After the conclusion of play on Friday, which included a Minnesota Twins loss to the Kansas City Royals, the Twins were guaranteed to receive the number eight overall pick in the 2022 baseball amateur draft. There are many players who have been selected there over the years that didn’t have a notable major league career. However, some solid players have gone at that position.
So who are the best number eight picks of all-time? Here we look at the top five since the draft began in 1965:
Minnesota Twins: Who are the top #8 picks of all time?
5. Dick Ruthven (1972): 18.4 career WAR
The Twins actually selected the right-handed pitcher Dick Ruthven eighth overall in 1972; however, he did not sign. This was after he was taken by the Baltimore Orioles in the 20th round in 1969 and also did not sign. Then, in 1973, the Philadelphia Phillies selected him first overall in the January Secondary draft, and he went on to spend a total of nine years in Philadelphia over two stints. He also pitched for the Atlanta Braves and Chicago Cubs, earning 123 career wins in 355 appearances (332 starts) with a 4.14 ERA.
4. Jim Abbott (1988): 19.6 career WAR
In 1985, the Toronto Blue Jays selected left-handed pitcher Jim Abbott in the 36th round, but he did not sign. The California Angels then took him eighth overall in 1988, and he spent six years there over two stints. His best year was 1991, in which he finished third in AL Cy Young Award voting as he won 18 games and posted a 2.89 ERA. Abbott won 87 games in a career that also saw stops with the New York Yankees, Chicago White Sox, and Milwaukee Brewers.
3. Francisco Lindor (2011): 31.2 career WAR
The Cleveland Indians selected shortstop Francisco Lindor eighth overall in 2011, and he had a big impact for them at the major league level. Between 2016 and 2019, he was an All-Star every year and placed in the top ten in AL MVP voting three times, winning two Silver Slugger Awards and two Gold Glove Awards. The Indians traded him to the New York Mets prior to the 2021 season, and though it’s been a disappointing year for him, at 27, he still has plenty of time to add to his resume.
2. Jay Bell (1984): 37.1 career WAR
A lot of fans may be surprised to see that second baseman Jay Bell had such a solid career. The Twins drafted him eighth overall in 1984, though before he reached the majors they traded him to the Cleveland Indians as part of a package for Bert Blyleven. Bell spent a total of 18 years in the majors between 1986 and 2003, spending time with the Indians, Pittsburgh Pirates, Kansas City Royals, Arizona Diamondbacks, and New York Mets. He collected 1,963 career hits, was an All-Star twice, and placed in MVP voting three times.
1. Todd Helton (1995): 61.8 career WAR
Colorado Rockies first baseman Todd Helton is by far the most accomplished player ever to be drafted eighth. He spent his entire 17-year career in Colorado, and though he hasn’t yet been elected to the Hall of Fame, a lot of people believe he should be. Helton was dominant between 2000 and 2004, posting an OPS over 1.000 and making the NL All-Star team every year. He’s a lifetime .316 hitter with 369 home runs, 1,406 RBIs, and 2,519 hits which includes a whopping 592 doubles.