (156 OPS+) with 31 home runs and 67 RBI in 359 plate appearance to win AL Silver Slugger honors in a 4.1-WAR season.
Even if that power surge proves unsustainable, he clearly has the tools to be an everyday catcher, and that position is currently a black hole in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization.
To that point, Jacob Stallings posted an 87 OPS+ and 1.5 WAR in 71 games as a 29-year-old rookie last season, and that was enough to make him the clear starter heading into 2020.
Actual Pick: OF Austin Meadows
Garver's Actual Draft Position: No. 260 overall (Minnesota Twins)
10. Toronto Blue Jays: LHP Matthew Boyd
Matthew Boyd went 9-13 with a 4.39 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 159 strikeouts in 170.1 innings during the 2018 season to solidify his place in the Detroit Tigers rotation.
In 2019, he had a 3.94 ERA and 12.1 strikeouts per nine innings following a strong start on July 28, making him one of the most talked-about players leading up to the trade deadline.
When no one was willing to meet the Tigers' exorbitant asking price, he ended up staying put and then went on to struggle to a 6.11 ERA in 53 innings over his final 10 starts.
That makes it hard to know what to expect from the 29-year-old going forward, but his 4.32 FIP and 238 strikeouts in 185.1 innings provide plenty of reason for optimism. Doing a better job keeping the ball in the ballpark after allowing an MLB-high 39 home runs could go a long way.
For the rebuilding Toronto Blue Jays, it's a chance worth taking on a potential frontline arm.
Actual Pick: RHP Phil Bickford (did not sign)
Boyd's Actual Draft Position: No. 175 overall (Toronto Blue Jays)
11. New York Mets: OF Hunter Renfroe
Hunter Renfroe provides a bit more value than your run-of-the-mill, power-hitting corner outfielder.
The 28-year-old does have some clear shortcomings, most notably a career .294 on-base percentage that stems from a middling 7.2 percent walk rate and a .235 career batting average. That said, he still managed to post a 102 OPS+ last season while slugging a career-high 33 home runs.
His defense pushes him ahead of other players with a similar profile.
Splitting his time between the corner outfield spots last year, he tallied an impressive 23 DRS with a 13.1 UZR/150, and he used his rocket arm to rack up an NL-high 13 outfield assists.
An outfield of Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo and Renfroe would look awfully good for the New York Mets.
Actual Pick: 1B Dominic Smith
Renfroe's Actual Draft Position: No. 13 overall (San Diego Padres)
12. Seattle Mariners: LHP Marco Gonzales
The Seattle Mariners gave Marco Gonzales a two-year, $1.9 million contract after the 2018 season, then they tacked another four years and $30 million onto that this February. With a club option for 2025 on top of that, there's a good chance he will be part of the next contending Mariners team.
It stands to reason then that the front office would be happy to snag him in this re-draft.
The 28-year-old is not flashy, but there is plenty of value in a durable workhorse who can chew through innings at a roughly league-average level.
That's exactly what he did last year when he posted a 3.99 ERA and 109 ERA+ in 203 innings.
Actual Pick: 3B D.J. Peterson
Gonzales' Actual Draft Position: No. 19 overall (St. Louis Cardinals)
13. San Diego Padres: LHP Caleb Smith
Caleb Smith was a pitcher to watch entering 2019 after he posted a 4.19 ERA and racked up 88 strikeouts in 77.1 innings during his first season with the Miami Marlins.
The 28-year-old ended up going 10-11 with a 4.52 ERA, 1.23 WHIP and 168 strikeouts in 153.1 innings last year, and he was a popular name on the summer rumor mill.
There are some red flags, though. He served up an NL-high 33 home runs, and his 5.11 FIP points to some potential regression in an already less-than-stellar ERA.
Still, there's plenty to like about a lefty starter who has the stuff to punch out more than a batter per inning.
For a San Diego Padres team still building toward contention, he would be a quality addition to the pitching staff.
Actual Pick: OF Hunter Renfroe
Smith's Actual Draft Position: No. 434 overall (New York Yankees)
14. Pittsburgh Pirates: 1B/OF Trey Mancini
Lost in the shuffle of a 108-loss season by the Baltimore Orioles, Trey Mancini emerged as one of baseball's most promising young sluggers.
The 28-year-old hit .291/.364/.535 (135 OPS+) with 38 doubles, 35 home runs and 97 RBI in a 3.5-WAR season, raising his walk rate from 6.9 to 9.3 percent in the process.
A natural first baseman who remains miscast as a corner outfielder, he has at least developed into a passable defender in the grass, so he could share a lineup with Josh Bell.
He's undergoing six months of chemotherapy for colon cancer, and he was not expected to play during the 2020 season, so this pick comes with some obvious question marks.
Still, he's an extremely talented young player and a worthy selection at No. 14 overall.
Actual Pick: C Reese McGuire
Mancini's Actual Draft Position: No. 249 overall (Baltimore Orioles)
15. Arizona Diamondbacks: RHP Chad Green
Chad Green is an extremely valuable bullpen weapon.
The 29-year-old has recorded more than three outs in 70 of his 157 appearances over the past three seasons, posting a 2.82 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 12.4 K/9 with 17 wins, two saves and 26 holds.
His 5.2 WAR makes him one of just 11 relief pitchers worth at least 5.0 WAR during that three-year stretch.
The Arizona Diamondbacks deployed Archie Bradley in a similar multi-inning role during the 2017 season, and he ended up receiving some down-ballot NL MVP support. They are well-suited to get the most out of a talented pitcher like Green.
Actual Pick: RHP Braden Shipley
Green's Actual Draft Position: No. 336 overall (Detroit Tigers)
16. Philadelphia Phillies: RHP Corey Knebel
Corey Knebel was the second player from the 2013 draft class to reach the majors.
After making his MLB debut on May 24, 2014, he was traded to the Texas Rangers in exchange for reliever Joakim Soria two months later. He was then flipped again during the offseason, going to the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for Yovani Gallardo.
He spent two seasons flashing swing-and-miss stuff in a middle relief role before breaking out in 2017 when he converted 39 of 45 save chances with a 1.78 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 14.9 K/9 in 76 appearances.
The 28-year-old dealt with some injury issues in 2018 before missing the entire 2019 season recovering from Tommy John surgery. Still, he was dominant enough when healthy to be worthy of a selection here in the middle of the first round.
Actual Pick: SS J.P. Crawford
Knebel's Actual Draft Position: No. 39 overall (Detroit Tigers)
17. Chicago White Sox: RHP Emilio Pagan
Emilio Pagan was one of the most overpowering relievers in baseball during the 2019 season.
The 29-year-old had a 2.31 ERA and 0.83 WHIP with 20 saves and a 12.3 K/9 rate in 66 appearances for the Tampa Bay Rays. His .178 opponents' batting average ranked ninth among pitchers with at least 50 innings of work.
He was traded to the San Diego Padres during the offseason in exchange for outfielder Manuel Margot and prospect Logan Driscoll, and he could be the closer-in-waiting with Kirby Yates headed for free agency this coming winter.
Chicago White Sox closer Alex Colome will also be a free agent after the 2020 season, so Pagan would fill a similar spot in the South Siders' bullpen.
Actual Pick: SS Tim Anderson
Pagan's Actual Draft Position: No. 297 overall (Seattle Mariners)
18. Los Angeles Dodgers: IF/OF Adam Frazier
The Los Angeles Dodgers have squeezed maximum value out of guys like Chris Taylor and Enrique Hernandez, thanks in part to their defensive versatility.
Adam Frazier provides a similar profile with the ability to play second base and all three outfield spots.
The 28-year-old spent the 2019 season as the Pittsburgh Pirates' everyday second baseman, hitting .278/.336/.417 (99 OPS+) with 50 extra-base hits and 80 runs scored.
He has quietly racked up 6.2 WAR in four MLB seasons and is the type of player who fits on any roster, whether in a super-utility role or as an everyday player.
Actual Pick: RHP Chris Anderson
Frazier's Actual Draft Position: No. 179 overall (Pittsburgh Pirates)
19. St. Louis Cardinals: RHP Brad Keller
One of the bigger Rule 5 draft success stories in recent years, Brad Keller has exceeded expectations to emerge as the de facto ace of the Kansas City Royals staff.
The 24-year-old has a 3.68 ERA and 123 ERA+ in 305.2 innings over the past two seasons, and his 6.6 WAR during that span is tied with Jose Berrios and Noah Syndergaard for 26th among all pitchers.
With a middling 6.4 K/9 rate, he has succeeded thanks to an impressive 52.0 percent groundball rate. That approach would work well in front of a terrific defensive infield in St. Louis that is anchored by Kolten Wong and Paul DeJong.
Keller offers solid long-term value even if his remaining upside is limited.
Actual Pick: LHP Marco Gonzales
Keller's Actual Draft Position: No. 240 overall (Arizona Diamondbacks)
20. Detroit Tigers: RHP Trevor Williams
Can Trevor Williams return to form?
For a rebuilding Detroit Tigers team, he offers more potential upside than any other pitcher on the board here at the back end of the first round, so it's a chance worth taking.
In 2018, Williams went 14-10 with a 3.11 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and 126 strikeouts over 170.2 innings in just his second full season in the majors.
He followed that with a 5.38 ERA and 1.41 WHIP in 145.2 innings while pitching for a dysfunctional Pittsburgh Pirates team last season. Entering his age-28 campaign, he is one of the bigger wild cards from this draft class.
Actual Pick: RHP Jonathon Crawford
Williams' Actual Draft Position: No. 44 overall (Miami Marlins)
21. Tampa Bay Rays: RHP/OF Michael Lorenzen
A legitimate two-sport star at Cal State Fullerton, Michael Lorenzen served as the team's starting center fielder and closer.
He hit .335/.412/.515 with 23 extra-base hits and 12 steals in 61 games during his junior season, and many teams preferred him as a position player. On the mound, he went 3-0 with 19 saves and a 1.99 ERA in 22 appearances.
After he served exclusively as a pitcher to begin his career, the Cincinnati Reds have begun finding more creative ways to use him the past two seasons. He has been deployed frequently as a pinch-hitter and pinch-runner, and he even started six games in center field last year.
That said, he's still a pitcher first and foremost, and he had the best season of his career on the mound in 2019 when he posted a 2.92 ERA and 1.15 WHIP with seven saves and 21 holds in 73 appearances.
The Tampa Bay Rays have fully embraced the idea of two-way players, and it would be interesting to see what they could have done with Lorenzen in that role from the start of his pro career.
Actual Pick: C Nick Ciuffo
Lorenzen's Actual Draft Position: No. 38 overall (Cincinnati Reds)
22. Baltimore Orioles: 3B/OF Hunter Dozier
There is little question the Kansas City Royals reached for Hunter Dozier at No. 8 overall.
The Stephen F. Austin standout checked in at No. 39 on Baseball America's list of the top 500 prospects heading into the 2013 draft, and the Royals' decision to select him that high was directly linked to their plans to go way over-slot to sign Sean Manaea.
In the process, it may have created some unfair expectations for Dozier.
That said, he took a big step toward living up to his draft status during a breakout 2019 season. He hit .279/.348/.522 (125 OPS+) with 29 doubles, 10 triples, 26 home runs, 84 RBI and 75 runs scored in a 3.2-WAR season.
The 28-year-old doesn't provide much in the way of defensive value, and he's a late-bloomer with a limited track record of success. But he makes for a nice, controllable addition to the Baltimore Orioles.
Actual Pick: RHP Hunter Harvey
Dozier's Actual Draft Position: No. 8 overall (Kansas City Royals)
23. Texas Rangers: OF Oscar Mercado
The Cleveland Indians acquired Oscar Mercado from the St. Louis Cardinals in a rare swap of minor league players at the 2018 trade deadline.
He turned heads the following spring and wound up playing his way into the starting center field job. He hit .269/.318/.443 (96 OPS+) and showed a solid mix of power (43 XBH, 15 HR) and speed (15 SB) while filling a glaring hole on the roster.
He also graded out extremely well defensively in center field (10 DRS, 5.8 UZR/150) on his way to a 2.5-WAR season and an eighth-place finish in AL Rookie of the Year voting.
The Texas Rangers have been searching for a long-term answer in center field for years, and he would provide just that going forward.
Actual Pick: RHP Alex Gonzalez
Mercado's Actual Draft Position: No. 57 overall (St. Louis Cardinals)
24. Oakland Athletics: IF Ryan McMahon
Ryan McMahon had a productive 2019 season for the Colorado Rockies, hitting .250/.329/.450 with 22 doubles, 24 home runs and 83 RBI in 141 games while shuffling between second base, third base and first base defensively.
There is reason to believe he is capable of more.
Stellar exit velocity (90th percentile) and hard-hit percentage (91st percentile) numbers, according to Baseball Savant, lend plenty of credibility to the idea that he can not only duplicate last year's production but also build off it.
That upside, coupled with his defensive versatility, makes him a great fit on the Oakland Athletics, and he would likely profile as the team's starting second baseman in 2020.
Actual Pick: OF Billy McKinney
McMahon's Actual Draft Position: No. 42 overall (Colorado Rockies)
25. San Francisco Giants: OF Mike Yastrzemski
Mike Yastrzemski was one of the best bargain-bin finds of the 2019 season.
The San Francisco Giants acquired him from the Baltimore Orioles at the end of spring training in exchange for pitching prospect Tyler Herb in a deal that went largely unnoticed at the time.
He ended up being arguably the best player on the team by season's end, hitting .272/.334/.518 (123 OPS+) with 22 doubles, 21 home runs and 55 RBI in 107 games.
The 29-year-old spent seven seasons in the minors before he finally got a chance at the MLB level. It might not have taken that long if the San Francisco Giants had acquired him sooner.
Actual Pick: SS Christian Arroyo
Yastrzemski's Actual Draft Position: No. 429 overall (Baltimore Orioles)
26. New York Yankees: 1B Luke Voit
The New York Yankees acquired Luke Voit from the St. Louis Cardinals at the 2018 trade deadline in exchange for reliever Giovanny Gallegos in a rare swap that appears to have benefited both sides.
Voit hit .333/.405/.689 with 14 home runs and 33 RBI in 39 games following the trade after seeing limited MLB action with the Cardinals, and he settled in nicely last season with a 124 OPS+ and 21 home runs in 118 games.
Originally drafted as a catcher out of Missouri State in the 22nd round, Voit has exceeded expectations enough to claw his way into the first round of this re-draft.
Actual Pick: 3B Eric Jagielo
Voit's Actual Draft Position: No. 665 overall (St. Louis Cardinals)
27. Cincinnati Reds: IF/OF Chad Pinder
Chad Pinder is one of the best utility players in baseball.
He has a 100 OPS+ over the past three seasons while averaging 16 doubles and 14 home runs in 337 plate appearances, and he has racked up 4.8 WAR along the way.
During that time, he has played left field (112 games), right field (78), second base (58), third base (33), shortstop (28), center field (16) and first base (3).
The 28-year-old is a great fit on any MLB roster.
Actual Pick: OF Phillip Ervin
Pinder's Actual Draft Position: No. 71 overall (Oakland Athletics)
Compensatory Round and Competitive Balance Round A
28. St. Louis Cardinals: IF Mauricio Dubon
29. Tampa Bay Rays: OF Mike Tauchman
30. Texas Rangers: RHP Kendall Graveman
31. Atlanta Braves: RHP Keynan Middleton
32. New York Yankees: OF Clint Frazier
33. New York Yankees: RHP Chad Kuhl
COMPETITIVE BALANCE ROUND A
34. Kansas City Royals: OF Tyler O'Neill
35. Miami Marlins: SS J.P. Crawford
36. Arizona Diamondbacks: RHP Kevin McCarthy
37. Baltimore Orioles: RHP Austin Voth
38. Cincinnati Reds: C Reese McGuire
39. Detroit Tigers: RHP Ryne Stanek
All statistics via Baseball Reference or FanGraphs unless otherwise noted.
Be sure to check out our other recent MLB re-drafts: 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006