Every year since Major League Baseball initiated the amateur draft in 1966 there have been big hits and awful misses. What if teams could have a do-over. Revisionist history if you will.
First off, the baseball draft has several different layers. You have a mix of high school seniors, junior college players, and division I underclassmen that have the leverage to not sign and return to school (or go to college for high school seniors). So, signability is a big concern and why you will find big name superstars in previous draft logs toward the bottom.
In this instance, both Kris Bryant and Aaron Judge were drafted in 2010 out of high school and both players went off to college. Bryant was drafted in the 18th round by the Toronto Blue Jays while Judge was selected in the 31st round by the Oakland Athletics.
Up until recently only big market teams with a lot of money to spend could snag the “can’t miss” prospects, which is why you saw the Minnesota Twins draft Joe Mauer in 2001 over pitching sensation Mark Prior who signed with the Cubs as the second overall pick. And unlike the football and basketball drafts, teams don’t draft for needs at the big league level.
With all that said, let’s get to the 2010 MLB Redraft based on WAR ten years later. This is a black and white exercise not taking into account signability, or what front offices were thinking at the time. I am basing this purely on big league WAR using Baseball Reference. Also, this only includes players that signed with their drafting team. Bryant and Judge will not appear on this list as they did not sign in the 2010 MLB Draft.
1. Washington Nationals – Chris Sale (P)
This selection could have gone a number of ways, and in 2010 the Washington Nationals would have drafted Bryce Harper number one overall 1,000 times out 1,000 times. Surprisingly, with all of the Harper hype for more than a decade he does not have the highest MLB WAR. That belongs to pitcher Chris Sale, who was originally drafted by the Chicago White Sox 13th overall and owns a 45.3 career WAR heading into the 2020 season.
2. Pittsburgh Pirates – Manny Machado (SS)
The Pittsburgh Pirates drafted pitcher Jameson Taillon second overall in the actual 2010 draft. Manny Machado was taken one pick later at number three by the Baltimore Orioles. Machado has racked up a 36.7 WAR.
3. Baltimore Orioles – Andrelton Simmons (SS)
Baltimore still gets its future shortstop in our redraft with Machado off the board. Andrelton Simmons was a steal for the Atlanta Braves with the 70th overall pick in the second round. His career WAR (36.3) is less than a half point behind the Orioles original pick, Machado.
4. Kansas City Royals – Jacob deGrom (P)
Here’s where things get really interesting. The Royals drafted shortstop Christian Colon in this slot who did make it to MLB, but has just a 1.5 career WAR. Meanwhile, the New York Mets snagged deGrom in the 9th round at 272 overall. The Mets ace has tallied a 35.5 career WAR.
5. Cleveland Indians – Christian Yelich (OF)
Christian Yelich has really exploded the past couple seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers. A trade sent Yelich to Milwaukee from his original team, Miami Marlins. The Marlins drafted Yelich in the first round of this draft 23rd overall. Drew Pomeranz was the Indians original pick, and he has had a respectable big league career and will appear later in this redraft.
6. Arizona Diamondbacks – Bryce Harper (OF)
The original first overall pick is off the board. Harper and Yelich actually have the exact same WAR (31.8), but in my redraft I placed Yelich ahead because of his performances in 2018 and 2019. This is quite the upgrade for Arizona, who originally drafted Barret Loux with this pick in 2010. Loux has been out of organized professional baseball since 2015 when he peaked with the Cubs’ AAA team in Iowa.
7. New York Mets – Kevin Kiermaier (OF)
Mets can’t go wrong in 2010 or 2020 with their draft pick at number seven. Matt Harvey was the team’s original selection ten years ago and has had a nice career, though what could have been without his injuries? Kiermaier is the steal of the 2010 MLB Draft as the Tampa Bay Rays snagged him in the 31st round with pick 941, and his 25.7 career WAR ranks him seventh in this draft.
8. Houston Astros – Adam Eaton (OF)
Another steal from the 2010 MLB Draft as the Arizona Diamondbacks took Adam Eaton with the 571st overall pick in the 19th round. It would have been a nice makeup for drafting Loux in the first round, but Eaton (19.3 career WAR) only spent two seasons with the Diamondbacks before he was sent to the Chicago White Sox in a three-team deal that landed Mark Trumbo in Arizona. The Astros drafted Delino DeShields with this pick and he has a 5.3 career WAR, which would put him just outside the first round in this redraft.
9. San Diego Padres – J.T. Realmuto (C)
The best catcher from the 2010 MLB Draft is off the board at the ninth overall pick in our redraft. J.T. Realmuto was taken in the third round with the 104th overall pick by the Miami Marlins. The Padres originally drafted a pitcher that never made the show. Karsten Whitson was taken in 2010 by the Padres and did not sign. Whitson went on to the University of Florida and was drafted in the 37th round of the 2013 draft by the Washington Nationals and did not sign. He then signed with the Boston Red Sox as an 11th round pick in 2014. He only registered four appearances in professional baseball with the Lowell Spinners in 2014. Realmuto has a 18.4 career WAR ranking him as the best catcher in this draft to date, slightly above our next pick.
10. Oakland Athletics – Yasmani Grandal (C)
A run on catchers in the 2010 MLB Redraft. Yasmani Grandal is off the board with the Oakland Athletics. Grandal (17.3 WAR) was originally taken two slots later by the Cincinnati Reds in 2010. Oakland’s original pick was outfielder Michael Choice, who has a negative WAR of -2.0.
11. Toronto Blue Jays – Noah Syndergaard (P)
The Blue Jays still get their man in pitching ace Noah Syndergaard. Do they keep him this time around. Syndergaard (15.7 WAR) was originally drafted by Toronto in the supplemental first round by Toronto (38th overall). Toronto sent Syndergaard to the New York Mets after the 2012 season in a trade that was highlighted by R.A. Dickey going to the Blue Jays. Deck McGuire was the original pick by the Blue Jays at number 11. While he did make it to the big leagues, McGuire has only appeared in nine games at the MLB level.
12. Cincinnati Reds – Kole Calhoun (OF)
Cincinnati misses out on their original pick from 2010, Yasmani Grandal. In the redraft they get an outfielder in Kole Calhoun. Calhoun was taken in the 8th round (264th overall) by the Los Angeles Angels and has compiled a 15.7 career WAR.
13. Chicago White Sox – James Paxton (P)
The White Sox outdid themselves with their selection in 2010…Chris Sale. Sale, as seen above, has compiled the highest WAR from the 2010 draft class to date. In our redraft the White Sox still get a pitcher in James Paxton. Paxton’s 13.3 career WAR ranks fourth among pitchers in this draft class. He was originally taken 132nd overall by the Seattle Mariners in the fourth round.
14. Milwaukee Brewers – Whit Merrifield (OF)
Doesn’t Whit Merrifield fit in the Milwaukee Brewers organization. He’s like the definition of a solid player you think of from a small market team like the “Brew Crew.” Part of that is likely because he’s been with the small market Kansas City Royals organization after being selected 269th overall in the ninth round and has a 13.3 career WAR. Dylan Covey was the original selection here, and did not sign. He was later drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the fourth round of the 2013 draft and has only appeared in four big league games to this point.
15. Texas Rangers – Corey Dickerson (OF)
This pick in 2010 was a supplemental choice for the Texas Rangers for failing to sign 2009 first rounder Matt Purke. Texas didn’t fare any better with this selection taking Jake Skole, a high school centerfielder from Georgia. Skole bounced around the minor leagues topping out in AA, and has been out of organized baseball since 2016. Dickerson was taken 260th overall in the 8th round by the Colorado Rockies. The outfielder has a 13.0 WAR.
16. Chicago Cubs – Joc Pederson (OF)
This one hurts. The Cubs drafted pitcher Hayden Simpson with the 16th overall pick in 2010 out of Southern Arkansas University. He only played two seasons in the Cubs organization (and organized baseball) and did not even reach AA. Joc Pederson was taken by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 11th round with the 352nd overall pick and has been a solid contributor for the team compiling a 10.9 WAR.
17. Tampa Bay Rays – Drew Pomeranz (P)
Drew Pomeranz is off the board after originally being taken with the fifth overall pick by the Cleveland Indians. Pomeranz has a 10.8 WAR while bouncing around MLB in nine seasons. He has pitched for the Oakland Athletics, Colorado Rockies, San Diego Padres (twice), Boston Red Sox, Milwaukee Brewers, and San Francisco Giants. Tampa Bay originally selected Josh Sale with this pick, and he has not been called up to the big leagues to date.
18. Los Angeles Angels – Eddie Rosario (OF)
Eddie Rosario was drafted 135th overall in the fourth round by the Minnesota Twins. He has compiled a 10.7 career WAR with the team. The Angels originally drafted a pitcher with this pick: Kaleb Cowart. Cowart did make it to the big leagues with the Angels, albeit as a converted infielder.
19. Houston Astros – Matt Harvey (P)
Not a bad pick here at #19 for the Houston Astros. Originally, Houston drafted pitcher Mike Foltynewicz. He has had a decent career at the big league level compiling a 4.9 WAR. Harvey has battled injury, but has still racked up a 10.3 WAR.
20. Boston Red Sox – Nicholas Castellanos (OF)
Are you as surprised as me seeing Nicholas Castellanos so far down in this redraft? I was shocked that Castellanos’ career WAR with the Detroit Tigers and Chicago Cubs is only 9.7. Over the next few seasons I can see this number increasing quite a bit. Kolbrin Vitek was the original selection here by the Red Sox. He lasted only four seasons reaching AA. Vitek has been out of baseball since 2013.
21. Minnesota Twins – Drew Smyly (P)
As surprised as I was to see Castellanos rank down at 20th among career WAR numbers from this draft class, I was equally surprised that Drew Smyly ranked this high. The pitcher has a 9.2 WAR and was originally drafted in the second round – 68th overall. Minnesota’s actual pick here was Alex Wimmers. Wimmers has had a cup of coffee appearing in two big league games.
22. Texas Rangers – Aaron Sanchez (P)
Boy, did the Texas Rangers have a rough 2010 draft. With two of the first 22 picks neither of their selections made it to the big leagues. It was Jake Skole taken 15th overall, and now catcher Kellin Deglan with the 22nd pick. In the redraft they pair outfielder Corey Dickerson with pitcher Aaron Sanchez, who was originally taken by the Blue Jays with the 34th overall pick and has a 8.9 WAR.
23. Miami Marlins – Jedd Gyorko (2B/3B)
The Marlins take a “L” in the redraft getting Jedd Gyorko (8.9 WAR) instead of their original pick, Christian Yelich. In the redraft Yelich is long gone having been picked fifth overall. Gyorko has had a decent career after being selected in the second round with the 59th overall pick by the Padres in 2010.
24. San Francisco Giants – Robbie Ray (P)
A great pick here as Robbie Ray could be a steal at #24. He has compiled a 8.8 WAR to this point, but has really broken out the past couple seasons. Ray was taken with the 356th overall pick in the 12th round by the Nationals in 2010. Gary Brown was the original pick by the Giants and has only appeared in seven games at the big league level.
25. St. Louis Cardinals – Evan Gattis (C/DH)
If the redraft is revisited in a couple years, it’s highly likely that Evan Gattis drops further down this list. He announced his retirement from professional baseball this past October. Gattis was drafted 704th overall in the 23rd round by the Atlanta Braves and between the Braves and Astros compiled a 8.5 career WAR. The Cardinals drafted 3rd baseman Zack Cox in this spot and he never made it to “the show.”
26. Colorado Rockies – Jameson Taillon (P)
Taillon fell from the top of the first round to near the bottom here at 26. The pitcher has a 8.2 WAR with his original team the Pittsburgh Pirates. Kyle Parker was drafted in this spot by the Rockies and has appeared in 64 career games with a -1.6 WAR.
27. Philadelphia Phillies – Adam Duvall (OF)
Adam Duvall has had a nice career for the Cincinnati Reds and Atlanta Braves. The outfielder has a 6.7 career WAR after being taken in the 11th round with the 347th overall pick by the San Francisco Giants in 2010. Philadelphia’s original pick was pitcher Jesse Biddle. The lefty has thrown in 69 MLB games to date.
28. Los Angeles Dodgers – Mark Canha (1B)
The 2010 MLB Draft was not ripe for top flight first baseman. The first one in our redraft comes in at #28, Mark Canha. Canha has a 6.1 WAR with the Oakland Athletics. He was originally taken 227th overall in the 7th round by the Miami Marlins. The Dodgers originally drafted high school pitcher Zach Lee in this spot. While Lee has made it to the MLB level, he’s only appeared in four games.
29. Los Angeles Angels – Alex Claudio (RP)
It’s a relief pitcher spot as Alex Claudio (6.0 WAR) is off the board in the redraft. Claudio was taken in the 27th round (826th overall) by the Texas Rangers, and served as the closer for parts of the 2017 season (11 saves). Cam Bedrosian was the Angels pick in 2010. Ironically, he also did some fill-in closing during the 2017 season with 6 saves for the Angels. Bedrosian has a 0.9 career WAR.
30. Los Angeles Angels – Addison Reed (RP)
With back-to-back picks the Angels are shoring up their bullpen in the redraft. Reed has matched Claudio with a 6.0 career WAR, but Reed served as a top closer early in his career. Reed had 40 saves for the White Sox in 2014 and followed that with 32 saves for the 2015 Diamondbacks. He was released by the Twins in 2019 after missing time with an injury and has not logged any big league innings since the 2018 season. Chevy Clarke, the Angels’ pick here in 2010, never reached the big leagues.
31. Tampa Bay Rays – Taijuan Walker (P)
Taijuan Walker suffered some setbacks after starting 29, 25, and 28 games from 2015 through 2016 for the Seattle Mariners and Arizona Diamondbacks. He underwent Tommy John surgery in 2018 and only appeared in four games during the 2018 and 2019 seasons. Walker was taken 43rd overall by the Mariners in 2010, and re-signed with the team that picked him this past spring. The Rays drafted a high school catcher from Indiana, Justin O’Conner, with this pick in 2010. He has not yet reached the big leagues.
32. New York Yankees – Sam Dyson (RP)
With the last pick before the supplemental first round, the Yankees picked a high school pitcher named Cito Culver. Culver peaked in AAA never making the next call up to the big leagues. He has played in the independent leagues the past two seasons. Sam Dyson was taken with the 126th overall pick by the Toronto Blue Jays and has a 5.6 career WAR. What a draft for the Blue Jays in 2010 having selected three players that rank in the top 32 in career WAR as of 2020.