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Re-Grading All 30 Teams on the 2008 MLB Draft

Mike RosenbaumMLB Prospects Lead WriterFebruary 5, 2013

Re-Grading All 30 Teams on the 2008 MLB Draft

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    The 2008 First-Year Player Draft is remembered for one of two reasons: It was the year that the Giants selected their future MVP, Buster Posey (12.1 WAR); or, it was the year that the Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays drafted prep infielder Tim Beckham with the first-overall pick.

    Beyond the draft’s aforementioned legacy, the first round (and supplemental first round) also produced such major leaguers as Brett Lawrie (7.6 WAR), Ike Davis (5.0 WAR), Gordon Beckham (3.5 WAR) and Wade Miley (3.4 WAR).

    Here’s a few more facts about the 2008 draft class:

    - Outside of the first round, the top draft picks (as determined by WAR) are Alex Avila (7.5), Craig Kimbrel (6.2), Daniel Hudson (5.5), Danny Espinosa (5.5), Vance Worley (4.4), Brandon Crawford (2.8) and Tommy Milone (2.5).

    - Of the 46 players selected during the entire first round, 27 have reached the major leagues.

    - The Mariners, Rays and Twins have failed to develop a big leaguer from the 2008 draft class

    - Of all the pitchers in the 2008 draft class, Astros’ right-hander Jordan Lyles has the worst WAR (-1.9)

    - The lowest career WAR at each position among 2008 draftees:

    - Catcher: Ryan Lavarnway (Red Sox), -1.3 WAR

    - First Base: Justin Smoak (Mariners), -0.6 WAR

    - Second Base: Cord Phelps (Indians), -0.9 WAR

    - Third Base: James Darnell (Padres), -0.6 WAR

    - Shortstop: Tyler Pastornicky (Braves), -1.5 WAR

    - Outfield: Eric Thames (Mariners), -1.0 WAR

    To determine my ranking of each organization’s draft, I looked at the amount of minor and major league talent to come out of the class, as well as the total WAR accumulated by those players.

    Here’s a retrospective look at how each team fared in the 2008 draft.

Tampa Bay Rays: F

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    Total WAR: N/A

    Draft Review: With the first-overall pick in the 2008 draft, the (Devil) Rays selected prep infielder Tim Beckham. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that the organization has failed to produce a major leaguer from that year.

    Notable Major Leaguers: None

    Notable Prospects: IF Tim Beckham, LHP Kyle Lobstein (Tigers)

Seattle Mariners: D

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    Total WAR: N/A

    Draft Review: The Mariners were doomed for a terrible draft after selecting college reliever Josh Fields with their first-round pick. It should come as no surprise that the organization has failed to graduate a single player from the ’08 class to the major leagues.

    Notable Major Leaguers: None

    Notable Prospects: RHP Josh Fields (Astros), RHP Brandon Maurer

Colorado Rockies: D+

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    Total WAR: -0.5

    Draft Review: The Rockies had a chance to make a haul with the 25th- and 26th-overall picks, which they used to draft left-hander Christian Friedrich and outfielder Charlie Blackmon. However, the two players have combined for a -0.5 WAR.

    Notable Major Leaguers: LHP Christian Friedrich, OF Charlie Blackmon

    Notable Prospects: None

Miami Marlins: C-

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    Total WAR: -0.2

    Draft Review: The Marlins drafted two promising left-handers in Hand and Jennings, though only the latter has enjoyed success in the major leagues—albeit as a reliever.

    Notable Major Leaguers: LHP Brad Hand, LHP Dan Jennings,

    Notable Prospects: C Kyle Skipworth, RHP Tom Koehler, OF Kevin Mattison

Minnesota Twins: C-

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    Total WAR: N/A

    Draft Review: Although the Twins are yet to graduate a player from the ’08 draft class to the major leagues, that could change this season with first-rounder Aaron Hicks and reliever Mike Tonkin.

    Notable Major Leaguers: None

    Notable Prospects: OF Aaron Hicks, RHP Mike Tonkin

Oakland Athletics: C

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    Total WAR: -0.1

    Draft Review: The A’s drafted two players with respectively high ceilings in Weeks and Ross, though neither prospect blossomed as hoped.

    Notable Major Leaguers: 2B Jemile Weeks, RHP Tyson Ross (Padres), RHP Mickey Storey (Blue Jays)

    Notable Prospects: None

Toronto Blue Jays: C

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    Total WAR: -2.7

    Draft Review: The Blue Jays actually had a decent draft in 2008, as it produced five major leaguers. The sleeper pick is definitely A.J. Jimenez, a 22-year-old, glove-first catcher who missed most of the 2012 season following elbow surgery.

    Notable Major Leaguers: 1B David Cooper, SS Tyler Pastornicky (Braves), OF Eric Thames (Mariners), LHP Evan Crawford

    Notable Prospects: OF Kenny Wilson, C A.J. Jimenez

Houston Astros: C

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    Total WAR: -1.0

    Draft Review: Even though Castro and Lyles are both likely to play a significant role in the major leagues next season, it’s taken a while for the duo to establish themselves.

    Notable Major Leaguers: C Jason Castro, RHP Jordan Lyles, OF J.B. Shuck

    Notable Prospects: None

Cleveland Indians: C+

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    Total WAR: -0.1

    Draft Review: Although the Indians’ draft ranks as one of the worst, there’s room for improvement, with Lonnie Chisenhall poised to take over at third base in 2013.

    Notable Major Leaguers: 3B Lonnie Chisenhall, 2B Cord Phelps, RHP Zach Putnam (Cubs)

    Notable Prospects: RHP Adam Warren (Yankees), RHP Trey Haley, LHP T.J. House

New York Yankees: C+

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    Total WAR: 2.1

    Draft Review: Beyond right-hander David Phelps (2.0 WAR), who bounced between the Yankee’s rotation and bullpen last season, the organization could see the debut of multiple pitching and position prospects over the course of the 2013 season.

    Notable Major Leaguers: RHP D.J. Mitchell (Mariners), RHP David Phelps

    Notable Prospects: 2B David Adams, 2B Corban Joseph, RHP Brett Marshall, LHP/RHP Pat Venditte, LHP Nik Turley

Pittsburgh Pirates: B-

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    Total WAR: 0.3

    Draft Review: Although the organization has stuck with their second-overall pick, Pedro Alvarez, it seems doubtful that the rest of their positional prospects from that class will be anything more than marginal.

    Notable Major Leaguers: 3B Pedro Alvarez, SS Jordy Mercer, SS Chase d’Arnaud, 1B Matt Hague

    Notable Prospects: LHP Justin Wilson, OF Robbie Grossman (Astros)

Cincinnati Reds: B-

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    Total WAR: 0.1

    Draft Review: The only legitimate player to emerge from the 2008 draft class for the Reds is Yonder Alonso. Traded to the Padres prior to the 2012 season, he’s far from a lock to stick as a big league first baseman, given his lack of power.

    Notable Major Leaguers: 1B Yonder Alonso (Padres), RHP Zach Stewart (White Sox), RHP Pedro Villarreal, OF Dave Sappelt (Cubs)

    Notable Prospects: RHP Juan Carlos Sulbaran (Royals)

Texas Rangers: B-

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    Total WAR: 1.3

    Draft Review: Highlighted by Justin Smoak (-0.6 WAR), the Rangers’ 2008 draft was one of their worst in recent memory. But for what it’s worth, Robbie Ray leads the bunch with a 1.9 WAR after his rookie season.

    Notable Major Leaguers: 1B Justin Smoak (Mariners), LHP Robbie Ross, RHP Joe Wieland (Padres), RHP Cody Eppley (Yankees)

    Notable Prospects: None

New York Mets: B-

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    Total WAR: 3.2

    Draft Review: The Mets came up big with their first pick, Ike Davis, though the first baseman has been generally inconsistent since reaching the major leagues.

    Notable Major Leaguers: 1B Ike Davis, OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis, 3B Josh Satin, RHP Chris Schwinden

    Notable Prospects: 2B Reese Havens, RHP Brad Holt

Los Angeles Angels: B

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    Total WAR: 0.2

    Draft Review: Even though the Angels did a nice job targeting projectable, power arms, none of them developed as hoped. The draft pick with the highest ceiling, 6’9” right-hander John Hellweg, was part of the prospect package used to acquire Zack Greinke last season. 

    Notable Major Leaguers: RHP Tyler Chatwood (Rockies), LHP Will Smith (Royals)

    Notable Prospects: RHP Ryan Chaffee, RHP John Hellweg (Brewers)

Baltimore Orioles: B

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    Total WAR: 0.4

    Draft Review: Although Matusz has been up and down to start his career, the Orioles will should receive contributions from both Avery and Hoes next season.

    Notable Major Leaguers: LHP Brian Matusz

    Notable Prospects: RHP Oliver Drake, OF Xavier Avery, OF L.J. Hoes

San Diego Padres: B

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    Total WAR: 1.1

    Draft Review: Although the Padres’ 2008 draft class lacks a standout player, they did produce a solid mix of pitching and positional talent. 

    Notable Major Leaguers: IF Logan Forsythe, 3B James Darnell, OF Blake Tekotte (White Sox), RHP Anthony Bass, RHP Brad Brach

    Notable Prospects: 1B Allan Dykstra, OF Jaff Decker

Chicago Cubs: B

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    Total WAR: 1.7

    Draft Review: The Cubs drafted an impressive crop of serviceable major leaguers, though no stars. Andrew Cashner still has some upside, though that’s also contingent upon his health.

    Notable Major Leaguers: RHP Andrew Cashner (Padres), UTIL Ryan Flaherty (Cubs), RHP Chris Carpenter (Red Sox), 2B Josh Harrison (Pirates), OF Tony Campana, RHP Casey Coleman, LHP Jeff Beliveau (Rangers)

    Notable Prospects: RHP Jay Jackson

Boston Red Sox: B

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    Total WAR: -1.9

    Draft Review: Beyond a pair of serviceable catchers in Lavarnway and Federowicz, the Red Sox also drafted Casey Kelly, though he was still at shortstop at that time.

    Notable Major Leaguers: SS/RHP Casey Kelly (Padres), RHP Stephen Fife (Dodgers), RHP Kyle Weiland (Astros), C Ryan Lavarnway, C Tim Federowicz (Dodgers)

    Notable Prospects: SS Derrik Gibson, OF Ryan Westmoreland

St. Louis Cardinals: B

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    Total WAR: 1.5

    Draft Review: Although the Cardinals traded away Brett Wallace just a year after they made him their top pick, the organization found a durable, mid-rotation starter in Lance Lynn (2.4 WAR).

    Notable Major Leaguers: 1B Brett Wallace (Astros), RHP Lance Lynn, 2B/OF Alex Castellanos (Dodgers), LHP Sam Freeman

    Notable Prospects: LHP Kevin Siegrist

Philadelphia Phillies: B+

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    Total WAR: 4.5

    Draft in Review: Led by right-hander Vance Worley (4.4 WAR), the Phillies’ draft class yielded a huge quantity of right-handed pitching prospects. Unfortunately, the best of those arms have already been traded.

    Notable Major Leaguers: Anthony Gose (Blue Jays), Vance Worley (Twins), RHP B.J. Rosenberg

    Notable Prospects: OF Zach Collier, RHP Jon Pettibone, RHP Trevor May (Twins), RHP Julio Rodriguez, RHP Tyler Cloyd RHP Jarred Cosart (Astros)

Arizona Diamondbacks: B+

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    Total WAR: 7.1

    Draft Review: The Diamondbacks picked up a pair of quality left-handers in Schlereth and Miley, though the enormity of the latter’s success was generally unexpected.

    Notable Major Leaguers: LHP Daniel Schlereth (Orioles), LHP Wade Miley, RHP Bryan Shaw (Indians), OF Collin Cowgill (Mets), LHP Josh Spence (Yankees), RHP Ryan Cook (Athletics)

    Notable Prospects: SS Jake Elmore (Astros)

Kansas City Royals: B+

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    Total WAR: -0.1

    Draft Review: Although left-hander Mike Montgomery fell apart and first baseman Eric Hosmer endured a sophomore slump in the major leagues, their crop of draft picks still rank among the best that year.

    Notable Major Leaguers: 1B Eric Hosmer, 2B Johnny Giavotella,

    Notable Prospects: LHP Mike Montgomery (Rays), LHP John Lamb

Atlanta Braves: B+

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    Total WAR: 7.1

    Draft Review: Say what you want about selecting relief pitchers in the amateur draft, but the Braves landed two excellent late-inning arms in Kimbrel and Hoover. While the latter was ultimately traded to the Reds last season, Kimbrel (6.2 WAR) has developed into one of the top closers in the game.

    Notable Major Leaguers: RHP Craig Kimbrel, J.J. Hoover (Reds)

    Notable Prospects: Zeke Spruill (Diamondbacks), RHP Paul Clemens, LHP Brett Oberholtzer

Washington Nationals: B+

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    Total WAR: 7.9

    Draft Review: Each of the Nats’ top position players to emerge from the 2008 draft class played a vital role on the most successful team in franchise history last season.

    Notable Major Leaguers: SS/2B Danny Espinosa, LHP Tommy Milone (Athletics), 1B Tyler Moore, IF Steve Lombardozzi 

    Notable Prospects: OF Destin Hood

Detroit Tigers: B+

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    Total WAR: 9.3

    Draft Review: If it weren’t for fifth-rounder Alex Avila (7.5 WAR), the Tigers’ 2008 draft would have been painfully mediocre. However, they also landed a solid fourth outfielder-type in Andy Dirks (2.7 WAR).

    Notable Major Leaguers: RHP Ryan Perry (Nationals), C Alex Avila, OF Andy Dirks, RHP Robbie Weinhardt

    Notable Prospects: None

Chicago White Sox: B+

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    Total WAR: 7.3

    Draft Review: Highlighted by fifth-overall pick Gordon Beckham (3.5 WAR) and fifth-rounder Daniel Hudson (5.3 WAR), the White Sox drafted two of the better major leaguers to emerge from the class.

    Notable Major Leaguers: 2B Gordon Beckham, 3B Brent Morel, RHP Daniel Hudson, OF Jordan Danks

    Notable Prospects: LHP Charlie Leesman, SS/2B Tyler Kuhn, OF Brandon Short, RHP Terry Doyle (Red Sox)

Milwaukee Brewers: A-

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    Total WAR: 7.6

    Draft Review: The Brewers made a haul in the first round by drafting both Brett Lawrie and Jake Odorizzi. However, over the last two seasons, the organization chose to trade both players, respectively, in exchange for big league talent. Since then, they’ve both reached the major leagues with their new teams.

    Notable Major Leaguers: 3B Brett Lawrie (Blue Jays), RHP Jake Odorizzi (Rays), OF Logan Schafer, LHP Lucas Luetge (Mariners)

    Notable Prospects: OF Cutter Dykstra

San Francisco Giants: A-

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    Total WAR: 13.7

    Draft Review: Led by 2012 NL MVP Buster Posey (12.1 WAR), undoubtedly the cream of the crop. Having said that, it’s easy to overlook that the 2008 draft also netted Brandon Crawford (2.8 WAR), the everyday shortstop on their World Series team this past season.

    Notable Major Leaguers: C Buster Posey, 3B Conor Gillaspie, SS Brandon Crawford, LHP Eric Surkamp, LHP Scott Barnes (Indians)

    Notable Prospects: OF Roger Kieschnick

Los Angeles Dodgers: A

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    Total WAR: 1.5

    Draft Review: Except for Dee Gordon, the top prospects to emerge from the Dodgers’ 2008 draft, almost all right-handed pitchers, have been traded for major league talent. In fact, Lindblom, Eovaldi, Martin and Webster have each been traded since the start of the 2012 season.

    Notable Major Leaguers: RHP Josh Lindblom (Rangers), SS Dee Gordon, RHP Nate Eovaldi (Marlins), Jerry Sands (Pirates)

    Notable Prospects: RHP Ethan Martin (Phillies), RHP Allen Webster (Red Sox), RHP Matt Magill

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