San Diego Padres Take a Chance With Rule 5 Selections


The San Diego Padres went for it all in 2015 and failed to even make the playoffs. This offseason GM A.J. Preller is taking a more calculated approach in building a team for the long-term, which included adding four players in the MLB portion of the Rule 5 Draft yesterday.

After trading away Craig Kimbrel to Boston to begin the offseason, the writing was on the wall that this would be a rebuilding year (or two or three) for San Diego. After selecting right-hander Josh Martin with the 8th overall pick and another right-hander in Blake Smith in the second round, as well as trading for talented righty prospect Luis Perdomo (selected by the Rockies from St. Louis, then traded to San Diego) and outfielder Jabari Blash (from the A’s), the Padres will take their lumps in 2016 since all four of these players will have to be kept on the Major League roster for the entire season or be offered back to their original team. As Dennis Lin wrote for the San Diego Union-Tribune, the last team to hold onto as many as three players for an entire season was the Detroit Tigers in 2003–and they finished 43-119.

Three of these four were selected in the first seven picks of the 2015 Rule Draft, so the talent should be there for San Diego, albeit down the road.

Blake Smith, 28, was selected from the Chicago White Sox after he was traded mid-season from the Dodgers to the Sox in the Eric Surkamp deal. Between two Double-A stops and a stint in Triple-A with the Charlotte Knights, Smith totaled 53 innings and a 2.89 ERA, striking out 64 in the process.

Josh Martin is a 25-year-old righty reliever that went 8-1 with a 2.27 ERA across 67.1 innings with Double-A Akron last season. He struck out 80 and walked just 19, leading to nice K/9 (10.7) and BB/9 (2.5) rates and was also an Eastern League All-Star in 2015.

Jabari Blash showed off some power in his age 25 season, smashing 32 homers between Double-A and Triple-A, batting a combined .271 with a .370 on-base percentage. He roughly split his time between the two stops, totaling 60 games in Double-A and 56 in Triple-A, but his home run totals soared in fewer games as a member of Tacoma, accounting for 22 of his 32 blasts. He spent 2014 at the same two stops however, and hit just .221 with 18 homers, so it will be interesting to see how his power plays at Petco Park which is notoriously pitcher-friendly.

San Diego already has plenty of outfielders on their 40-man roster, with Blash’s main competition being Matt Kemp, Melvin Upton Jr., recently-acquired Jon Jay and potentially Wil Myers if he doesn’t stick at first base. If the Padres are serious about seeing what Blash can do at the Major League level, there are enough options on the roster that could help San Diego stash him for 2016 while he develops further. Blash is currently ranked as the Padres #23 prospect according to MLB Pipeline.

Easily the most intriguing selection in the draft was Luis Perdomo, whom the San Diego Padres acquired from the Rockies for cash considerations or a player to be named later. A 22-year-old right-hander, Perdomo spent much of last season in A Ball with Peoria, where he totaled 100.1 innings and a 3.68 ERA before getting the call to Hi-A Palm Beach. In the Florida State League, Perdomo’s ERA ballooned to 5.13 in 26.1 innings. According to Sam Dykstra of, his fastball reaches the upper 90s while his slider is considered “a little better than average” which could help him enough to stick in the San Diego bullpen. Perdomo slides right in as the Padres #9 prospect and he will likely receive every chance to stick with the club long-term.

Next: Projecting the Phillies Newest Prospects

Smith, Martin and Perdomo were given a 50/50 shot of sticking with the club according to the MiLB article linked above, while Blash is under the “You Never Know” category. Regardless, even if only one player sticks with the club past 2016, the Padres have added some talent this winter. With the Kimbrel deal San Diego added to their farm their new #1, #3, #19 and #20 prospects. With Tyson Ross potentially on the move as well, the team has another opportunity to build for a future that is likely another two to three years away.