Padres bloggin' since 2007

Mo money fewer problems

August 23rd, 2011 by

San Diego Padres Draft Payroll If you listened intently during Ted Leitner’s introduction of Padre owner Jeff Moorad at Trevor Hoffman’s wonderful number retirement ceremony on Sunday, you may have heard awkward cheering from one fan in the second row of the upper deck. That fan was me. Leitner’s remark that Moorad had been busy last week signing almost every top draft pick had me clapping and screaming.

And the reason it was awkward? I can’t answer that; Leitner was referring to the most promising day for Padres organization over the last couple years. I expected more cheers.

I’ll now direct your attention to figure A (those liney things next to this text). On the rightermost section of the graph, which shows the Padres spending budget compared to the rest of baseball year by year, you’ll notice the 2010 payroll and draft numbers wayyyy down at the bottom. The payroll ranking for the preceding and following years also displays on the southern end. (note, I couldn’t find draft data for 2005 and prior, or 2007)

Meanwhile, the Padres record this season is awful. The driver behind the (in my opinion, overrated but good) 2010 ballclub is no longer with the team. Also note the absolutely embarrassing draft budget in 2010 and 2008, though the latter was under a different ownership. Many of the team’s best prospects including Casey Kelly, Simon Castro, Donavan Tate, Drew Cumberland, to name a few, took steps backward in 2011. This organization needs talent, badly.

This was the environment fans saw while watching  the draft and subsequent signing window. A bad team. A step back from the farm. A low payroll. A traded star. And while the team’s explanation behind not signing 2010 top draft choice Karsten Whitson seemed plausible, we fans have no way of knowing for sure. We’ve followed organization known for publicly and historically skimping on the draft, such skepticism is warranted. Even if Whiton accepted the team’s reported offering, the 2010 draft budget likely only match the mid-point of  spending across the majors.

These days, even the big spenders are catching up with the times. Draft spending is up across baseball, and teams are valuing prospects more than ever before. So yes, spending does not guarantee anything. But it helps. Just like navigating city streets in a car without breaks can be done, so can winning with a low budget. But it has never been easy, and isn’t getting any easier.

So for me, the new players in the Padres organization are important and great to see. But even better is the confirmation that Padres intend to follow their stated plan of adding talent through the draft. Because even at record costs, it’s worth it. The team is showing that the Karsten Whitson fiasco likely was an exception to the rule. But you have to pay for talent at some point, and the draft is a pretty good place to get it. With a payroll this low, they can’t afford otherwise.

graph sources:

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Sacrificial Links: NL West top 10 draft picks

December 11th, 2009 by

Sacrificial LinksBaseball America’s top 10 Padres and NL West prospects of the 2000s were published today.

They went with Jason Bartlett as the top pick of the decade. Seemed strange to me until I tried to figure out who would replace him. Don’t forget though, order to qualify for the best pick of the 2000s, the player would need to have been drafted in the first few years of the decade. Apparently BA is judging the pick by who had sustained major league success. None of the guys taken later in the decade have had time to develop, so while James Darnell or Mat Latos may be better choices in the long run, they don’t exactly qualify right now.

Oh well, we’ll always have the right field Brian Buchanan memorial wall, whom the Padres received in exchange for Bartlett. I like to think of it as the wall, not the player.

Check out BA’s organizational talent graph too. If anyone still wonders why Towers, Fuson, and company were replaced, look no further.

I’ve had a hunch that the Padres farm was underrated last year, even after adjusting for my homerism. Good news for me, I’m not the only one. I’m looking forward to this year’s rankings, as they’ll reinforce or amend last year’s poor assessment of the system.

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Some good news in my life: 6/15 Sacrificial Links

June 16th, 2009 by

Sacrificial LinksIt’s times like these we look at our Padres’ 1.5% chance of making the playoffs, and decide to sit in and enjoy our cesspool of self loathing. Or we can stick our head out of the ground, look at what bright rays of light appear on the horizon, and enjoy a beautiful summer in San Diego.

Wait, The Padres’ ace, and potential trade bait for players the team can build a foundation upon is out for a month, possibly the rest of the year? What was the first option again?

Kevin Goldstein on the Padres’ Draft

Starting with the extra young’ns, the boys at Mad Friars posted a free interview with Kevin Goldstein, prospect guru of Baseball Prospectus. I think most Padre faithful are by now familiar with Donovan Tate.

Is he perfect? No, but in terms of star potential there was no position player like him in the draft. Obviously, he has risk, but no one comes close to his ceiling.

What you might not know is the Padres got great deals on players further down in their draft. One of whom, Everett Williams, scouts expected to go in the first round, while the Padres nabbed him with the 52nd pick overall in the second. And it isn’t just Goldstein who said this, though he does say that Keyvius Sampson, The Padres’ third round pick, could also have been selected in the first, but fell due to signability concerns. As a fan, I love that. We’ll take him.

You know it’s not only the high picks, but they took some players in later rounds that will also cost some money and didn’t flinch. If you are a Padres fan, you have to hope this is the new direction they will go in the future.

Jim Callis of Baseball America, same questions, *finger point to him*

Good info all around, what sticks out for me are Callis’ concerns about Tate. Callis does rave about what an athlete he is, but we already knew that. Lets look at Jim’s response to some possible roadblocks John Conniff might see in Tate’s bat.

I’ve seen [Tate] at a few showcases and while yes I can see some of the concern, it’s not at the same level of Anthony Hewitt, who the Phillies took last year in the first round. But its also going to take some time, I don’t see him as someone who is going to shoot through the system either.

I agree with Ray, who has said it before, and Jim, who is saying it now. The team should give Tate all the time he needs. Repeat after me, “I don’t see him as someone who is going to shoot through the sysetm.” Now say it again.

Jaff Decker is a monster

Padres low A outfielder Jaff Decker is the second most successful 2008 draft pick, according to Baseball America. He is Baseball Prospectus’ peak translated Equivalent Average runner up, meaning he has the second highest EqA for someone of his age in his league, based on the advanced all-around offensive metric. More traditionally, his line of .283/.455/.543 for a high school draftee in his first full year looks really really really really awesome.

…it’s even more startling once one realizes he’s a supplemental first-round pick out of high school from the ’08 draft. Decker leads the MWL in on-base percentage and ranks fourth in slugging, as he’s had no trouble converting his plus raw power to game power (that’s eight home runs in 39 games)

Lake Elsinore third baseman and all-star Logan Forsythe gets a nod from Baseball America as well, second in the league in peak adjusted Equivalent Average and Equivalent Runs, plus a .327/.475/.540 line for second in good old OBP as well.

Posted in draft, sacrificial links | 4 Comments »

Draft Day Seligisms

June 9th, 2009 by

MLB commissioner Allan Huber “Bud” Selig provided some unintentional laughs at draft day today. Instead of posting anything substantive about the Padres picks, here are Selig’s pronunciations that had us giggling:



Los Angeleez

Jorge Sanchez from Chester Hill (His name is Tony Sanchez and he’s from Chestnut Hill)

Posted in draft | 1 Comment »

Countdown to 3: Donavan Tate

May 4th, 2009 by

With the Padres possessing the third overall pick in this year’s MLB First-Year draft, we at the Sacrifice Bunt will be going through some of the different players that might be available once San Diego goes on the clock.

This counts Stephen Strasburg out. Sorry.

Leading up to draft day, we’ll help you get better acquainted with the various prospects, starting right now with Donavan Tate.


The 6’3″, 200 lb. Tate, who’s not to be confused with the actor Tate Donovan, is the son of former Tampa Bay Buccaneer Lars Tate. A two-sport star, Tate has actually committed to playing football at the University of North Carolina, after being courted by such programs as USC, Michigan, and Alabama. If he enrolls, Tate will have his eye on joining the school’s baseball team as well.

Currently a quarterback, it’s unclear where Tate will play on the baseball field if he suits up for UNC.

Scouting Data

Tate is a five-tool outfielder, and might be the toolsiest player in this year’s draft. During his football tryouts, Tate was clocked running a 4.4 40 and benched 300 lbs. On the diamond, his arm’s been clocked at 95 mph. And for good measure, he could probably sell a mean pair of jeans.

He’s received comparisons to the other Chris Young, hopefully meaning that he’s a center fielder with range and power, and not that he’s a hack machine.

He’s still in high school though, which means that many of his tools are very raw; it’s still unclear how he’s going to hit in the bigs. And with UNC waiting for him, his agent will no doubt use that in negotiations, making him a harder sign.

P.S. His agent is Scott Boras.

Performance Data

As Tate is still in high school, I have no idea where to start looking for his stats. If you do, please drop a link in the comment section. Thanks.

Where does Tate fit in the organization?

Tate is a legit centerfield prospect, which is something the team doesn’t really have. The current centerfielder of the future is Cedric Hunter, and many question whether or not he’ll be able to stick out there. Other centerfielders in the system include Jaff Decker, who’s currently playing left field for Ft. Wayne, and Will Venable, who lacks great speed.

There are questions surrounding Tate, but they don’t have to do with his defense.

He would also be a break from the drafting habits of the past couple of years. The Padres haven’t taken many high school players at the top of the draft, with Decker being one exception. To give you an idea of what this can mean, here’s an excerpt from an interview Mad Friars had with Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus:

Mad Friars: For an organization that has drafted heavily in college players, how do you explain that seven out of your Top 11 are either high school players, draft-and-follows, or Latin American signings?

Kevin Goldstein: It’s my theory that no one should draft all college players and fewer teams still do. In general, unless you are talking about elite college players, many have a lot of polish but they also have a tools weakness, which limits their ceiling. I use the Blue Jays as an example, a team that used to just draft college guys, where you end up with a lot of players like Aaron Hill and Russ Adams. They are fundamentally sound but are they going to make a huge difference? No. The Padres do go college heavy but this year you are beginning to see a new era with them. In Latin America, they spent some money on players that are young and with high ceilings. College players like savings bonds, pretty secure investment, but you are not going to be able to go out and buy the Mercedes with that investment either. Latin American and high school players are like Tech stocks. Often you lose, but when you hit, it’s really sweet.

The Padres find themselves in a fantastic position this year, where they can grab (almost) anyone they want, and they hopefully won’t find themselves in that spot again for a while. There are plenty of safer picks to take in this year’s draft, which we will cover in the coming weeks, but Tate might be this team’s opportunity to take a chance.

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