San Diego Padres: Another Setback for Former Top Prospect Donavan Tate

Chris StephensCorrespondent IIMarch 8, 2013

San Diego Padre fans have seen it once before with former top pick Matt Bush.

Now, they're seeing it once again with former No. 3 overall pick Donavan Tate.

As reported by ESPN, Tate will not be reporting to spring training due to personal reasons.

That's as much as Padres vice president of player development Randy Smith would divulge during Thursday's announcement. Smith did not give a timetable for when Tate would arrive.

"There's Donavan the ballplayer and Donavan the person," Smith said. "He needs to work on one before he can work on the other."

Tate has had trouble from the get-go of his professional baseball career.

Months after being drafted by the Padres and signing for $6.25 million, Tate was involved in an all-terrain vehicle accident, injuring his shoulder. This caused him to miss the beginning of the 2010 season.

Then, there's the two positive drug tests, one of which he was suspended for in 2011.

Overall, his numbers in the minor leagues were not the best as he batted .226 with one home run and 28 RBI over low-A Fort Wayne and high-A Lake Elsinore last year.

Now, this new situation has come into play.

One has to wonder if Tate will ever get it together and make good on his God-given talent.


Thoughts from a year ago

Last May, I wrote an article saying the Padres needed to be patient with Tate.

I had seen enough in this kid to know that if he put his mind to it, he could become a good ballplayer.

He had all five tools, which is one of the main reasons the Padres drafted him behind Stephen Strasburg and Dustin Ackley.

As it stands right now, I swung and missed on the article.


This one's personal

As a writer, you do your best to separate your personal feelings from your writing. For me, this one is tough.

Throughout Tate's high-school career in Cartersville (Ga.), I was the sports editor for the local newspaper.

Naturally in a small community, you get to know a lot of coaches, players and their families across all sports. Tate and his family were some of the ones I had gotten to know.

As I watched Tate from his sophomore to his senior year, I saw a gifted athlete both on the gridiron and the diamond.

You could stick him at any position on both and he'd succeed.

Prior to and into his senior year, it was obvious he was going to go high in the draft. Scouts from many clubs were in attendance at most games to see if he was for real.

In the end, he showed he was, which is why the Padres drafted him so high.

For once, I'm not going to project and say whether or not this kid will make a comeback (if you can even call it that).

All I know is that this supremely talented kid has all the tools in the world to be a big league ballplayer. But, after another setback, I'm not sure it will happen.