San Diego Padres: Top Five First-Round Picks In Franchise History
By Nick Stevens
#2) Andy Benes, RHP, University of Evansville
The Padres selected Andy Benes with the number one overall pick in the 1988 draft, making his debut one year later against the Atlanta Braves. Benes struck out seven hitters in six innings, beginning his claim to fame as a San Diego pitcher, finishing with the second most strikeouts in franchise history.
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Over his seven-year Padres’ career, Benes worked a 69-74 record, 3.57 ERA, and a 1.24 WHIP. He pitched 15 complete games and eight shutouts in 186 career starts. Benes compiled 1,036 strikeouts across 1,235 innings in San Diego, finishing behind only Jake Peavy on thePadres’ career strikeout list.
A workhorse on the mound, Benes pitched at least 192 innings per season for four straight years (1990-1993). A 1993 All-Star, Benes notched 15 wins twice, once in 1991, arguably his best season with the Friars. Finishing sixth in Cy Young voting, Benes pitched to a 3.03 ERA and struck out 167 hitters in 223 innings. He also posted one of the lowest WHIPS of his career, 1.13.
Benes was traded in 1995 to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for LHP Ron Villone and OF Marc Newfield. He would go on to pitch eight more years, winning 86 more games and striking out another 964 batters. He will forever be remembered for throwing the very first pitch in Arizona Diamondbacks’ history.
#1) Dave Winfield, OF, University of Minnesota.
Selected fourth overall in 1973, Dave Winfield was immediately a contributing member of the San Diego Padres’ big league roster. Playing with the Friars from 1973-1980, Winfield appeared in 1,117 games, slashing .284/.357/.464/.821 with 154 home runs, 179 doubles, and 39 triples.
During his tenure in San Diego, Winfield appeared in four All-Star games and won two Gold Glove Awards. In 2000, he was inducted into the San Diego Padres’ Hall of Fame and his number 31 was retired the next year. He also became the first San Diego Padre to be enshrined in the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in 2001.
Winfield hit more than 20 home runs in five of his eight seasons, including 34 in his premier 1979 season. In 159 games, Winfield hit .308 with a career-high .395 OBP and .953 OPS. His 118 runs driven in led the league as he contributed 27 doubles, 10 triples, and 184 total hits. He finished third in MVP voting that season.
Next: Top Strikeout Pitchers In Franchise History
Currently, the Padres have four former first-round picks on their 40-man roster including, Cory Spangenberg (2011), Travis Jankowski (2012), Hunter Renfroe (2013), and Eric Lauer (2016).
Will this year’s seventh overall pick be the next Sean Burroughs or the next Dave Winfield? Only time will tell. In the meantime, tune into the 2018 MLB on June 4th to find out who the Padres select!