The 2005 amateur baseball draft is widely considered to be one the best of all time. With a two-time Cy Young winner, four Rookie of the Year winners, an MVP, 12 different All-Stars and five Gold Glove winners, the talent that was selected in this draft is unmatched. And with most of these players still under 28 years old, the list of accolades is only going to get longer.
So, just for fun, what if the draft were held again today? They got it pretty right the first time, as eight of the first 23 picks have been All-Stars, but let’s shake it up and show just how deep it was.
Original draft selection in parenthesis
1. Arizona Diamondbacks select Tim Lincecum (42nd RD 1261st PK)
Lincecum was drafted by the Indians but never signed. Instead, he opted to attend the University of Washington where he broke several school and Pac-10 records over three seasons. The two-time Cy Young winner would no doubt sign with Arizona as the first overall selection, and the Giants might still be searching for their first World Series title.
2. Kansas City Royals select Troy Tulowitzki (1st RD 7th PK)
The Royals land the best shortstop in the game. Tulo brings superb defense, power and speed to a young Royals offense. His veteran leadership is as valuable as his talent to a team on the up and up. The Royals lose Alex Gordon, their original selection, but this is a trade they would do in a heartbeat.
3. Seattle Mariners select Ryan Braun (1st RD 5th PK)
The Mariners get the reigning NL MVP in Braun, one of the best power/speed players in the game. The Mariners always seem to need offense and Braun gives them a run-producing, high-average hitter with great character. ‘The Hebrew Hammer’ is also one of the best nicknames in the sport.
4. Washington Nationals select Justin Upton (1st RD 1st PK)
The Nationals “settle” on one of the best five-tool players in the game. Upton, the original first overall pick, is the total package of power, speed and defense. The Nationals lose the injury prone Ryan Zimmerman but gain a player who, at age 24, is already one of the best players in the game.
5. Milwaukee Brewers select Jacoby Ellsbury (1st RD 23rd PK)
The Brewers lose Braun but still get a nice consolation prize in Ellsbury, who joined the 30 HR/30 SB club this season and led the majors with 364 total bases. He may not steal 70 bases again, but he is reinventing his game as he gets older to become one of the best overall players in the game.
6. Toronto Blue Jays select Ricky Romero (1st RD 6th PK)
The Blue jays keep their original selection in Romero, a left-handed power arm who is just entering his prime. Posted a 2.92 ERA and 1.14 WHIP over a career high 225 innings this season, earning him his first All-Star game appearance. At 27 years old, he is just going to get better.
7. Colorado Rockies select Gerald “Buster” Posey (50th RD 1496th PK)
With the sixth-to-the-last pick in the 2005 draft, the Angels selected a pitcher from Lee County high school in Georgia. The kid decided to enroll at Florida State University where he would go on to become one of the best college hitters in recent memory. The Rockies are thankful that Posey decided to go the offensive route and grab a great-hitting, gold-glove-caliber catcher whose leadership qualities remind some of Derek Jeter, and make the loss of Tulowitzki a little less painful.
8. Tampa Bay Rays select Ryan Zimmerman (1st RD 4th PK)
When healthy, Zimmerman is one of the best hitting and fielding third basemen in the game. Yes, the Rays already have two-time Gold Glove winner Evan Longoria locked in at third base, but Zimmerman could easily slide over to first giving the Rays an outstanding defensive infield. Oh, and his bat is pretty good, too.
9. New York Mets select Jeremy Hellickson (4th RD 118th PK)
The Mets grab the 2011 AL Rookie of the Year in Hellickson, owner of a devastating change-up that baffles hitters all season. He isn’t overpowering, but his command and movement on his pitches make him un-hittable at times. The Mets need pitching badly, and Hellickson solves that.
10. Detroit Tigers select Jay Bruce (1st RD 12th PK)
Bruce is still just 24 years old and already has 100 career home runs. The 6’-4” lefty had a breakout season in the power category as he hit 32 home runs while knocking in 97 runs, earning his first All-Star game appearance in the process. Imagine the numbers Miguel Cabrera would put up with Bruce protecting him.
11. Pittsburgh Pirates select Andrew McCutchen (1st RD 11th PK)
The Pirates keep their original selection in McCutchen, a five-tool outfielder who hit 23 homeruns, stole 23 bases and is still a couple of years away from his prime. Made his first All-Star team this season and is the leader of a young Pirates team that finally looks like they are going to be contenders soon.
12. Cincinnati Reds select Matt Garza (1st RD 25th PK)
The Reds lose their power-hitting outfielder in Bruce, but grab a power arm in Garza who had a career year this season posting a 3.32 ERA and 1.26 WHIP with 197 strikeouts over 198 innings. The 28 year old righty gives the Reds a workhorse pitcher just entering his prime.
13. Baltimore Orioles select Alex Gordon (1st RD 2nd PK)
Gordon was healthy this season after missing 204 games over the last two years with various injuries. He put up career-high numbers across the board, including hitting .303 with 23 HR, 87 RBI and 17 SB while also winning a Gold Glove in the outfield. At 27 years old, Gordon is finally living up to the lofty expectations that made him the original second overall pick in the 2005 draft.
14. Cleveland Indians select Jaime Garcia (22nd RD 680th PK)
Garcia proved that his 2010 rookie season was no fluke as he went 13-7 with a 3.56 ERA, 1.32 WHIP and 156 K/50 BB over 194.2 innings. The 25-year-old lefty gives the Indians a top-of-the-rotation starter with plenty of miles left on the tires.
15. Chicago White Sox select Desmond Jennings (18th RD 544th PK)
The White Sox get a speedy outfielder in Jennings, who showed surprising pop during his rookie season. Over 63 games, he hit 10 home runs while stealing 20 bases and played exceptional defense in center field. Jennings was talked up for years as being Carl Crawford’s replacement, and he showed he was worth the wait.
16. Miami Marlins select Cameron Maybin (1st RD 10th PK)
Maybin gives the Marlins incredible speed at the top of their order as well as very good defense in center field. He stole a career high 40 bases for the Padres this season, and at 6’-3” and 200 lbs, could still develop the pop to hit around 20 home runs a year. He is still only 24 years old.
17. New York Yankees select Brett Gardner (3rd RD 109th PK)
The Yankees grab the guy they originally drafted in the third round and take him 17th overall. Gardner led the league in stolen bases this year with 49. The left-handed hitting outfielder gives the Yankees a solid leadoff hitter on the cheap.
18. San Diego Padres select Vance Worley (20th RD 607th PK)
Worley finished third in the NL Rookie of the Year voting as he went 11-3 with a 3.01 ERA, 1.23 WHIP and 8.1 K/9 ratio. He is just 24 and gives the Padres a middle-of-the-rotation starter for years.
19. Texas Rangers select Clay Buchholz (1st RD 42nd PK)
After going 17-7 with a 2.33 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and making the All-Star game in 2010, Buchholz made only 14 starts this season as back problems kept him on the shelf for most of the season. Still, he went 6-3 with a 3.48 ERA and 1.29 WHIP, and at 27 years old, should still have a long career considering he is not a power pitcher.
20. Chicago Cubs select Andrew Bailey (16th RD 475th PK)
The Cubs add much needed depth to their bullpen by grabbing a reliable closer who has a career 2.07 ERA, 0.95 WHIP and 75 saves over three seasons. Inconsistent closer, Carlos Marmol, can now move into the set up role to form a formidable 1-2 punch in the late innings,
21. Oakland Athletics select Gaby Sanchez (4th RD 126th PK)
The A’s add defense and power as they get a guy who will give you 20 HR/80 RBI a year while playing top-notch defense at first base. Sanchez made his first All-Star game this season and placed fourth in rookie of the year voting in 2010 with the Marlins.
22. Miami Marlins select Peter Bourjos (10th RD 313th PK)
After nabbing Maybin, the Marlins add more depth to their outfield by taking Bourjos. He had a breakout season this year, hitting .271 with 26 2B, 11 3B, 12 HR, 43 RBI and 22 stolen bases. He also plays exceptional defense in center field.
23. Boston Red Sox select Jonathon Niese (7th RD 209th PK)
The Red Sox add a fourth or fifth starter in Niese, a lefty who went 11-11 with a 4.40 ERA, 1.41 WHIP and 138 K/44 BB over 157.1 innings this season. He is a control pitcher who, at just 25 years old, is just going to get better.
24. Houston Astros select Yunel Escobar (2nd RD 75th PK)
Escobar has a career .290 average over 639 games. He is a solid defensive shortstop who can bat leadoff while supplying 10-15 home-run power.
25. Minnesota Twins select Chase Headley (2nd RD 66th PK)
The Twins get a solid all around player in Headley who can play multiple positions. He is a switch hitter who can get you 10-15 home runs, steal 10-15 bases and hit around .280. Could have a breakout year in a hitter-friendly park like Target Field.
26. Boston Red Sox select Sergio Romo (28th RD 852nd PK)
The Red Sox add one of the best relievers in the game to their bullpen by grabbing Romo, who went 3-1 with a 1.50 ERA, 0.71 WHIP and an insane 70 K/ 5 BB over 48 innings for the Giants this season. The 28-year-old righty was an absolute steal in the 2005 draft as the Giants got him in the 28th round.
27. Atlanta Braves select Austin Jackson (8th RD 259th PK)
The Braves get some much needed help in their outfield by taking Jackson. He strikes out a ton, and isn’t really a leadoff hitter, but he plays solid defense in center and has great speed on the base paths.
28. St. Louis Cardinals select Andrew Cashner (20th RD 617th PK)
The Cardinals take a 6′-6″ righty who missed most of 2010 for the Cubs with a shoulder injury. He had a 1.69 ERA over 10.2 innings, allowing only three hits in a small sample size. At 25, the talent is there and pitching coach Dave Duncan will know what to do with it.
29. Miami Marlins select Mike Pelfrey (1st RD 9th PK)
After grabbing Maybin and Bourjos for depth in the outfield, the Marlins add some in their rotation by taking Pelfrey, a guy who can give you 200 solid innings at the back of the rotation. Has averaged 196 innings over the last four seasons, going 45-45 with a 4.25 ERA.
30. St. Louis Cardinals select Yonder Alonso (16th RD 495th PK)
Alonso was drafted by the Twins in 2005 in the 16th round but chose to attend the University of Miami where he became one of the best hitters in school history. He wound up being taken seventh overall by the Reds in 2008, but has been sort of a disappointment since. He did hit .330 with 5 HR/15 RBI and a .943 OPS over 88 at-bats this season, so he may be starting to come around. At just 24 years old, the Twins get a kid with a ton of offensive potential.