2008 Amateur Draft Review: The AL Central

Recently, we took a look back at the ’08 draft for the American League West teams. Today, we’re seeing how the draft has played out for the American League Central organizations.

The first three rounds are listed for each team, plus any other above-slot signees.
(X = Signed to Over-Slot Deal; S = Supplemental Round; DNS = Did Not Sign)

The Kansas City Royals
1st. Eric Hosmer, 1B, Florida HS
1S. Mike Montgomery, LHP, California HS
2nd. Johnny Giavotella, 2B, New Orleans
3rd. Tyler Sample, RHP, Colorado HS
4thx- Tim Melville, RHP, Missouri HS

Notes: This is a draft that could potentially go down in Royals history as one of the organization’s best. Hosmer has the potential to be an impact bat and might reach the Majors by the end of 2011. Starter Mike Montgomery, who is working on his fastball command, could develop into a No. 2 starter if he can stay healthy and should be in the Majors no later than mid-2012 (barring injury). The same can be said for fellow lefty John Lamb, who was a steal in the fifth round. He’s been inconsistent in double-A, but he’s just 20 years old. Sample and Melville are young enough to turn things around. Either one would be a great buy-low pick-up from the Royals if the club goes sniffing for veteran help around the trade deadline. Opponents have made more contact against Melville than expected- he was actually a first-round talent who fell due to signability concerns, while Sample has battled control issues. Giavotella could develop into a nice platoon or bench player, especially if he can solve some of his defensive woes, although that might be asking too much. He could be more valuable in the NL in more of a pinch hitter role.

The Chicago White Sox
1st. Gordon Beckham, IF, Georgia
2nd. None
3rd. Brent Morel, 3B, Cal Poly
7thx- Jordan Danks, OF, Texas

Notes: The White Sox organization potential found half of its infield of the future if Beckham and Morel reach their potential. Morel has struggled early in the Majors, but hopefully the club won’t give up on him too quickly if he plays solid ‘D.’ The team has already received a pretty good return for a club lacking a second round pick (due to free agent compensation), but right-hander Daniel Hudson was a steal in the fifth round. Unfortunately, he was flipped to Arizona in the deal for Edwin Jackson. He could settle in as a solid No. 3 starter for The Snakes. The club’s sixth round pick was, and continues to be, a joke with the club picking Kenny Williams Jr., a player no other club probably had on its draft board for another 10 rounds. He’s already in double-A thanks to swift promotions despite the fact he’s never topped .700 OPS in any one season. Outfielder Danks’ (seventh round) defense could help him carve out a career as a fourth outfielder but his bat has been a huge disappointment in both college and pro ball. Pitcher Charlie Leesman (11th round) and outfielder Brandon Short (28th) were also astute picks. This is an underrated draft.

The Detroit Tigers
1st. Ryan Perry, RHP, Arizona
2nd. Cody Satterwhite, RHP, Mississippi
3rd. Scott Green, RHP, Kentucky

Notes: The approach for the organization in this draft was simple: Find hard-throwing college pitchers that could move through the system quickly. Perry has been a useful reliever in the Majors, when healthy, but he looks like more of an eighth inning guy than a true lights-out closer. Satterwhite made a name for himself (both good and bad) as an amateur but never figured out pro ball and injuries have taken a toll. Green also succumbed to the knife, while fourth rounder Brett Jacobson, another college reliever, was sent to the Orioles in a trade (and later flipped to Minnesota). Robbie Weinhardt, a 10th round pick, is perhaps the second best college reliever that was nabbed in the draft. Fifth round Alex Avila looks like a smart choice and could be the club’s catcher of the future. The club gambled on a low-ceiling approach to the draft in hopes of filling in holes in the upper levels of the system but it didn’t work.

The Cleveland Indians
1st. Lonnie Chisenhall, IF, North Carolina CC
2nd. Trey Haley, RHP, Texas HS
3rd. Cord Phelps, 2B, Stanford
5thx – Zach Putnam, RHP, Michigan
7thx – Tim Fedroff, OF, North Carolina
16thx – T.J. House, LHP, Mississippi HS
22ndx – Bryce Stowell, RHP, UC Irvine
26thx – Moises Montero, C, Florida JC

Notes: The Indians organization doled out a number of above-slot deals but the success at this point has been limited. Montero and Fedroff have already fallen off the map, while House, Stowell, and Putnam look like middle relievers. House has the most upside and could work his way into a temporary role in the Majors as a No. 4 or 5 starter. Putnam is pitching in triple-A and is the closest to the big leagues. First rounder Chisenhall has the potential to develop into a solid big league regular but he lacks star potential. Phelps could also develop into a useful big leaguer. Haley has been a disappointment and is treading water in low-A ball. As with a lot of Cleveland’s drafts, this was rather uninspired despite the attempt to infuse some higher-ceiling talent into the system.

The Minnesota Twins
1st. Aaron Hicks, OF, California HS
1st. Carlos Gutierrez, RHP, Miami
1S. Shooter Hunt, RHP, Tulane
2nd. Tyler Ladendorf, SS, Texas JC
3rd. Bobby Lanigan, RHP, Adelphi
6thx – B.J. Hermsen, RHP, Iowa HS
30thx – Mike Tonkin, RHP, California HS

Notes: Like Cleveland, Minnesota did not have much luck with handing out above-slot deals… or the supplemental picks. The best of the bunch – Gutierrez – will likely develop into a useful big league pitcher but he looks like a seventh or eighth inning reliever. Fellow supplemental pick Shooter Hunt is a wasted talent after control issues ruined his career. Hermsen appears to have the potential of a fourth or fifth starter. First rounder Hicks is a high-ceiling talent who saves this draft. But the club has been methodical with his development, and he’s currently in his third season of A-ball and has yet to produce any eye-popping results. I was a fan of Ladendorf pre-draft but he was flipped to Oakland in an ’09 trade and his ceiling has lowered since then. It’s too bad the club couldn’t get 16th rounder and second baseman Kolten Wong signed; he’s a likely first rounder in the 2011 draft. The same goes for outfielder George Springer, who was unsigned as a 48th round pick out of high school and has exploded in college.

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Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospect analysis. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.

11 Responses to “2008 Amateur Draft Review: The AL Central”

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  1. geo says:

    The Royals ’08 draft may not only be the best in the team’s history, it has the potential to be one of the best in ANY team’s history.

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  2. Jason says:

    That Tigers draft is ghastly.

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  3. Matt says:

    Daniel Hudson could settle in as a #3 starter for the Dbacks? The same one who projects to have a better FIP than David Price?

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    • Marc says:

      For one, Price pitches in the AL East… secondly, it’s still too early to read into ’11 numbers due to sample size.

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    • DavidCEisen says:

      Also Price has outpitched his FIP by half a run during his career 60 starts, which may or may not mean something.

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      • mlstarr says:

        Settling in as a #3 for a team with arguably the worst rotation in baseball (with no clear sign of a prospect that will be better than him) when you *project* to have better numbers than a good team’s ace is a strange description of Hudson’s talent.

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  4. Blue says:

    I want to go on record with the following: for good or ill, Johnny G is the Dalai-Lama-like reincarnation of David Eckstein. I’ve been saying this since he was drafted.

    He’s going to make the majors, Dayton Moore is going to fall in love with him, and sabermatricans across the land will simply transfer all of their “Eckstein” references to “Giavotella.”

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  5. Cecil Fielder Jr. says:

    Ugh, the Tigers and their obsession with early round relievers.

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  6. MNzach says:

    Holy $#%* check out Shooter Hunt’s BB rate..

    25bb in 15 ininings
    33bb in 17.2 innings
    84bb in 67.1 innings

    2009 is magical with the 10.56 k rate to a 11.23 bb. I’d love to see some video of this kid.

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  7. CubsFan says:

    This is only my thoroughly uneducated opinion but I see Daniel Hudson as being better than a #3 starter and Chisenhall seems to be widely regarded as a star in the making.

    Having seen Giovatella in person for a season at AA, I totally agree with the idea that he may be most valuable as a pinch hitter. He appears to be able to hit but his defense is atrocious.

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