As reported widely around baseball today:
After 12 years in the minor leagues -- after 1,165 games; after spending full seasons in destination sites such as Martinsville, Va., and Binghamton, N.Y.; after being flushed from three organizations; after watching peers not only make the Show, but retire from it -- Jorge Padilla finally made it to the major leagues.
I've raved about Jorge (or 'George' as I like to call him in my native Australian language), and his performances for the Chiefs for most of the season (boring you all senseless). But I think its actually one of the better stories for the Nats this year. We all love the rags to riches/American dream-type stuff, but you've be forgiven for thinking that after 12 years in the minors...maybe it was time to run that used car business you always wanted?
"I'm still here...because I believe I can play in the big leagues and I believe that I have the physical makeup to play in the big leagues. That's the reason I'm here..." -- Jorge Padilla
Grabbed 3rd round of the 1998 draft (by Philadelphia), 74th overall, he was drafted ahead of other players such as:
(Mark Teixeira (9th round, 265th overall), was selected in this draft but didnt sign).
Apart from some glaring issues around talent evaluation above - his stats in the minors have been:
|Minor League Totals - 11 Season(s)||1070||3864||559||1091||188||20||86||523||136||64||352||742||70||13||30||34||108||.282||.350||.408||758|
I sadly dont know the full story of where it all went wrong for George. I thought that many of the numbers he put up might have enabled him a call up (Im sure some stat monkeys here can tell me with a line graph and a few different stats). But alas, it wasn't to be - until now. He numbers for Syracuse have been great -
I guess I always had the view that if you put up the numbers - regardless of the age and profile - you should be given the chance to play. More so on a team on pace to lose 110 games (although we can start revising that down now NJ has been traded). But I also like the fact that once here - its just a dream to be IN the majors...even if you know its probably not going to be for long. This article, written on July 14, outlines the progression at Syracuse:
His manager, Tim Foli, describes Padilla as a player who flies "under the radar" because his game lacks the flash that generates headlines and intrigues general managers.
So in a season where flashy has tended to be something like a Hanrahan's called strike, or a Daniel Cabrera wild pitch - I'm looking forward to Padilla becoming the Jose Morales of the Nats for the rest of the season... and maybe beyond.
"My God," Padilla said. "I'm in heaven right now."
Also check out the 1998 draft here:
Who is that Ryan Langerhans guy also selected in the 3rd round?