The Padres’ acquisition of Phil Hughes was clearly more about acquiring the Twins’ competitive balance draft pick than the pitcher himself, and GM A.J. Preller and scouting director Mark Conner spoke to MLB.com’s A.J Cassavell about the swap. Preller told Cassavell that he’s been calling every team that received pick in the competitive balance lottery on a near-weekly basis in an attempt to acquire an additional selection — something that’s long been a priority but was magnified in 2018 after San Diego surrendered a pick to sign Eric Hosmer. “The game now is about making your money work for you,” said Preller. “…You have to figure out what’s the best bang for your buck. Having the extra pick gives you more options.”
The move was met by excitement from Conner and his scouts, who’ll now not only have an extra pick (No. 74 overall) but an additional $812,200 in their draft pool. The Padres, of course, spent considerably more than that to obtain the pick, relieving the Twins of just over $7.6MM of Hughes’ salary. While it seems a shrewd (albeit expensive) pickup of a resource with limited availability, not every organization agrees; one exec from another club told FanRag’s Jon Heyman last week that the Padres were “insane” for taking on that much of the remaining contract to obtain the pick.
More from the division…
- Ross Stripling, who looks to be in the midst of a breakout season with the Dodgers, spoke to Pedro Moura of The Athletic about the role that data and analytics have played in his emergence (subscription required). The 28-year-old righty has turned in a ridiculous 1.68 ERA with 11.0 K/9, 2.1 BB/9, 0.56 HR/9 and a 47.6 percent ground-ball rate in 48 1/3 innings for the Dodgers so far in 2018. Stripling’s success is derived in large part from advance scouting of opposing lineups and taking deep dives into hitters’ strengths and weaknesses. Specifically, Stripling discusses the importance of knowing the quality of contact a hitter will make against pitch types in various portions of the strike zone. “I don’t care about average,” said Stripling. “I just want to know where he pulls the ball at 100 mph. I’m a believer in limiting slug, which is basically limiting exit velocity.” Moura’s column takes a long look not only at Stripling’s sudden success, but also his amateur days, his childhood fascination with baseball statistics and his path to professional baseball.
- The D-backs have had rotten luck with injuries at the big league level in 2018, and it’s apparently extending to the farm system as well. Zach Buchanan of The Athletic tweets that the team’s top prospect, right-hander Jon Duplantier, is dealing with biceps tendinitis and has been shut down from throwing for at least a week. The 23-year-old Duplantier has dominated in Double-A this year, working to a 2.52 ERA with 10.4 K/9, 2.8 BB/9, 0.5 HR/9 and a 59.8 percent ground-ball rate in 35 2/3 innings. He’s currently ranked as the game’s No. 50 overall prospect over at Baseball America and No. 65 overall at MLB.com.