FanPost

Washington Nationals = heaven? A Jorge Padilla story

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:

  • Scott Proctor, 5th round, 156th overall
  • Aubrey Huff, 5th round, 162nd overall
  • Bill Hall, 6th round, 176th overall
  • Matt Holliday, 7th round, 210th overall
  • Eric Byrnes, 8th round, 225th overall
  • Jack Wilson, 9th round, 258th overall
  • Morgan Ensberg, 9th round, 272nd overall
  • Juan Pierre, 13th round, 390th overall
  • Jay Gibbons, 14th round, 411th overall
  • Eric Hinske, 17th round, 496th overall
  • B.J. Ryan, 17th round, 500th overall
  • Ty Wigginton, 17th round, 514th overall
  • Mark Buehrle, 38th round, 1139th overall
  • (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:

    Batting Statistics

    Year Team Lg Age Org. Level G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO SH SF DP AVG OBP SLG OPS
    1998 MRT App 18 Phi Rk 23 90 10 32 3 0 5 25 2 0 4 24 0 3 3 .356 .378 .556 934
    1999 BAT NYPL 19 Phi A- 65 238 28 60 10 1 3 30 2 1 22 79 1 2 3 .252 .331 .340 671
    PIE SAL 19 Phi A 44 168 13 35 10 1 3 17 0 0 5 44 0 1 5 .208 .247 .333 580
    2000 PIE SAL 20 Phi A 108 413 62 126 24 8 11 67 8 4 26 89 0 4 10 .305 .346 .482 828
    2001 CLE FSL 21 Phi A+ 100 358 62 93 13 2 16 66 23 6 40 73 0 3 11 .260 .343 .441 784
    2002 REA East 22 Phi AA 127 484 71 124 30 2 7 65 32 11 40 77 2 8 5 .256 .322 .370 692
    2003 REA East 23 Phi AA 46 173 21 51 13 1 2 23 11 8 18 29 0 1 7 .295 .363 .416 779
    2004 SCR IL 24 Phi AAA 117 364 51 92 12 0 7 45 11 7 48 75 7 3 12 .253 .348 .343 691
    2005 CLE FSL 25 Phi A+ 14 59 9 18 4 0 0 6 1 0 3 7 0 0 1 .305 .359 .373 732
    SCR IL 25 Phi AAA 59 204 25 55 6 1 1 17 4 5 15 41 5 1 9 .270 .324 .324 648
    2006 BIN East 26 Nym AA 129 482 66 142 26 1 10 54 8 5 42 87 6 0 3 1 15 .295 .358 .415 773
    2007 WIC Tex 27 Kc AA 69 247 51 83 13 1 10 49 11 3 32 40 8 2 2 3 10 .336 .424 .518 942
    OMA PCL 27 Kc AAA 55 196 27 57 9 1 6 20 8 3 14 26 1 1 4 3 6 .291 .336 .439 775
    2008 HAR East 28 Wan AA 33 106 25 35 4 0 1 14 2 2 17 12 3 0 1 0 4 .330 .437 .396 833
    COL IL 28 Wan AAA 81 282 38 88 11 1 4 25 13 9 26 39 8 0 5 1 7 .312 .385 .401 786
    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 -

    Team League AVG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI TB BB SO SB CS OBP SLG OPS
    SYR INT .367 95 311 58 114 18 3 4 21 150 24 32 14 11 .424 .482 .907

    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:

    Solid but not flashy

    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."

    Washington Post article on Padilla

    Also check out the 1998 draft here:

    1998 draft

    Who is that Ryan Langerhans guy also selected in the 3rd round?

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