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Re-Drafting The Last 20 First-Overall MLB Picks

The MLB draft never gets the same coverage, love, nor attention compared to the NFL, NBA and NHL.

Mind you, it's hard for some fans to really care when there are 40 rounds. And when it comes to baseball, there are almost never any "can't-miss" prospects, unlike the other major North American sports. Teams simply draft their guys and hope for the best; the bulk of top-10 draft picks in MLB never become superstars.

Of course, some of the most recent No. 1 picks have flourished and became franchise changers, such as Bryce Harper, David Price and Joe Mauer, among others. On the flip side, many teams - even the powerhouse Houston Astros - have wasted high draft choices on players who never made much of an impact.

But that's what makes the MLB draft so much fun. It's entirely unpredictable, and there have been countless times where a player drafted in the 30-to-40 rounds became Hall of Fame-caliber players - completely outshining the No. 1 pick that was supposed to turn into a superstar.

Even though teams like the Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees run the highest payrolls every year, they've also found hidden gems in later rounds. Meanwhile, long-time struggling teams like the Toronto Blue Jays, San Diego Padres and Tampa Bay Rays simply wasted large amounts of first-round picks.

Here, we take a trip down memory lane and go all the way back to the last 20 MLB drafts. Here is a recap of the players taken first overall, and which players should have been taken instead.

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20 1999: Albert Pujols

Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Original Pick: Josh Hamilton

The Tampa Bay Devil Rays drafted Josh Hamilton with the No. 1 selection, but he actually never made it to the majors until 2007 - as a member of the Cincinnati Reds. So even though Hamilton won the 2010 AL MVP and became the face of the Texas Rangers later on, the Rays surely wish they could have a re-do.

If they did, Tampa could have drafted Albert Pujols - perhaps the best player in baseball over the last 20 years, but the St. Louis Cardinals got him with the 402nd pick that year. Crazy, eh?

Pujols - a lock for the Hall of Fame - has 633 career homers and 3,082 hits. The 10-time All-Star led St. Louis to a pair of World Series championships (2006 and 2011), and has three NL MVP awards on his resume.

If I'm the Rays, I'm calling Doc Brown and asking for him to take me back to 1999 in his DeLorean time machine.

19 2000: Chase Utley

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Original Pick: Adrian Gonzalez

Yes, Adrian Gonzalez became a five-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glover, but he never played a game for the Florida Marlins. Because of that, we had to make a re-draft and give Chase Utley to the Marlins.

Utley was selected by the Philadelphia Phillies with the No. 15 pick, and he became a cornerstone of their 2000s powerhouse. Utley - one of the best second basemen of the past 20 years - was named to six All-Star Games and was instrumental in leading Philadelphia to the 2008 World Series championship.

With Utley, the Phillies also reached the World Series in 2009, plus the NLCS in 2010. Just imagine if the Marlins - who've been downright terrible since last winning the World Series in 2000.

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18 2001: Joe Mauer

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Original Pick: Joe Mauer

Only a handful of superstars emerged from the 2001 MLB draft. Fortunately for the Minnesota Twins, catcher Joe Mauer was the best player to come out of this draft class, so we don't dare to change the selection here.

Mauer is a lock for the Baseball Hall of Fame; he's been one of the greatest all-around catchers for almost 20 years now. Mauer won the AL MVP in 2009, is a six-time All-Star and won the AL batting title in 2006, 2008 and '09.

With Mauer, the Twins have won four AL Central division titles and reached the 2017 AL Wild Card Game. He's one of the best players this franchise has ever had, so there's no reason to believe they wish for a do-over. Mauer has done everything you could ask for in a first overall selection.

17 2002: Joey Votto

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Original Pick: Bryan Bullington

The 2002 MLB draft is one of the best ever, featuring perennial All-Stars like Joey Votto, Zack Greinke, Prince Fielder, Nick Swisher, Cole Hamels and Jon Lester.

Unfortunately for the Pittsburgh Pirates, No. 1 draft choice Bryan Bullington wasn't among those to become a franchise-changing star. Bullington spent just two years with the Pirates organization, going 0-3 with a terrible .589 ERA.

The Cincinnati Reds got their hands on Joey Votto with the No. 44 pick that year, and he's grown into one of the greatest sluggers of this era. The six-time All-Star won the 2010 NL MVP award and is a career .311 hitter with 268 home runs 896 RBI.

Votto led the Reds to the postseason in 2010, 2012 and 2013. The Pirates - an NL Central rival to the Reds - have been forced to watch his greatness for over a decade now. What a draft miss this turned out to be for them.

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16 2003: Max Scherzer

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Original Pick: Delmon Young

Delmon Young enjoyed a solid career with the Minnesota Twins and Detroit Tigers - where he led them to the 2012 World Series and won the ALCS MVP award. However, Young only played two seasons in Tampa Bay and never morphed into a star.

As such, we know the Tampa Bay organization wishes for a re-do. In this draft, we give them Max Scherzer - whom the St. Louis Cardinals selected (but didn't wind up signing), in the 43rd round.

Scherzer was a late bloomer, breaking out for the Detroit Tigers in 2013. He now has a trio of Cy Young Awards on his resume. Scherzer has led the league in strikeouts in three straight years now. On top of that, he's led the league in wins four times.

He's arguably the best pitcher in all of baseball right now. Imagine if Tampa had Scherzer and David Price together all those years?

15 2004: Justin Verlander

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Original Pick: Matt Bush

The San Diego Padres thought they had their next franchise ace when they took Matt Bush with the No. 1 pick in 2004. Unfortunately, Bush kept running into issues with the law - which stemmed from his heavy drinking habits. Bush wasn't able to keep it clean off the field, and he never played a game for the Padres.

The Detroit Tigers selected Justin Verlander with the No. 2 selection, and he's lived up to every little bit of the hype. With 204 career wins and 2,706 strikeouts on his resume, Verlander has built up his case to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame someday.

Verlander won the AL MVP and Cy Young in 2011, and he's led the AL in strikeouts five times. On top of that, he led the Houston Astros to a 2017 World Series champion. Did we mention he has a pair of no-hitters on his resume? Talk about wanting a re-draft, eh San Diego?

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14 2005: Buster Posey

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Original Pick: Justin Upton

Justin Upton enjoyed some good years with the Arizona Diamondbacks, leading them to a 2011 NL West division title while being selected to a pair of All-Star games. But San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey is easily the best player to come out of this draft class.

Posey was drafted by the LA Angels in the 50th round, but he never signed with them. That turned out to be quite the miss by both LA and Arizona - and the Giants wound up taking him fifth overall in 2008.

Posey is the best catcher in all of baseball right now - leading the Giants to three World Series championships. He's a six-time All-Star with four Silver Slugger Awards on his resume. Posey won the 2012 NL MVP Award and is a career .307 hitter.

So with all due respect to Upton, Bosey would have been the better selection for Arizona.

13 2006: Clayton Kershaw

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Original Pick: Luke Hochevar

The good news for the Kansas City Royals is that Luke Hochevar did enough to help them win the 2015 World Series championship - as well as the 2014 AL pennant. But that doesn't mean they won't regret taking him No. 1 overall in 2006.

The Los Angeles Dodgers got Clayton Kershaw with the seventh selection, and he's emerged as the greatest pitcher in all of baseball right now. Kershaw has 153 career wins, a 2.39 ERA and 2,275 strikeouts. He's won three NL Cy Young Awards, has led league in both wins and strikeouts three times, and the NL in ERA five times.

Kershaw has also led the Dodgers to consecutive NL pennants, and you have to think a World Series championship is not far off. But no matter what, he's going down as the best pitcher of this era. No question about it.

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12 2007: Giancarlo Stanton

Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com via USA TODAY Sports

Original Pick: David Price

Yes, David Price had an excellent run with the Tampa Bay Rays - leading them to a World Series appearance in 2008, plus postseason berths in 2010, 2011 and '13. But the 2012 Cy Young winner never won a playoff game as a starter in Tampa, and he was traded to the Detroit Tigers at the 2014 deadline.

As such, it's hard to ignore the fact that the Rays passed up on Giancarlo Stanton - the best home run hitter in baseball right now. He could have done so much to change a franchise that always found ways to win as a 'Moneyball' team. Imagine Stanton with Evan Longoria and Carlos Pena. That team could have been something else.

Sorry Mr. Price, but you just didn't do enough in the postseason for Tampa. That's why Stanton earns the nod here.

11 2008: Craig Kimbrel

Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Original Pick: Tim Beckham

The Tampa Bay Rays took a chance on the athletic utility infielder, but Tim Beckham never grew into a star. He's been a solid player throughout his career, but not quite worthy of being a No. 1 overall choice.

In this re-draft, we're giving the Rays All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel, who could break the record for the richest reliever contract this winter. Kimbrel was drafted in the third round by the Atlanta Braves, and he's only become one of the greatest and most dominant relievers of this era.

The seven-time All-Star already has 332 career saves and was crucial in leading the Boston Red Sox to the 2018 World Series. Imagine if the Rays had Kimbrel during their playoff runs in 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2013. He could have been a huge weapon for them.

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10 2007: Stephen Strasburg

Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

Original Pick: Stephen Strasburg

They may not have a World Series championship (yet), but give credit to the Washington Nationals for making the most of their No. 1 picks. We can't possibly change up their choice to take Strasburg with the first selection in 2010.

Strasburg has been instrumental in turning the Nationals into one of the NL's top teams now. If injuries hadn't slowed him down in recent years, Strasburg would surely have a Cy Young Award or two on his resume by now.

The three-time All-Star has 94 wins, an ERA of 3.14 and nearly 1,500 career strikeouts. Strasburg also led the NL in wins during the 2014 season. You can't possibly believe Washington regrets taking this guy.

9 2010: Bryce Harper

Russell Lansford-USA TODAY Sports

Original Pick: Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper may not have led the Washington Nationals to a World Series championship, but the franchise certainly has no regrets taking him with the No. 1 pick in 2010.

Harper is a six-time All-Star with a 2015 NL MVP award on his resume. He brought life into an organization that had been horrible for its first seven seasons in DC, leading the Nats to NL East division titles in 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2017.

Even if Harper leaves the Nationals in free agency, nobody can possibly forget what he did for the franchise: 184 home runs, 521 RBI and an OPS of .900. The Nationals owned the best player in the NL for seven seasons, so how in the world could they regret taking him with the top selection?

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8 2011: Mookie Betts

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Original Pick: Gerrit Cole

Now, Gerrit Cole wasn't a terrible first pick by the Pittsburgh Pirates by any means. He led them to playoff appearances in 2013, 2014 and 2015 - being named to the All-Star game in the latter year.

However, the Pirates would have been better off selecting Mookie Betts with the top choice. The Boston Red Sox got lucky and nabbed him in the fifth round of the 2011 draft, giving them a new franchise superstar to build around.

Betts has guided Boston to three straight AL East title. He'll win the 2018 American League MVP award, after guiding Boston to a World Series championship. Betts is probably the best player in baseball not named Mike Trout right now, so it's safe to say the Pirates wish for a mulligan here.

7 2012: Carlos Correa

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Original Pick: Carlos Correa

The Houston Astros found key pieces of their 2017 World Series championship team right here in the 2012 draft. Shortstop Carlos Correa was taken with the No. 1 pick, and they'll never regret the decision.

Correa has come every bit as advertised from a draft class that looks like one of the weakest in recent memory. He won the 2015 AL Rookie of the Year Award and was named to his first All-Star Game two years later.

Correa owns a career. 277 batting average and .833 OPS with the Astros. He's guided this team to three playoff berths over the last four years. Do you really think the Astros would want to change the No. 1 selection? Didn't think so.

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6 2013: Aaron Judge

Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

Original Pick: Mark Appel

The Houston Astros took Appel with the first selection, but he has yet to (and probably never will), play in an MLB game. The Astros certainly regret this selection, and they wound up passing on two major sluggers by taking Appel.

Those two superstars would be Kris Bryant and Aaron Judge, but I'm going to give the latter the entry here. Judge has been baseball's top home run hitters over the last two seasons, totaling 79 home runs and 181 RBI during that span.

Imagine if the Astros had Judge to hit with Correa and MVP Jose Altuve? This legitimately could have been the greatest lineup in the history of baseball. Judge and the Astros would be the class of the AL for years to come, and they could have won multiple championships by now.

Instead, Judge and the Yankees figure to battle Altuve's Astros for AL supremacy over the next decade.

5 2014: Trea Turner

Russell Lansford-USA TODAY Sports

Original Pick: Brady Aiken

The Houston Astros drafted left-handed pitcher Brady Aiken with the top selection, but he never signed with the team and is now part of the Cleveland Indians organization. This was another top-end pick that the Astros wasted.

Though the 2014 MLB draft has produced very few standouts (so far), Trea Turner looks like he'll be a star for many years to come. The San Diego Padres drafted Turner in 2014, but they later dealt him to the Washington Nationals in a three-team trade that saw them get Wil Myers from the Tampa Bay Rays.

Myers has been solid in San Diego, but it's Turner who's been the best part of the trade. He's a career .289 hitter with an OPS of .803, leading Washington to NL East division titles in 2016 and '17.

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4 2015: Alex Bregman

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Original Pick: Dansby Swanson

The Arizona Diamondbacks selected Dansby Swanson with the No. 1 pick in 2015, but the shortstop out of Vanderbilt never played a game for the organization. He was traded to the Atlanta Braves in the 2015 offseason in a blockbuster deal that brought over Shelby Miller and Gabe speier to Arizona.

The Houston Astros got Alex Bregman with the second selection, and he's turned into one of baseball's most complete players. He's now a career .282 hitter with an OPS of .866, leading the Astros to the 2017 World Series.

Bregman had an MVP-like season in 2018, crushing 31 home runs, 103 RBI with a WAR of 6.9. It's safe to say Arizona wishes they wound up with the second pick that year, because they totally wasted the No. 1 choice by drafting and trading Swanson.

3 2016: Bo Bichette

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Original Pick: Mickey Moniak

As you'll read with the 2017 and 2018 drafts as well, we need more time to determine how the top prospects from 2016 will pan out. However, Toronto Blue Jays prospect Bo Bichette seems to have a higher upset than Mickey Moniak - whom the Phillies took with the top selection.

Moniak is ranked as the eighth-best prospect in the Philly organization by MLB.com, whereas Baseball America has Bichette - son of former All-Star Dante - ranked as the fifth-best MLB prospect right now.

Bichette figures to make the majors in 2019, and he'll be there to stay when it happens. Bichette batted .286 with 11 home runs and 74 RBI for New Hampshire of the Eastern League. Right now, he's ahead of Moniak in terms of progress and overall player development.

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2 2017: Royce Lewis

via denverpost.com

Original Pick: Royce Lewis

Sorry to be boring and unoriginal here, but it's way too early for us to determine which prospects from the 2017 draft class will pan out. The Minnesota Twins needed a shortstop to join their promising young core of Byron Buxton and and Max Kepler. That's why they took Lewis first overall last year.

Lewis looked excellent for the Cedar Rapids of the Midwest League in 2018, batting .315 with nine home runs and 53 RBI. It won't be long until the Twins bring him up to the majors, then we'll have a better idea as to whether or not they made the right selection.

1 2018: Casey Mize

via espn.com

Original Pick: Casey Mize

It's going to be a few years until we get an idea as to how each of the 2018 MLB turn out, but it's too early to say the Detroit Tigers made the wrong decision to take Casey Mize with the first selection.

The 6-foot-3 right-handed pitcher was taken with the first choice for a reason: He has plenty of upside, and the Tigers simply believe he can emerge as an ace in their rotation. Mize gives the rebuilding Tigers plenty of hope for the future, given his command and delivery on the mound.

It could take two, three or even five years until we find out if Mize was worth it. For now, it's too early to call for a re-draft here.

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