Hindsight is always 20/20, so in this article the Braves get another shot at every first round pick in each draft from 2005-12. Here is who they should take:
Note: I will be accounting for other teams taking better talent. For example, I know Mike Trout went 25th in 2009, but I will assume the Nationals would have taken him at #1. I also only went to 2012 because anything past then is too early to tell for most players.
Braves 1st Round Pick (27th)- Joey Devine, P
Braves Redraft Pick- Craig Stammen, P
Number One Pick- Justin Upton, OF
Number One Redraft Pick- Andrew McCutchen, OF
I don’t know if you guys noticed, but this pick didn’t work out well for us. This draft was loaded with talent, with names like Andrew McCutchen, Troy Tulowitzki, Jay Bruce, Ryan Zimmerman and Justin Upton going with the top picks. The Mariners really missed in this draft, Drafting Jeff Clement 3rd and passing on Zimmerman, McCutchen, Tulowitzki, Bruce, Ellsbury, Garza, Buchholz, and Braun. Stammen has been a good, consistent bullpen guy, and with a draft as talented as this, he would have fallen to 27th. I give the #1 overall pick to McCutchen due to Tulo’s injuries over the years, and he has just a slight edge over Upton .
Braves 1st Round Pick (24th)- Cody Johnson, 1B
Braves Redraft Pick- Josh Reddick, RF
Number One Pick- Luke Hochevar, P
Number One Redraft Pick- Clayton Kershaw, P
I’m sorry, but the only Cody Johnson I’m familiar with is the country music singer. The 2006 draft had a surplus of late draft talent, guys like Andrew Cashner, Zach Britton, Alex Cobb, Chris Johnson, Chris Davis, Jeff Samardzija, Mat Latos, and Jordan Walden. They would have all went in the 1st or 2nd round. Reddick was taken in the 17th round, and in a redraft would likely be available with players like Kershaw, Longoria, and Scherzer ahead of him as well. Reddick has a .307 Average with 10 HRs, 40 RBIs and 24 Walks in Oakland this year.
Braves 1st Round Pick (14th)- Jason Heyward, RF
Braves Redraft Pick- Jonathan Lucroy, C
Number One Pick- David Price, P
Number One Redraft Pick- Giancarlo Stanton, OF
Sorry Braves fans, you wouldn’t get Heyward again in this draft. I know Freddie Freeman was our 2nd round pick this year, but I’m not replacing a Braves pick with another Braves pick. I believe Giancarlo Stanton would’ve went 1st overall in this draft, considering the Rays don’t even have David Price anymore. Josh Donaldson also went 48th this year to the Cubs. Lucroy is known as a consistent backstop with a good bat. He isn’t having the best 2015 campaign, but his past body of work is enough to earn him this spot.
Braves 1st Round Pick- None
Number One Pick- Tim Beckham, SS
Number One Redraft Pick- Craig Kimbrel, P
Note: We took Craig Kimbrel in the 3rd Round this year. I have him going first to Tampa Bay instead of Tim Beckham, who just reached the Majors this year. Buster Posey would go second.
Braves First Round Pick (7th)- Mike Minor, P
Braves Redraft Pick- Matt Carpenter, IF
Number One Pick- Stephen Strasburg, P
Number One Redraft Pick- Mike Trout, OF
This was a toss up between Jason Kipnis and Matt Carpenter. Trout and Goldschmidt would have went 1 and 2 knowing what we know now. Zack Wheeler, Shelby Miller, Kyle Seager, Trevor Rosenthal, and Wil Myers are other big late round names. Carpenter has been more clutch and consistent that Kipnis, who is having a monster 2015. And Yes, Braves fans, I do realize this scenario would give the Nats Trout and Harper.
Braves First Round Pick- None
Number One Pick- Bryce Harper, OF
Number One Redraft Pick- Bryce Harper, OF
Note: There’s also no way we get Andrelton Simmons in the 2nd Round this year either. Chris Sale is also a strong candidate for number one overall, but who could turn down Trout AND Harper in the same outfield?
Braves First Round Pick (24th)- Sean Gilmartin, P
Braves Redraft Pick- Carson Smith, P
Number One Pick- Gerrit Cole, P
Number One Redraft Pick- Gerrit Cole, P
This was not a very good draft, talent was few and far between and most of these guys haven’t reached the majors. Gilmartin was sent to the Twins for Ryan Doumit. The ones who have made it haven’t had enough time to make a big impact like Baez, Rendon, and Spangenberg. Hey, with no big names, why not take a guy who has been consistent in the pen for a few years? Cole gets the nod at #1, but only because Jose Fernandez had Tommy John Surgery this past season.
Braves First Round Pick (21st)- Lucas Sims, P
Braves Redraft Pick- Lance McCullers Jr., P
Number One Pick- Carlos Correa, SS
Number One Redraft Pick- Byron Buxton, OF
This is where I stopped the redraft because I didn’t see much movement, besides Joey Gallo obviously moving into the top 10. McCullers is having a good year for the Astros, posting a 3-1 record with a 2.00 ERA and 40 Ks over 36 innings of work. Sims has struggled in Class A Carolina, so why not move on to a guy who is already in the majors? Correa is a great talent, but Buxton has the higher ceiling. Carlos goes #2.
As a baseball fan, redrafts are always a fun “what if”, but as a Braves fan who has gotten a lot of great prospects like Andrelton Simmons, Freddie Freeman, and Craig Kimbrel in the late rounds, I want no part of it. The Braves have been hit or miss in the First Round, but they always seem to find talent in later rounds to compensate.