Looking back at the 2010 MLB Draft, the Padres took Karsten Whitson with the ninth overall pick. Could they have landed an ace pitcher instead?
After a 2009 season that saw them finish with a 75-87 record, the Padres held the ninth overall pick in the 2010 MLB Draft. At the time, the Friars pitching staff consisted of Clayton Richard, Jon Garland, Mat Latos, Wade LeBlanc, and Kevin Correia.
The Padres selected Karsten Whitson, one of the top high school pitchers in the draft, in the first round. Whitson, despite being offered a $2.1M signing bonus, chose not to sign and played collegiate ball at the University of Florida. He would eventually be selected by the Nationals in 2013, and again by the Boston Red Sox in the 2014 Draft.
The third time was the charm for Whitson, but he was only promoted as high as Class-A Short Season and was out of baseball after the 2016 season.
A wasted pick for sure. However, in a re-draft, MLB writer Jim Callis has the Padres landing Noah Syndergaard to bolster the rotation of the future. The Blue Jays landed the big righty with the 38th overall pick, and he eventually went to New York as part of the R.A. Dickey trade.
Syndergaard finished fourth in the NL Rookie of the Year voting in 2015, but he earned his first All-Star selection in 2016. That year, “Thor” posted a 2.60 ERA in 30 starts with an NL-leading 0.5 HR/9, finishing eighth in Cy Young voting.
After struggling with injuries during the 2017 and 2018 seasons, he returned for 32 starts last year. He hasn’t looked nearly as dominant has he once was, posting a 4.28 ERA and a Major League-leading 94 earned runs a year ago.
Still, it raises the question of what would the Padres rotation look like had they drafted Syndergaard? Depending on his injuries, do they still make the trade for Chris Paddack? Do they sign Dinelson Lamet as an international free agent? There’s a lot of moving pieces, and an argument can be made that nothing changes.
However, it’s certainly something to ponder. And for what it’s worth, Callis had Manny Machado being taken by the Royals with the fourth overall pick. His path to San Diego may not be as straight forward.