Many will always remember Corey Kluber’s outstanding game one performance in the World Series. What most will overlook though is where the ace’s journey began, as he was drafted by the Padres.
The 2016 World Series is underway, and the Cleveland Indians and Chicago Cubs are both seeking to avoid having the longest title drought in baseball. Thanks to Corey Kluber, (Drafted by the Padres) the Indians have seized an early one game advantage.
Though he did win the 2014 American League Cy Young Award, Kluber has still gone somewhat under the radar this season. Now, of course, all of baseball is aware of who he is. What baseball doesn’t know though is where he began.
In the fourth round of the 2007 MLB Draft, the Padres selected Kluber. Giving him a $200,000 signing bonus, the future star was sent to the lower levels of San Diego’s minor league system.
In 2007, 2008, and 2009, the graduate of Stetson University competed for the Eugene Emeralds of the Class A Midwest League and the Lake Elsinore Storm of the Class A-Advanced California League.
Kluber put up fantastic numbers at these levels and appeared to be part of San Diego’s future rotation. But his career as a Padre was halted on July 31, 2010, when he was part of a deadline trade involving three teams.
The Padres, Indians, and St. Louis Cardinals exchanged players, and San Diego ended up giving up Kluber and receiving Ryan Ludwick. Ludwick only played 59 games with the team, hitting just .211 before he was once again moved.
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Hindsight may always be 20/20, but it’s still hard not to reminisce about the opportunity San Diego had with Kluber. Though he wasn’t regarded as a top pitching prospect and wasn’t widely known around baseball, the 2016 all star game winner at Petco Park showed promise during his time in San Diego’s minor league system. Now, all of baseball has seen his potential come to fruition. Unfortunately for San Diego, this has come with another team.
If nothing else, fans have to understand that Kluber was dealt with good intentions for the Padres. While it may hurt a bit to see him have such success in a different uniform, other teams feel the same way with other players. The Padres are no different.
Moving forward, it will be intriguing to see what Kluber can do next. The 30-year-old is in his prime, and can probably start three games if the series were to go a full seven. For fans who witnessed his early development with San Diego’s organization, there has to be a bit of disappointment. But for many, there is also a degree of a renewed interest in the series, as the Padres can take at least some credit for his accomplishments.