While the San Diego Padres selected Jacob Nix in the third round of the 2015 MLB Draft, the very next pick could have solved a major issue.
Regardless if there ends up being baseball this season, the San Diego Padres have a major question mark at second base. Jurickson Profar was acquired earlier this offseason to help shore up the position, but after posting terrific numbers in 2018, he regressed considerably last year. Was he the victim of bad luck?
His .218 BABIP suggests that he was, but Profar’s track record does not exactly exude confidence that he will be able to rebound. Last year, Ian Kinsler – in the twilight of his career – was plugged into second base as a stop-gap. Padres general manager AJ Preller had to have seen this coming, which makes the Luis Urias trade all the more confusing.
Behind Profar lies both Greg Garcia and Brian Dozier, but neither were expected to have a significant impact on the position. A look back at the third round of the 2015 MLB Draft revealed a potential miss when the Padres took Jacob Nix over Brandon Lowe.
Nix was initially drafted by the Houston Astros in the fifth round of the 2014 MLB Draft out of high school, but the two sides could not strike a deal after various legal issues as well. Obviously, the Padres selected him with the 86th overall pick in 2015 with the intention of him plugging into the rotation within a couple of years.
However, things couldn’t have gone worse for Nix as he struggled his way through the minor leagues, including a 5.82 ERA season in 2015 between High-A and Double-A. He was promoted to the big leagues in 2018, but he posted a 7.02 ERA in nine starts. The following year, Nix tore his UCL in March.
He was arrested last October for criminal trespassing and was designated for assignment after the season. Going unclaimed, he was outrighted to Triple-A El Paso, so he’ll have a chance to contribute in some capacity after he’s fully recovered.
Lowe could not have had a more different path. He quickly worked his way through the Rays’ minor league system, reaching the majors in 2018 as well. There he batted .233 with six home runs and 25 RBI in just 43 games, but he experienced a breakout year in 2019. Lowe earned his first All-Star selection, slashing .270/.336/.514 with 17 home runs and 51 RBI in 82 games.
He sustained a couple of minor leg injuries throughout the season, but nothing that will impact him long-term. Defensively, Lowe plays sound defense at second base, logging a .989 fielding percentage last season.
He’ll be a mainstay on the Rays’ infield as he signed a six-year contract extension before the 2019 season, which makes you wonder what could have been had the two teams flip-flopped picks.