We just completed the Major League phase of the Rule V draft, so I wanted to give a brief overview of the players we selected. It's probably not what you've come to expect of the Padres.
In the first round with the third overall pick, we selected shortstop Everth Cabrera from the Rockies. Everth played in Asheville in 2008, Colorado's A-ball affiliate. A high energy player, the 5'9" shortstop can absolutely fly - 73 bases in 89 attempts this year. A legitimate leadoff hitter with some power to go along with the speed, Everth has a lot of upside potential.
The easy comparable to throw around due to the size, position, and speed is Rafael Furcal (though Everth does not have Furcal's plus, plus arm). Now, Furcal's a great Major League player, and Everth hasn't played above A ball. That said, when Furcal was Everth's age (season played at 21) he split the year between A and high-A hitting .322/.392/.389 and stealing 96 bases in 126 attempts. Everth hit .284/.361/.399 (less average but more power and more efficient stealing bases). The next year Furcal was the starting SS for the Braves. It's fun to dream.
In the second round we selected RHP Ivan Nova from the Yankees. Consistently rated as one of the Yankees top 20 prospects, the 6'4" right-hander spent the 2008 season pitching for Tampa in the high-A Florida State League as a 21-year old. Our scouting reports indicate that Ivan has a 90-95 mph fastball and shows a plus curveball and a plus changeup. As with most young pitchers, the key is consistency, but the stuff is definitely there. We believe he has big league starter potential in the long run.
As I stated at the beginning, this is a different look for the Padres. We didn't take a semi-polished AAA reliever or a guy who could potentially just fill a role, we decided to take a couple of shots on guys with big upside who could truly impact our organization. As with all young players, Rule V picks in particular, patience is absolutely critical. We can't expect either Cabrera or Nova to tear up the Major Leagues in 2009 - neither has even played one game in AA yet. However, these guys have skills (explosive speed at a premium defensive position and a power arm) that could make them key players in the future.