You can pick a wide variety of words to describe what happened to the Padres last night.
You may also want to circle June 9th on your calendar for a couple of reasons.
Stunned…surprised…panic stricken. Somewhere in all there, is the reason the Padres did what they did.
The first day of the free agent draft got them pitching, but it was a strange set of acquisitions. Looking in the rear view mirror, the Padres were forced to scramble at the top of the draft board.
They got one of the live arms they wanted, though he has a scar on his elbow. They believe Cal Quantrill, the starting pitcher from Stanford, will totally recover, and become a dominant pitcher again after Tommy John surgery.
But there’s a story behind the story of what happened.
For the Padres, Four of the top players they liked, at slot 8, wound up going in the top 7-selections.
Milwaukee took Louisville star outfielder Corey Ray with the 5th pick. Atlanta chose pitcher Ian Anderson with the 3rd choice. and Colorado used the 4th pick on Kansas high school pitching star Riley Punt, and strong armed hurler Braxton Garrett went to Miami, right infront of them. All went ahead of where they were supposed to go..
All 4-were on the Friars radar. When they were gone, the Padres made the bold move on Quantrill, whom most thought they would get at the 20th slot. In doing so, they bypassed a couple of big hitting outfielders,
They bypassed slugging flychaser Kyle Lewis of Georgia, and hi school star Will Benson from the Georgia ranks.
Taking pitchers coming off Tommy John surgery is a gamble. The MLB network analysts, many of whom are former players and execs, all used the word gamble when discussing the Friars choice to take the Stanford star that early.
It’s not the first time it’s happened. Last year, Cleveland gambled on pitcher Brady Aiken. Toronto took the same road with surgically repaired pitcher Jeff Hoffman. Neither is back yet.
But there’s also a major track record that says pitchers coming off ligament transplant surgery may come back, but may not come back as the pitcher they were before the injury.
Then San Diego pulled a big surprise at 24.
They went for a shortstop, Hudson Sanchez from the Texas high school ranks, eventhough they have 3-shortstops already in their farm system they dealt for. Have you forgotten about Javy Guerra, who came from the Red Sox?
At 25, they took a solid college arm in Ken State hurler Eric Lauer, a crafty lefty, who led the nation with a (0.69-ERA) in the Mid American Conference, who also dominated the Cape Cod League last summer.
To wrap up the draft, they picked Florida Gators outfielder Buddy Reed and high school pitcher Reggie Lawson from Victor Valley.
Questions will abound today.
Most people are of the opinion, they would have had Qunatrill at the 20th slot. Why not take 6-7 pitching sensation Jason Groome from New Jersey, who slid down the board, at age 17?
Why not take Matt Manning, the fast track pitcher from Sacramento, whose father played in the NBA?
You could have had them to develop, and probably still had Quantrill at 20.
Why not take the athletic bats from the two outfielders, rather than another shortstop?
It’s AJ Preller’s show for sure. Ownership has bought into everything he’s done, though what he has done has given us two disappointing summers of Padres baseball.
Yes they wound up with 3-pitchers for a minor league system that needs arms, but did they get the right pitchers?
So you figure out why they did what they did.
And circle June 9th on your calendar. It’s the date the GM either got his organization up and running with a brilliant draft, or the night he laid the ground work to get fired, because he took more gambles, like the last group of player deal gambles he took, that have not worked out..
Only time will tell if Quantrill-Sanchez-Lauer were the right players to right this sinking ship.
There will not be much tolerance for Padres baseball going forward, if last place becomes common place in the Padres history. .