Padres draft 2010 review: Hoyer's Biggest Whiff

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The 2010 draft will be remembered for having a big miss as well as a big hit. And not much else.

The 2010 draft was Jed Hoyer's first as the general manager of the San Diego Padres. He had put together a crackerjack scouting staff that included Assistant GM Jason McLeod, the former Red Sox scouting director, who followed Hoyer from Boston to San Diego. The young GM would oversee two of the club's drafts and this one was easily his worst. The franchise was coming off a year, 2009, where it bucked a trend of signing cheaper, safer college players and finally took some high school players and other high upside players that required some higher signing bonuses in a good mix with college players. So things were looking up and expectations were a bit higher about what the Padres could do in 2010. On top of that, the team was picking in the top 10 due to a poor record in 2009 and there was a chance to get an impact talent with that high pick (plus high picks in the subsequent rounds).

That optimism was not dashed on draft day. The Padres used the 9th overall selection to take a Florida HS RHP named Karsten Whitson. He was a young prospect with a projectable arm. Experts called it a nice selection. The player was chosen around the exact point in the draft that he was expected to go. Kudos all around. The team followed that pick up with another nice selection: West Virginia University INF Jedd Gyorko. The reports said Gyorko could hit and would be an above average MLB bat, but went in the second round because he needed a position. The Padres were confident they would find him one. More kudos were had.

The rest of the draft seemed to go well, but those two picks were definitely the highlights at the time. One would work out really poorly, the other really well. It was not long after the draft when reports emerged that the Padres already had a deal in place for Whitson's signing bonus. Allegedly, some predraft arrangement was agreed to that would allow the Padres to sign the young hurler for a very reasonable amount for a pick of his status of about $2.1 million. This would represent a pretty high bonus given the Padres' history, but a little on the low end for a prospect drafted where Whitson was with his kind of upside. Despite the rumors of a deal in place, the discussions between the prospect and the team dragged out until the signing deadline. The deadline came and went with no deal in place. The Padres had lost their prized selection. Both sides blamed the other and both in their own way failed. The Padres were only protected in that they got a compensation 1st round pick in the 2011 draft. Dreams of a future ace were dashed as Karsten Whitson forwent the major leagues for a college baseball career at the University of Florida.

No such drama surrounded Jedd Gyorko. He stands to this day as the shining star of the Padres' 2010 draft. After spending a lot of time at 3B in the minor leagues, Gyorko was moved to 2B and made his major league debut on Opening Day 2013. He has become a fixture in the lineup ever since and received a contract extension that will keep him with the team through 2019 (with an option for 2020). His accomplishments may never overshadow the blunder of the Friars' 1st round pick, but it is a nice consolation.

The other downside to this draft comes from the rounds that followed. There are still some of the younger prospects that are making pushes towards establishing themselves as major leaguers some day, but for the most part the remaining rounds are a disappointment. There are two players besides Gyorko that have made it to the majors. The first was LHP Josh Spence, who quickly made his MLB debut in 2011 as a situational reliever. He had some early success, but a battle with control forced the team to be in a different direction and he is no longer with the organization. The other is 1B/OF Tommy Medica. Similarly, Medica got to the majors and had success (although a couple years later in 2013), but didn't reprise it the following. Unlike Spence the organization still has hope for him and he is working on fine-tuning his skills in AAA (which he initially skipped on the way to the bigs).

For those not familiar with the draft, that is not a lot of production from a single year's draft. By comparison, the 2008 draft was a very flawed draft as well (busted 1st round pick, didn't sign their 4th round pick who is now an above average major league regular for the Indians, no players that signed turned out to be anything more than role players), but at this point had 6 players already making debuts with the Padres. One can say it is still early, but the 2010 draft never has had a group of players that prospect lists have heralded. It was obvious from as early as 2011 that the 2010 draft would be Gyorko or bust.

Still, there are some prospects that you cannot count out yet. 5th round pick Rico Noel started the season in AAA and is a base stealer extraordinaire. 6th round pick Johnny Barbato, after struggling in 2013, is closing games in AAA and looking good doing it. And... actually that is it. The only other thing noteworthy about this draft class is that 3rd round Zach Cates was included in the Andrew Cashner-Anthony Rizzo trade in 2012. It was a strange inclusion from the beginning, but has not turned out to haunt the Padres as Cates is stuck in High A ball at 24 years old. However,  even though the Padres do not regret losing him, he still counts as another bust (so far) in this year's class of prospects.

Here is the entire list of drafted players for your own perusal:

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