The Red Sox had an amazing 2011 draft. It's produced seven major-league players with an eighth likely on the way, and they range from bullpen piece to big-league regular to all-star-caliber player. It's the draft that powers the 2016 team, so imagine what the roster would look like if things had gone just a little bit differently.
That's just what MLB.com and Jim Callis did in preparation for Thursday's 2016 MLB draft. They re-imagined the 2011 one -- which was stuffed with talent for clubs beyond the Red Sox, too -- to see how things would have played out if those teams back in 2011 had a better understanding of how things would have played out. So, you get things like Jose Fernandez going first overall to the Pirates, Francisco Lindor to the Mariners at two, and oh, the Red Sox not getting any of their major draft picks because they were all taken before Boston could get them.
Let's be happy we don't live in this alternative universe. We can still explore it, though, to see just how well the Sox managed to do back in June of 2011.
3. Diamondbacks select Mookie Betts
Betts is a legitimate star in the making if he isn't already there, and there is no way he would last to the fifth round like he did for the Red Sox, even under the old pre-budget draft rules. The D-Backs would get Betts instead of Trevor Bauer, who just happens to slide back to the Red Sox at 19, who take him instead of their actual pick at 19, Matt Barnes.
7. Diamondbacks select Jackie Bradley Jr.
Oh come on, Arizona, you can't have both of them! Rather than go with Archie Bradley again here, as they did in 2011, the Diamondbacks would have either two-thirds of their outfield set, or quite the start to up-the-middle dominance. Betts could still play second for the D-Backs, you know, since Dustin Pedroia is nowhere to be found.
16. Dodgers select Blake Swihart
The Red Sox got Swihart at number 26 in the actual 2011 draft, but he wouldn't last that long in this re-imagined one, not when he's already a year into his big-league career thanks to his bat.
19. Red Sox select Trevor Bauer
Bauer is doing fine this year and isn't a free agent until after the 2020 season, but this still feels icky after losing out on Betts, Bradley, and Swihart. Bauer would be a better selection than Matt Barnes ended up being, though, so technically this is an upgrade.
20. Rockies select Travis Shaw
Okay maybe the Red Sox should have picked Shaw in this re-imagined draft rather than Bauer, considering Shaw looks like he can handle first or third base defensively and offensively, and Bauer is just now pitching in a way that isn't infuriating.
Shaw was a ninth-round pick of Boston's back in 2011, and he'd replace the Rockies actual first-round pick, Tyler Anderson. Anderson hasn't even made it to Colorado to struggle like many of their young pitching prospects, and is instead in Triple-A for the first time right now at 26.
26. Red Sox select Matt Wisler
Like with Bauer, Wisler would be a fine pick, but when you already have the knowledge of how 2011 actually played out, he's just not a satisfying conclusion to the first round. He is just 23 now and is pitching at a league-average level for the horrific Braves and their somehow worse defense, though, so he's not the worst "replacement" for the Swihart pick Boston actually made.
Seriously Arizona give back Mookie and JBJ you can't have them this was just a thought exercise.