“Padres Lifeline–Baseball Draft”
Baseball’s Amateur draft begins in hours. It is the lifeline of the 30-major league teams. The ones who do it well, like the Yankees and Dodgers, are the perennial pennant contendors. The ones who have failed, the Pirates-Royals-Reds seem to be cellar dwellars for ages.
For the Padres, different leadership has put the franchise into a postion to be a playoff team for the first time in a decade.
History writes of the Padres epic failures in the MLB draft. For every Tony Gwynn, there was a Mike Ivie. Dave Winfield also brought Robbie Beckett. For Andy Hawkins there was a Mark Phillips. There was Derrek Lee but there was also a Jeff Pyburn.
The nitemare reached epic proportions when from 1994-to-2012, only one first round draft pick became a star contributor in San Diego, the brief success SS-Khalil Green had. Think about that, 1-star player in a span of 20-years, just Green up till the pick of Hunter Renfroe in 2013..
Since 2000, the Padres had 37-first round picks in the regular draft and the then secondary draft, and had 1-All Star, in Green. The team went thru a myriad of GMs, from the popular Kevin Towers to Randy Smith to a variety of others, here-today, gone tomorrow. Ownership changes also played into the equation.
The only other notable first rounders that came to San Diego, had marginal success:
2002..Khalil Green..All Star dealt to Cardinals-left baseball
2003..Tim Stouffer..Solid mid-starter but plagued by arm issues
2007..Corey Leubke..Promising future-snuffed out 3-elbow surgeries
2008..Logan Forsythe..Journeyman player traded early
2011..Corey Spangenberg..Utilityman dealt away
2012..Travis Jankowksi..Utilityman left as free agent
The utter failures included the likes of OF-Donavan Tate, who took (4.6M) in the Jeff Moorad era, got hurt, got involved with drugs, and never got above A-Ball. Add in the disgrace that Matt Bush became. The drafting of oft-injured Allen Dykstra, all high first round pick-failures.
Since the arrival of AJ Preller, drafting high because of bad seasons, the Padres have had success, but no impact players yet. Preller’s scorecard with #1’s.
2019..SS-CJ Abrams, just a year into his career as a pro.
2018..P-Ryan Weathers, in the pipeline
2017..P-MacKenzie Gore, on the brink of an MLB debut
2016..P-Cal Quantrill, college star, now established starter
..P-Eric Lauer, arrived-had two good years, then traded
..2B-Hudson Potts, injuries slowed him down
2015..No first round draft pick.
The only established star has been SS-Treu Turner, dealt away early to the Washington Nationals in the 3-way deal with Tampa Bay that netted OF-Wil Myers. He was not a Preller pick, but became a Preller trade chip.
The Preller staff has also uncovered potential gems, including SS-Owen Miller, SS-Xavier Edwards, C-Luis Campusano, P-Joey Lucchesi, P-Reggie Lawson.
Lucchesi is here. None of the others have gotten here yet. But as the phrase says…Prospects but suspect till they prove it.
But the truth is there is no true superstar yet to come out of a farm system that has had alot of high draft picks in recent years.
For all the money the Padres have spent, hardly any of that talent have arrived yet, including the vast sweep of signings from Cuba and the Caribbean. Waiting and hoping for a return on the massive investment.
Wednesday’s draft promises two high picks. Preller’s track record is incomplete. In his 5-years at Petco Park, his franchise is (349-461)..that’s some 112-games under 500. That’s stapled to his resume.
The Padres GM is ready for two more high draft picks heading into the Wednesday night draft. He had lots to say about the franchise.
Comments from Padres GM-AJ Preller…Mark Conner-Director of Scouting
..Much different Draft year…must know what we can do with 5-round draft…Alot of players don’t crack the top 150 board…so we cannot draft them…will connect post draft….Some signings will be about chance and opportunity….This is a different process. ….Don’t know how many we will sign…Those undrafted need to bring value.
..Scouting players for unique draft…look at totality of players….college players perform immediately vs developmental aspect long term….have to choose the best one
..Teams have the 67-page document on keeping players healthy….We have protocols in place but we don’t know what minor league season looks like…We will steer our players to health….We will have a test run with the big league season first then develop plan on what happens in the minors.
..Usually take best player available…if two guys on board at number 8-are the same-we look at organizational needs. We could take 6-pitchers or take 6-position players.
..AJ constant traveller-for all our staff-totally different way of doing things…our cross-checkers are definitely road warriors…on road 95% of time…we have gotten used to Zoom calls… way of doing things….Definitely a different structure….Miss seeing players…smell of grass.
..Virtual draft…we are ready if problems crop up….we have done alot of zoom calls with different types of communications….Talked to some GMs in NFL-Dave Gettleman-NY Giants… about how zoom draft worked out….NFL had 3-different zoom channels going on at same time….we have different lines of communictions….AJ will be based at Petco Park
..System wise we have alot of depth in system…we need more lefthanded bats…but overall it is balanced system player wise and by position…We don’t have an area of need.
..There will be minor league baseball this season…we don’t know what the situation will be…all that to be deetermined…we have to see how many players comes to a second spring training…or an expanded Fall League…we don’t have the rules…..Really don’t know specifics…we all understand how important develpment is…Alot of smart people are working on this…
..Everyone loves the game-wants to see the game back…Alot of people in Commissioner’s office are working to get the game back on the field….Clubs are playing the waiting game for information…We will be prepared for second half baseball…not focused on the odds of playing the games again.
..We have 10M bonus pool and Ron Fowler expects us to spend it…to sign all 6-draft picks.
..Not having access to young players is hard…losing a spring season hurts some prospects..We know talent up top of draft…We don’t have subset of actual games this spring to go back and look at…We have done Zoom calls with prospects…Look different ways to know-learn about players…Feels better now about makeup of players.
And so they begin the draft process. Wednesday is another step forward to solidifying a Padres future of wins. They haven’t done very much of that the last 10-years, which is why these Preller drafts are so critical.