In 2002, Billy Beane created a list of 20 players that, in a perfect world, he could sign and replenish the A's. The list of the 20 can be found here and John Sickels broke down the draft as well.
His idea was to take college players but contrary to most ideas on the subject, many were liked by scouts as well. Using the best source for draft information at that time, Baseball America's top 250 prospect list, I came up with an idea. What if the A's had chosen players that were prep products instead of collegiate players. I took where the players on Beane's list ranked and replaced them with the next prep player on the BA list.
Robert Brownlie - #6 became Chris Gruler, RHP
Jeremy Guthrie -#11 became Scott Moore, SS. If I'd go up one instead of down, it would be Zack Grienke.
Jeff Francis - #15 became Clint Everts, RHP
Joe Blanton - #18 became Denard Span, OF
Luke Hagerty - #25 became Sergio Santos, SS, now Closer
Ben Fritz - #53 became Zach Segovia, RHP
Stephen Obenchain - #170 became Camilo Vazquez, LHP
Russ Adams - #19 became Matt Whitney, 3B (the next prep was Jeff Francouer followed by Prince Fielder)
Nick Swisher - #34 became Brian Dopirak, 1B
Khalil Greene - #35 became Matt Cain, RHP
John McCurdy - #45 became James Loney, 1B
Mark Teahen - #134 became Robert Andino, SS
Brian Stavisky - #227 Ryan Shreppel, LHP
After breaking it down by WAR, Cain, Santos, Span, Loney and Moore totaled 41.7 to date with Cain, Santos and Span offering some potential to add to this total.
Beane's list had Guthrie, Blanton, Francis, Swisher, Greene, Baker, and Adams totaling 60.6 wins. Swisher is the only player adding to this total but is still doing well.
Once the dust settles, this draft should still be led by the drafting of Beane but it isn't decidedly better than assigning prep products in the same range of talent as rated by BA. A couple different choices would have really made the prep draft a lot better.
If the A's draft board was replaced with this one, the A's would have got Cain, Whitney, Dopirak, Segovia and Vasquez instead of Swisher, Blanton, McCurdy, Fritz and Brown.
Going into this, I thought this would clarify some things for me. It really didn't. The draft is a confusing thing and just when you think you have it figured out, something changes. In my eyes, both of these drafts are successes but that is just my opinion.