As the age-old saying goes, hindsight is 20/20. For the KC Royals, they’d probably take a do-over at the beginning of their 2009 draft.
The 2009 MLB Amateur Draft brought us some of the league’s best current players. Some guy named Mike Trout is now the headliner of the group. Chances are, you’ve heard of him. While the KC Royals didn’t end up with Trout a little over a decade ago, they did get a fairly productive player in the first round.
Aaron Crow was selected with the No. 12 pick in that draft after going three spots earlier the year prior. He would go on to last just four seasons in the MLB, all with the Royals. After making the All-Star team in his rookie campaign, Crow went on to post a 20-11 record over the course of his career, but threw his last major league pitch in his age-27 season. He never regained his old form and failed to get back to the majors.
Bleacher Report recently did a 2009 redraft, redoing all 32 first-round picks and also listing who would’ve gone where in a supplemental round thereafter. This time around, the Royals picked Brian Dozier, who fans should be quite familiar with as a result of his six-plus years with the Minnesota Twins. B/R’s article reasoned that Dozier would’ve been a huge upgrade over Omar Infante in 2014 and 2015, and that couldn’t ring truer. Here’s some additional analysis from the piece:
"“The Royals swung a deal to acquire Ben Zobrist at the 2015 trade deadline to plug the hole at second base. It cost them left-hander Sean Manaea, who has since developed into a quality starter for the Oakland Athletics.With Dozier in the mix, that trade is no longer necessary, though it’s worth mentioning that Zobrist did make a significant impact in his brief time with the team.”"
Zobrist’s veteran leadership and ability to do what was asked of him — and at a high level — made him a very valuable member of the team. With that said, having Dozier on a longer-term commitment and being able to keep Manaea would have been a dream come true. When Dozier was younger, he was truly coming into his own as one of the better second basemen in the league. Manaea was quite solid in 2018 before having a shortened 2019 season, but he should soon bounce back and turn out to have a productive career as a starter.
Then again, who knows how many dominoes would have fallen had the KC Royals selected Dozier instead of Crow. We’ll never know, but it’s always fun to wonder.