Sports reporter John J. Rust examines every Major League Baseball draft to see how teams might have changed their fortunes with one or two different picks. No announcer has ever made the following statements, but they could have:
“At third base for the Baltimore Orioles . . . Mike Schmidt.” “Now batting for the Houston Astros . . . Derek Jeter.” “On the mound for the San Diego Padres . . . Justin Verlander.” Teams that missed out on the post-season would have made the cut. A hard-luck franchise might have become a dynasty. Imagine the Expos of the 1980s with Ozzie Smith . . . or Craig Biggio added to the Braves teams of the 1990s . . . or Clayton Kershaw pitching for the Reds in the 2010s. Had some general manager changed their mind about a draft pick, baseball history would have been vastly different. New world champions would be crowned. Teams that missed out on the post-season would have made the cut. A hard-luck franchise might have become a dynasty.
How much success could your team have had if a perennial All-Star was drafted instead of a career minor leaguer? Let the speculation begin with . . . The Hindsight Draft.