The Ducksnorts 2008 Baseball Annual included a section called “Overlooked ex-Padres.” I’d wanted to call attention to four players–Ollie Brown, Mike Ivie, Ruppert Jones, and Bip Roberts–that maybe didn’t get their due in San Diego. The idea was noble, but the execution could have been better.
Since I’ve spent much of the offseason writing player comments for Baseball Prospectus 2015 (#ShamelessPlug), I’m in the mind-set of condensing a man’s contributions to his team into a short paragraph with snappy phrases. In that vein, I thought it might be fun to revisit those players from DS2008 and write capsules for each of their seasons with the Padres.
Last time, we examined Ollie Brown. Now we turn to Mike Ivie.
Taken first overall in the 1970 draft out of a Georgia high school, Ivie is a strapping kid with light-tower power and a shotgun arm. He made a mockery of the California League in his full-season debut, despite being one of the circuit’s youngest regulars, and reached the big leagues less than a month after his 19th birthday. Ivie’s defense needs refinement, as he currently allows an unseemly number of passed balls, but his offensive potential at a premium position suggests a star in the making.
The good news is that, despite being one of the Texas League’s youngest regulars, Ivie pounded baseballs at Double-A Alexandria, finishing second in homers to San Antonio’s Gorman Thomas. The bad news is that, after a series of bizarre events that saw Ivie leave spring training for his Georgia home, he is no longer a catcher. Unfortunately, Nate Colbert presents more of a roadblock at first base than Fred Kendall did behind the dish. Although Ivie’s bat will play regardless of position, one can’t help but wonder if the Padres should’ve taken another prep backstop, Darrell Porter, with that first pick back in ’70.