For the second year in a row, the Padres came out of the Rule 5 Draft with the sheer player numbers. Last year they picked up potential power hitter Jabari Blash and promising young hurler Luis D. Perdomo, who both contributed to the big league effort and still remain on the 40-man roster after a full year. (They also drafted pitchers Josh Martin and Blake Smith who ended up returning to their original teams.) Today, the Padres ended up with the top 3 overall picks through a complex series of trades:
Miguel Diaz, P (drafted by Twins from Brewers, then traded to Padres)
Like Perdomo, Diaz has an electric fastball that hits the mid-upper 90’s. Like Perdomo, he has no experience above A-ball. A half-year younger than Perdomo when he was drafted, Diaz’ season has a chance to follow a similar path. He has a real chance to pitch out of the Padres bullpen initially, and he could join Perdomo in the Padres‘ rotation at some point. Expect extended struggles.
Chances of making …Spring Training: 90% …Opening Day: 70% …2016 Fantasy Impact: 25%
Luis Torrens, C (drafted by Reds from Yankees, then traded to Padres)
Like Miguel Diaz and many prospects selected in the Rule 5, Torrens is a young prospect who initially had a ton of promise, but has come into his share of roadblocks. The rare flexibility of Christian Bethancourt to move around the diamond and pitch out of the bullpen might allow the Padres to carry Torrens as a third catcher, but we can’t expect much playing time or much out of the bat.
Chances of making …Spring Training: 90% …Opening Day: 50% …2016 Fantasy Impact: 5%
Allen Cordoba, SS/2B (drafted by Padres from Cardinals)
Cordoba got a good deal of prospect buzz coming out of the Appalachian League as a 20-year old this year. He is a contact hitter with good speed and strike zone judgment, but has displayed little to no power as of yet. The problem with Cordoba’s case is that the Padres already have Luis Sardinas, Ryan Schimpf and Cory Spangenberg in the middle infield, with prospects Carlos Asuaje, Jose Rondon and Javier Guerra on the 40-man as well. They are also looking into veteran trade targets as well, which leads me to believe that they hope to sneak Cordoba into the minors somehow, but I think he has too much current helium for that and ends up back on the Cardinals.
Chances of making …Spring Training: 30% …Opening Day: 15% …2016 Fantasy Impact: 5%
Justin Haley, P (drafted by Angels from Red Sox, traded to the Padres, then to the Twins)
No one changed uniforms more than Justin Haley today. Is that good for his 2016 outlook? Well, he ends up on the Twins, a team he has a legit chance to stick with in a mop-up role over bubble guys who still have options like Ryan O’Rourke, J.T. Chargois and Pat Light. Haley probably doesn’t offer any actual upside over those choices, and probably needs to be converted to a reliever in AAA, although his 0.38 ERA in the Dominican Winter League has apparently caught a few teams’ attention.
Chances of making …Spring Training: 80% …Opening Day: 40% …2016 Fantasy Impact: 15%
Caleb A. Smith, P (drafted by Brewers from Yankees, then traded to Cubs)
With a legitimate fastball-changeup combo, you could definitely see a guy like Caleb Smith making some team’s roster out of Spring Training as a LOOGY. I just don’t see it happening with a “Superteam” like the Cubs. They do have plenty of wiggle room on their 40-man roster at this point, but it’s not like they are done signing veteran options for their bullpen. I see Smith back with the Yankees and starting the year in AAA.
Chances of making …Spring Training: 75% …Opening Day: 20% …2016 Fantasy Impact: 15%
Those are all the players who were drafted and then traded today. In Part II I will profile the best of the rest, all the other snatchees who could potentially make some kind of impact in 2016 at the big league level.