It has been almost a year since the Tampa Bay Rays called on Tim Beckham as their No. 1 pick in the 2008 MLB first year player draft. The top ten picks of last year's draft included some very talented players, but we won't see many of theme in a Major League uniform for several years.
It is always interesting to see where these top talents find themselves in the Minor Leagues. From Bowling Green, Kentucky to Lancaster, California, these future big leaguers play before small crowds and ride charter buses for hours on end. Only time will tell when these stars get called up, but for now let's check up on their progress.
The top 10 picks from the 2008 draft:
1. Tampa Bay Rays: Tim Beckham
Beckham is currently in the Class A South Atlantic Leauge with the Bowling Green Hot Rods. His .306/2/24 clip is surely what the Rays are wanting to see from their young star.
However, his strikeout to walk ratio is awful (43 K's to 16 BB's) and he is one for seven in stolen bases. He is still very young and should have plenty of time to develop.
2. Pittsburgh Pirates: Pedro Alvarez
Alvarez is hitting .237/9/40 for the Lynchburg Hillcats in the Class A Advanced Carolina League. His nine homers and 40 RBI are both team bests, as are his 28 walks. He has struck out 50 times, as is typical in many first year players.
He will need to improve on his defense as well, as he has made 11 errors.
3. Kansas City Royals: Eric Hosmer
Hosmer, the second prep star taken in the 2008 draft, is playing for the Burlington Bees in the Class A Midwest League. He has 37 hits in 141 at bats, good for a .262 average. His power numbers are not eye-popping, but that should come in the future.
As is the trend in many young players, he has struck out 40 times to 28 walks.
4. Baltimore Orioles: Brian Matusz
Matusz has been a solid starter for the Frederick Keys in the Class A Advanced Carolina League. He is 3-2 with a 2.68 ERA and 65 strikeouts. The big lefty has also held opponents to a stingy .230 batting average and had a 13-strikeout game on May 8th.
5. San Francisco Giants: Buster Posey
Posey came into the national spotlight last year at the College World Series in Omaha. He also received the 2008 Golden Spikes Award, which is given to the top amateur player in the country every year.
He is hitting .301/8/38 for the San Jose Giants in the Class A Advance California League. The power will be there for Posey, and his four stolen bases also show that he can swipe some bags.
6. Florida Marlins: Kyle Skipworth
The Marlins hope that Skipworth's first full season won't be a sign of things to come. Scouts described him as an "offensive minded" catcher but his .168 batting average is well below par.
He has stroked two home runs to go along with his 21 RBI, but his 50 K's are far too much. He is young, however, and will have many years in front of him to grow as a ball player.
7. Cincinnati Reds: Yonder Alonso
Alonso has shown that he is exactly what scouts thought he was: a pure hitter. He is hitting .296 with seven home runs and 37 RBI. Alonso's discipline is shown in his 21 walks to only 26 strikeouts.
8. Chicago White Sox: Gordon Beckham
Beckham was recently called up to Triple-A with the Charlotte Knights in the International League. Before his call up, he was hitting .299/4/22 for the Birmingham Barons in the Double-A Southern League. Now with the Knights, Beckham has three hits in ten at-bats and two RBI. Beckham is sure to be a September call up, but the White Sox would like to season him at the Triple-A level.
9. Washington Nationals: Aaron Crow
Scouts pegged Crow as possibly the best college arm in last years class, but Crow and his agents (Alan and Randy Hendricks) failed to come to terms with the Nationals. Crow has been playing for the Ft. Worth Cats in the American Independent League. Look for Crow to be drafted somewhere in the top five picks in this year's draft.
10. Houston Astros: Jason Castro
Castro rounds out the top ten of last years draft, currently playing for the Lancaster JetHawks of the Class A Advanced California League. He has put together some good numbers, belting five home runs and 37 RBI to go along with a .293 batting average.
He may be the answer to the Astros' catching problems in the near future.
We may see some of these players in a big league uniform soon, others in a few years. It was a very talented draft, so look for these future stars on your team in years to come.