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June 14, 2016

The 2014 Re-Draft

Two Years Is An Eternity

by Baseball Prospectus


After last week’s events, two new classes of U.S. amateur players have entered professional baseball since the class of 2014, which has seen some fast-moving performers. This means it’s a good time to take the pulse of that class again and peek at just how differently it might have turned out if we were drafting with the information that we know now. You may remember that we did this last year as well, so we’ve included those selections as well—if you want to get the full picture, this is the reason hyperlinks were created.

Of course, just being two years out, it’s easy to be colored by players who have made an impact thus far, however it was not until the 10th pick here that a prep player was taken. In fact, for very different reasons, the top prep pitcher and hitter both went unselected in this iteration of the draft—the former (Brady Aiken) because he didn’t sign and was ineligible; the latter (Alex Jackson) because hitting a baseball is really, really hard.

We love doing it. You (hopefully) love reading it. Without any further ado, the second version of the 2014 re-draft:

1:1 Houston AstrosAaron Nola, RHP, LSU (2014 no. 7 pick)
Actual Selection: Brady Aiken
2015 Re-Draft Selection: Carlos Rodon
Reason:
“Nola has been utterly dominant in his first full big-league season, so much so that I violated my typically strong preference for position players over pitchers. Nola has demonstrated excellent command throughout his professional career, though it's been the development of one of the majors' best breaking pitches that has unlocked bona fide ace upside that most didn't believe was in there. The Astros tried to take a frontline starter with this pick in the first place. I'm quite sure they'd jump at the opportunity to get one that's fully formed not even two years removed from draft day.” —Greg Wellemeyer

1:2 Miami MarlinsCarlos Rodon, LHP, NC State (2014 no. 3 pick)
Actual Selection: Tyler Kolek
2015 Re-Draft Selection: Jeff Hoffman
Reason: “It pains me—in a torn ACL sort of way—that I'm not taking Schwarber here. He's a tremendous bat, and he's going to have a great career. But it probably won't be at catcher, and that significantly depresses his value going forward. Rodon, on the other hand, has shown a tremendous ability to dominate big-league hitters already-—at just 23 years old-—and has the type of body that keeps starters healthy long into their second decade. It could all go wrong-—with pitchers, that's a given—but so far, quite a lot has gone right for the big lefty.” —Rian Watt

1:3 Chicago White SoxMichael Conforto, OF, Oregon State (2014 no. 10 pick)
Actual Selection: Carlos Rodon
2015 Re-Draft Selection:
Kyle Schwarber
Reason: “When looking at this draft in hindsight, it's easy to make Conforto the first position player off the board. If Schwarber weren't hurt and could still catch, that's the bat I'd have gone with, but Conforto has shown the ability to produce at a high level in the major leagues, something more valuable than ever in a young player. Not only has he produced in the bigs, but the raw talent combined with finesse means that this won't just be an aberration—Conforto is here, and here to stay.” —Kate Morrison

1:4 Chicago CubsTrea Turner, SS, NC State (2014 no. 13 pick)
Actual Selection: Kyle Schwarber
2015 Re-Draft Selection:
Aaron Nola
Reason: “It was really tough to pass on the Cubs' original pick, Kyle Schwarber, in this slot, but his knee injury and the reality that he's officially moved out from behind the plate pushes him to the side for me at this point. Turner's ability to play a premium position well, on top of his continued offensive dominance, makes him a quality choice here that can help the big club in a hurry.” —Mark Anderson

1:5 Minnesota TwinsKyle Schwarber, C/OF, Indiana (2014 no. 4 pick)
Actual Selection: Nick Gordon
2015 Re-Draft Selection: Trea Turner
Reason: “Obviously I have some concerns about what kind of player Schwarber is going to be coming back, but not enough to not swoop him up here with the fifth pick. There's plus-plus power from the left side, he's going to get on base, and he impressed me with his transition to the outfield after spending most of his time at catcher at Nebraska. The good news is, we have the DH in our far superior league, so even if Schwarber can't play the outfield, we've got a place to put this big bat. We're happy to slide this guy between Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano to hit dingers. We like dingers.” —Christopher Crawford

1:6 Seattle MarinersBradley Zimmer, OF, San Francisco (2014 no. 21 pick)
Actual Selection: Alex Jackson
2015 Re-Draft Selection: Michael Kopech
Reason: “Reminds me of a young Michael Tucker, which might not sound like much, but Michael Tucker was a really exciting prospect! Gimme two Michael Tuckers and I'll give you a star sometimes. And if I'm wrong about that, well, I might also be absolutely wrong about him reminding of Michael Tucker.” —Sam Miller

1:7 Philadelphia PhilliesA.J. Reed, 1B, Kentucky (2014 no. 42 pick)
Actual Selection: Aaron Nola
2015 Re-Draft Selection:
Bradley Zimmer
Reason: “It pays to be prepared when mock drafting, but when my turn came up, I was standing in the souvenir store for the annual Watermelon Thump in Luling, Texas. Without easy access to resources, I fell back on first principles. Reed's ability to hit is essentially the strongest tool left on the board. Even if other players (Alex Verdugo was my next choice) offer greater upside, I know today that I can get value for this pick with some potential to spare. In a worst-case scenario, he becomes Sean Doolittle, but he doesn't need to start practicing his ability to spit seeds for distance just yet.” —Ian Lefkowitz

1:8 Colorado RockiesJeff Hoffman, RHP, East Carolina (2014 no. 9 pick)
Actual Selection: Kyle Freeland
2015 Re-Draft Selection: Michael Conforto
Reason: “Once thought of as a 1-1 pick, Hoffman underwent TJ at East Carolina, and while there is always concern and risk with taking a TJ victim, my lust for a big-time fastball and a plus breaking pitch overwhelms any concern I may have. With his strikeouts on the rise and Hoffman knocking on the door of the majors, the chance to snag a front-of-the-rotation starter was too good to pass up.” —Derek Florko

1:9 Toronto Blue JaysKyle Freeland, LHP, Evansville (2014 no. 8 pick)
Actual Selection: Jeff Hoffman
2015 Re-Draft Selection: Nick Gordon
Reason:
“How possible is it to prevent Marty's hand from fading at the Enchantment Under the Sea dance? With all the changes taking place ahead of this pick, do we still get Bautista's bat flip? More importantly, do we still get Odor's punch? Not having Hoffman at this pick potentially nixes last year's Tulowitzki deal, but would having Freeland to trade keep said deal alive? I realize I've only asked hypothetical questions thus far, so here's the hard line selling point: Freeland is a talented pitcher featuring a quality four-pitch mix with advanced control. Brandon Finnegan and Luis Ortiz were tempting here, but Freeland has upside and leaves some hope to get us all back to the future.” —Adam Hayes

1:10 New York MetsLuis Ortiz, RHP, Sanger HS (CA) (2014 no. 30 pick)
Actual Selection: Michael Conforto
2015 Re-Draft Selection:
Brandon Finnegan
Reason: “Were they eligible, I'd have taken Jeren Kendall or Brady Aiken here. Ortiz is more than a consolation prize, however. The 20-year-old righty carved up the California League and has already reached Double-A ahead of schedule. At his best, Ortiz works with a mid-90s fastball and a sharp, late-breaking slider. His change and curve are both fringy for now, but they flash average or a tick better, and he's young enough to project improvement. As long as he stays healthy—not a small question for him—he's a safe bet to pitch in the middle of a rotation, and he could grow into a bit more.” —Brendan Gawlowski

1:11 Toronto Blue Jays – Nick Gordon, SS, Olympia HS (FL) (2014 no. 5 pick)
Actual Selection: Max Pentecost
2015 Re-Draft Selection: Alex Jackson
Reason:
“Picking just outside of the top 10, the final two players I considered were Sean Newcomb and Nick Gordon. Newcomb's size and stuff are impressive, but his consistently high walk rates have to at least put a future in the 'pen in the realm of possibility. As such, I settled on Gordon; the speedy shortstop is hitting .287 at age 20 in the Florida State League (and hit .277 with 25 SBs as a 19-year-old in the Midwest League last season). Even if the bat finishes closer to that of a bottom-third hitter in a big-league lineup, his glove and well-rounded game still profile as a team-controlled regular at a premium defensive position. He will still misplay some routine balls in the field, but that's not uncommon for young shortstops. Unlike many prep infielders who come through the draft, Gordon actually has the frame and athletic glide to remain at shortstop long-term.” —Adam McInturff

1:12 Milwaukee BrewersBrent Honeywell, RHP, Walters State CC (2014 no. 72 pick)
Actual Selection: Kodi Medeiros
2015 Re-Draft Selection: Tyler Kolek
Reason:
“Given all of the positives around the Brewers farm system over the past two years, it would a whole lot stronger with the pitcher the Rays ended up taking 60 picks later. We’re all familiar with Tampa’s ‘slow and low’ method of developing pitchers, but Honeywell has done everything he can to force their hand into accelerating his timeline. With a plus fastball, a screwball that flashes at least plus, and complementary pitches to boot, he has the stuff of a solid no. 4 starter. Fortunately for Honeywell, he also pairs that raw stuff with really strong command and control, which will help him make the most of his profile. In this bizarro draft, Honeywell is probably ready to contribute by mid-2017 in Milwaukee.” —Bret Sayre

1:13 San Diego PadresSean Newcomb, LHP, Hartford (2014 no. 15 pick)
Actual Selection: Trea Turner
2015 Re-Draft Selection:
Grant Holmes
Reason: “This was tough for me. I thought about Derek Fisher, but he just struck out again as I typed this. I entertained Brandon Finnegan, but I think he's just a back-end guy. And so I settled on Newcomb, who scares the crap out of me with his walk rate but who has the stuff and left-handedness I want in a first-round pick. It's alarming that Newcomb has walked about 14.5 percent of batters faced in 93 Double-A innings, but he's also struck out one in every four and posted an ERA just north of 3.00. The control will have to improve if he wants to thrive at the major-league level, but it's easier to teach control than it is to coax Newcomb's fastball out of any old lefty. There's a greater chance he winds up in the bullpen than I'd prefer, but there's also still a chance he's a no. 2 starter.” —Ben Carsley

1:14 San Francisco GiantsCody Reed, LHP, Ardmore HS (AL) (2014 no. 54 pick)
Actual Selection: Tyler Beede
2015 Re-Draft Selection: Brent Honeywell
Reason: "’Say, what you been up to, Other Cody Reed?’ ‘Oh nothing, just been busy whiffing 60 dudes in 43 2/3 innings. I have walked four of 'em, but you know how it goes.’ Big lefties with some funk, deception, command, and advanced pitchability are kind of my jam, and Reed checks all of those boxes. The raw stuff ain't half bad either: his low-90's fastball moves, he can harness multiple breakers, and while the change is nascent he keeps the arm speed to where ample projection remains. With his recent promotion to High-A, he's now the youngest arm in the Cal, and despite some concerns about the low slot he's shown an impressive ability to repeat in his young career. The ceiling's not at the top of the rotation, but he's an awfully attractive member of the durable workhorse set.” —Wilson Karaman

1:15 Los Angeles AngelsGrant Holmes, RHP, Conway HS (SC) (2014 no. 22 pick)
Actual Selection: Sean Newcomb
2015 Re-Draft Selection: Cole Tucker
Reason: “What do you get for the farm system that needs everything? A sturdily built prep arm with the makings of two plus pitches seems like a fine place to start. Holmes may be buried in his current organization, behind the likes of Julio Urias and Jose De Leon, but were he to cross the Orange County line, he'd instantly become the most exciting arm in the Halos' farm. There isn't a ton of projection left here, but improved command is all that stands between Holmes and a future as a workhorse no. 3 starter. That makes him the new top dog in the Angels farm by leaps and bounds.” —Daniel Rathman

1:16 Arizona DiamondbacksBrandon Finnegan, LHP, TCU (2014 no. 17 pick)
Actual Selection: Touki Toussaint
2015 Re-Draft Selection: Derek Fisher
Reason: “A very vanilla pick, there when you never think about it, then thinking about it after you've had some and wondering, "I mean its okay but can we get something better next time?" While this isn't necessarily a knock on Finnegan, a high-floor player with close proximity to the major leagues doesn't exactly scream off the page. A potential back-end starter, Finnegan still has two plus pitches and enough command to fool you into thinking he could be better, but he's been very frustrating as well. Given the extreme nature of the high-ceiling talent left sometimes its better to go safe then risk it.” —Steve Givarz

1:17 Kansas City RoyalsDylan Cease, RHP, Milton HS (GA) (2014 no. 169 pick)
Actual Selection: Brandon Finnegan
2015 Re-Draft Selection:
Luis Ortiz
Reason: “Readers might be wondering: you’re redrafting a sixth-round pick with 24 pro innings here? I am, but Dylan Cease is no ordinary sixth round pick. Cease was such an outstanding prospect coming out of high school that the Cubs signed him for $1.5 million even knowing that he’d need Tommy John surgery before starting his pro career. A brief comeback stint in the complex leagues in 2015 was impressive enough that we ranked him sixth on a stacked 2016 Cubs top 10, and reports out of Arizona this spring were quite positive and included some premium fastball velocities. I suspect that the next time we do a 2014 draft, Cease will either be near the top of the redraft or out of it entirely, but at this slot, the upside was just too much to pass up even given the risk.” —Jarrett Seidler

1:18 Washington NationalsDerek Fisher, OF, Virginia (2014 no. 37 pick)
Actual Selection: Erick Fedde
2015 Re-Draft Selection: Kyle Freeland
Reason:
“Along with an outstanding last name, Derek Fisher has started to show the power that got him drafted in the first place with 10 homers through his first 50 games in Double-A. The strikeouts are troubling but he has shown the ability to make adjustments during the season. The profile will play in right with above-average arm strength and enough defensive ability to be a regular on a first-division team. This is a solid-floor pick with a good chance he hits his ceiling.” —James Fisher

1:19 Cincinnati RedsCasey Gillaspie, 1B, Wichita State (2014 no. 20 pick)
Actual Selection:
Nick Howard
2015 Re-Draft Selection: Jack Flaherty
Reason: “Fact #1 - The chances of acquiring an impact player in the first round isn't great. Less than 50 percent of draftees here will last at least three years in the majors.
Fact #2 - Casey Gillaspie is hitting .301/.421/.530 with nine home runs for Double-A Montgomery this season.
Fact #3 - Gillaspie is more than a year younger than the average player in the Southern League.
Fact #4 - I have a soft spot for prospects (regardless of position) with strong hit tools and a solid idea of the strike zone (Gillaspie has walked 40 times in 55 games).
Taking a first baseman with the 19th pick in the draft may seem like a reach, but the reality is that Gillaspie can flat out hit and first base prospects are people too. Sure, there's a big Joey Votto-sized elephant in the room, but the strategy for me here is best player available. If you believe, like I do, that the hit tool will carry a prospect through the minors, then Gillaspie has a strong case for being the best player available here.” —Jeff Long

1:20 Tampa Bay RaysMark Zagunis, OF, Virginia Tech (2014 no. 78 pick)
Actual Selection: Casey Gillaspie
2015 Re-Draft Selection: Max Pentecost
Reason:
“If Spencer Adams missed bats like Sean Reid-Foley, or if Reid-Foley had Adams' control, I'd have taken them. As it is, over all the positional projects and projectable arms left, I'll take the college catcher turned outfielder with a .410 OBP in pro ball, plenty of athleticism, and a ticket punched to Des Moines, already one step from the majors.” —Matthew Trueblood

1:21 Cleveland IndiansSpencer Adams, RHP, White County HS (GA) (2014 no. 44 pick)
Actual Selection: Bradley Zimmer
2015 Re-Draft Selection: Touki Toussaint
Reason:
“Despite Mr. Trueblood's criticsms, I have deigned to select Adams here. Adams is not a pitching prospect who will blow the doors off the joint, but he does everything at least fairly well. His new approach of unforgivingly pounding the strike zone has resulted in fewer walks, but it's also resulted in more hits. However, Adams still has plenty of time to develop, and his quality stuff should allow him to settle in as a good mid-rotation starter. I'll more than happily take that at this stage of a draft that's been short on appeal.” —Nicolas Stellini

1:22 Los Angeles DodgersAlex Verdugo, OF, Sahuaro HS (AZ) (2014 no. 62 pick)
Actual Selection: Grant Holmes
2015 Re-Draft Selection:
Forrest Wall
Reason: “A dynamic two-way player coming out of high school, the vast majority of scouts envisioned Verdugo's future on the mound. Instead, the Dodgers tabbed the Tucson product with their second-round pick and have let his bat do the vast majority of the talking ever since. He struggled early last season before a minor adjustment, abandoning a leg kick in favor of a toe tap, enabled him to get more comfortable and lock in at the plate. A year later, the 20-year-old outfielder is currently slashing .280/.333/.455 with 19 extra-base hits (eight home runs) in 216 plate appearances at Double-A. If he continues to hit, it won't be long before he's occupying one of the outfield corners in Los Angeles.” —George Bissell

1:23 Detroit TigersForrest Wall, 2B, Orangewood Christian HS (FL) (2014 no. 35 pick)
Actual Selection: Derek Hill
2015 Re-Draft Selection: Derek Hill
Reason:
“The final prospect in this year’s Top 101, Wall possesses one of the best hit tools in this draft class and plus-plus speed. While he currently sports an underwhelming .246 average against High-A pitching, he is still only 20 years old and his advanced approach gives me confidence that the necessary adjustments will be made. The primary downside with Wall is a well below-average arm due to the labrum surgery he underwent in high school, but his athleticism and solid range give him a chance to develop into an above-average second baseman. Needless to say, I am thrilled to land a potential leadoff hitter with this selection, even if his arm ultimately hampers his defensive value.” —Erich Rothmann

1:24 Pittsburgh PiratesMichael Kopech, RHP, Mt Pleasant HS (TX) (2014 no. 33 pick)
Actual Selection: Cole Tucker
2015 Re-Draft Selection: Casey Gillaspie
Reason:
“Let’s run the damage control playbook. He was suspended for an amphetamine positive. Is it so shocking that a teenager had a positive drug test? Shouldn’t he get credit for taking the same drug that sprinters take, not to mention the non-zero chance that it was an honest mistake? He broke his hand in March during an altercation with a team roommate. You know who else got in a fight with their roommate? Everyone ever. He’s dating a reality star. Umm…he’s hitting 99 mph in rehab? Almost every clubhouse has a guy with character issues that the team relies on and the fans cheer for. Yes, the flags are bright red, and there are plenty of them. I’m gambling that this is the lowest his stock will be for a while.” —Kit House

1:25 Oakland AthleticsMax Pentecost, C, Kennesaw State (2014 no. 11 pick)
Actual Selection: Matt Chapman
2015 Re-Draft Selection: Sean Newcomb
Reason:
“Have you seen catchers lately? Boy howdy, it seems like we're entering a dark age for backstops, with legitimate offensive and defensive threats numbering precious few, both at the minor- and major-league levels. Only five backstops made the Top 101 prior to this season, and the big-league tapestry seems to be showing (a lack of) warp and (mostly) woof. For that reason, even a (potentially) broken backstop with offensive ability is my choice here, shoulder injuries or no. Bonus points for the name "Max Pentecost" being about 50 percent likely to also be the name of Jon Boyega's character in ‘Pacific Rim 2’.” —Bryan Grosnick

1:26 Boston Red SoxBobby Bradley, 1B, Harrison Central HS (MS) (2014 no. 97 pick)
Actual Selection: Michael Chavis
2015 Re-Draft Selection: Braxton Davidson
Reason: “It's not ideal to be grabbing a sure-fire first baseman in the first round, but given what we know about what's left, Bradley isn't a bad play. He swings and misses far too much given that he's only in High-A, but he buoys his value through his on-base percentage and he's only just turned 20 years old. He's got prodigious power as well. Bradley is not going to need to hit for average to be functional, despite the lofty thresholds of the position, but it'd be nicer if he wasn't so likely to be a three-true-outcomes type.” —Craig Goldstein

1:27 St Louis Cardinals – Tyler Beede, RHP, Vanderbilt (2014 no. 14 pick)
Actual Selection: Luke Weaver
2015 Re-Draft Selection: Tyler Beede
Reason:
“Beede hasn't matched his potential yet, but I am still a believer that he will be a mid-rotation starter. He features both four- and two-seam fastballs, and has the feel for a plus curve along with a cutter and a change. He probably won’t be headlining any rotations, but he will get the job done and take on the innings. This pick came down to a few pitchers (Touki, Keller, Weaver, Fedde) but each had their issues of command, prior injury, or proximity to the majors, and with Weaver it was close enough that my long standing belief in Beede was the decision maker. Beede has the upside to become more than just a mid-rotation starter if he can miss more bats and not allow more than a hit an inning as his stuff matures.” —Grant Jones

Related Content:  Carlos Rodon,  2014 Draft,  Aaron Nola

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