San Diego Padres: Don't Lose Hope on Outfielder Donavan Tate

Chris StephensCorrespondent IIMay 24, 2012

The San Diego Padres have been burned by first-round draft picks in the past.

It all started with Matt Bush, and now there may be fear that same thing is going to happen with 2009 first-round pick Donavan Tate.

However, I think it's too early to close the book on Tate.

Drafted No. 3 behind Stephen Strasburg and Dustin Ackley in the 2009 draft, Tate had all the tools in high school. He could hit for average and power, had speed and skill on the basepaths and could field his position very well.

Then, after getting drafted, things started to go south for Tate.

He had an ATV accident in which he broke his jaw in 2009, and he followed that up with a knee injury. Then, in 2011, he was suspended for failing a drug test.

That alone has made some Padres' fans write him off as another wasted draft pick.

But, I believe fans should remain patient with the 21-year-old, although I can understand their frustrations.

Tate is still young and has made some mistakes early in his minor-league career. I'm sure he'll be the first to admit it.

I know the Padres had hopes of Tate being in the majors by now, but that's simply not the case.

It has taken him a little more time to develop, even though some of it was his own doing.

You have to remember that he is still just 21 years old, and many of the mistakes he made were due to his age. I'm sure all of us can remember mistakes we made at that age.

The only difference is he got paid over $6 million a little more than a month after he got out of high school and went a little crazy.

Wouldn't you, too?

But, just like Tampa Bay hasn't given up on former top pick Tim Beckham, the Padres shouldn't give up on Tate.

At some point within the next two or three years, he'll make good on those expectations and be in the big leagues.

And, when that happens, the Padres will be happy that they were patient with him during his first few seasons of pro ball.