Catching Up with 2009 Padres #1 Pick Donavan Tate


As the Padres look to their own future and just shelled out money to sign a shortstop Alexei Ramirez while their own first round draft from 2014 shortstop pick Trea Turner looks to make the Washington Nationals Opening Day roster, I thought I would venture a quick look at one of the Padres former first round draft picks still around – but it appears that his chances of making a future impact are slim.

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I’m not talking about Matt Bush either. I’m talking about a guy whom the Padres selected ahead of guys like Garrett Richards, Zack Wheeler, Mike Minor and Mike Leake. The Padres, with the third pick in the 2009 draft, selected outfielder Donavan Tate and had high hopes.

Area scout Ash Lawson said of Tate at the time, “The guy was a freak, the one shot we had to hit it big was with Donavan.” General Manager at the time Kevin Towers reflected on the idea that the Padres had been going more conservative with their first round picks and wwere willing to gamble with Tate, who they knew had Scott Boras representing him which helped lead to giving Tate his $6.5M signing bonus.

“If you look at the Padres now, you see you have to be athletic at Petco Park. They’ve become that. We were trying to find that athlete — an offensive, defensive guy with that speed dynamic. He was kind of the guy from the beginning.”

Unfortunately, the rest of the story didn’t go the Padres way. He was hurt before the season started and never really got his game going in the minor leagues. He played just 25 games his first season in the minors and just 39 the following year. In 2011 he was also suspended for 50 for violating the leagues substance abuse policy after a second failed drug test.

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He went through extensive rehab and made it back to baseball, but he still has failed to gain much traction in the minor leagues. Last season he played in Single A at 24 years old and hit .211 with an OBP of .290. He had missed all of 2014 with a torn achilles.

2016 finds himself with the LA Dodgers and he is projected to start at AA, the highest level he has played at in his career. Not every draft pick pans out. With the Padres having a lot of draft picks in 2016, they are hoping for a few more successes.