Legends On Deck

If We Knew Then What We Know Now

We have all heard the phrase “hindsight is 20/20” at some point in our lives.  There is no place the phrase stands out more than when looking back at the MLB Draft.  Scouts and executives can only speculate how much of an impact a baseball prospect will make.  Over the years there have been many “mistakes” made on draft day, and if we knew then what we know now, some of those “mistakes” might have been prevented.

I decided to take a look back at the 2013 MLB Draft.  Some marquee players came out of that draft.  Aaron Judge, Kris Bryant, Tim Anderson, Jeff McNeil, Andrew Benintendi, and many others.  There were also some key players that were signed during the international signing period that year as well.  Players like Sandy Alcantara, Rafael Devers, Ozzie Albies, and Eloy Jimenez were signed by clubs during that window.

So what happens if we take what we know now and re-draft the first round?  Even though there is no international draft, I have decided that for this particular article, international free agents are in the pool of draft-eligible players to make things interesting.  As far as who a team selects, I decided to just use WAR with the team selecting the best player available to them, not taking into consideration of need at the position or any other factors.

This is just for entertainment purposes.

  1. Houston Astros – Aaron Judge (Mark Appel)
    With the first selection in the 2013 draft, the Houston Astros selected Mark Appel.  It was the third time Appel was selected, going in the 15th round in 2009 to the Tigers out of high school (didn’t sign), first round in 2012 to the Pirates (did not sign), and then first overall to Houston in 2013.  Appel spent all of his professional baseball career in the minor leagues until 2022 when he made his debut with the Philadelphia Phillies.  Is there really much that needs to be said about Aaron Judge that hasn’t been said already?  The Astros and their fans certainly would “All Rise” to see big 99 patrolling the outfield at Minute Maid Park.  Of course there was no way of knowing just how good he was going to be, but that is why re-drafts are fun.
  2. Chicago Cubs – Kris Bryant (Kris Bryant)
    According to the criteria I am following here, the Cubs did the best they could with selecting Bryant with this pick.  They got the best out of him playing on the hot corner at Wrigley.  The most memorable play, for me at least, was Bryant fielding the final out of the 2016 World Series ending the long long drought for the Cubs.  It would have been great to see him stay in Chicago, but the business of baseball led him to Colorado when he signed a 7-year $182 million contract in March of 2022.
  3. Colorado Rockies – Tim Anderson (Jon Gray)
    One of the hardest things for the Colorado Rockies to do is draft and develop pitchers.  It is also difficult for them to sign pitchers in free agency that are willing to deal with the altitude and inflated pitching statistics.  Jon Gray was one of the top pitching prospects heading into the 2013 draft, so the Rockies did what they had to do.  However, lurking in the pool of players was Tim Anderson.  The Rockies were not in any need of an infielder, with Todd Helton at first, DJ LeMahieu at second, Troy Tulowitzki at short, and Nolan Arenado but remember how players are picked during this re-draft.  One-by-one all of those infielders left Colorado so who knows maybe they would have selected Anderson anyway.
  4. Minnesota Twins – Cody Bellinger (Kohl Stewart)
    I understand that this one seems a bit high given Bellinger’s lackluster campaigns post-Covid, but he did rake from 2017-2019 winning Rookie of the Year in 2017 and MVP in 2019.  Kohl Stewart, who the Twins selected at this pick, has appeared in just 21 games so far in his MLB career.  The Twins won just 66 games in 2013 so there were holes to be filled.  If they were able to get the first three years of Bellinger’s career while playing for them things might have been different.
  5. Cleveland Guardians – Jeff McNeil (Jackson Frazier)
    You could look at scouting reports over and over again, and still probably didn’t see this one coming.  Jeff McNeil was drafted by the New York Mets in the 12th round of the draft, the 356th player chosen.  He has hit over .300 in four of five seasons including winning the National League Batting Title in 2022.  McNeil flashed some power in 2019 hitting 23 homeruns that has gone away, but all he does is hit.  Cleveland would have loved to have him on their team, but the Mets are grateful it did not happen this way.

The landscape of Major League Baseball would have looked vastly different if the draft looked the way it is starting to look in this re-draft.  In the next five picks we will see some international free agents getting picked up and a pick that didn’t sign be taken in the top 10.


John has recently graduated from the University at Albany with a B.A. in History and is currently finishing his Master's Degree there as well in secondary education. After being away from school for over two decades he decided to go back and work towards his dream of becoming a social studies teacher.

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