Draft do-over: Fernandez goes No. 1 in 2011

Looking back at scenarios that could have changed the faces and futures of teams

June 7th, 2016

The most talented Draft this millennium came in 2005. It sent 26 of its 30 first-rounders to the Majors, including Ryan Braun, Troy Tulowitzki and Andrew McCutchen. The second-best came in 2011, which scouts immediately recognized as a crop of once-in-a-decade quality.

The 2011 Draft has lived up to its billing, even if many of its younger players still aren't fully formed big leaguers. It was the last year before the current Collective Bargaining Agreement introduced a bonus-pool system, so teams spent heavily. Clubs gave out $228 million in bonuses and $236.1 million in total guarantees -- $139.1 million on the day of the Aug. 15 signing deadline -- records that weren't surpassed until four years later.

As deep as that 2011 Draft was, only one of the teams with a top-five selection got what it hoped for. With the benefit of hindsight and some educated guesswork as to how careers will play out, here's our take on how the clubs would redraft if given a do-over. Only players who signed pro contracts were considered, which is why the likes of Carlos Rodon (16th round, Brewers) and Aaron Nola (22nd round, Blue Jays) are missing.

• 2016 MLB Draft: June 9-11 on MLB Network, MLB.com

1. Pirates: Jose Fernandez, RHP, Alonso HS (Tampa, Fla.)

(Actual pick: Gerrit Cole, RHP, UCLA. Fernandez: first round, No. 14, Marlins.)

The first four guys in our redraft could be argued in just about any order, and Pittsburgh has no reason to regret taking Cole, who got a still-record $8 million bonus even though some scouts thought he was only the second-best prospect in UCLA's rotation. Fernandez beat him to the Majors by two months and has been more dominant -- and as dominant as any big league pitcher when healthy. Interestingly, the Reds realized that Fernandez was Draft-eligible in 2010 and could have signed him as a free agent after he went unpicked that June, but he declined their seven-figure offer.

2. Mariners: Francisco Lindor, SS, Montverde (Fla.) Academy

(Actual pick: Danny Hultzen, LHP, Virginia. Lindor: first round, No. 8, Indians.)

Seattle was all over Lindor, the type of gifted defensive shortstop who rarely comes along in the Draft, who has shown more than expected with the bat. But the Mariners opted for Hultzen, who hurt his shoulder in 2013 and has made just three Minor League appearances since having rotator-cuff surgery.

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3. Diamondbacks: Mookie Betts, OF, Overton HS (Brentwood, Tenn.)

(Actual pick: Trevor Bauer, RHP, UCLA. Betts: fifth round, Red Sox.)

When eighth-rounder Senquez Golson turned down a $1 million bonus to play football at Mississippi en route to an NFL career, Boston reallocated some of its budget to sign Betts for $750,000. He was considered a good athlete who might lack a carrying tool, so it's safe to say he has exceeded his scouting reports.

4. Orioles: Gerrit Cole, RHP, UCLA

(Actual pick: Dylan Bundy, RHP, Owasso, Okla., HS. Cole: first round, No. 1, Pirates.)

Bundy beat Cole to the big leagues too, debuting as a 19-year-old in September 2012, but had Tommy John surgery the next June and is still trying to climb his way back.

5. Royals: George Springer, OF, Connecticut

(Actual pick: Bubba Starling, OF, Gardner-Edgerton HS, Edgerton, Kan. Springer: first round, No. 11, Astros.)

One of the best college athletes in recent years, Springer worried scouts with his swing-and-miss tendencies (an issue that has retarded the career of Starling, a Nebraska quarterback recruit whose $7.5 million bonus remains a Draft record for position players). Springer still strikes out often, but is on pace for 36 homers in a breakout year.

6. Nationals: Sonny Gray, RHP, Vanderbilt

(Actual pick: Anthony Rendon, 3B, Rice. Gray: first round, No. 18, Athletics.)

Washington is the second team so far that could defend its actual selection, as Rendon was an MVP candidate in his one full, healthy season in the Majors. The consensus best hitter in the Draft, he lasted until No. 6 in part because he was bothered by a shoulder injury throughout the spring at Rice. Gray's small stature knocked him down to the middle of the first round but hasn't prevented him from starring for Oakland.

7. Diamondbacks: Jackie Bradley Jr., OF, South Carolina

(Actual pick: Archie Bradley, RHP, Broken Arrow, Okla., HS. Bradley: supplemental first round, Red Sox.)

Arizona was the first team ever to own two of the top seven selections, though Bauer and Archie Bradley haven't worked out as planned. The 2010 College World Series MVP, Jackie Bradley had a rough junior season attributed to hurting his wrist and trying to do too much with the newly-toned-down college bats, so he lasted until the 40th pick. His bat came alive last August and, paired with his Gold Glove-caliber defense, is making him a star.

8. Indians: Anthony Rendon, 3B, Rice

(Actual pick: Lindor. Rendon: first round, No. 6, Nationals.)

I'll confess that I fully believed that Rendon was the best player in the 2011 Draft. He has played like that at times and has outperformed four of the five players selected ahead of him, but my evaluation was a bit generous. The Indians are the first team who came out ahead in real life compared to this redraft.

9. Cubs: Tyler Glasnow, RHP, Hart HS, Santa Clarita, Calif.

(Actual pick: Javier Baez, SS, Arlington County Day School, Jacksonville, Fla. Glasnow: fifth round, Pirates.)

Glasnow was an ultraprojectable high school arm who commanded an over-slot $600,000 bonus in the fifth round and has blossomed into one of the game's top pitching prospects. He's the first player in this redraft who has yet to appear in the Majors, though he's ready whenever Pittsburgh decides it needs him.

10. Padres: Blake Snell, LHP, Shorewood HS, Shoreline, Wash.

(Actual pick: Cory Spangenberg, 2B, Indian River, Fla., CC. Snell: supplemental first round, Rays.)

This was an unprotected compensation choice for failing to land first-rounder Karsten Whitson in 2010, so San Diego took the very signable Spangenberg, who was more of a late-first-round talent. Also considered somewhat of a signability reach as a supplemental first-rounder, Snell has proven to be far and away the best of Tampa Bay's record 10 choices before the second round.

11. Astros: Joe Ross, RHP, Bishop O'Dowd HS, Oakland, Calif.

(Actual pick: Springer. Ross: first round, No. 25, Padres.)

As Northern California high school pitchers, Ross and Robert Stephenson were mentioned in the same breath all spring before going two picks apart in the late first round (and back-to-back in our redraft). Surrendered by San Diego in the Wil Myers trade, Ross is the type of power arm Houston could use in its rotation -- though it certainly would prefer Springer.

12. Brewers: Robert Stephenson, RHP, Alhambra HS, Martinez, Calif.

(Actual pick: Taylor Jungmann, RHP, Texas. Stephenson: first round, No. 27, Reds.)

Milwaukee tried to bolster its pitching with a pair of college arms that haven't worked out. Jungmann's good-not-great fastball and so-so secondary pitches haven't gotten much better in pro ball, while Stephenson has blossomed into a potential frontline starter who flashes three plus offerings but needs to refine his command. That's five high school arms among our top 12 redraft picks, something teams may want to note in regard to this year's prep-pitching-deep Draft class.

13. Mets: Trevor Story, SS, Irving (Texas) HS

(Actual pick: Brandon Nimmo, OF, East HS, Cheyenne, Wyo. Story: supplemental first round, Rockies.)

Story was the second-best player in the Draft who had a good chance to stay at shortstop, and he showed power but also a tendency to sell out for it -- just as he does today. The only Wyoming product ever drafted in the first three rounds, Nimmo looks like a future fourth outfielder.

14. Marlins: Michael Fulmer, RHP, Deer Creek HS, Edmond, Okla.

(Actual pick: Fernandez. Fulmer: supplemental first round, Mets.)

The third-rated Oklahoma prep pitcher that spring, Fulmer has accomplished more in the Majors than Bundy or Bradley despite not arriving before the end of April, nine months after going from New York to Detroit in the Yoenis Cespedes trade. The only question surrounding Fernandez concerned his age, as the Cuban defector turned 19 before he signed and there was speculation he was older.

15. Brewers: Joe Panik, SS, St. John's

(Actual pick: Jed Bradley, LHP, Georgia Tech. Panik: first round, No. 29, Giants.)

A consensus third-rounder who impressed scouts with his bat but little else and seemed destined to move to second base, Panik did shift to the other side of the bag but proved better than everyone but San Francisco expected. Bradley looked like a top-10 choice until a late-spring slump, which foreshadowed a disappointing pro career.

16. Dodgers: Blake Swihart, C, Cleveland HS, Rio Rancho, N.M.

(Actual pick: Chris Reed, LHP, Stanford. Swihart: first round, No. 26, Red Sox.)

This is about where Swihart would have gone based solely on talent at the time, though signability concerns caused him to last until No. 26, where he signed for $2.5 million. His tools always have reminded me of a young Buster Posey's, and I still believe there's still an All-Star catcher there. Reed's conversion from college reliever to pro starter stalled in Triple-A, though he did surface briefly in Miami's bullpen following a trade last July.

17. Angels: Marcus Semien, SS, California

(Actual pick: C.J. Cron, 1B, Utah. Semien: sixth round, White Sox.)

There were doubts that Semien could provide much impact at the plate or stay at shortstop, but he has dispelled them and showed much more pop than expected. Shipped from Chicago to Oakland in the Jeff Samardzija trade in December 2015, he has a career OPS (.711) close to that of Cron (.730), a bat-only guy who has hit for power but done little else.

18. Athletics: Daniel Norris, LHP, Science Hill HS, Johnson City, Tenn.

(Actual pick: Gray. Norris: second round, Blue Jays.)

The best high school lefty available, Norris was another signability slider and got a $2 million bonus in the second round. The key prospect in the trade that sent David Price from Detroit to Toronto last summer, he has battled oblique and back injuries and thyroid cancer in the last two years but still has No. 2 or 3 starter potential.

19. Red Sox: Trevor Bauer, RHP, UCLA

(Actual pick: Matt Barnes, RHP, Connecticut. Bauer: first round, No. 3, Diamondbacks.)

Count me among those who thought Bauer would be better than his UCLA teammate Cole. The first player from the 2011 Draft to reach the big leagues, Bauer does miss bats and I still believe he could be a mid-rotation starter, but I was way off on that one. Barnes has been a useful bullpen piece for the Red Sox but might be the sixth-best player they drafted in 2011.

20. Rockies: Travis Shaw, 3B, Kent State

(Actual pick: Tyler Anderson, LHP, Oregon. Shaw: ninth round, Red Sox.)

Shaw gives the Red Sox four of the top 20 redrafts, a tribute to one of the best Draft efforts this decade and to his perseverance after he struggled for more than a year in Double-A. His left-handed power got him picked in the ninth round, and he worked to become a better hitter and defender than evaluators thought he could become. Anderson is a pitchability left-hander who has been completely healthy for just one of his six years as a pro.

21. Blue Jays: Austin Hedges, C, JSerra HS, San Juan Capistrano, Calif.

(Actual pick: Tyler Beede, RHP, Lawrence Academy, Groton, Mass./did not sign. Hedges: second round, Padres.)

The best defensive high school catcher to come out of the Draft in years, Hedges signed for $3 million in the second round, which would have been a record if not for the guy redrafted two choices after this. He still has to prove he can hit, and if he does, he'll move considerably higher on this list. Beede turned down $2.4 million and headed to Vanderbilt, where he won a College World Series and became a Giants first-rounder three years later.

22. Cardinals: Javier Baez, SS, Arlington County Day School, Jacksonville, Fla.

(Actual pick: Kolten Wong, 2B, Hawaii. Baez: first round, No. 9, Cubs.)

Baez went right behind fellow Puerto Rican shortstop Lindor at No. 9. While he hasn't progressed as quickly, Baez's power and versatility still could make him a useful everyday regular if he can make more consistent contact. Wong was a decent regular for St. Louis in 2014-15 but got sent to the Minors Monday, just three months after signing a five-year, $25.5 million contract extension.

23. Nationals: Josh Bell, OF, Dallas Jesuit Prep

(Actual pick: Alex Meyer, RHP, Kentucky. Bell: second round, Pirates.)

Bell would have been a mid-first-round pick if clubs believed there was any chance he'd sign. Pittsburgh gambled on him in the second round, then stunned the industry by luring him away from a University of Texas commitment with a round-record $5 million bonus. One of the best first-base prospects in the Minors, he has yet to debut with the Pirates -- the second club with three players on this redraft. Meyer is still trying to find a role with Minnesota after coming over from Washington in a 2012 trade for Denard Span.

24. Rays: Greg Bird, C, Grandview HS, Aurora, Colo.

(Actual pick: Taylor Guerrieri, RHP, Spring Valley HS, Columbia, S.C. Bird: fifth round, Yankees.)

Bird's $1.1 million bonus in the fifth round was a surprise, but he has consistently hit for power and gotten on base as a pro and performed well with New York in the last two months of 2015. He also has had injury issues and will miss this entire season following surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder. The first of Tampa Bay's record 10 selections before the second round, Guerrieri had Tommy John surgery in mid-2013 and has made slow but steady progress since returning.

25. Padres: Archie Bradley, RHP, Broken Arrow (Okla.) HS

(Actual pick: Ross. Bradley: first round, No. 7, Diamondbacks.)

An Oklahoma quarterback recruit, Bradley gave up football for a $5 million bonus and emerged as one of baseball's best pitching prospects in 2013. He had elbow and shoulder woes the next two years and is still ironing out his control and command, though his upside remains high.

26. Red Sox: Matt Wisler, RHP, Bryan (Ohio) HS

(Actual pick: Swihart. Wisler: seventh round, Padres.)

Ohio's top high school prospect in 2011, Wisler lasted seven rounds because he got off to a slow start and had a strong commitment to Ohio State. Signed for $500,000, he went from San Diego to Atlanta in the Craig Kimbrel trade in April 2015 and has become the Braves' No. 2 starter.

27. Reds: Ken Giles, RHP, Yavapai (Ariz.) JC

(Actual pick: Stephenson. Giles: seventh round, Phillies.)

Giles was a pure arm-strength guy with little control, which is why a guy who could reach 99 mph was available with the 241st overall pick. He suddenly started throwing strikes in 2014, turned in two spectacular seasons in Philadelphia's bullpen, then yielded Vincent Velasquez and former No. 1 overall choice Mark Appel as part of a five-player package in a December deal with Houston.

28. Braves: Cody Allen, RHP, High Point

(Actual pick: Sean Gilmartin, LHP, Florida State. Allen: 23rd round, Indians.)

Cleveland couldn't sign Allen as a 16th-rounder out of St. Petersburg (Fla.) JC in 2010 but got him a year later for $125,000 as a 23rd-rounder out of High Point. His fastball jumped into the mid-90s and his curveball into the mid-80s in pro ball, helping him become the second player from the 2011 Draft to reach the Majors and take over as the Indians' closer by mid-2014. Gilmartin was a high-floor/low-ceiling finesse lefty who helped the Mets out of the bullpen last year after Atlanta swapped him for Ryan Doumit two years earlier.

29. Giants: Anthony DeSclafani, RHP, Florida

(Actual pick: Panik. DeSclafani: sixth round, Blue Jays.)

A reliever on a deep Gators staff, DeSclafani had immediate success as a starter in a 2012 Class A Lansing rotation that also featured Noah Syndergaard, Alex Sanchez and Justin Nicolino. DeSclafani has been traded twice since, to Miami in a blockbuster for Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle and to Cincinnati for Mat Latos.

30. Twins: Kevin Pillar, OF, Cal State Dominguez Hills

(Actual pick: Levi Michael, SS, North Carolina. Pillar: 32nd round, Blue Jays.)

Pillar is the lowest pick (32nd round) and received the lowest bonus ($1,000) of anyone in this redraft, as well as the third Blue Jay mentioned. Undrafted as a Cal State Dominguez Hills junior despite setting an NCAA Division II record with a 54-game hitting streak, he began blowing away expectations by winning the Class A Midwest League MVP award in his first full pro season. He got to Toronto in his second and is one of the best defensive center fielders in the big leagues. Michael has had problems staying healthy since severely injuring a hamstring right before the Draft.

31. Rays: Kyle Hendricks, RHP, Dartmouth

(Actual pick: Mikie Mahtook, OF, Louisiana State. Hendricks: eighth round, Rangers.)

Hendricks has ridden his feel for pitching from the Ivy Leagues to the ivy at Wrigley Field, where he has consistently produced for Chicago for three years. The Cubs got him from Texas as part of the Ryan Dempster trade midway through his first full pro season. Mahtook was one of the toolsier college players in the 2011 Draft and had a strong debut with Tampa Bay last year, but he's more fourth outfielder than regular.

32. Rays: Jerad Eickhoff, RHP, Olney Central (Ill.) CC

(Actual pick: Jake Hager, SS, Sierra Vista HS, Las Vegas. Eickhoff: 15th round, Rangers.)

Another Rangers overachiever, Eickhoff ranked among the national juco strikeout leaders in 2011 and has pitched well for Philadelphia since switching organizations in the Cole Hamels trade last summer. Hager's bat hasn't developed as expected and he missed the entire 2015 season following a pair of knee surgeries.

33. Rangers: Cory Spangenberg, 2B, Indian River (Fla.) CC

(Actual pick: Kevin Matthews, LHP, Richmond Hill, Ga., HS. Spangenberg: first round, No. 10, Padres.)

One of the best hitters and fastest runners among juco players in the 2011 Draft, Spangenberg hasn't made the impact hoped for with either tool but did claim San Diego's second-base job last year. He's the fourth Padre on this list, tying the Red Sox for the most redraftees of any club. Matthews rivaled Hager as the biggest reach in the first round and didn't make it past Class A before Texas released him last year.