Today, we wrap up our look back at the 2008 amateur draft. It usually takes about five years to get a true picture of how teams did in a given draft, but we can definitely get a good feel for how clubs fared in ’08. We previously reviewed the American League: AL West, the AL Central and the AL East, as well as the other National League clubs: NL West and the NL Central.
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 New York Mets
1st. Ike Davis, OF, Arizona State
1st. Reese Havens, IF, South Carolina
1S. Brad Holt, RHP, UNC Wilmington
2nd. Javier Rodriguez, OF, Puerto Rico HS
3rd. Kirk Nieuwenhuis, OF, Cal NAIA
Davis has turned out to be one of the best hitters from the ’08 draft. Already in his second season with the Mets, he’s currently hitting .302/.383/.543 in 129 at-bats. He’s a building block that this organization sorely needs. Havens has also shown flashes of potential but he’s been inconsistent and oft-injured. I’m not sold on him being a big league regular, but he could develop into a solid platoon or part-time hitter. Holt has seen a lot of ups-and-downs in his career. He’s settled down in his third try at double-A but his control remains a work in progress (20 walks in 34.2 innings). Rodriguez has not developed as hoped. Nieuwenhuis, on the other hand, is looking good in triple-A and could develop into an everyday outfielder. He’s currently hitting .312/.416/.567 in 39 games. He’s striking out a lot, but he’s also showing solid patience and good gap power. Southpaw Mark Cohoon (12th round) could settle in as a fifth starter or middle reliever.
The Atlanta Braves
1S. Brett DeVall, LHP, Florida HS
2nd. Tyler Stovall, LHP, Alabama HS
2nd. Zeke Spruill, RHP, Georgia HS
3rd. Craig Kimbrel, RHP, Alabama CC
6thx – Adam Milligan, OF, Tennessee CC
10thx – J.J. Hoover, RHP, Alabama CC
Veteran starter Tom Glavine cost the Braves organization its first round pick, but the club tried to make up for it by taking a large number of raw, high-upside arms. DeVall was released this spring. Stovall has been moved to the bullpen and has yet to get out of low-A ball. Spruill has battled some injuries but he’s throwing well in high-A and has the ceiling of a No. 3 starter. Kimbrel has already secured his role as a high-leverage MLB reliever despite command issues. Hoover looks like a 10th-round steal and could develop into a solid No. 3 or 4 starter. Milligan got off to a stellar start to his pro career in ’09 but has yet to fully recover from missing much of 2010 due to injuries. Brett Oberholtzer (8th round) is looking to help the club forget its early misses. He has developed into a potential No. 2 or 3 starter and currently has 44 strikeouts in 49.1 double-A innings at the age of 21. Keep an eye on sleepers Paul Clemens (7th) and Richard Sullivan (11th). Both could develop into solid relievers at the MLB level. Clemens has an outside shot at sticking in the rotation, but might be best-suited to shorter appearances. Only injuries will likely keep Anthony Rendon (27th) from going first overall in the ’11 draft.
The Philadelphia Phillies
1st Anthony Hewitt, SS, Connecticut HS
1S. Zach Collier, OF, California HS
2nd. Anthony Gose, OF, California HS
2nd. Jason Knapp, RHP, New Jersey HS
3rd. Vance Worley, RHP, Long Beach State
3S. Jon Pettibone, RHP, California HS
4thx – Trevor May, RHP, Washington HS
6thx – Colby Shreve, RHP, Nevada CC
38thx – Jarred Cosart, RHP, Texas HS
This is a fun draft. The top three picks in this draft – all outfielders – represented the epitome of high-risk, high-reward drafting. A .362 BABIP is helping Hewitt post his highest batting average to date in his four-year career (.252), but his plate rates remain horrendous: 4.6 BB% and 39.7 K%. He’s made little to no development. Collier is in a similar boat but his strikeout rate is *just* 26.7 K%, but he does walk a bit (10.3 BB%). Unfortunately, he’s not a great base runner, has no power and struggles to hit .220. Things start to get fun with Gose. He is still learning to hit but he plays Gold Glove caliber defense and has a cannon for an arm. He’s also extremely quick and has finally begun to learn how to be a base stealer, not just a really fast guy that guesses a lot. Gose was traded to Toronto last year (via Houston) and he was challenged with an assignment to double-A in 2011 despite being just 20 years old. After hitting .238 in April, he’s swinging the bat better in May and has his overall average up to .254. Fellow second rounder Knapp was also used as trade bait and he’s now battling injuries in the Cleveland system. If he can get healthy, he could develop into a high-leverage reliever. Despite trading Knapp, the club still has a lot of pitching depth thanks to this draft. Worley is already showing his worth at the MLB level, although his ceiling is a little limited. May could develop into a No. 3 starter in the Majors. Cosart has the highest ceiling of all the arms and could settle in at the MLB level as a No. 2 or 3 starter. Pettibone doesn’t get much press but he could sneak into the Majors and reach his ceiling as a No. 3 or 4 starter. Shreve has been a disappointment and just hasn’t recovered fully from ’08 Tommy John surgery. Cody Overbeck (9th)has an outside chance at developing into a big league corner infielder but he’s probably more of a part-time player or quad-A slugger. Mike Stutes (11) has proven to be a useful big league arm. Unsigned Keon Broxton (29th) eventually signed with Arizona.
This was not one of Florida’s better drafts. Skipworth showed flashes of potential in 2010 at low-A ball but he was jumped to double-A in 2011 and he’s hit just .170/.252/.290 in 100 at-bats. Still just 21, he has time to turn things around but he doesn’t look like he’ll ever be an impact player at the MLB level. Hand has put up solid numbers in pro ball, including at double-A in ’11, but his ceiling is more of a No. 3 or 4 starter. He needs better command. Olmos is similar – he has a modest ceiling and needs better command but he, like Hand, is a lefty. Galloway remains raw and is struggling to produce even average numbers in A-ball. After spending all of 2010 in high-A, he’s back down in low-A hitting just .246. Dan Jennings (9th round) and Tom Koehler (18th) don’t have the highest ceilings but they could be useful big league arms. Unsigned Mikie Mahtook (39th) could be a 2011 first rounder.
The Washington Nationals
1st Aaron Crow, RHP, Missouri (DNS)
2nd. Destin Hood, OF, Alabama HS
3rd. Danny Espinosa, SS, Long Beach State
4thx- Graham Hicks, LHP, Florida HS
5thx- Adrian Nieto, C, Florida HS
15thx- J.P. Ramirez, OF, Texas HS
Things got a whole lot better for the Nationals after this draft (Stephen Strasburg and Drew Storen in ’09 and Bryce Harper in ’10). Crow failed to sign and eventually agreed to terms with Kansas City. He’s been lights-out in the big league bullpen in 2011. Hood shows potential but he’s struggling a bit in high-A ball this year. If he can trim down on his strikeouts he could develop into a useful fourth outfielder. Espinosa was handed the club’s second base job this season but he has yet to show that he can hit big league pitching. In parts of two seasons (241 at-bats) he’s hitting .203/.288/.407. He’s also suffered from a low BABIP during that stretch (.230). Ramirez has shown flashes of potential with the bat, but he’s having a rough season in high-A ball. Hicks was traded to the Chicago Cubs earlier this year as part of the loot for starter Tom Gorzelanny. Nieto has been a disappointment as a pro and is currently on the restricted list. Louis Coleman (14th), like Crow, is now a Royal and has also been solid out of the big league bullpen. Steve Lombardozzi (19th) has a chance to develop into a starting second baseman, or a valuable bench player. Unsigned Anthony Meo (43rd) and Alex Dickerson (48th) both have the chance to be taken in the first two rounds of the 2011 draft.