Mackenzie Gore, who is compared to Clayton Kershaw, and Luis Campusano, a catcher who looks like an absolute stud so far, are the names to remember from the San Diego Padres’ 2017 MLB draft class.
While those two have had some exciting success in their early careers, there are other draftees who deserve to be written about as well, based on their excellent 2017 seasons.
With that being said, here they are.
Robbie Podorsky was drafted in the 25th round of the MLB Draft this year, but has performed so much better than anyone could have expected. In 194 at-bats, the new Padre has excelled at hitting for contact and running the bases. His slash line of .325/.397/.825 has been a phenomenal addition to the AZL Padres’ and Tri-City Dust Devils’ lineups. While most of his damage, including an absurd .400 batting average, came against players two years younger than him, he continued to play outstanding ball upon promotion. In fact, with 118 more plate appearances in Tri-City than in Arizona, the McNeese State alum still stood out amongst his peers.
A .302/.375/.764 line emphasizes how skilled Podorsky is at making fast adjustments and rising to new challenges. Also, in Short A, the 22-year-old stole 16 bases in 21 attempts. This success rate could obviously be improved on, but if one were to extrapolate the number of stolen bases Podorsky had over a full season they would arrive at the number 64 as a bare minimum. In other words, if Podorsky had a full season of at-bats he would grab an extra base more than 50 times. That is some electric speed, useful at any batting order’s top. That’s what a team gets when they draft a baller who sets their team record for stolen bases in a season. Podorsky’s record-breaking 39 SB’s for McNeese in 2017 obviously carried into his pro debut. In addition to the stellar base running, the undersized 5’7″ center fielder showcased his wheels on defense. In 126 innings, he had committed only one error. While stats on his defense are not easy to come by yet, his errorless play tells a lot. It bears witness to the fact that Podorsky is consistent and clean in his fielding. Overall, expect Robbie Podorsky to be a steal of the draft and a good player going forward starting with Fort Wayne in 2018.
There’s a lot of pressure attached to someone who is trying to outdo the star-caliber work of their brother. Yet, this hasn’t caused the sibling of Dodger’s Rookie of the Year Cody Bellinger, Cole, to post middling or disastrous results. Instead, the Padres’ Bellinger has been hard at work in the Arizona Rookie League. In 13.1 innings, reliever Cole Bellinger has absolutely dominated the opposition even though he was drafted in the 15th round. 15 strikeouts and only one earned run will guarantee Bellinger attention from San Diego’s front office.
He may be an interesting closer for the team eventually, especially if he continues throwing extremely well among older prospects. This does not mean that he will be as good as his brother since that is an impossibly high task, more so for a reliever, but as a 17-year-old excelling, the Padre has a bright future. The only concern with him is his mediocre FIP of 4.05 which will at some point cause his .68 ERA and .98 WHIP to regress. However, considering his age and K rate, there is a strong possibility that Bellinger will maintain a strong start to his career. Look out for him in Tri-City, and maybe Fort Wayne, next year.
First off, I will not be trying to write this player’s name out again as I will probably get it wrong. Now then, onto the success of the play. The new Padre has, like Cole Bellinger, performed as an ace reliever. Through 22.1 innings pitched, he has given up a measly two runs. In the process, 23 strikeouts have been accumulated by the Fresno State alum. While his K rate is not as outstanding as Bellinger’s and his 3.63 BB/9 leaves a lot to be desired, the lefty’s peripherals are more promising. In fact, a 2.97 FIP points to a solid reliever in the long-term. More of the same would be very welcome to any team. As such, San Diego might have stolen another player in the draft. That will be affirmed or not next year as he tackles the Midwest.
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I write, I write, and then I write some more.. Lifelong Padres & Chargers fan who is tired of the acceptance of losing that grips all of San Diego sports fans!