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July 2, 2014

The 2011 Redraft

Redoing a Deep First Round

by Baseball Prospectus


It's been just over three years since the deep 2011 draft, and we've gotten a good look at how that crop of highly touted amateurs has has performed in the pros. To see how much perceptions of those players have changed, we decided to do the draft over again, just as we did with the 2013 draft and the 2012 draft. We assigned 32 picks to BP authors and re-drafted from scratch, selecting only from the pool of players who were drafted and signed in 2011 and ignoring team need. Here's how the first-round redraft shook out.

1:1 Pittsburgh Pirates
Actual Selection: Gerrit Cole, RHP
Re-Draft Selection: Jose Fernandez, SP, Miami Marlins (2011 no. 14 pick)
Draft Position Change: +13
Explanation: Fernandez's arsenal is downright nasty, and his pitchability is as advanced as his rapid ascent to the majors would suggest. There are always concerns about rehab from Tommy John surgery, but given his makeup I'd expect him to return to form and be one of the best arms in baseball into the next decade. —Chris Mellen

1:2 Seattle Mariners
Actual Selection: Danny Hultzen, LHP
Re-Draft Selection: Javier Baez, SS, Chicago Cubs (2011 no. 9 pick)
Draft Position Change: +7
Explanation: Merely an 18-year-old with potential in 2011, Baez has since elevated his ceiling to monster levels by mashing in the minor leagues. He's proven he'll play at shortstop just fine, and his impending age-22 big-league debut will allow for plenty of production during his prime years. Baez comes with some risk, but I'm still taking that chance at no. 2, as he could be the first 35-homer shortstop since Alex Rodriguez. —Andrew Koo

1:3 Arizona Diamondbacks
Actual Selection: Trevor Bauer, RHP
Re-Draft Selection: Anthony Rendon, 2B/3B, Washington Nationals (2011 no. 6 pick)
Draft Position Change: +3
Explanation: Anthony Rendon was the top name on my draft board, so he was an easy choice at no. 3. A potential 7 hit, 5+ power guy capable of above-average defense at third base or second, Rendon is a heady player with makeup for miles. It's a profile you build a team around. —Nick Faleris

1:4 Baltimore Orioles
Actual Selection: Dylan Bundy, RHP
Re-Draft Selection: Gerrit Cole, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates (2011 no. 1 pick)
Draft Position Change: -3
Explanation: It was very tempting to go with George Springer here; as a general rule, I, like most people, prefer hitters to pitchers. But I've loved Cole for a long, long time now, and I still think he's going to enjoy a long run as a legit no.1 starter. He's merely been good and not quite dominant to this point in his career, but as he gains experience and his command improves, I think we'll see him start to dominate NL lineups. —Ben Carsley

1:5 Kansas City Royals
Actual Selection: Bubba Starling, OF
Re-Draft Selection: Francisco Lindor, SS, Cleveland Indians (2011 no. 8 pick)
Draft Position Change: +3
Explanation: Lindor has a chance to become the kind of player you build a franchise around. His ceiling is lofty, but unlike so many toolsy prospects, he's protected by the safety net of a high floor. His glove is his best tool and could earn him some serious hardware. At the dish he generates constant loud contact, with the possiblity of some increased power in his future. He's an athlete, he's smooth, he has a crazy work ethic, and he's nearly ready to burst onto the scene in a loud fashion. —Ryan Parker

1:6 Washington Nationals
Actual Selection: Anthony Rendon, 2B/3B
Re-Draft Selection: Dylan Bundy, RHP, Baltimore Orioles (2011 no. 4 pick)
Draft Position Change: -2
Explanation: In spite of the inherent risk in selecting a pitcher who is still on the comeback trail from a significant injury, Bundy is impossible to pass on here. Simply put: This is the best amateur prospect I have ever scouted at the high school level (I didn't see Mike Trout until Low-A), and his professional performance has done nothing to diminish my confidence in his elite ability. —Todd Gold

1:7 Arizona Diamondbacks
Actual Selection: Archie Bradley, RHP
Re-Draft Selection: George Springer, OF, Houston Astros (2011 no. 11 pick)
Draft Position Change: +4
Explanation: An up-the-middle talent with power, speed, and a strong arm? Yes, please. Springer earns plus grades in four of the five tools, with the skill-set to impact the game at the plate, in the field, and on the basepaths. He has a lot of swing-and-miss in his game, denting the hit tool, but his ability to run deep counts should pay dividends for his on-base profile. The UConn product had an easy adjustment to pro ball, and he shook off a brutal introduction to the show to put on a power display once he grew comfortable with his surroundings. He presents the rare combination of a high ceiling with a high floor. —Doug Thorburn

1:8 Cleveland Indians
Actual Selection: Francisco Lindor, SS
Re-Draft Selection: Sonny Gray, RHP, Oakland A’s (2011 no. 19 pick)
Draft Position Change: +11
Explanation: Among all players taken in this draft, only Fernandez has contributed more in the major leagues than Gray's 3.3 WARP, which he's accumulated in less than a full season's worth of starts. There are a couple higher-upside arms I'm leaving on the board here, but give me the banked production and a guy who hasn't missed an outing. —Zachary Levine

1:9 Chicago Cubs
Actual Selection: Javier Baez, SS
Re-Draft Selection: Archie Bradley, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks (2011 no. 7 pick)
Draft Position Change: -2
Explanation: It's amazing that a pitcher with top-of-the-rotation upside is available here, but that's the deep 2011 draft. Bradley still possesses an electric fastball and a bat-missing curve. The changeup still needs loads of work, and the fastball command isn't there yet, but Bradley is easy to bet on because of his off-the-charts makeup and exceptional athleticism. —Mike Ferrin

1:10 San Diego Padres
Actual Selection: Cory Spangenberg, 2B
Re-Draft Selection: Trevor Bauer, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks (2011 no. 3 pick)
Draft Position Change: -7
Explanation: It's easy to think back to Bauer's last three years and remember all of the headaches he caused the Diamondbacks prior to his trade to the Indians, but before his struggles, he was a top-shelf prospect. Keeping him out of Arizona's organization and putting him into the Padres hands (with the Petco benefit) is a slam dunk for me. There is still ace potential here. —Mike Gianella

1:11 Houston Astros
Actual Selection: George Springer, OF
Re-Draft Selection: Robert Stephenson, RHP, Cincinnati Reds (2011 no. 27 pick)
Draft Position Change: +16
Explanation: Stephenson has the potential to be something nice. While he'll need to continue to sharpen his command and arsenal, he has the chance for two very good pitches in his fastball and curveball. Factor in his athleticism and competitiveness, and you have to like the total package—even if it comes in the form of a prep arm. —R.J. Anderson

1:12 Milwaukee Brewers
Actual Selection: Taylor Jungmann, RHP
Re-Draft Selection: Austin Hedges, C, San Diego Padres (2011 no. 82 pick)
Draft Position Change: +70
Explanation: Even with some high-upside arms still available, Hedges' defensive profile is too strong to pass up. Even if he never hits, you're still getting a franchise catcher who is a born leader with plus-plus makeup. He will lock down the running game while also getting the most out of the pitching staff. Catchers of this defensive caliber don't come around too often. —Chris King

1:13 New York Mets
Actual Selection: Brandon Nimmo, OF
Re-Draft Selection: Mookie Betts, 2B/OF, Boston Red Sox (2011 no. 172 pick)
Draft Position Change: +159
Explanation: As much as it might seem like it, there's no recency bias here. Betts may never be a superstar, as is being bandied about in some corners of the internet, but an above-average hitter who can get on base at a high clip, steal bases, show strong gap-to-gap power and play multiple positions? Yes, please. This was a close call between Betts and fellow Sox prospect Blake Swihart, because both have attractively high floors with first-division ceilings. —Brett Sayre

1:14 Miami Marlins
Actual Selection: Jose Fernandez, RHP
Re-Draft Selection: Tony Cingrani, RHP, Cincinnati Reds (2011 no. 114 pick)
Draft Position Change: +100
Explanation: The thing about the third year after a draft is that you start to reach the point where you can't just default to, "Oh he's still got a lot of upside" anymore. The actual impact guys are starting to separate themselves (and the real Marlins actually drafted one of them!). Cingrani has at least done it at the MLB level already. "It" involves throwing one pitch, getting a boatload of strikeouts, and having a walk rate that's going the wrong way at a worrying pace. The word on the street is that his main weapon is deception, but big-league hitters will be deceived for only so long. Still, if another pitch develops, maybe he can stick in a rotation, and even if not, he's at least a useful bullpen arm. That's the problem with picking 14th three years after the fact. In the moment, you can pretend that everyone can be anything. Now, you just have to look for a best-case scenario that's acceptable. —Russell Carleton

1:15 Milwaukee Brewers
Actual Selection: Jed Bradley, LHP
Re-Draft Selection: Alex Meyer, RHP, Washington Nationals (2011 no. 23 pick)
Draft Position Change: +8
Explanation: Meyer is long on stuff and short on command. He has a big fastball and a good breaking ball, so the package is still very enticing. I make this pick based on ceiling and understanding the amount of risk involved here. —Mauricio Rubio

1:16 Los Angeles Dodgers
Actual Selection: Chris Reed, LHP
Re-Draft Selection: Blake Swihart, C, Boston Red Sox (2011 no. 26 pick)
Draft Position Change: +10
Explanation: Prompted by discussions with Bret Sayre after he sniped me on Betts, it's hard to overlook an all-around talent like Swihart. He isn't flashy, and he doesn't walk as much as I'd like from a star player, but he is solidly above average elsewhere. He brings a nice mix of hit skills, modest power, and defense to a position where the bar is low. Combine that with the "elite makeup" scouting report, and he could easily be a winning starter at the position for a decade. —Rob McQuown

1:17 Los Angeles Angels
Actual Selection: C.J. Cron, 1B
Re-Draft Selection: Kolten Wong, 2B, St. Louis Cardinals (2011 no. 22 pick)
Draft Position Change: +5
Explanation: While it's difficult for me to seriously consider a player limited to second base this high in the draft, Kolten Wong is the type of guy who would make me do it. He can flat-out hit, and he's done nothing but exactly that since the day he was drafted out of Hawaii. I'll take that, plug him into the no. 2 spot in my lineup, and have fun for the next 8-10 years. —Mark Anderson

1:18 Oakland A’s
Actual Selection: Sonny Gray, RHP
Re-Draft Selection: Brad Miller, SS, Seattle Mariners (2011 no. 62 pick)
Draft Position Change: +44
Explanation: There were other names that jumped out at me, like Tyler Glasnow, Jackie Bradley, and Daniel Norris, but I felt that Miller was the safest bet at this point in the draft, bringing bat-to-ball skills and above-average ability to play a premier position with a lot of major league experience. He wasn't quite able to maintain his torrid pace in the beginning of the season, but he's a gamer, the type of player the Athletics seem to stockpile. —Chris Rodriguez

1:19 Boston Red Sox
Actual Selection: Matt Barnes, RHP
Re-Draft Selection: Tyler Glasnow, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates (2011 no. 152 pick)
Draft Position Change: +133
Explanation: Although a couple other big-league-ready players were available, I couldn't pass on the 6-foot-7 righty who has reportedly touched triple digits with the fastball and is overwhelming High-A with his nasty fastball/curveball combination. Both his changeup and his overall command need to improve if he wants to reach his lofty ceiling, but I think he becomes at least a no. 4 starter at the big-league level, with ample room to be more than that. —J.P. Breen

1:20 Colorado Rockies
Actual Selection: Tyler Anderson, LHP
Re-Draft Selection: Josh Bell, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates (2011 no. 61 pick)
Draft Position Change: +41
Explanation: This was close to a toss-up for me, as I was tempted to take one of the top-50 arms on the board. I went with Bell both because of the progress he's made this season and because I'm biased toward position players. He might mature into more of a complementary contributor than a building block, but I'm confident that he'll outshine the Baltimore Josh Bell. —Ben Lindbergh

1:21 Toronto Blue Jays
Actual Selection: Tyler Beede, RHP
Re-Draft Selection: Henry Owens, LHP, Boston Red Sox (2011 no. 36 pick)
Draft Position Change: +15
Explanation: He's a tall lefty who has taken his walk rate down a notch in 2014. He's clearly coming around and handling Double-A impressively. —Harry Pavlidis

1:22 St. Louis Cardinals
Actual Selection: Kolten Wong, 2B
Re-Draft Selection: Daniel Norris, LHP, Toronto Blue Jays (2011 no. 74 pick)
Draft Position Change: +52
Explanation: Lefties with this kind of stuff and this kind of ceiling are few and far between. Last year this would have been a much more adventurous pick, but Norris has really started to put it together. I also considered Blake Treinen, Matt Barnes, and Kyle Crick. I toyed with the idea of the safe college bat in C.J. Cron as well, but Norris has the most impact potential of that group. —Al Skorupa

1:23 Washington Nationals
Actual Selection: Alex Meyer, RHP
Re-Draft Selection: Jackie Bradley, Jr., OF, Boston Red Sox (2011 no. 40 pick)
Draft Position Change: +17
Explanation: Bradley's offensive struggles at the big-league level have been well-documented (in Boston, anyway), but in his first full season, the 24-year-old has already established himself as one of the game's elite center fielders. There are growing pains ahead, but he's shown enough of a baseline skill set with the stick that even modest progress could bump him into the range of a league-average on-base percentage. Given the defensive prowess up the middle and a plus baserunning profile, the sum total would make for a very strong return on investment out of this draft slot. —Wilson Karaman

1:24 Tampa Bay Rays
Actual Selection: Taylor Guerrieri, RHP
Re-Draft Selection: C.J. Cron, 1B, Los Angeles Angels (2011 no. 17 pick)
Draft Position Change: -7
Explanation: He's showing early on that his power is legitimate, and he's handling both righties and lefties after big struggles against the former in 2013. A big, threatening bat at first base would be a refreshing change from the players who've succeeded Carlos Pena in Tampa Bay. —Paul Sporer

1:25 San Diego Padres
Actual Selection: Joe Ross, RHP
Re-Draft Selection: Brandon Nimmo, CF, New York Mets (2011 no. 13 pick)
Draft Position Change: -12
Explanation: It's taken until this season for Nimmo to show any sign of power, as he's routinely posted higher OBPs than SLGs. He's still slugging only .440 on the season, but he's progressed to Double-A and has a career on-base percentage of .398. The hit tool can play above average, and while over-the-fence power may never come, getting a table-setter who could start on a playoff team is nothing to complain about this far down in the draft. —Craig Goldstein


1:26 Boston Red Sox
Actual Selection: Blake Swihart, C
Re-Draft Selection: Kyle Crick, RHP, San Francisco Giants (2011 no. 49 pick)
Draft Position Change: +23
Explanation: With a plus-plus fastball and two secondary pitches that project to solid-average, Crick should develop the arsenal to pitch near the front of a rotation. The jury remains out on whether his iffy command will ever allow him to reach those heights, but he's one of the few pitchers still on the board with that ceiling, and his realistic floor is becoming a high-strikeout setup man. —Daniel Rathman

1:27 Cincinnati Reds
Actual Selection: Robert Stephenson, RHP
Re-Draft Selection: Tommy La Stella, 2B, Atlanta Braves (2011 no. 266 pick)
Draft Position Change: +239
Explanation: I was delighted to see La Stella still on the board, given his major-league ready profile with a hint of upside. This late in the draft, I'm just looking for some safety, as most of the prospects who are three years removed likely either haven't panned out or provide the safety net that La Stella does. —Ron Shah

1:28 Atlanta Braves
Actual Selection: Sean Gilmartin, LHP
Re-Draft Selection: Trevor Story, SS, Colorado Rockies (2011 no. 45 pick)
Draft Position Change: +17
Explanation: There are some contact issues, but the power is a real asset at any position and could be extremely valuable if he's able to stick at shortstop. With his promotion to Double-A, he's getting close to being ready to contribute. —Jeff Moore

1:29 San Francisco Giants
Actual Selection: Joe Panik, SS
Re-Draft Selection: Preston Tucker, OF, Houston Astros (2011 no. 219 pick)
Draft Position Change: +190
Explanation: With some better-known prospects to choose from, I opted for Tucker, banking on his getting to the big leagues very soon and sticking in some sort of role. Tucker gets lost in Houston's loaded system because his ceiling isn't as high as those ahead of him, but I'm a fan of the swing and power potential. —Ron Shah

1:30 Minnesota Twins
Actual Selection: Levi Michael, SS
Re-Draft Selection: Matt Wisler, RHP, San Diego Padres (2011 no. 233 pick)
Draft Position Change: +203
Explanation: Wisler is a nice grab in the late first round, with an arsenal consisting of a plus fastball and slider. The change is still behind the other two pitches, but Wisler has the arsenal to start and has already reached Triple-A. This is a safe pick with potential to blossom into an everyday starter in the bigs. Every team can use a prospect of that nature. —Tucker Blair

1:31 Tampa Bay Rays
Actual Selection: Mikie Mathook, OF
Re-Draft Selection: Erik Johnson, RHP, Chicago White Sox (2011 no. 80 pick)
Draft Position Change: +49
Explanation: In a tight spot at the end of the first round, I'd like to get a "safer" pick. Erik Johnson fits that mold: He's already been a major-league contributor, and now he's sitting in Triple-A. He's struggling right now, but I trust the stuff to allow him to be a contributor at the back-end of a rotation. —CJ Wittman

1:32 Tampa Bay Rays
Actual Selection: Jake Hager, SS
Re-Draft Selection: Taylor Guerreri, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays (2011 no. 24 pick)
Draft Position Change: -8
Explanation: Yes, I know about the injury. Yes, I know about the makeup concerns and associated suspension. I also know that he's extremely talented and the only arm available at this point in the draft who has frontline upside. I like that gamble at the bitter end of the first round, and I'll gladly try my hand at getting the most out of a talent like that at this position. —Mark Anderson


Thanks to Nick Bacarella for formatting assistance.

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