- Full name Jorge Rafael Padilla
- Born 08/11/1979 in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico
- Profile Ht.: 6'2" / Wt.: 205 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School Florida Air Academy
- Debut 08/05/2009
- Drafted in the 3rd round (74th overall) by the Philadelphia Phillies in 1998 (signed for $435,000).
Organization Prospect Rankings
Padilla just can't stay healthy. A foot problem bothered him in 2000, and a hamstring injury cost him a chance at a 20-20 season in 2001. He avoided the disabled list in 2002, but wore down playing a full year. His 2003 season ended in June after he dove for a ball and sustained a stress fracture in his left hand. He returned to instructional league in good shape, and spent a week there to regain his timing before heading to Venezuela for winter ball. Padilla did show an improvement in his plate discipline but still hasn't developed the loft power expected of him. Though his basestealing speed remains, he gets thrown out too much to be a true threat. Padilla is an above-average right fielder and can play center in a pinch. He has an average arm. He was close to a Triple-A promotion when he got hurt, and will head there in 2004. The 30-30 projections and Bobby Abreu comparisons have ceased, and Padilla now seems most likely to end up as a fourth outfielder.
A hamstring injury forced Padilla to miss 40 games and a chance at a 20-20 season in 2001. He also missed time with a foot injury in 2000. He remained healthy throughout 2002, but the rigors of playing a full season caught up to him. Mentally, Padilla found it difficult to deal with playing tired and fighting through slumps at the same time. He was hitting .297 through May, but struggled to make adjustments and batted just .224 the rest of the way. Double-A pitchers took advantage of his aggressive approach and got him to chase pitches. Padilla drives the ball well and possesses the strength to hit for power, but has yet to show it in game action. His top hand-dominated swing generates so much topspin that balls often dive into the alleys rather than carrying over the wall. He should develop a better feel for lofting the ball with time. Padilla rates as a plus runner and steals bases as much because of his instincts as his speed. He reads balls well off the bat and has plus arm strength, but still won't push Bobby Abreu out of right field. While previous comparisons to Magglio Ordonez might be a bit off base now, Padilla still flashes the tools to become a solid major league outfielder. He's capable of hitting .280 and being a 20-20 man. He'll start 2003 in Triple-A.
Padilla, a Puerto Rican who attended high school in Florida, has the size and tools that make scouts jump. Inconsistent performance has prevented him from getting the most of his ability since being drafted. A foot injury kept him out for a month in 2000, while a hamstring robbed him of 40 games in 2001. Padilla has tremendous untapped power, which began to surface in 2001. He uses a strong lower half to drive pitches, and he does a good job of staying inside the ball with his swing. He's a solid fielder with an above-average arm and good speed. Padilla nearly doubled his previous career total by stealing 23 bases in 2001. There were some concerns about Padilla's approach prior to 2000, but he has responded well to the criticism and now it's just a matter of staying healthy. His plate discipline also was lacking, but he has made strides there as well. The Phillies compare Padilla's upside to that of White Sox all-star Magglio Ordonez. While Padilla needs to prove his durability, he hasn't allowed injuries to hinder his ascent. Double-A will present a good measuring stick for him in 2002.
The Phillies view Padilla as an exciting tools prospect who only has begun to scratch the surface of his potential. He was rated the organization's No. 7 prospect two years ago, but he turned in a disappointing effort when he showed up out of shape in 1999 and left a lot to be desired with his overall approach. Padilla responded to the organization's criticism and turned the corner last year by showing up in tremendous physical shape. He displays an above-average arm and plays a solid right field. He uses the whole field and is beginning to develop some of the power that Philadelphia's scouts projected when they drafted the Puerto Rican native out of a Florida high school. He's still impatient at the plate and needs to lay off of breaking stuff out of the zone. He can put a charge into the ball just based on his raw strength, but he still is learning which pitches to turn on. Padilla should continue to improve and will play in the Florida State League this year.