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Bryce Harper falls to No. 4 pick in Keith Law’s 2010 redraft


The 2010 MLB draft class consisted of three top prospects in Bryce Harper, Manny Machado and Jameson Taillon. After the big three, there wasn’t any plan for how the remaining teams would handle their selections. 

Bryce Harper hit 35 home runs in 2019. (Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

Looking back almost 10 years later, the 2010 draft played out much differently than most expected. The 2010 draft produced two MVPs, two Cy Young Award winners and a ton of All-Star Game selections. 

With the 2020 MLB Draft just under a month away, The Athletic’s Keith Law redrafted the 2010 first-round class. The “redraft” consisted of just the top 30 picks which were based on performance and knowledge of the last 10 years and what Law thinks the remainder of careers might look like for these players.  

Though he originally went to the Washington Nationals with the first overall pick, Law has Harper falling three spots down to the Kansas City Royals with the No. 4 overall pick.

Harper, who was seen as a once-in-a-generation talent, has flashed that type of ceiling for stretches of his career. He won the 2012 National League Rookie of the Year Award and 2015 National League MVP.

However, as noted by Law, “injuries, approach problems and bad luck” are some of the factors for Harper’s fall to the Royals. The last few seasons for Harper have been up and down and the factors noted by Law contributed to that. According to FanGraphs, Harper has been the 24th-most valuable offensive player over the last three seasons. Injuries and a rising strikeout rate have factored into that.

In the real draft, Taillon, Machado, Christian Colon and Drew Pomeranz followed Harper to round out the top five. Only Machado and Harper remain in the top five in Law’s redraft, but like Harper, Machado is placed differently. 

Law’s new top five consists of Andrelton Simmons, Machado, Chris Sale, Harper and Christian Yelich. Simmons is an interesting selection at No. 1 considering he originally didn’t get drafted until the second round by the Atlanta Braves with the 70th overall pick. 

As noted by Law, Simmons has been tremendously underrated during his career. The current Los Angeles Angel has won four Gold Glove Awards at shortstop and has been named the Wilson Defensive Player of the Year six times during his career. His defensive skills are what put him on track to being one of the three most valuable defensive shortstops of all-time per Law. He also believes that the 30-year-old has the potential to age well.

Law also had J.T. Realmuto going to the New York Mets at No. 7 in the redraft. Realmuto was originally drafted by the then-Florida Marlins in the third round. Given that he’s played by two other National League East teams, it’s interesting to consider how Realmuto’s career would have gone if he was initially selected by the Mets.

There are tons of questions that are posed from Law’s redrafted class both for players and teams, including the Phillies. Would Chris Sale have competed for a Cy Young Award with the Orioles? Would the Indians have beaten the Cubs in the 2016 World Series with Christian Yelich? Would Harper be on the Phillies right now? Would the Mets have ever let Realmuto leave? None of these questions have definite answers but they do leave wondering thoughts. 

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