5. Joey Lucchesi, 4th round in 2016
This is the most recent on the list and the first of likely many from this current Padres’ front office. This has more to do with upside and promise that we have seen from Lucchesi in his small sample size in San Diego during the 2018 season. Before his hip injury, he had a 3.23 ERA and 117 ERA+ in nine starts. He skyrocketed through the minor leagues, going from Short Season Tri-City right after being drafted to Double-A San Antonio in a calendar year. This year, he started the second game of the 2018 season for the Friars and has shown flashes of being part of the rotation of the present and future.
4. Nick Vincent, 18th round in 2008
Vincent was found in the 18th round and has turned into a reliable bullpen arm. The Ramona High School product pitched four seasons as part of San Diego’s bullpen including two seasons with an ERA under 2.50. He posted a 2.5 WAR in those four years with a career ERA+ of 134. He is now part of a successful bullpen for the Seattle Mariners, where he has been since 2016. He has 315 career appearances with a lifetime 124 ERA+.
3. Nick Hundley, 2nd round in 2005
The 2005 draft was actually pretty successful for the Friars and Hundley is one reason why. He was the Padres’ main catcher for just under seven seasons. He posted a 4.7 WAR in that time. He was never stellar with the bat, but called a good game behind the plate and seemed to have good relationships with the Padres pitching staff. He basically did everything a catcher is asked to do by an organization. He did have a few seasons of over 100 wRC+. In 2010, when the Padres fell just a few games short of a playoff berth, Hundley had a 101 wRC+ in 85 games. His 2011 was even better with a 132 wRC+ and a .288 average. Hundley is an underrated part of the Padres’ organization in the Petco Park era.
2. Will Venable 7th round in 2005
Venable may be one of the biggest fan favorites among home-grown Padres in the last decade or so. He played for the big league club from 2008 to 2015, with a 12.8 WAR. He was a good and sometimes spectacular outfielder. He played nearly everyday for San Diego for five and a half years. The Padres got some decent value from this seventh round pick. In 2013, he hit 22 home runs with a 122 wRC+. Defensively, he was a positive Defensive Runs Saved player in the outfield. Venable is one of the better finds by the Padres in a good while.
1. Chase Headley, 2nd round in 2005
Go ahead and roll your eyes if you want but there was a time that Headley was one of the best Padres on the roster. Even though it was the exception rather than the rule, Headley’s 2012 season cannot and should not be ignored. He finished fifth in MVP voting and earned himself a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger after hitting 31 home runs with a .286 average and a National League-leading 115 RBI, good enough for a 145 wRC+. Take that season out and Headley was still a very serviceable player for San Diego for over six seasons, playing in nine total. Recent events may have soured fans’ opinions of him but let’s not forget the stretch from 2008 to 2013 where he was at or above 100 wRC+.
The Padres have several draft picks working their way through the system that will change this list drastically over the next two or three years. We all can point out the Trea Turners and Corey Klubers that the Padres drafted and succeeded somewhere else but every team has those. The future is bright and quite frankly, the draft history can only get better from here. This front office is turning things around with some solid drafts over the past few years and not even considering their splash in the international pool.