Twelve years after the 2008 amateur draft, one top 10 pick ranks far above the rest…
1.) Tim Beckham, SS, Rays:
Taking Beckham at No. 1 has long looked like one of the most regrettable moves in Rays history. Beckham was only a .247/.299/.421 hitter with 2.5 fWAR in 791 plate appearances with the team from 2013-17. and it flipped him to the Orioles for right-hander Tobias Myers in the last of those seasons. Myers hasn’t advanced past the High-A level for Tampa Bay, while Beckham didn’t offer much production for Baltimore in 2018 or Seattle in ’19. He’s currently a free agent after the league hit him with an 80-game PED suspension last August.
2.) Pedro Alvarez, 3B, Pirates:
Alvarez wasn’t a total bust for the Pirates, with whom he put up two 30-home run seasons worth 2.5-plus fWAR apiece. The former Vanderbilt Commodore hasn’t lived up to his draft status, though, and is now accompanying Beckham in free agency. Alvarez, who has also played for the Orioles, hasn’t taken a major league diamond since 2018. If his career in the bigs is over, he’ll end as a .236/.310/.447 hitter with 162 homers and 7.7 fWAR.
3.) Eric Hosmer, 1B, Royals:
Hosmer had an inconsistent run as a Royal from 2011-17, but the highs were high. He was a key part of the Royals’ most recent championship team in 2015, and his .284/.342/.439 line with 127 homers and 60 steals in their uniform helped lead to a notable free-agent payday heading into the 2018 season. The Padres forked over a guaranteed eight years and $144MM to Hosmer, but he hasn’t lived up to the deal so far. The 30-year-old has hit .259/.316/.412 with minus-0.5 fWAR since he signed with San Diego.
4.) Brian Matusz, LHP, Orioles:
Matusz once looked like a can’t-miss prospect, but he failed to match the hype. To Matuz’s credit, after a pretty rough run from 2009-12, he reinvented himself as a solid reliever for the Orioles from 2013-15. However, he hasn’t pitched in the majors since a horrid nine-inning run with the Braves and Cubs in 2016. Matusz hasn’t officially retired yet, but he’s likely to call it quits as the owner of a 4.92 ERA across 528 2/3 innings.
5.) Buster Posey, C, Giants:
Finally, a smash success. Posey, 33, is the lone member of the 2008 top 10 with a legitimate Hall of Fame case. He’s a six-time All-Star, an NL Rookie of the Year, an MVP and someone who has been instrumental in three Giants World Series titles. Posey’s also a lifetime .302/.370/.456 batter with 140 homers and 52.7 fWAR.
6.) Kyle Skipworth, C, Marlins:
“Why couldn’t the Giants have taken Skipworth instead of Posey?”-The Marlins now, probably. Skipworth totaled four plate appearances as a Marlin in 2013, the only year in which he appeared in the majors. He last appeared in pro baseball in 2016 as part of Cincinnati’s minor league system.
7.) Yonder Alonso, 1B, Reds:
Alonso had a brief run with the Reds from 2010-11, after which they sent him to the Padres in a mega-trade for righty Mat Latos. Alonso has since had just one above-average season – with the A’s and Mariners in 2017, when he batted .266/.365/.501 with 28 homers and 2.4 fWAR. He has fallen back to earth since then, though, and has only accounted for 5.4 fWAR with a .259/.332/.404 line and 100 HRs in the majors during his career. Alonso’s now with the Braves, who signed him to a minor league contract over the winter.
8.) Gordon Beckham, SS, White Sox:
Beckham had a poor run as a member of the White Sox, with whom he hit .242/.304/.370 in over 3,100 PA, and has also struggled to put up good numbers in a few other stops. The 33-year-old is now a free agent.
9.) Aaron Crow, RHP, Nationals:
Washington failed to sign Crow, so it received the No. 10 pick in the 2009 draft as compensation. The team used that choice on righty Drew Storen, who logged a 3.02 ERA with 95 saves and 72 holds in 334 innings with the Nats from 2010-15.
10.) Jason Castro, C, Astros:
Thanks in part to his well-known pitch-framing wizardry, Castro has thus far enjoyed a respectable career between Houston and Minnesota. He’s a career .231/.313/.390 hitter with 86 HRs and 14.5 fWAR, and is just a few months removed from signing a one-year, $6.85MM contract with the Angels.
Any other first-round notables?
Not many. Gerrit Cole went 28th to the Yankees, but they couldn’t sign him (they made up for that a few months ago). Justin Smoak (No. 11), Aaron Hicks (14), Andrew Cashner (19) and Lonnie Chisenhall (29) also came off the board in that year’s top 30. There was some more success in the supplemental round, where Jake Odorizzi (32), Lance Lynn (39) and Wade Miley (43) were taken.