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2004 draft

From Gaslamp Ball Wiki - A Wiki for San Diego Padres Fans

The 2004 draft is best remembered for what the Padres did with the #1 overall pick, and is an example of the Padres' history of bad drafting. The idea behind getting the #1 overall is that it is awarded to the team with the worst record in baseball the previous year in an effort to allow them to add the most talented amateur player available. In 2004, the Padres had such an opportunity with options such as Long Beach State P Jered Weaver, Florida State's SS Stephen Drew, Rice P Jeff Niemann and Old Dominion P Justin Verlander. Supposedly, the Padres narrowed it down to three candidates, removing Verlander from consideration, which in hindsight was their first mistake. Their second mistake was that after hearing what each of these players were demanding in bonus money, the Padres got cold feet and decided to look for other options. The option that presented itself to them was Mission Bay HS SS/P Matt Bush. Bush was a local product and his bonus demands weren't nearly as high, which was most likely due to the fact that he wasn't supposed to be drafted as high as the other players mentioned. The Padres drafted Matt Bush and were hammered for it. They squandered an opportunity to get the most talent possible out of their pick and to top it all off Bush was too immature and not quite talented enough to ever make it past the low levels of the minors.

To make matters even worse, that year's draft turned out to be quite deep. Weaver, Drew, Niemann and Verlander all made the majors with Verlander and Weaver becoming the aces of their staffs by 2010 and Drew the unchallenged SS for the Arizona Diamondbacks. At least 9 others drafted in the first round made the major leagues as serviceable or better players. And 10 more were at least considered top prospects and good trading chips before fizzling out (mostly due to injuries).

In the next 40 rounds the Padres drafted exactly 2 players that would make the major leagues. Both Scott Kazmar and Mike Ekstrom were anything but productive in their stays and could both be considered emergency call ups on poor teams. The only other player of note in those first 41 rounds was Bill Killian, who was a throw in as part of the trade with Texas for Adrian Gonzalez, Chris Young and Terrmel Sledge.

The 42nd round offered some redemption though. That's where the Padres employed their "even a blind squirrel finds a nut" strategy similar to when Jake Peavy saved the 1999 draft. Kyle Blanks was that 42nd round pick and looked like he had the opportunity to bring a major league regular out of the draft. Despite making the majors and getting some quality opportunities, he ultimately did not pan out. The draft was a complete bust.