MLB.com draft expert Jim Callis recently ran an interesting post that re-imagined the 2011 draft. It was a very deep class, as you will see with the kind of players that were chosen even in the later portions of the first round, but four of its top-five picks did not quite go as planned.
The first four selections were pitchers, with Gerrit Cole going to the Pittsburgh Pirates, Danny Hultzen going to the Seattle Mariners, Trevor Bauer going to the Arizona Diamondbacks, and Dylan Bundy going to the Baltimore Orioles. Only two of those pitchers -- Cole and Bauer -- have spent significant time as starters in the major leagues, while Bundy has mostly pitched out of the Baltimore pen. Hultzen has been a different tragic story of his own with a series of devastating arm injuries.
In Jim Callis' imaginary fun house of drafting, the top-five picks are now All-Stars or potential All-Stars. Most notably, for Cleveland Indians fans, is the idea of the Francisco Lindor going second overall to the Seattle Mariners (before you keep reading it's okay to take a moment and collect yourself -- Lindor is actually still on the Indians, it's okay. Just breathe). The only player chosen ahead of Lindor was, of course, was Jose Fernandez, who is one of the best pitchers in baseball right now for the Miami Marlins.
The real Indians made out pretty well in this draft, selecting their future shortstop with the eighth pick in the draft. In this re-imagined draft, with Lindor off the board, they select Anthony Rendon, instead. Which would certainly fill a huge hole at third base on the current roster, but is no one as exciting as a shortstop like Francisco Lindor. Callis also notes that the Indians are the first team who actually did better in real life compared to a 20/20 hindsight do-over. Here is what he had to say about the Tribe's selection:
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.
In total, three current Indians players would be selected in the first round of a redone 2011 MLB Draft, according to Callis. Lindor, as we know, went second overall to the Mariners, Trevor Bauer went 19th overall to the Boston Red Sox, and Cody Allen went 28th overall to the Atlanta Braves.