Food for thought about the June draft.

Scott Elbert

Scott Elbert (left) and A.J. Ellis (right) were drafted by the Dodgers in 2004 and 2003, respectively. (Getty Images)

Last week, Keith Law of re-did the first round of the 2003 draft. Some takeaways:

1. The Dodgers did well in 2003. Not only did they draft Matt Kemp (181st overall), Chad Billingsley (24th) and A.J. Ellis (541st) later than their careers would predict, they landed another ’03 draftee (Andre Ethier, whom Law projects as the 7th pick of the Re-Draft) in a trade for Milton Bradley.

2. This was a thin draft class. The first 10 players of the Re-Draft are still good-to-great major leaguers. Picks 11-20 are filled with late bloomers, early bloomers, and below-average regulars. Law’s 24th pick is Mike Aviles.

3. To support my theory that this had to be a flukey-bad draft, I re-did the first round of the 2004 draft just for fun (not as a scientific measurement for definitive proof). Here’s what I came up with:

1. Justin Verlander
2. Jered Weaver
3. Dustin Pedroia
4. Gio Gonzalez
5. Nick Adenhart
6. Ben Zobrist
7. David Price *didn’t sign
8. Yovani Gallardo
9. Chris Davis *didn’t sign
10. Huston Street
11. Mark Trumbo
12. Hunter Pence
13. Dexter Fowler
14. Mark Reynolds
15. Billy Butler
16. Jaime Garcia
17. Neil Walker
18. Todd Frazier
19. Chris Iannetta
20. Kurt Suzuki
21. Glen Perkins
22. Jason Vargas
23. J.P. Howell
24. Scott Elbert
25. Phil Hughes
26. J.P. Arencibia
27. Will Venable
28. Stephen Drew
29. Chris Nelson
30. Justin Ruggiano

You can debate the order these picks all you want, especially Adenhart, for whom the imagination is tragically necessary. However you rank ’em, the below-average major league players don’t start appearing until the late teens/early 20s, and even then there’s a reason Kurt Suzuki is allowed to catch one of the best starting rotations in baseball five days a week.

4. Remember this when the first round of the 2013 draft takes place in a couple weeks. If every team has done its homework correctly, the 24th pick will get your team Scott Elbert or Mike Aviles, not the future All-Star you think he’ll become. The Dodgers draft 18th, which is Todd Frazier/David Murphy territory.

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About J.P. Hoornstra

J.P. Hoornstra covers the Dodgers, Angels and Major League Baseball for the Orange County Register, Los Angeles Daily News, Long Beach Press-Telegram, Torrance Daily Breeze, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena Star-News, San Bernardino Sun, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Whittier Daily News and Redlands Daily Facts. Before taking the beat in 2012, J.P. covered the NHL for four years. UCLA gave him a degree once upon a time; when he graduated on schedule, he missed getting Arnold Schwarzenegger's autograph on his diploma by five months.