Happy 39th birthday to former Padres outfielder Xavier Nady.
Nady was drafted as a promising prospect by the Padres in the 2nd round of the 2000 draft out of UC-Berkeley. He became the 18th player in history to make his professional debut in the major leagues without appearing in the minors. He got a hit in his first, and only, MLB at-bat in 2000.
His major league career really took off in 2003. He played 110 games for San Diego as their primary right fielder. He hit nine home runs with 39 RBI and a .267 average. His 92 OPS+ as a rookie was certainly respectable, especially for a struggling Padres club that went 64-98 that year.
He ended up playing parts of three seasons with San Diego from 2003-2005. His last season as a Friar in 2005 was his best yet. He hit 13 home runs and had a 105 OPS+. He was a part of the 2005 National League West Champion Padres and went 1 for 3 in that Division Series against St. Louis.
Of course, like most Padres players when they begin to blossom, Nady was traded to the New York Mets before the start of the 2006 season. That deal brought Mike Cameron to San Diego. He only played 75 games with New York before being flipped at the deadline to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Between those two clubs, Nady hit .280 with 17 home runs.
The next two seasons, Nady would finally reach his potential. He hit 20 homers in 2007. He was so successful with Pittsburgh in 2008, that he was traded to the New York Yankees mid-season. 2008 was by far the best of his career. He ended up with 25 home runs, 97 RBI and a .305 average, all career-highs. His 127 OPS+ that season was better than the likes of Troy Glaus, Ryan Howard, and Joey Votto.
He began to battle injuries heading into 2009. He started that season with the eventual World Series Champion Yankees. He played only seven games and was picked up by the Chicago Cubs the next season. He wasn’t himself, hitting just six homers with a .256 average.
Nady then went to the Diamondbacks, Nationals, and Giants over the next few years. The Padres brought him back in 2014 at age 35. He played in 22 games and he hit three home runs, but had just a .135 average. He was released in May and would never play in the big leagues again.
He finished his career with 104 home runs and 797 hits with eight different teams.
Nady was briefly the hitting coach for the Lake Elsinore Storm, but he was not on the staff in 2017.