FanPost

Evaluating the Loss of Luis Perdomo

Though we are still in the aftermath of the Cardinals' worst winter meetings nightmare as Jason Heyward has agreed to become a Chicago Cub for eight years, there's another blow to the team that I'd rather talk about.
In Thursday's Rule 5 Draft, the Colorado Rockies selected Luis Perdomo, the 22-year-old right-handed pitcher that represented the Cardinals in the Future's Game this past year. Perdomo could easily have been added to the 40-man roster and been protected from being selected, but Mozeliak and Co. decided to gamble on him.
The Rockies subsequently traded Perdomo to the San Diego Padres. And since Perdomo was taken in the major league portion of the draft, the Padres will have to keep him on the big-league roster all year long. If they don't do this, they will of course have to offer the pitcher back to St. Louis.
So first, what are the chances that Luis actually remains on the Padres all season long? For a guy who has never pitched above High-A, and has never performed well even at that level, it could be hard for Perdomo to have success in the major leagues. Bleacher Report estimates that there is a modest chance that Luis sticks, and MiLB gives a similar prediction of saying that it's probably 50/50. I pretty much agree with these guesses, though I think it's a little less of a coin flip and that Perdomo and the Padres will probably be able to get through the season without giving him up.
Since Perdomo has arguably the highest ceiling of any player that was left unprotected, that is yet another reason that the Padres will be rather hesitant to let him go, even if the upcoming campaign is a total nightmare. After going all-in for 2015 and failing miserably, San Diego probably realizes that it will take a couple years to get back into contention. I'm not saying they're going to go all-out 76ers and tank the season, but to them, losses will probably just translate into good draft pick.
Plus, for a bullpen that ranked 23rd in the majors last year in ERA and just lost its best member, Craig Kimbrel, Perdomo may be more of a fit. He won't be that much of a liability if the pen performs like last year. And now, even reaching those standards seems unlikely.
On top of that, Perdomo is kind of made for the bullpen. He's got two above-average pitches in his fastball and slider. If he can keep down the walks then 2016 should be great year of development for him.

Now, another thing I thought about: how much use would the Cardinals have had for the Dominican had he not been traded?
The overall pitching depth of the Cardinals organization can simply not be overstated. Even though the system recently graduated a great crop of young arms that includes Shelby Miller, Carlos Martinez, Trevor Rosenthal, and Michael Wacha, with Tim Cooney and Marco Gonzales each knocking on the door as well, the system is still deep. There's Alex Reyes, who should debut in 2016 despite his suspension, Jack Flaherty, Luke Weaver, Junior Fernandez, Jake Woodford, Ronnie Williams, Alvaro Seijas...I could go on.
Perdomo kind of blended in amongst all of these players. Though MLB.com had him ranked as the #11 prospect in the entire organization, other sites and blogs such as Baseball America, Viva el Birdos, Redbird Rants, and Minor League Ball were all far less generous in their most recent rankings, as he did not crack any of those lists.
MLB.com's ETA for Perdomo is 2018, which is obviously incorrect as the Padres are required to have him at the big-league level all of next year or ship him back to St. Louis. That does seem like a pretty accurate estimate for Perdomo had he remained in the Cardinal organization until cracking the majors.
All in all, Luis Perdomo is pretty much the exact kind of player for which the Rule 5 Draft was created. He might have never gotten a chance to sign had he stayed with the Cardinals, and if he ever did wear the Birds on the Bat, it wouldn't have been for a long time. He's got a good chance to remain in San Diego all year long with good old Jon Jay. He may not be a future Cy Young, but if his development continues at its current pace, then he could be a very good player in Major League Baseball.