In the 2008 MLB draft the Rays had the No. 1 overall pick and narrowed their list down to two players. Those players were high school shortstop Tim Beckham and Posey, a catcher converted from shortstop at Florida State.
What-if scenarios are often looked at and reviewed with hindsight showing the difference between genius and dumb selections of previous drafts. A lot of the time the players are compared without regard to the organization’s needs at the time of the draft.
The Rays' two primary positions of need in 2008 were shortstop and catcher.
Ultimately, the Rays took Beckham at the top spot and Posey went to the Giants at the fifth pick.
Rays Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations, Andrew Friedman told the Associated Press that Beckham was selected after much debate between the two players.
"It was an active debate, but I think at the end of the day when push came to shove and we were racing time, I think it was pretty clear to everybody that Tim Beckham was the guy at the top of our board.”
Beckham was originally anticipated to make it to the major leagues by 2011 but barely made it to Triple-A Durham in that time frame.
In his two seasons in Durham, he has had a .256 AVG, .314 OBP with 11 home runs and 41 RBI. Unfortunately, he also has as many hits as strikeouts with 100 each. Beckham also served a 50-game suspension in 2012 for his second positive test for marijuana.
Would Buster Posey have made the Rays better if they drafted him?
Posey, on the other hand, has lived up to his hype and expectations. He made his major league debut September 11, 2009 and played in seven games for the Giants that season.
In 2010, he played in 108 games for the Giants. His 18 home runs, 67 RBI, .305 AVG, .357 OBP and .505 SLG helped him secure the National League Rookie of the Year Award. After an injury-shortened 2011 season, Posey rebounded to hit 24 home runs, 103 RBI with a .336 AVG in 2012.
Rays catchers and shortstops combined this season for 25 home runs, 132 RBI and a .245 AVG.
Again, you have to wonder how the story might have played out differently had Friedman and the Rays selected Posey over Beckham. Especially when Posey hits a grand slam to send the Giants to the NLCS while the Rays sit at home still searching for a shortstop and catcher.
Jamal Wilburg is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. All stats courtesy of www.baseball-reference.com