Discussion

A-Rod, Pujols, Santana all up for grabs

Steve Phillips runs down his first round when given the freedom to draft any of the current major leaguers.

Originally Published: June 6, 2005
By Steve Phillips | ESPN Insider
The Major League Baseball draft is an inexact science. Teams are wrong far more than they're right about the players they select. Baseball is one of the few sports that develops its own players. The other major sports use high schools and universities to develop players for their so-called major leagues. For baseball, high schools and universities are just the laboratory used to sort through who is worthy of an investment and an opportunity to make the big leagues.

Many factors go into a player's development once he signs a professional contract. When a player is selected in the draft, his selection is based upon scouts' evaluations of his physical attributes and skills. Scouts project what a player can become after considering his strengths and weaknesses and his ability to overcome those weaknesses through his time in the minor leagues. They essentially close their eyes and dream of stars.

In the end, some players fulfill their potential and some do not. Actually, most do not. If organizations knew in the beginning what they later find out about the players, they could sure save a lot of time and money.

Having been a general manager, and knowing some of the mistakes I and other GMs have made, it made me wonder what a draft would look like if teams actually had the crystal ball and could make their choices again, forgoing the mistakes and selecting only major-league players.

Here is how I would see the first round of the draft playing out this year if teams were able to pick players currently in the major leagues with the idea that they wanted to be successful using a five-year plan (this is the exact order in which the actual draft will take place):

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