Draft Preview: Padres in position of choice
Holding third overall pick, San Diego has plethora of options
SAN DIEGO -- Grady Fuson, the Padres vice president of player development and scouting, said recently that he "likes our options" in reference to the Padres picking third in the First-Year Player Draft, which begins June 9.
Fuson said the Padres aren't focused on one particular player or if that player has to be a pitcher or position player, college or high school. The beauty of picking third, essentially, is that you can be picky.
Since 2004, the Padres have used a first-round pick on a college player five times (they had two first-round picks in 2004), and included in the mix were three pitchers and two infielders.
MLB.com will offer live coverage and analysis of the entire First-Year Player Draft on June 9-11. MLB Network will broadcast the first round at 6 p.m. ET on June 9 from its Studio 42 in Secaucus, N.J., and those 32 selections also will be simulcast live on MLB.com.
Beginning with the 33rd pick, up-to-the-minute on-air coverage from the remaining rounds will shift exclusively to MLB.com/Live, where host Vinny Micucci will be joined by MLB.com Draft expert Jonathan Mayo and Major League Scouting Bureau director Frank Marcos.
Once the first night is done, the Draft will continue with rounds 4-30, via conference call from MLB headquarters in New York, at noon on June 10. Rounds 31-50 will be on June 11, starting at 11:30 a.m.
Here's a glance at what the Padres have in store as the First-Year Player Draft approaches:
In about 50 words
The Padres, who have had a recent history of drafting college pitchers, could again go that route this year. Former Missouri pitcher Aaron Crow, now pitching with an Independent League team in Texas, could be had at No. 3 as could Vanderbilt left-hander Mike Minor.
"I like our options. We've got four of five solid options to discuss as we go into our meetings next week. There's a couple of position players out there with upside that we're looking at. There's two or three pitchers out there as well who have different looks." -- Fuson.
The Padres have been linked to a number of players at the No. 3 spot in the Draft. One could be Crow, who was picked ninth overall in 2008 by the Nationals but didn't sign. Cartersville High (of Georgia) outfielder Donavan Tate has a lot of upside. The Padres also have interest in Minor. The team would certainly have interest in North Carolina outfielder Dustin Ackley, but Seattle, drafting second, could grab him.
No team drafts on needs, but the Padres certainly wouldn't mind getting a few more defensive-minded shortstops in their farm system and ones with offensive upside surely would be welcomed. That said, look for the Padres to continue to look at college pitchers and position players.
The Padres, in recent years, have leaned more on polished, college players who are able to move fast through their system, particularly players from the Southeastern Conference. They did buck that trend with their first-round supplemental pick of OF Jaff Decker in 2008. The 19-year-old is already tearing up the Midwest League.
Recent top picks
2008: First baseman Allan Dykstra signed late in 2008 and is with Class A Fort Wayne. He is hitting .219 with two home runs and 21 RBIs.
2007: Left-handed pitcher Nick Schmidt missed all of last season after having Tommy John surgery on his throwing elbow. For Class A Fort Wayne this season, Schmidt is 1-0 with a 5.55 ERA in eight games (six starts).
2006: Second baseman Matt Antonelli reached the Major Leagues for the first time in September 2008 when the rosters expanded. He hit .193 in 57 at-bats and is back at Triple-A Portland for a second season.
Right-handed pitcher Wynn Pelzer, a ninth-round selection in 2007, is moving fast. Pelzer was 6-2 with a 4.41 ERA in his first nine starts at Class A Lake Elsinore. He won nine games last year and the 22-year-old could be on the move to Double-A San Antonio soon.
It's hard to top the move first baseman/outfielder Kyle Blanks has made, going from a 42nd-round pick in 2004 to being the top prospect, among position players, in the system. At 22, Blanks is in Triple-A after hitting .325 with 20 home runs and 107 RBIs in Double-A in 2008.
In The Show
Antonelli and pitcher Wade LeBlanc, picked in the first two rounds of 2006, made their Major League debut in September 2008 and are in Triple-A this season. Antonelli recently joined Portland after being sidelined with a knee injury in Spring Training.
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.