The next time you and your buddies are sitting at the bar, here is a trivia question that will likely perplex your pals, as well as have them question if you have had one beer too many. The question is: What Padre drafted in the last 10 years has the highest WAR, and is also the only Padre draftee to make an All-Star team? The answer? The much-maligned Jason Bartlett. Bartlett has the highest career WAR of any Padre drafted in the last 10 years at 16.7. The next closest? That would be Chase Headley checking in at 8.6. I will give you a minute to take another shot of Patron, and follow me down a dark, depressing journey, that will make San Diego fans long for Bobby Beathard.
I tried to come up with a top-10 list of the Padres best draft picks, but it made me depressed, and I closed my browser, and downloadedThe Cure’s greatest hits album from Itunes. So instead I came up with idea to do a top 5 best list to show how unsuccessful the Padres drafts have been. I did not necessarily chose WAR as my criteria for ranking players, but rather the impact they had in while in a Padres uniform, in my humble opinion.
5. Cory Luebke: I love me some Luebke. He is quite dreamy…err is a very talented pitcher. I believe he was on his way to making the NL All-Star nod, before succumbing to Tommy John surgery. Here is hoping he makes a full recovery, and hope that he is part of the Padres next winning team.
4. Tim Stauffer: Another one of all-time favorites. I got to fanfest early this year, in hopes to score a Timmy autograph; and I succeeded. He went from top prospect, to bust, to Opening Day starter. You have to pull for Tim, and when healthy, he has produced. He had a great 2010 campaign, after starting in the bullpen, and firmly established himself as a rotation mainstay last year. Here is hoping he can pitch again this year.
3. Mat Latos: Many Padres fans have a negative perception of Latos, thanks to a few people in the San Diego media, but I was, and I am still, a big Latos fan. In 2010, he was as close to an ace as this club has had since Jake Peavy. I love the haul they got for Mat, but the guy has a lot of great years ahead of him.
2. Chase Headley: Perhaps I have Chase too high, but the guy is an above-average third baseman. He plays solid defense, and knows how to get on base. Sure, he does not have a ton of pop, but Chase could start for many teams in the majors. An extension could be on the horizon, although I believe he will be moved.
1. Khalil Greene: This selection comes with a disclaimer: I was never a big Greene fan, but he was darn good in 2007, the year the Padres should have made the playoffs. In that season, he turned in the greatest offensive season for any Padres shortstop: 27 HR’s 97 RBI’s, and he slugged .468. The rest of his career was decent, but nothing to hype him up, as many fans seemed to do.
I could have focused on the misses that the Padres have had, but I do not have the time or patience to write a novel. Matt Bush, Jake Gautreau, and Mark Phillips were all colossal busts, but the better point is made when examining those who actually were successful. 0 All-Star berths from my top 5 selections. The last 10 drafts have not given the Padres much of a foundation, and it is easy to see why they are struggling.
There is hope on the way, as the Padres have a deep system, but only time will tell if that will translate to success on the field.