Thursday, May 29, 2008

Looking To The Draft

By Josh Elwell

As a Padre fan desperately trying to keep the faith in the midst of a losing season, the future state of the team is what I’m holding onto. With the least exciting draft in professional sports (baseball’s) coming up on June 5th, what’s on the horizon for the Padres is on my mind more than usual.

Since the only Type A free agent who was offered arbitration, Michael Barrett, stuck around last off-season, the Padres only get their own first round pick, at #23. Even with the mini-turnaround for Kevin Towers’ offense, I’d prefer sticking as the worst team in baseball, and get the #1 pick next year. Who knows? Maybe Matt Bush’s little sister will be available. Just kidding – Matt Bush’s little sister is always available! Ouch!

Even if baseball’s draft is sport’s least exciting, it’s in no way inconsequential. More excitement is put on other drafts – like football – because in baseball, players need time to develop. No matter whom the team drafts, these guys won’t be helping until 2010 and beyond. In football, you can draft a Reggie Bush and turn your franchise around that same year. Tim Beckham, on the other hand, is nowhere close to being a household name, even though he’s the likely #1 pick. (Not that any baseball player becomes a household name…unless he does steroids.)

Looking at our own farm system, we have guys bursting at the seams in AAA, ready to make an impact. By ’09: Chase Headley (LF), Matt Antonelli (2B), and Nick Hundley (C) could be leading our offense with Adrian Gonzalez and Kevin Kouzmanoff. Maybe even Will Venable in CF, too.

On top of these position guys, strong pitching waits below AAA, in Matt Latos & Will Inman. These are two guys who could join Peavy and Young in the rotation, by the end of next year. As much respect as I have for Greg Maddux – I’d much rather have Peavy as the veteran in the rotation.

What’s even more exciting is that the future could be soon. Greg Maddux, Trevor Hoffman, Randy Wolf, Brian Giles, Tadahito Iguchi, Michael Barrett and Tony Clark have some heavy (multi-million dollar) contracts being erased this fall. Investing in our youth, plus one or two impact free agents (Adam Dunn, anyone?), could serve the Padres well, moving forward. I wouldn’t mind having Milton Bradley back either. Now that he’s staying healthy and hitting bombs in Texas, maybe he’s reaching his potential. Is it too much to ask Kevin Towers to sign a free agent as he reaches his potential, as opposed to after? Dunn will still be in his 20’s next year, maybe Petco is where he can come to get away from Dusty Baker forcing him to bunt. Bud Black won’t do that to you, Adam, I personally promise. For anyone who missed that random Reds game, after pulling back the bunt, Dunn homered on the next pitch. Take that Baker.

Anyway, even with the recent solo HR parade, watching Towers’ articulately put-together offense struggle this year, forces me to look to the future and hope for the best. With the draft coming up next week, I’m allowed to do that.


Anonymous said...

dunn? seriously josh. dunn? thats who you want? he strikes out triple the amount of times he hits it out.


Josh said...

That literally means nothing if he gets on base 40% of the time.

By the way, so does Adrian Gonzalez.

Geoffrey said...

I was just about to make nearly identical rebuttals to the ones Josh just offered up -- I would love to see Dunn here. If I could play devil's advocate though, what about the fact that the man plays defense like a forklift with a glove? Do we want him patrolling our spacious outfield or displacing an accomplished defensive first baseman?

Dave H said...

1) The Padres will never bring Dunn because he's good and actually costs $$$

2) What do Gonzo, Kouz and CY have in common? They spent zero time in our system, which probably would have made them suck.

3) Headly+Antonelli=more boring, over-hyped, mediocre white guys.

4) We'll draft some 22 year old college pitcher from the south that throws 85-88 "with good control" that has no potential, but who they don't have to pay.

War Valley View Buffet.

Josh said...

Here's a way to make up for Dunn in LF: trade for Coco Crisp. Having Crisp in CF more than makes up for Dunn's deficiencies. Even without Crisp though, getting on base and hitting HR's like a champ makes up for a lack of defense.

I'm hoping that the $30 million cleared from Giles, Maddux & Hoffman will help bring in Dunn. It won't take more than half of that to get him.

Oh, and I'm buying into the Headley+Antonelli hype.

Dave H said...

Good luck with that.

Odds are they're headed to Burroughs-town and Barfield-ville.

Anonymous said...

i never said i liked adrian all that much either.

and wait wait wait. crisp?! coco crisp? he is a backup! a backup player most of the time. granted to a great team. but we're trying to build here. im sorry dunn and and crisp are not going to move us in the right direction. there is so much better out there.

and there is nothing smart about acquiring a player named after cereal.


Josh said...

Adrian is on pace to hit close to .300 with 150 RBI's and 45 HR's - what's not to like?

Crisp is the best defensive CF in baseball. In the #8 spot of a lineup, he can hit around .300 and score enough runs to be much more than a backup OF. He's only backup 'cause he's stuck behind Jacoby Ellsbury. To bring back the literalness again - he is literally not a backup player with his defense and batting average.

Crisp. Dunn and Gonzalez bring in runs. In my mind, that's moving in the right direction.

Anonymous said...

They are not going to give in and pay for a player like Dunn who can only play left field and 1st base. Gonzales is at 1st and all the organizations minor league talent resides in LF, Headley, Huffman, and some project Hunter to be a left fielder. Also it is easy to get down with the whole Burroughs and Barfield comparisons, but the Padres have developed players that they have just let go. See Xavier Nady and Jason Bay. Also if the Padres had no interest in seeing Cust (Dunn clone) play in left field why would they pay for Dunn. The Crisp idea makes sense, but I am sure he will cost to much for the Padres, and they will try to slide by with Gerut in centerfield.