2008 MLB Draft Winners
Jeremy Bleich could be a steal for the Yankees.
Jeremy Bleich could be a steal for the Yankees.
Scout MLB Draft Expert
Posted Jun 7, 2008


All fifty rounds have now come and gone and it's time to reflect on each team's draft class. The big question is who came away with the best haul of talent? Find out now as we examine the teams that had the best draft classes in 2008.

Arizona Diamondbacks

Overall Talent Grade - B

Top Selections - Daniel Schlereth, Wade Miley, Bryan Shaw, Kevin Eichhorn, Ryne White, Collin Cowgill

Early Selections Overview - Arizona went very college heavy with the exception of Eichhorn with their early picks, but while they aren't the highest upside players they are very likely to reach their ceiling. White and Cowgill profile as fast moving, steady contributors. And, in Miley they got a lefty that could rise quickly and projects as a middle of the rotation starter. Schlereth has the potential to be electric but the general theme of their early picks is most definitely safe and polished. Sometimes fans hate to hear that but this was a very good haul of excellent collegiate players.

Sleepers/Tough Signings - Sam Brown out of NC State is a big arm that jumps out with the 558th overall pick. Brown has had his ups and downs in his college career but he's shown flashes of brilliance. He has a fastball he can run up to 95 MPH and profiles as a big arm at the backend of the pen. From a talent standpoint, Arizona may have gotten a steal here. Riccio Torrez was considered by some to be one of the best 100 players in this class but because of his strong college commitment and demands of $500,000 he took a drop to the 32nd round. He's said to have a very good relationship with Arizona's area scout so perhaps they will be able to work something out.

Boston Red Sox

Overall Talent Grade - B+

Top Selections - Casey Kelly, Bryan Price, Derrik Gibson, Stephen Fife, Kyle Weiland, Petey Hissey

Early Selections Overview - The Red Sox continue to put together solid draft classes year after year. At first glance this class doesn't match that of a couple years ago but it's still quite strong. Casey Kelly has some questions about his bat but the complete package and ability to play shortstop make him an excellent top pick. Price is not one of those rapid rising college closers and will need to refine his command in the minors; the same goes for Fife and Weiland when it comes to command. Their first handful of picks were diverse as usual.

Sleepers/Tough Signings - The one everyone wants to talk about is Alex Meyer who Boston took very late in the game, but it may really be a moot point. The big prep righty was a first round talent with huge bonus demands, so this isn't your typical over slot late round deal. Meyer is looking for top 10 type dollars. Ricky Oropesa, who the Red Sox tabbed 742nd overall, has massive raw power but will be difficult to lure away from his college commitment.

Chicago Cubs

Overall Talent Grade - A-

Top Selections - Andrew Cashner, Ryan Flaherty, Aaron Shafer, Chris Carpenter, Matthew Cerda, Justin Bristow

Early Selections Overview - One would have to think the Cubs are thrilled with the early haul they got. They landed two of the best pure arms in the draft in Cashner and Carpenter, as well a polished collegiate arm in Shafer. Along with that, they grabbed a very underrated Ryan Flaherty, someone who can move quickly as a shortstop in their organization. Chicago was wise in realizing that the strength of this class was in the college ranks and they exploited that as well as they could.

Sleepers/Tough Signings - Josh Harrison is not necessarily a late round pick or a tough signing in all likelihood, but undoubtedly a smart pick. The college second baseman was impressive in the Cape Cod League, showing the ability to hit with the wood bat and play stellar defense, drawing comparisons to Eric Young along the way. In the 27th round the Cubs tabbed possibly the toughest sign in the class. Sonny Gray, a highly regard prep righty, sent a letter to teams prior to the draft that he was headed to Vanderbilt and would not sign. With that in mind, the Cubs have a challenge ahead if they want to land him.

Detroit Tigers

Overall Talent Grade - A+

Top Selections - Ryan Perry, Cody Satterwhite, Scott Green, Brett Jacobson, Alex Avila, Tyler Stohr

Early Selections Overview - There may not be another team in baseball that can match what Detroit did with their first four picks. Perry, Satterwhite, Green and Jacobson were four of the most powerful arms in the college ranks. They could actually even look at their top four selections as all first round talents at one point. Some of them had their struggles but are still big time college arms who will thrive against wood bats. Also of note, approximately only one-fifth of Detroit's draft class came from the high school ranks.

Sleepers/Tough Signings - Detroit has become known from flexing their financial muscle in recent years and they are often now projected to take risks in the late rounds and try to sign them. That wasn't the case this year and this perhaps a result of the money they will have to dish out to their highly regarded top four selections.

Kansas City Royals

Overall Talent Grade - B

Top Selections - Eric Hosmer, Mike Montgomery, Johnny Giavotella, Tyler Sample, Tim Melville, John Lamb

Early Selections Overview - Simply being able to land a talent the caliber of Eric Hosmer is a step in the right direction for Kansas City's draft class. What was most impressive, however, was their ability to land high upside pitching talent in a year that was lacking in that department. If they are able to sign Tim Melville and make it an early prep pitching class of Montgomery, Sample, as well as him that puts them up with any team in the league in terms of drafted talent.

Sleepers/Tough Signings - The first one that comes to mind is Melville, who is said to be asking for top 15 bonus money. As far as sleepers are concerned, there are few prospects as fascinating as left-hander Derrick Saito. Drafted 475th overall, Saito is a very undersized southpaw out of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo who has had mixed results but is the owner of an often electrifying left arm.

Minnesota Twins

Overall Talent Grade - A-

Top Selections - Aaron Hicks, Carlos Gutierrez, Shooter Hunt, Tyler Ladendorf, Bobby Lanigan, Daniel Ortiz

Early Selections Overview - The Twins, who always put a premium on top notch scouting, one again put together an outstanding crop. They're known for selecting high school players but in this draft they mixed it up quite a bit. Their first round selection of Gutierrez came as a bit of a surprise but his big time arm and polish should allow him to move quickly through their system. Lanigan has first round type stuff but comes from a lesser known program. The same could be said for Tyler Ladendorf's talent as well. He has all the tools to be a star shortstop in the making. Perhaps their best selection of all, however, was landing an elite talent like Shooter Hunt beyond the first round.

Sleepers/Tough Signings - Minnesota is not likely to go out and break down the slotting rules, but they do have some late rounders that, if they can somehow sign, have star potential. Selected 906th overall, Michael Tonkin is a towering prep right-hander that showed big time arm strength this spring. It appears he will be a difficult sign.

New York Mets

Overall Talent Grade - B

Top Selections - Ike Davis, Reese Havens, Brad Holt, Javier Rodriguez, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Sean Ratliff

Early Selections Overview - Teams shouldn't draft on need, but when that need is simply replenishing the farm system as quickly as possible it's good to grab some polished talent. The Mets couldn't have done a much better job in doing that. Davis and Havens are hitters that they could likely start off in full season ball and Holt could give them a fast rising power arm. Ratliff should not go unnoticed either as he provides a potent power bat that could surprise some people.

Sleepers/Tough Signings - The Mets have to be thrilled that Josh Satin fell to them at the 194th overall pick, as he profiles as a big hitting middle infielder. It was quite a surprise to see him fall that far. Mitch Houck, the 524th overall pick, could surprise some Mets fans with his performance as the left-hander is the owner of a sharp cutter that could give hitters problems at any level.

New York Yankees

Overall Talent Grade - A-

Top Selections - Gerrit Cole, Jeremy Bleich, Scott Bittle, David Adams, Corban Joseph, Chris Smith

Early Selections Overview - The Yankees continue to use their first couple picks on top talents who fall into their laps for various reasons. They were able to land the best arm in the class, Gerrit Cole, as well as one of the best lefties in the class, Jeremy Bleich, who fell because of an injury plagued spring. New York is also seeming to make a habit of getting a quality college closer year after year now. Bittle could rocket through their farm system. And, after selecting Adams, who gives them the polished college position player that they need in their system, the Yankees then went for upside taking Corban Joseph and the huge talent that is Chris Smith.

Sleepers/Tough Signings - It's rare to get as quality a college arm as the Yankees got in round ten when they landed Clemson righty, D.J. Mitchell. Mitchell is the owner of a heavy 89-94 MPH fastball but faded down the stretch this spring. The Yankees, as usual, have a number of high upside late round selections, but two that stick out as potential tough signings are prep shortstop, Garrison Lassiter and prep lefty, Blake Monar.

Pittsburgh Pirates

Overall Talent Grade - A

Top Selections - Pedro Alvarez, Tanner Scheppers, Jordy Mercer, Chase D'Arnaud, Justin Wilson, Robbie Grossman

Early Selections Overview - This is the year that Pittsburgh Pirates' fans have been waiting for. There is perhaps no other team that landed two more impressive talents with their top two picks. If Tanner Scheppers is indeed healthy, he and Alvarez are two of the premier talents in this draft class. Pittsburgh then took advantage of the depth of college position players, nabbing two quality shortstops in back to back rounds in Mercer and D'Arnaud. Just when it seemed they'd go college heavy throughout the draft, Pittsburgh may have gotten a steal with prep outfielder Robbie Grossman at 174th overall.

Sleepers/Tough Signings - Beyond just the elite talent at the front of the class, the depth that Pittsburgh added really is remarkable, and that's where the sleepers come into play for them. In the 8th and 9th rounds they were able to get two quality third baseman still on the board, Jeremy Farrell and Matt Hague. Their best sleeper pick of all, though, may have been their 14th round pick, Mike Colla. Colla gives them a durable college arm with a good, low-90's fastball.

Texas Rangers

Overall Talent Grade - B+

Top Selections - Justin Smoak, Robbie Ross, Tim Murphy, Joseph Wieland, Clark Murphy, Richard Bleier

Early Selections Overview - Texas once again proves that money is no object in the first round when it comes to landing the best available talent. Smoak could serve as their long term replacement for the void that Mark Teixeira left. The Rangers then added two quality lefty arms to their system, one a hard throwing high schooler in Robbie Ross and a plus pitchability UCLA southpaw in Tim Murphy. They continue to show off a quality scouting department as they continued to take the best player on the board throughout the draft.

Sleepers/Tough Signings - There may not have been a better pure hitter acquired late in the draft as Duke first baseman, Nate Freiman in the 28th round. The tall, gangly, righty swinger has a very unorthodox approach and swing but he just continues to hit, and he proved he could make it work with wood with a strong showing in Cape Cod last summer.


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