The San Diego Padres traditionally have been known to draft well and maintain an excellent farm system. It’s no surprise they currently boast the sixth-best farm system, according to ESPN’s Keith Law. However, they aren’t immune to letting a few slip through the cracks.
As the 2013 draft approaches, we’re reminded of the few prospects who, unfortunately, never lived up to their hype to become the superstars many projected them to be. The Padres have the 13th pick in the upcoming draft, so it’s unlikely they'll land the top guys—Jonathan Gray, Mark Appel or University of San Diego’s Kris Bryant.
The 13th overall pick has boded well for the Padres in the past. In 2002, they drafted Khalil Greene from Clemson University, who placed second in the Rookie of the Year Award in 2004. But let’s take a look at the guys Padre fans wish to forget.
In 2004, the Padres drafted Matt Bush with the No. 1 overall pick of the draft. I like to refer to him as the Ryan Leaf of the Padres, as their lives have followed a disappointingly similar path.
Bush wasn’t the most coveted, or talented, of the draft class. Nearly everyone preferred notable names such as Justin Verlander, Jered Weaver and Stephen Drew over the future bust.
However, unfortunately, the MLB, and subsequent team finances, destined the Padres to have a difficult time signing the bigger names and to have to settle for Bush. Small-market teams have an uphill battle through the entire process.
Bush, drafted as a shortstop, was converted to a pitcher after he failed to hit on any consistent basis. He never performed in the minors and only made it as high as Double-A.
Bush’s life parallels Leaf’s in that they both had several off-field issues, forcing an early exit from the game. Both also are still facing legal battles. In December, Bush was arrested again for DUI and related charges.
Sutty could have been a Padre...
Bill Almon’s name may not seem as familiar as Bush’s; however, he was yet another first overall pick draft bust. The Padres drafted the shortstop in 1974 over players such as Lonnie Smith, Dale Murphy, Rick Sutcliffe and Lance Parrish.
In 2010, Jon Heyman (then with Sports Illustrated) ranked Almon as the 10th biggest draft bust in MLB history.
Almon’s career was infinitely more impressive than Bush’s, mostly because he actually played in the MLB. A lifetime .254 hitter, he never hit double-digit home runs in a season and only recorded more than 50 RBI once.
Let me get this straight, Halladay and Verlander could have been Padres teammates?
Ben Davis is probably the most overhyped on this list, according to the definition. Jon Heyman states that Baseball America ranked him as its top prospect heading into the 1995 draft. He was taken above players such as Kerry Wood, Roy Halladay and Todd Helton.
In his seven-year career, Davis was mostly a backup catcher. He finished his career with a .237 average and only had 19 home runs and 101 RBI during his four years with the Padres.
We all know how the aforementioned stars did (do).
What do you think? Who should have been included?
All statistics taken from Baseball-Reference.com