Toronto Blue Jays: The 10 worst first-round picks since 2000

Which former Blue Jays' first-round draft picks do they regret taking over the past 23 years?
Toronto Blue Jays v Oakland Athletics
Toronto Blue Jays v Oakland Athletics / Michael Zagaris/GettyImages
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2008 – 1B David Cooper (17th)

Notable players passed over: Gerrit Cole (28th), Jake Odorizzi (32nd), Lance Lynn (39th)

In 2008, the Jays took their chance on a University of California product with their first-round pick by selecting first baseman David Cooper. After the departure of superstar slugger Carlos Delgado following the 2004 season in free agency, the Jays never really had an adequate replacement at first base. Added to the fact that the 2008 MLB Draft was loaded with potential future star power at the first base position, with the likes of Eric Hosmer, Yonder Alonso, and Justin Smoak among those that were drafted even earlier than Cooper, who happened to be one of the better contact power hitters among the group. So it appeared that the Jays couldn’t really miss by taking one of them in the first round, or could they?

Well, Cooper progressed admirably through the Jays’ minor league system, while at the same time he hit for average, along with being a strong run producer. In 2010, he hit .257 with 20 home runs and 78 RBI with the Jays’ Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats, while in 2011, he did even better with the Jays’ Triple-A Las Vegas 51s, albeit with a little less power to show for, batting .364 with 51 doubles, nine home runs, and 96 RBI in 120 games played. In doing so, he eventually made his major league debut with the Jays that very same year. However, he was never able to translate his success from minor league ball to the major league level, as in another four years, he was out of the organization and out of baseball entirely by 2015.

The 2008 MLB Draft class also had an abundance of solid pitchers available in the first round, but the one the Jays really missed out on was the chance to get six-time All-Star and two-time Cy Young finalist and future ace Gerrit Cole. The only good part coming out of it was the fact that even though the New York Yankees took him with the 28th pick out of high school, they failed to sign him as Cole chose to attend college instead to further his development. As a result, he ended up going back into the draft and was taken first overall in 2011 by the Pittsburgh Pirates instead, keeping him out of the American League. Nevertheless, as fate was meant to be, Cole eventually made his way to the Yankees, so they still ended up getting him, just years later so that the Jays didn’t have to have an extended period of constant reminding of who they lucked out on.