Padres Editorial: Stop Whining About Losing a Draft Pick


One of the biggest criticisms of the James Shields signing has been the loss of the San Diego Padres‘ first round draft pick in the 2015 Draft.  Have the realities of the baseball draft been forgotten?  Has its importance been overrated?  Now, I truly understand the pessimism that has been ingrained in us all by years of an ownership group that doesn’t show that it cares.  We now have something very different.  Look at the James Shields signing as a positive.  The first criticism should be that the Padres will pay him big money through his age-36 season rather than the loss of a draft pick. 

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Let it first be noted that if Justin Upton leaves in free agency after the 2015 season, the Padres will gain a draft pick right back.

The baseball draft is far harder to gauge than, for example, the NFL Draft.  The NFL Draft is certainly overhyped, and apparently the baseball one is becoming so too.  Only half of the players drafted in the first round of football’s draft actually make it in the league.  It is even less so in baseball.  The MLB Draft includes many players being drafted out of high school rather than a selection on 21 and 22-year olds in the NFL one.  Not all baseball draftees have spent three or four years being groomed in college.  This makes them less predictable because they have to spend years in the minors.  How many top Padre prospects have you been excited about that fizzled before even making it to the big leagues let alone the disappointments who made it?  Quite a lot.

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Out of all the players that came from the 2009 MLB Draft – the one the Padres selected Donavan Tate – only seven of the 30 players selected have become good players in professional baseball.  That’s a 23 percent success rate.  In 2008, only nine players made it.  However two of those players who declined to sign and were drafted in 2009.  So only seven count.  Nine have come out of the 2007 draft and been decent or better.  In the 2006 Draft, again, only seven players have become decent or better major leaguers.  These four drafts are far enough away to where the players should have developed by now.  Yet, only 30 of the 120 players selected have made it good in the majors.  Only 25 percent.  How big of a loss is the draft pick really?  Every first round pick is thrown onto a team’s top prospects list.  This doesn’t mean they have any better chance of working out.

The loss of Trea Turner should be looked at in the same way as this loss of a draft pick.  They are both losses we didn’t want.  But when considering that Turner was in Single-A and the draft pick wasn’t even that far along, the losses aren’t that great.  Consider how much of a guarantee Casey Kelly was said to be when he came over from Boston after playing a season in Double-A.

We have come to idolize prospects because in San Diego they were our only way out of the second division.  Year after year, we have been conditioned to think about what players can be.  I, too, am very guilty of this.  But we shouldn’t fall in love with what players could be in a couple years and should fall in love with who players are now.  Fall in love with the James Shields signing.  If he turns out to be a bust, will you be more upset about the loss of a draft pick or the throwing of money at a player that didn’t perform?

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