Peavy pick proof lightning can strike late in Draft
A round-by-round look at the Padres' most notable selections as '14 chapter nears
SAN DIEGO -- Baseball's annual First-Year Player Draft has yielded its share of boons and busts for the Padres, who have seen the team miss badly on a pair of first-round picks in the last decade -- but also find several gems beyond the first round.
Take pitcher Jake Peavy, who well before winning the National League Cy Young Award with the team in 2007, was a hard-throwing high school kid from Mobile, Ala., whom the team essentially stole in the 15th round in 1999.
The Padres were so smitten with Peavy that they offered him fourth-round money ($100,000) to sign.
"When you mix in his intangibles, his mental strength, his competitiveness and the fact that he got better ... sometimes those high school kids don't get better after you draft them," said then Padres scout Mark Wasinger, who signed Peavy.
"But sometimes they take off. Jake took off."
Will the Padres find the next Jake Peavy -- or something similar -- during this year's Draft?
The 2014 Draft will take place on June 5-7, beginning with the Draft preview show on MLB.com and MLB Network on Thursday, June 5, at 3 p.m. PT. Live Draft coverage from MLB Network's Studio 42 begins at 4 p.m., with the top 74 picks being streamed on MLB.com and broadcast on MLB Network. MLB.com's exclusive coverage of the second and third days will begin with a live Draft show at 9:30 a.m. PT on June 6.
MLB.com's coverage includes Draft Central, the Top 100 Draft Prospects list and Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of Draft-eligible players. Every selection will be tweeted live from @MLBDraftTracker, and you can also keep up to date by following @MLBDraft. And get into the Draft conversation by tagging your tweets with #mlbdraft.
Here's a look at some of the best players the Padres selected in the Draft in each of the first 15 rounds:
Round 1: Dave Winfield, 1973
No need to debate who the Padres' top first-rounder has been -- it's Winfield, far and away. He posted a 63.8 WAR, which was exceeded only by the No. 3 overall pick in that Draft, Robin Yount (77.0).
Winfield jumped right to the big leagues after the Draft and became a regular the following season. He hit 154 home runs in eight seasons with the Padres and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2001.
Round 2: Chase Headley, 2005
The Padres drafted but were unable to sign Todd Helton (1992) and Troy Glaus (1994) with second-round picks, but they hit pretty big with third baseman Chase Headley in 2005.
Headley led the NL in RBIs (115) and won a Gold Glove in 2012 and has compiled a WAR over 18.0. Pitcher Dan Spillner, who spent parts of five seasons with the Padres, had a career WAR of 9.2 after being drafted by the team in 1970.
Round 3: Tony Gwynn, 1981
Another no-brainer here, as the Hall of Famer was a gem during his time in San Diego, racking up a 68.8 WAR over 20 seasons that included 15 All-Star Game selections and eight batting titles.
Pitcher Matt Clement, 25-29 over three seasons with the Padres, did most of his good work after leaving San Diego, with the Cubs and Red Sox, amassing a 12.2 WAR. He was a 1993 third-round pick.
Round 4: Ozzie Smith, 1977
Before the "Wizard" found the big stage and also greater success in St. Louis, he was a fourth-rounder of the Padres, with whom he played four seasons on his way to a career WAR of 76.5. He was second in the NL Rookie of the Year vote in 1978.
Second baseman Jason Kipnis, a fourth-rounder in 2008, didn't sign and returned to Arizona State. He was the Indians' second-round pick in 2009 and signed. His WAR is currently over 11.0.
Round 5: Randy Jones, 1972
This is another no-brainer, as the crafty lefty won the NL Cy Young Award in 1976 after winning 22 games while making 40 starts, which led the league. Blessed with more guts and guile than raw stuff, Jones' sinker was good for a career WAR of 18.1
Mark Thurmond was a steady reliever for the Padres for four seasons. He was picked in the fifth round of the 1979 Draft and posted a 3.67 ERA with San Diego and an overall WAR of 4.7.
Round 6: Tim Flannery, 1978
The Padres drafted and signed infielder Dave Hollins (17.7 WAR) in 1987, but he never played a day for the team. San Diego also drafted second baseman Harold Reynolds (15.5 WAR) in the sixth round in 1979, but he didn't sign.
San Diego fans have a lot of admiration for Flannery (9.2 WAR). He played all 11 of his big league seasons with the Padres and was on that magical 1984 team that advanced to the World Series. He was later a base coach for the Padres.
Round 7: Will Venable, 2005
Venable was part of the 2005 Draft that landed Headley and Nick Hundley. Venable was a four-year college player who had a breakout season in 2013 at the age of 30, when he hit a career-high 22 home runs. To date, Venable has an 11.5 WAR.
The Padres hope to someday have pitcher Matt Wisler on this list. Wisler is regarded as one of the top pitchers in the farm system and was a seventh-round pick in 2011.
Round 8: Mitch Williams, 1982
The Padres haven't had much luck with picks in the eighth round, though they were on the right track when they selected Williams (7.3 WAR), though he was taken in the Rule 5 Draft by the Rangers in '84. Williams went on to save 192 games.
The Padres like reliever Kevin Quackenbush (2011), who has already made five trips to the big leagues, bouncing back and forth from Triple-A El Paso.
Round 9: David Freese, 2006
Looking for some offensive production before the 2008 season, the Padres traded Freese, a promising infielder, to the Cardinals for veteran outfielder Jim Edmonds. Edmonds was released that season, and Freese became an All-Star and an NLCS and World Series MVP in 2011.
Freese (6.2 WAR) has moved on to the Angels but will long be remembered in St. Louis for his playoff success (.289 average, seven home runs).
Round 10: Greg Harris, 1985
Harris had a cumulative WAR of 13.4 with the Padres and later the Rockies and Twins. He had a 2.95 ERA over six seasons in San Diego. He struggled after leaving the Padres, allowing am NL-worst 96 earned runs with the Rockies in 1994.
Round 11: Mat Latos, 2006
Latos was a steal and to date has amassed a WAR of 12.8. He first reached the big leagues with the Padres as a 21-year-old in 2009. He won 14 games and had an ERA of 2.92 in 2010, the season the Padres came within a game of advancing to the playoffs.
Latos was the key figure in a monster trade to the Reds in the winter of 2011 that landed the Padres four players. He's won nine, 14 and 14 games since the deal.
Round 12: Jerald Clark, 1985
The Padres landed pitcher Mike Caldwell in the 12th round in 1971 but sent him to the Giants two years later, which was the start of a big league career that saw him accumulate a WAR of 19.0.
As for Clark, a third baseman, he hit 10 home runs in 1991 and 12 the following season. He also led the NL in outfield assists (10) in 1992.
Round 13: Jason Bartlett, 2001
Bartlett (18.4 WAR) had two stints as shortstop with the organization -- one season after he was drafted before being traded to the Twins, and then just over one season in 2011-12. He, of course, did most of his strong work with the Twins and later the Rays.
Like Bartlett, outfielder Gary Matthews Jr. (1993) had two stints with the Padres (1999, 2003) but did most of his best work (14.2 WAR) playing elsewhere.
Round 14: Tommy Medica, 2010
The jury is still out on Medica, who made his first Opening Day roster with the team this season and can be a useful piece at first base or the outfield in a pinch -- with some pop and ability to give a team a good at-bat as a pinch-hitter.
Right-handed pitcher Burch Smith (2011) was a steal for the Padres this late in the Draft and had a promising stint in the second half last season. He struggled in Spring Training and developed a forearm injury this spring and is currently on the disabled list.
Round 15: Jake Peavy, 1999
The no-brainer of all no-brainers, as Peavy (35.6 WAR) was an absolute steal for the Padres at this point in the 1999 Draft. Peavy has made two stops since leaving San Diego (White Sox, Red Sox), but he did his best work in San Diego.
Peavy not only won the NL Cy Young Award in 2007 after winning 19 games and leading the league with a 2.54 ERA, but he amassed a 24.7 WAR over eight seasons.