The 2009 draft was notable at the time for two things: the presence of Stephen Strasburg as the no-doubt consensus No. 1 prospect in the draft and a very deep crop of high school pitching from across the country. It's notable today for something entirely different: It included the new Willie Mays.
This re-draft is based on two major criteria: players' careers to date and my projections of value they still have to offer (though the list does include players whose careers are likely over). I did not account for signability at the time, nor did I consider a team's preference for high school versus college players, pitchers versus position players, etc. In other words, this analysis is based purely on talent. The second overall pick from 2009, UNC infielder Dustin Ackley, did not make the list of the top 30 players from the draft crop; he will lead off my look at the 2009 draft first-round misses. (By the way, you can see my past re-drafts for 2008, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003 and 2002 as well.)
This ranking includes only players who were drafted and signed in 2009. That means some well-known major leaguers, such as Corey Dickerson, James Paxton, Marcus Stroman and Mitch Haniger, who were drafted that year but didn't sign, aren't eligible for this list. Their day will come.
On to the re-drafted first round of the 2009 draft:
1. Mike Trout, OF
Millville (New Jersey) High School
67.2 career WAR
I suppose this was obvious. Trout is the greatest player of the past 50 years and is still in his prime as a hitter, yet he wasn't a consideration among the first 10 picks, with only a few teams in the top 20 clearly on him. There are many reasons for this, including miserable weather that spring in the northeast, general distrust of cold weather prep hitters and perhaps a bad taste in the industry's collective mouth over 2006's ninth overall pick, Billy Rowell, a high school hitter from southern New Jersey who busted moments after he signed. I saw Trout on a rare sunny, dry day that spring -- a day after I saw Steven Matz throw 30 pitches before a torrential downpour ended the game -- and there were only nine scouts there. I ranked him 20th, higher than he was drafted but about 25 spots too low.