Around the MinorsJuly 09, 2008
2008 Draft First Round Update
By Marc Hulet

The August deadline to sign 2008 draft picks will be here before you know it. To date, only one-third of the first round selections have signed on the dotted line with their respective clubs. First overall pick and high school shortstop Tim Beckham (Tampa Bay) is the highest pick to have signed, followed by prep catcher Kyle Shipworth (Florida) sixth overall.

Here is a breakdown of all the confirmed signees thus far:

Tim Beckham, Tampa Bay, SS
Drafted: First overall, Georgia high school
Assignment: Princeton Devil Rays (Rookie Ball)

Beckham is currently playing with his brother - and double play partner - Jeremy Beckham in Rookie Ball. The higher drafted Beckham is off to a slow start and is hitting .200/.293/.200 through 10 games and 35 at-bats. Jeremy, who was taken in the 17th round out of Georgia Southern University, is hitting .273/.368/.364 in 13 games and 33 at-bats. He has already played three positions - third base, second base and shortstop - and has yet to make an error. Tim, who has two errors in four games at shortstop, is ahead of recent first overall picks in the fact that he signed quickly and will have more experience under his belt than most after the inaugural pro season.

Kyle Skipworth, Florida Marlins, C
Drafted: Sixth overall, California high school
Assignment: Gulf Coast League Marlins (Rookie Ball)

Not surprisingly, Skipworth is also struggling early on with the bat. Through eight games, he is hitting .185/.214/.185 with one walk and 11 strikeouts in 27 at-bats. Interestingly, the left-handed hitting is 3-for-3 (1.000) against southpaws. He has caught two of five base runners who have tried to steal against him.

Brett Wallace, St. Louis Cardinals, 3B/1B
Drafted: 13th overall, Arizona State University
Assignment:Quad Cities River Bandits (A Ball)

The highest drafted college player to sign so far, Wallace was fast-tracked to the Midwest League where he is hitting .350/.480/.650 through six games and 20 at-bats. He has one homer and five RBI. Although he played third base in his junior season of college, Wallace is expected to be a Major League first baseman due to an exceptionally thick lower half. Regardless, he has been playing the hot corner so far this season.

Aaron Hicks, Minnesota Twins, CF
Drafted: 14th overall, California high school
Assignment:Gulf Coast League Twins (Rookie Ball)

In the grand tradition of raw Minnesota prep draft picks (ala Ben Revere), Hicks is off to a fast start in Rookie Ball. He is hitting .327/.407/.462 in 52 at-bats. The strikeouts are piling up, as he currently has 14. The switch hitter is batting just .111 against southpaws.

David Cooper, Toronto Blue Jays, 1B
Drafted: 17th overall, University of California
Assignment: Auburn Double Days (Short Season A Ball)

Cooper was the initial first round pick to sign a pro contract so he has the most at-bats so far in 2008. In 21 games (85 at-bats), Cooper is hitting .341/.411/.553 with two homers and 21 RBI. The left-handed hitter is batting .412 against southpaws and the Jays plan to promote Cooper to High-A Ball at the end of July.

Ike Davis, New York Mets, OF/1B
Drafted: 18th overall, Arizona State University
Assignment: Brooklyn Cyclones (Short Season A-Ball)

Davis is off to a modest start in the New York Penn League with a line of .283/.283/.396 through 12 games and 53 at-bats. He has yet to hit a homer, but six of his 15 hits have been doubles. Davis has struck out 10 times and has yet to take a walk. So far, he has played all his games at first base.

Reese Havens, New York Mets, SS
Drafted: 22nd overall, University of South Carolina
Assignment: Brooklyn Cyclones (Short Season A-Ball)

Havens is off to a faster start offensively than teammate Davis. The former college shortstop is currently hitting .281/.410/.531 in 32 at-bats. He also has two homers and has walked six times, while striking out in nine at-bats. Havens has spent his time at designated hitter and could be headed behind the plate towards the end of the year.

Anthony Hewitt, Philadelphia Phillies, SS
Drafted: 24th overall, Connecticut high school
Assignment: Undetermined

Hewitt has yet to appear in a minor league game since signing, but he is likely headed to the Gulf Coast League Phillies (Rookie Ball). Hewitt is expected to be a long-term project.

Christian Friedrich, Colorado Rockies, RHP
Drafted: 25th overall, Eastern Kentucky University
Assignment: Undetermined

Friedrich, who fell a bit in the draft, also has yet to appear in a minor league game and could be headed to A-ball with the Asheville Tourists.

Lonnie Chisenhall, Cleveland Indians, 3B
Drafted: 29th overall, Pitt Community College
Assignment: Mahoning Valley Scrappers (Short Season A-ball)

Chisenhall, 19, is holding his own in the New York Penn League and is currently hitting .282/.356/.462 with seven doubles, two triples and a homer in 78 at-bats. He has walked and struck out eight times each, and has three stolen bases in as many attempts.

It was also reported shortly before this article went to print that the Oakland Athletics signed first round pick Jemile Weeks (12th overall) and the Cubs locked up Andrew Cashner (19th overall).

Check back after the signing deadline on Aug. 15 for another update, after the dust has settled.


Why would the Cardinals draft Wallace to play 1Bwhen they have Pujols?

Most teams don't take need into account when drafting. Wallace was probably the best available player on their board by a pretty wide margin. If he can't stay at 3B, but his bat is as good as advertised, he could be a great hitter and they'll use him as trade bait Matt LaPorta style.

Ethan Martin signed with the Dodgers today. Off to the Gulf Coast like Withrow last year I'm guessing?