Last week, we took a look at a solid -- if not spectacular -- 2013 draft. This week, it's time to tackle the 2014 draft, one that offers more promise, if a bit more risk.
A quick look at some rules:
- The focus is mostly on what the player can offer in the future, but their previous success is also applied.
- Every team gets a pick, and teams that had more than one first-round selection had their extra choice removed.
- Positional need was not considered, a best-player-available approach was taken with all selections.
Now, the 2014 MLB redraft.
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1. Houston Astros
The pick: Matt Chapman, 3B
Originally drafted: 1.25 (Athletics)
Actual 1st pick: Brady Aiken, LHP
There were a couple other names considered for this spot, but ultimately, Chapman is the top player from this draft. While he will never hit for a high average, he has provided plenty of power with 74 homers in three seasons -- one of those years seeing him play just 84 games -- and he owns a career .841 OPS while playing some of the best defensive we’ve seen at the hot corner over the last decade. And yes, that is saying something. All due respect to this next group of players, but Chapman goes first in a heartbeat if we redid it.
Aiken was the consensus top player in the draft coming into the event, and it was no surprise that he went first overall. What was a surprise was that he didn’t sign after concerns arose with his medicals, and he was drafted in the first-round by Cleveland a year later. We’ll get into how that went in next week’s redraft.
2. Miami Marlins
The pick: Jack Flaherty, RHP
Originally drafted: 1.34 (Cardinals)
Actual 2nd pick: Tyler Kolek, RHP
Again, this was hard, but because we’re weighing so much of this on what they’re doing, Flaherty has to be the second selection. Drafted out of Harvard Westlake High School -- the same school that produced Lucas Giolito and Max Fried -- Flaherty was seen as more of a “high-floor” prospect, but he’s exceeded expectations, and he was as good or better than any pitcher in the second-half of baseball in the 2019 season. A little bit riskier than the name who goes below him, but I’ll go with what appears to be an ace that still is just 24-years-old until October.
Kolek showed an 80-grade (on the 20-80 scouting scale) fastball as a prep with a devastating breaking-ball, but he has really struggled to throw strikes and to stay healthy. He owns a career 5.66 ERA in 163 2/3 professional innings, and he posted an 8.44 ERA in six appearances for short-season Batavia last summer.
3. Chicago White Sox
The pick: Trea Turner, SS
Originally drafted: 1.13 (Padres)
Actual 3rd pick: Carlos Rodon, LHP
If we did this redraft two years ago or even last year, Turner just might be the first overall pick. Drafted out of NC State, Turner was traded by the Padres in the three-team blockbuster that saw Wil Myers move from the Rays to San Diego. He’s been a solid -- if not spectacular -- defender up the middle, and he’s hit .291 with an .815 OPS while stealing 30-plus bases in each of his four full seasons. The 26-year-old shortstop has had some issues staying healthy, but outside of Chapman, he has the highest floor of any player in this draft.
4. Chicago Cubs
The pick: Aaron Nola, RHP
Originally drafted: 1.7 (Phillies)
Actual 4th pick: Kyle Schwarber, C
Here’s another player that could have been at the top of the draft if this exercise took place a year or two earlier. There were some concerns about Nola’s delivery coming out of LSU, but they’ve been misplaced, as he owns a career 3.49 ERA and finished third in Cy Young balloting in 2018 after he fanned 224 hitters with a 2.37 mark that season. Nola struggled with command last year with 80 walks and saw that ERA jump to 3.87, but assuming he splits the difference, he’s still an excellent starting option; one that should be relevant for several more years.
5. Minnesota Twins
The pick: Michael Conforto, OF
Originally drafted: 1.10 (Mets)
Actual 5th pick: Nick Gordon, SS
Conforto was viewed by many analysts as one of the best pure bats in the class, and while he’s hit for slightly less average than anticipated (.253), he owns an .834 OPS and has hit 109 homers in 578 games. He’s also been a better defender than most (me) believed he’d be, which is a nice added bonus. The only concern with Conforto is health, but when he’s been on the field, he’s hit like a legitimate middle-of-the-order option.
Gordon has yet to make his MLB debut, but he was considered for this list as a potential everyday shortstop who has had issues staying on the field as well, but should make his MLB debut if/when the 2020 season happens.
6. Seattle Mariners
The pick: Ramon Laureano, OF
Originally drafted: 16.466 (Astros)
Actual 6th pick: Alex Jackson, C
Laureano goes a healthy 460 picks earlier than he did when the Astros nabbed him out of Northeast Oklahoma A&M College, which is a real school. He was traded by Houston to Oakland for Brandon Bailey, and while Bailey is a competent pitching prospect, it’s fair to say the Astros would redo this one. The 25-year-old hit 27 homers and stole 13 bases for the A’s in 2019, and his strong throwing arm and flair for the spectacular makes him a quality outfielder, as well. He should be hitting in the middle of the Oakland lineup when the season gets started, and it feels like he’s just beginning to scratch the surface of what he’s capable of.
Jackson was widely viewed as the top prep hitting prospect in the draft -- he began “draft season” as the top prospect, period -- but he really struggled in the Seattle system before being traded to the Braves in 2016. He’s been better with Atlanta, but he definitely isn’t one of the 30 best players in this class. Not yet, anyway.
7. Philadelphia Phillies
The pick: Rhys Hoskins, 1B
Originally drafted: 5.142 (Phillies)
Actual 7th pick: Nola
The Phillies acquire Hoskins again, just 135 picks earlier. The price of doing business. Like a few other hitters ahead of him -- and a few after -- hitting for average has been a challenge, but he owns a career .364 on-base percentage thanks in large part to 240 walks in 363 games, and he’s also hit 81 homers in that timeframe. His value drops slightly because he moves to first base, but Hoskins is still a personal favorite, and I’ll take him over the next group of hitters that goes in this redraft.
8. Colorado Rockies
The pick: Kyle Schwarber, OF/C
Originally drafted: 1.4 (Cubs)
Actual 8th pick: Kyle Freeland, LHP
Schwarber was drafted as a catcher out of Indiana with the fourth pick, but outside of a few random appearances, he has made his living in the outfield. While his defensive work leaves a lot to be desired, the 27-year-old has shown big-time power with 110 homers in 492 games -- 38 of them in 2019 -- and an .829 OPS is nothing to sneeze at. Is Schwarber a flawed player? You bet, but he provides enough with the bat to justify a Top 10 pick and hey, if you wanna throw in his contributions in the World Series (.412/500/.471), you can do that, too.
9. Toronto Blue Jays
The pick: Carlos Rodon, LHP
Originally drafted: 1.3 (White Sox)
Actual 9th pick: Jeff Hoffman, RHP
Some of you know that I broke into this business by writing about and scouting the draft. In my 12 or so years of doing so, Rodon is the best pitching prospect I ever scouted. He showed an 80-grade slider and a fastball that was similar in grade because of its movement. Unfortunately, he hasn’t lived up to that hype as of yet, and he’s coming off Tommy John surgery; with a 50/50 shot at being ready when/if the season gets started this summer. Still, let’s keep in mind that Rodon is still just 27-years-old, and when he has been healthy, there’s been plenty of flashes of brilliance. I can’t give up on him. Not yet.
Unfortunately, Hoffman’s flashes of brilliance have been too few and far between. Traded from the Blue Jays in the Troy Tulowitzki blockbuster, the right-hander out of East Carolina owns a career ERA of 6.11 in 52 games, and is nothing more than organizational fodder at this point. Bummer.
10. New York Mets
The pick: Michael Kopech, RHP
Originally drafted: 1.33 (Red Sox)
Actual 10th pick: Conforto
This may be a bit of a controversial pick, as Kopech has just four MLB appearances under his belt, and he’s just coming off missing an entire season due to Tommy John surgery. Still, this is one of the best pitching prospects in baseball, and we saw him hitting triple-digits with his fastball before the COVID-19 shutdown. He’s also improving his command and has a wipeout slider, so if we redo this draft again in a couple of seasons, he may go much, much higher.
11. Milwaukee Brewers
The pick: Brandon Woodruff, RHP
Originally drafted: 11.326
Actual 11th pick: Max Pentecost, C (Blue Jays)
The Blue Jays got this pick for failing to sign Phil Bickford in 2014, so hopefully you read the rules to understand why they don’t get another selection. Woodruff was drafted in the 11th round out of Mississippi State in 2014, but the Brewers will have to take him much, much earlier to procure his services. And they should. He’s struck out 190 hitters over 164 innings last year, and he’s posted a respectful 3.62 ERA in that time frame. He’s slated to be the ace of the Brewers going forward, and like Kopech, he could go even earlier the next time we do this.
Pentecost retired in April of 2019 after dealing with a bevy of shoulder injuries.
12. San Diego Padres
The pick: Alex Verdugo, OF
Originally drafted: 2.62 (Dodgers)
Actual 12th pick: Kodi Medeiros (Brewers)
Verdugo is a bit difficult to rank on this list, and I’m probably too light on him, which is weird since I’ve been a big fan since I saw him in the Area Code Games in 2013. The left-handed hitter has a smooth, line-drive swing and showed it while posting a very solid .294/.342/.475 with 12 homers in 106 games. He also was the key piece to the Mookie Betts trade, so the Red Sox obviously like him quite a bit, too. Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but Verdugo could go even higher if he hits his hypothetical ceiling in a couple of years.
Medeiros was drafted out of a Hawaiian high school with the 12th pick, and while he’s shown a tremendous slider, he’s also posted a 4.77 ERA over six seasons in the Milwaukee and White Sox organizations.
13. San Francisco Giants
The pick: Brian Anderson, 3B/OF
Originally drafted: 3.76 (Marlins)
Actual 13th pick: Turner (Padres)
Anderson has been a bit underrated in part because he’s played for a couple of dreadful teams, but the 26-year-old has been solid in his first two seasons, and was particularly good in the latter part of 2019 that helped him post an .811 OPS on the season. Anderson has been worth at least three wins the last two seasons, and while he doesn’t have the upside of the names above, it’s fair to believe that he’ll be even better going forward.
14. Los Angeles Angels
The pick: Dylan Cease, RHP
Originally drafted: 6.169 (Cubs)
Actual 14th pick: Tyler Beede, RHP (Giants)
Cease may have been drafted “late” in June of 2014, but it was mostly due to signing concerns, as he was widely viewed as one of the most talented prospects in the draft; although his stock did slip as the event got closer. The command is still an issue, but it’s gotten better, and Cease shows swing-and-miss stuff that competes with any pitcher in this draft outside of Kopech. There’s risk in Cease’s profile, but the risk comes with oh so much reward.
Beede was drafted in the first-round twice: once as a prep in 2011 and again in 2014 out of Vanderbilt. Command has been problematic for the right-hander, and he’s another hurler in this class who underwent Tommy John surgery. He’s like an up-and-down arm for the foreseeable future.
15. Arizona Diamondbacks
The pick: Mitch Keller, RHP
Originally drafted: 2.64 (Pirates)
Actual 15th pick: Sean Newcomb, LHP (Angels)
Keller’s MLB numbers are ugly; he posted an ERA of 7.11 in his 11 starts and allowed a whopping 72 hits in 48 innings. That’s a very small sample size, and his 65/16 K/BB ratio suggests that Keller had more than a bit of bad luck; as does his 3.19 FIP. The 24-year-old has well above-average stuff and commands it well, so when he does get a chance to pitch in 2020, it’s more than reasonable to expect him to be much better. The future is still very bright for Keller.