Before the expansion draft Padres GM Kevin Towers expressed concern that he would lose three players from the organization. As it turned out, the Padres lost only two.
The first Padre taken, by Arizona with the 5th pick overall, was Gabe Alvarez. Alvarez, a second round draft choice in 1994 as a shortstop out of USC, is a right-handed hitter with above average plate discipline and power to the gaps. He moved to third base on turning pro, and although he has been hampered by foot injuries and an erratic throwing arm, he has continued to display the hitting stroke that caught the attention of then-Padre-GM Randy Smith three years ago. Before the Diamondbacks picked up Alvarez, the Padres had considered moving him to second base or the outfield. Now, reunited with Randy Smith in Detroit via an expansion-draft-day trade, he is likely to remain at third base and should replace Joe Randa in the Tigers lineup sometime in 1999.
The second player selected from the Padres was Todd Erdos, a right-handed reliever. Erdos came back from a life-threatening illness that caused him to miss the 1994 seasons. In 1997 he appeared in a handful of games for the Padres with mixed results. Although none of his pitches is above average, Erdos is fearless on the mound and should be a solid addition to the Arizona bullpen.
AVG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB .284 67 13 19 3 1 6 22 13 17 0
Thanks to a fast start at Toledo, Alvarez has once again established himself as a top-level prospect. He is displaying both good power and solid plate discipline. With Joe Randa’s early struggles there has been talk of Alvarez coming up to Detroit after the All-Star break.
W- L ERA G SV IP H R ER BB SO 0- 1 5.00 9 2 9.0 9 5 5 4 15
Erdos didn’t stick around the Diamondbacks organization too long. He was traded to the New York Yankees in a deal that brought infielder Andy Fox to Arizona. He’s racking up the strikeouts at AAA Columbus, awaiting a call-up to the Big Apple.