Look no further than the first day of the 2016 MLB draft as the latest, and perhaps most important, example of the Rock Star GM’s irregularity.
Armed with three picks in the first round of this year’s draft (after no picks in last year’s draft), conventional wisdom would have one argue against taking a pitcher who hasn’t thrown competitively for a consistent period of time in two years.
Conventional wisdom would also have one argue against taking the youngest player in the draft, a 17-year old high school shortstop (he’s likely moving positions anyway) that many scouts projected as a third or fourth round prospect.
That’s conventional wisdom, not Preller’s way of thinking.
Applaud it, hate it. Doesn’t matter.
What does matter is that Preller is now completely running the Padres’ baseball operations his way.
That we can appreciate, even if often times it doesn’t make sense to those of us on the outside.
Some quick perspective: the Padres current 40-man roster is predominantly made up of players that Preller brought in (just seven played for the Padres at the big league level prior to the 2015 season, or before Preller was hired. ).
He now has his manager in Andy Green.
And most importantly, he now has his scouting department (10 new scouts are with the organization that weren’t last year, and subsequently, eight have left since last season.)
It’s safe to say that not one part of baseball operations doesn’t have Preller’s imprint.
Which brings us back to this year’s draft, and how important it is for this franchise’s future.
The Padres’ scouting and player development teams are operating under the same collective mindset and philosophy.
Scouting Director Mark Conner summed up Thursday’s selections like this: “Truthfully, what we see in them, it’s not risk. We are getting guys with upside and feel like, once we implement them into our system of player development, it’s going to come to fruition. It’s a probability play for us that other people see as risk because they didn’t do the same work we did.”
Furthermore, Preller acknowledged in his pre-draft press conference that the increasing collaboration between scouting and player development was the biggest improvement over the last year.
“I think, honestly, that’s the number one thing in terms of whether you have success as an organization or not, is making sure your development and scouting groups are as strong as possible and people are on the same page,” Preller said.
This year’s draft class will go a long way in proving whether or not Preller’s unconventional wisdom will turn this beleaguered franchise into a winner.
And we know, unequivocally, that whichever unpredictable direction this franchise heads in the future will be where Preller, without the remnants of any past personnel, takes it.
–Andrew Burer (TWITTER: @andrewburer)
PODCAST: Andrew Burer and Dan Sileo break down the Padres selections on Day 1 of the MLB Draft: http://www.mighty1090.com/episode/the-roving-reporter-padres-got-what-they-wanted/