Grady Fuson no longer works for the Padres and Bill Gayton no longer is the club's director of scouting, but some of the work they did for the organization is paying off now. Where would the Padres be without players drafted by Fuson or Gayton such as Mat Latos, Chase Headley, Wade LeBlanc, Nick Hundley and Will Venable? The selection and $1.25 million signing of Latos came after Kevin Towers scouted him and Randy Smith and Gayton pushed for it.
Fuson rankled some Padres holdovers after joining the franchise as a consultant in early 2005 and taking over scouting and development after that season. I got the sense that Sandy Alderson, the team's CEO at the time, was displeased at times with Fuson's evaluations of players within the system, notablyJoakim Soria, who became a star closer for the Royals after the Padres went against several staffers within their ranks and exposed him in the Rule V draft. The selection of Allan Dysktra with a first-round pick was an organizational boondoggle, and Fuson may have over-reached for Matt Antonelli.
I am told that Fuson had the final say in the draft starting in 2006. There was friction between him and Gayton, who oversaw the draft from 2001 through 2005. Gayton, as I've written here a few times, likely would've been a better fit as a national cross-checker than a draft director.
Bottom line, their combined efforts are a factor in the team's success this year.
Wasn't that LeBlanc who outpitched Tim Lincecum on Sunday? Fuson drafted LeBlanc and stuck with him. He may have been the only scout who believed LeBlanc's potential exceeded that of a No. 5 starter.