2009 MLB Draft: Where Are First-Round Players Now?

Stephen Strasburg, Mike Trout and Nolan Arenado Were the Headliners

Thanks to names like Mike Trout, Stephen Strasburg, Nolan Arenado and Dallas Keuchel, it’s impossible to declare the 2009 MLB Draft a bust. But there is a decided lack of depth among the selections and a preponderance of first-rounders (nine) who never played an inning of big league ball. There is a collection of All-Stars among the crop and some late-round finds — among them J.D. Martinez and Paul Goldschmidt — that save the draft from being a complete catastrophe, but no MLB executives will be wistfully remembering this one. Unless it’s the Angels brass snickering about how they grabbed Trout at No. 25.

 

1. Nationals: Stephen Strasburg, RHP

San Diego State • Washington (’10-18)
Strasburg was one of the most heralded draft picks in recent history, thanks to his 13–1 record during the ’09 season at San Diego State that featured 195 strikeouts in 109 innings. He spent all of 11 games in the minors and went 5–3 in his 2010 rookie campaign with a 2.91 ERA. But Tommy John surgery robbed him of the majority of the ’11 season, and though he was healthy in 2012, the Nationals limited his innings to 159.1, even though he went 15–6 and made the NL All-Star team. Strasburg didn’t pitch in the postseason, a move that angered some. He has won 15 games twice since — in 2016, ’17 — but has battled injuries.
All-Star Games: 3

 

2. Mariners: Dustin Ackley, OF

North Carolina • Seattle (’11-15), N.Y. Yankees (’15-16)
Ackley was supposed to be a great blend of speed and power, but he never became a standout. His finest season came in 2014, when he hit 14 homers and knocked in 65 runs. The Mariners were patient with him, but he never really emerged. After spending a total of 51 games with the Yankees, he was released in November 2016, and he spent the last two years in the Angels minor league system.
All-Star Games: 0

 

3. Padres: Donavan Tate, OF

Cartersville (Ga.) HS
Let’s hope Tate invested his $6.7 million signing bonus wisely, because he never played beyond the Class A-advanced level. The son of former University of Georgia and NFL running back Lars Tate, Donavan struggled early in his career with injuries. He lasted five seasons in the San Diego organization before spending his final campaign in the Dodgers organization. 
All-Star Games: 0


Want more? Our new baseball magazine delivers full MLB team previews, fantasy insight, schedules, and predictions. Click to order your copy today or visit your local newsstand!

4. Pirates: Tony Sanchez, C

Boston College • Pittsburgh (’13-15), Atlanta (’17)
Although Sanchez spent parts of four seasons in the majors, he registered a mere 156 plate appearances and never played more than 26 games (2014). Sanchez was with seven different organizations from ’09-18 and was most recently in the Rangers system. Texas released him in November 2018.
All-Star Games: 0

 

5. Orioles: Matt Hobgood, RHP

Norco (Calif.) HS
Hobgood did not exactly make a good debut in the Baltimore organization, showing up overweight and lacking the velocity that had made him a coveted prospect. He struggled with shoulder issues during his seven seasons in the minors and, after deciding to become a position player, found no team — organized or independent — willing to sign him. 
All-Star Games: 0

 

6. Giants: Zack Wheeler, RHP

East Paulding (Ga.) HS • N.Y. Mets (’13-14, ’17-18)
It has been quite a circuitous journey for Wheeler, who battled elbow problems and ineffectiveness to post a 12–7 record with a 3.31 ERA in 2018. Wheeler spent two years in the Giants system but was traded to the Mets in 2011 in the Carlos Beltran deal. After posting an 18–16 record in two seasons (’13-14), he underwent Tommy John surgery in 2015. He started 17 games in 2017 for New York and staged an inspired comeback the following year as a sturdy member of the starting staff.
All-Star Games: 0

 

7. Braves: Mike Minor, LHP

Vanderbilt • Atlanta (’10-14), Kansas City (’17), Texas (’18)
It took a trip to the bullpen for Minor to rediscover the form that made him such a coveted prospect. During five years as a starter with the Braves, Minor was 38–36, with his 13–9, 3.21 ERA performance in 2013 his best. A torn labrum and recovery from surgery sidelined him in 2015 and ’16, and when he signed with the Royals in ’17, he became a top-notch reliever who made 65 appearances and posted a 2.55 ERA. He signed a three-year deal with Texas before 2018 to start again and was 12–8 last year with a 4.18 ERA.
All-Star Games: 0

 

8. Reds: Mike Leake, RHP

Arizona State • Cincinnati (’10-15), San Francisco (’15), 
St. Louis (’16-17), Seattle (’17-18)
The well-traveled Leake has been a sturdy starter throughout his career, even if his 93–87 record and 4.03 career ERA are unspectacular. He made a quick impression on the big leagues by going 12–9 with a 3.86 ERA in 2011 for the Reds. Two years later, he was 14–7 with a 3.37 ERA with Cincinnati. Leake has started 30 or more games seven times during his career and was 10–10 with a 4.36 ERA for the Mariners in 2018.
All-Star Games: 0

 

9. Tigers: Jacob Turner, RHP

Westminster Christian (Mo.) Academy • Detroit (’11-12), Miami (’12-14), Chicago Cubs (’14), Chicago White Sox (’16), Washington (’17), Miami (’18), Detroit (’18)
Turner has bounced between six different teams and the bigs and bushes during his career, which has been spent primarily as a starter. He registered six wins during stints with the Marlins and Cubs in 2014, but his overall mark that season was 6–11. After returning to the Tigers during the ’18 season and giving up seven runs (five earned) in his lone start, Turner declared himself a free agent following the season.
All-Star Games: 0

 

10. Nationals: Drew Storen, RHP

Stanford • Washington (’10-15), Toronto (’16), Seattle (’16), Cincinnati (’17)
Storen came into the big leagues as a reliever and has never started an MLB game. He was a stalwart in the Nats bullpen and saved 43 games in 2011. Storen lost his closer’s job in 2015, when Washington acquired Jonathan Papelbon, and he was traded to Toronto in January 2016. The Blue Jays dealt him to Seattle later that season, and Storen signed for the 2017 season with Cincinnati, for whom he went 4–2 with a 4.45 ERA. He missed the ’18 campaign after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
All-Star Games: 0

 

11. Rockies: Tyler Matzek, LHP

Capistrano Valley (Calif.) HS • Colorado (’14-15)
Matzek spent parts of two seasons with the Rockies, making 24 starts and posting an 8–12 record with a 4.06 ERA. Matzek signed contracts with the White Sox and Mariners before the 2017 and ’18 seasons, respectively, but was released before the regular-season campaign began each time. He spent 2018 with the Texas AirHogs of the independent American Association. 
All-Star Games: 0

 

12. Royals: Aaron Crow, RHP

Missouri • Kansas City (’11-14) 
During his four years with the Royals, Crow proved himself to be a durable, productive reliever and earned an All-Star berth in 2011, his first season in the bigs. Crow posted a 20–11 record during his MLB career with a 3.43 ERA. In 2012, Crow appeared in 73 games for Kansas City, and the next season, he won seven games. He spent the ’18 campaign in the Mexican League.
All-Star Games: 1

 

13. A’s: Grant Green, INF

USC • Oakland (’13), L.A. Angels (’13-15), San Francisco (’16), Washington (’17)
Green never found a full-time MLB job, largely because his hitting wasn’t potent enough. He played 43 games for the Angels in 2014 and hit .273, but his on-base percentage was just .282. From 2015-17, Green played in just 41 games for three different teams and demonstrated little pop. He played part of 2018 in the Mexican League.
All-Star Games: 0

 

14. Rangers: Matt Purke, LHP

Klein (Texas) HS • Chicago White Sox (’16)
Purke refused to sign with the Rangers, despite a reported $4 million bonus offer. Instead, he went to TCU, earned second-team All-America status with the Horned Frogs and was picked in the third round of the 2011 draft by Washington. He never made it past AA ball with the Nats, in part due to shoulder and elbow problems. He pitched in 12 games for the White Sox in ’16, posting an 0–1 record with a 5.50 ERA, and spent the next two seasons in Triple-A.
All-Star Games: 0

 

15. Indians: Alex White, RHP

North Carolina • Cleveland (’11), Colorado (’11-12)
White’s two years in the majors were hardly memorable, as he posted a 5–13 record with a 6.03 ERA primarily as a starter. He has since undergone Tommy John surgery, spent parts of two seasons in the Houston and Atlanta organizations and has pitched the last two years for independent teams.
All-Star Games: 0

 

16. Diamondbacks: Bobby Borchering, 3B

Bishop Verot (Fla.) HS 
Arizona bestowed a $1.8 million signing bonus on the power-hitting corner infielder, and let’s hope he held onto it, because he never played in a big league game and didn’t spend much time above Class A ball. Borchering hit 24 homers in both 2011 and ’12, but he struck out a bunch and never hit for a particularly high average.
All-Star Games: 0

 

17. Diamondbacks: A.J. Pollock, OF

Notre Dame • Arizona (’12-18)
Despite struggling with injuries (elbow, groin), Pollock has established himself as a strong outfielder with the ability to hit for power. He has hit 20 or more homers twice and has reached .800 in OPS four times, including his 2015 All-Star season, when he hit .315 with 20 homers, 76 RBIs, 39 doubles and an .865 OPS. 
All-Star Games: 1

 

18. Marlins: Chad James, LHP

Yukon (Okla.) HS 
James never pitched an inning in the majors, but he did get suspended three times for drug use and was out of baseball following the 2015 season. In 109 minor league games — all but 13 of them at the Class A level — James posted a 22–44 record with a 4.51 ERA. 
All-Star Games: 0

 

19. Cardinals: Shelby Miller, RHP

Brownwood (Texas) HS • St. Louis (’12-14), Atlanta (’15), Arizona (’16-18)
Miller has had a strange MLB career. After posting a 15–9 record during his first full season (2013) and a 10–9 mark the year after, he hasn’t had a winning record since. However, he did make the NL All-Star team in 2015, despite finishing the year with a 6–17 record. Miller started the season strong but was a victim of poor run support (2.59 per nine innings). Since then, elbow problems have limited his effectiveness.
All-Star Games: 1

 

20. Blue Jays: Chad Jenkins, RHP

Kennesaw State • Toronto (’12-15)
Jenkins bounced between the majors and minors during the four years he pitched with the Blue Jays and did have some success, primarily as a reliever. In 2013, he posted a 1–0 mark and 2.70 ERA in 10 appearances, three of them starts. The next year, he was 1–1 with a 2.56 ERA in 21 games, each in a relief role. After that, he lost favor in the Toronto organization and was out of baseball following the 2016 season.
All-Star Games: 0

 

21. Astros: Jiovanni Mier, SS

Bonita (Calif.) HS 
Mier has never played a game in the majors and played the 2018 season for Tijuana of the Mexican League. He spent time in the Houston, Toronto and N.Y. Mets organizations but was never able to demonstrate the offensive prowess necessary to earn a trip to the big leagues.
All-Star Games: 0

 

22. Twins: Kyle Gibson, RHP

Missouri • Minnesota (’13-18) 
Gibson has been a serviceable and durable starter for the Twins during his six years in the majors, posting a career mark of 54–61, with a 4.47 ERA. He recorded winning records in 2014 (13–12) and 2017 (12–10) and was 11–11 during the ’15 season. Gibson has started more than 30 games three times and has thrown more than 190 innings twice.
All-Star Games: 0

 

23. White Sox: Jared Mitchell, OF

LSU 
Mitchell came to the Sox with plenty of promise, after being the Most Outstanding Player of the 2009 College World Series. And though he climbed to the AAA ranks quickly, Mitchell never took the final step to the majors. He has spent time in the White Sox, Angels, Yankees and Reds organizations and played part of the 2016 and all of the ’17 and ’18 seasons in the independent ranks.
All-Star Games: 0

 

24. Angels: Randal Grichuk, OF

Lamar (Texas) Consolidated HS • St. Louis (’14-17), Toronto (’18)
During his five years in the majors, Grichuk has demonstrated some pop in his bat and has hit more than 20 homers in each of the past three years, with his 25 in 2018 a career high. The Angels traded Grichuk to St. Louis after the 2013 season, and he was a steady outfielder for the Cardinals. Last year with the Blue Jays, Grichuk established a personal best with 32 doubles — to go with his 25 dingers — and posted an .803 OPS.
All-Star Games: 0

 

25. Angels: Mike Trout, OF

Millville (N.J.) Senior HS • L.A. Angels (’11-18)
Trout is clearly the jewel of the 2009 draft and arguably the best player in the game today. He is a seven-time All-Star and has won two MVP awards (2014, ’16), finishing second on four other occasions. Trout has a career .990 OPS and has reached double figures in WAR in a season three times. 
All-Star Games: 7

 

26. Brewers: Eric Arnett

RHP, Indiana
Arnett never escaped the ranks of Class A ball during five years in the Brewers organization, during which time he posted an 8–20 record with a 5.18 ERA as a starter and reliever. After the 2013 season, Arnett asked for his release, and the Brewers obliged. He did not play organized baseball after that.
All-Star Games: 0

 

27. Mariners: Nick Franklin, SS

Lake Brantley (Fla.) HS • Seattle (’13-14), Tampa Bay (’14-16), L.A. Angels (’17), Milwaukee (’17-18)
The well-traveled Franklin has been a utility player at all of his stops, although he was a quasi-regular for the Mariners during his first season. The light-hitting utilityman posted a .270 average in 60 games with the Rays in 2016.
All-Star Games: 0

 

28. Red Sox: Reymond Fuentes, OF

Fernando Callejo (P.R.) HS • San Diego (’13), Kansas City (’16), Arizona (’17)
Although Fuentes has shown that he can hit for average during his time in the minors, he has managed to earn just 225 plate appearances during his three big league tenures as an outfielder and DH. In his most recent stint in the majors, 2017 with Arizona, he hit .235 in 64 games with a .616 OPS.
All-Star Games: 0

 

29. Yankees: Slade Heathcott, OF

Texas (Texas) HS • N.Y. Yankees (’15)
Heathcott has a great name but not much major league experience. He spent 17 games with the Yanks in 2015 and hit .400 in 25 at bats. But he has been unable to escape the AAA ranks full-time and has been part of the Yankees, White Sox, Giants and A’s organizations over the past three seasons. 
All-Star Games: 0

 

30. Rays: LeVon Washington, OF

Buchholz (Fla.) HS
Washington didn’t sign with the Rays and re-entered the draft in 2010. Cleveland chose him in the second round, and though he impressed with his athletic ability, he never moved past Class A ball. He spent 2016 and ’17 in the independent ranks and was out of baseball last year.
All-Star Games: 0

 

31. Cubs: Brett Jackson, OF

California • Chicago Cubs (’12), Arizona (’14) 
Jackson moved quickly through the Cubs minor league ranks and arrived in Chicago for 44 games in 2012. But he hit just .175 and spent ’13 and most of ’14 back in AAA. The Cubs dealt him to Arizona in August of 2014, and he played seven games for the Diamondbacks. The Giants signed him in 2015 but released him that July.
All-Star Games: 0

 

32. Rockies: Tim Wheeler, OF

Sacramento State
When Wheeler hit 33 homers for the Rockies’ AA Tulsa team in 2011, the organization got excited. But he was never able to replicate that power in AAA, and he never convinced the big club he was ready for a promotion. Wheeler was out of baseball after the 2015 season.
All-Star Games: 0

 

Other Notable Selections

 

James Paxton, LHP
Blue Jays (Rd. 1 – Supplemental) • Kentucky
Paxton didn’t sign with Toronto and was chosen a year later in the fourth round by Seattle, for whom he went 41–26 with a 3.42 ERA in six seasons, including 12–5 in ’17 and 11–6 in ’18. He was traded during the offseason to the Yankees.

 

Garrett Richards, RHP
Angels (Rd. 1 – Supplemental) • Oklahoma
Few pitchers have been as star-crossed as Richards, who has suffered through a torn patellar tendon (2014) and a pair of torn ulnar collateral ligaments (’16, ’18), the most recent of which necessitated surgery. Richards was 13–4 in 2014 and 15–12 the next year.

 

Brad Boxberger, RHP
Reds (Rd. 1 – Supplemental) • USC
Boxberger has been a solid reliever for the Padres, Rays and Diamondbacks, serving a variety of roles, including closer. He led the AL in saves with 41 in 2015, the year he earned his lone All-Star berth, and posted 32 in 2018 for Arizona.

 

Nolan Arenado, 3B
Rockies (Rd. 2) • El Toro (Calif.) HS
Over the past four years, Arenado has been one of baseball’s most productive hitters, blasting at least 37 homers all four years and knocking in 130 or more runs three times. He has posted an above-.900 OPS each of the last three years. Arenado is a four-time All-Star, a six-time Gold Glove winner and a four-time Silver Slugger recipient who has three top-five MVP finishes on his resume.

 

Jason Kipnis, OF
Indians (Rd. 2) • Arizona State
During his eight years in the majors with Cleveland, Kipnis has played in two All-Star games and shown that he can hit for average and some power. He played the outfield in college but has since become a second baseman who has earned the nickname “Dirt Bag” for his willingness to do what is necessary to win.

 

DJ LeMahieu, IF
Cubs (Rd. 2) • LSU 
LeMahieu played 2011 with the Cubs before joining the Rockies, for whom he was a reliable second baseman. He has hit .300 or better three times in the last four years — including winning the 2016 MLB batting title — won three Gold Gloves and played in a pair of All-Star games. He recently signed with the Yankees.

 

Patrick Corbin, LHP
Angels (Rd. 2) • Chipola (Fla.) College
In December, Corbin inked a six-year, $140 million deal with the Nationals, a pretty good contract for someone with a 56–54 career record and a 3.91 ERA. Corbin won 14 games twice during his six years with the Diamondbacks and went 11–7 with a 3.15 ERA and 246 strikeouts last year.

 

Kyle Seager, 2B/SS
Mariners (Rd. 3) • North Carolina
Seager has been a stalwart for Seattle at third base, hitting at least 20 homers in seven straight seasons, with a high of 30 in 2016. He played in the 2014 All-Star Game, the same season he won his sole Gold Glove.

 

Wil Myers, C
Royals (Rd. 3) • Wesleyan Christian (N.C.) Academy 
Myers has had a solid career for the Rays and Padres, hitting 28 homers in 2016 and 30 in ’17. He has struggled some with injuries, and he was limited to 83 games in 2018. Myers has power, but he also strikes out often.

 

Brandon Belt, 1B
Giants (Rd. 5) • Texas 
During his eight years of playing primarily first base — and some outfield — for San Francisco, Belt has demonstrated some pop in his bat, hitting at least 17 homers in four seasons and logging an .811 OPS. Belt was named to the 2016 NL All-Star team.

 

Dallas Keuchel, LHP
Astros (Rd. 7) • Arkansas
With a Cy Young Award (2015), two All-Star appearances and four Gold Gloves, Keuchel has established himself as a strong lefty in the Astros rotation. His top season came in 2015, when he went 20–8, with a 2.48 ERA. Keuchel went 14–5 with a 2.90 ERA in ’17.
 
Paul Goldschmidt, 1B
Diamondbacks (Rd. 8) • Texas State
The slugging six-time All-Star first baseman has three top-three MVP finishes on his resume, along with three Gold Gloves and four Silver Slugger awards. In 2013, Goldschmidt led the NL with 36 homers and 125 RBIs. He was traded to the Cardinals in the offseason. 

 

Brian Dozier, SS
Twins (Rd. 8) • Southern Miss
In his seven seasons with the Twins and Dodgers (he was traded in 2018), Dozier has established himself as a sturdy regular second baseman with power (172 career homers). He isn’t an outstanding hitter, but Dozier is a strong fielder who was a member of the 2015 AL All-Star team. He recently signed with the Nationals.

 

Brock Holt, 2B
Pirates (Rd. 9) • Rice
The Pirates traded Holt to Boston after the 2012 season, and during his six years with the Red Sox, he has proven himself capable of handling work at every infield and outfield position. Holt has a career .267 average and was a 2015 All-Star.

 

Matt Carpenter, 3B
Cardinals (Rd. 13) • TCU
Carpenter has been a lineup stalwart during eight years in St. Louis, hitting for average and power. A three-time All-Star, Carpenter slugged a career-high 36 homers in 2018.

 

Scooter Gennett, SS
Brewers (Rd. 16) • Sarasota (Fla.) HS
Gennett made his first All-Star team in 2018 and finished the season with a .310 average, 23 homers and 92 RBIs for the Reds, who claimed him off waivers after the 2016 season. In ’17, Gennett posted career highs in homers (27) and RBIs (97).

 

J.D. Martinez, OF
Astros (Rd. 20) • Nova Southeastern University
After struggling at the beginning of his major league career, Martinez became a formidable slugger and smacked 45 homers for the Tigers and Arizona in 2017. Last year in Boston, Martinez hit .330 with 43 homers, 130 RBIs and a formidable 1.031 OPS.

 

Trevor Rosenthal, RHP
Cardinals (Rd. 21) • Cowley County (Kansas) CC
After saving 93 games for the Cardinals in 2014 and ’15 and earning an NL All-Star nod in ’15, he has seen his effectiveness — and health — suffer. He missed most of 2017 after Tommy John surgery and sat out 2018 to rehab his arm. He signed with Washington in November.

 

Corey Dickerson, OF
Rockies (Rd. 29) • Meridian (Miss.) CC
Dickerson has been a steady outfielder for the Rockies, Rays and Pirates. He has hit more than 20 homers three times and posted a .300 or better batting average in three seasons. He was a 2017 AL All-Star and won a Gold Glove in 2018.

Include in Acu Data Feed: 
Exclude from Acu-data Feed

More Stories: