A look at a few of the lower draft picks that emerged for the San Diego Padres during the A.J.Preller era.
Not every prospect comes with the same hype.
More often than not, players who were passed up by several teams go on to have outstanding major league careers. We all know the story of Mike Trout and the teams that passed on the outfielder before the Angels selected him with the 25th overall pick in 2009.
Here is a look at several prospects who have emerged in the A.J. Preller era, which began with the 2015 draft.
Trey Wingenter– 17th round 2015
The tall right-hander made his debut with the Padres in 2018 after being a closer for most of his minor league career. His future in 2020 is up in the air, but he is very much entrenched in the battle for a bullpen spot come opening day. The fastball is a plus pitch, and the slider plays well too. At 6-foot-7, mechanics are always a work in progress. The former Auburn Tiger should have no issues sustaining a stable career as a reliever. The Padres scored with him in the 17th round.
Ty France– 34th round 2015
Exactly 17 picks later; the Padres went local as they selected this infielder out of San Diego State. Since being drafted, the right-handed hitter has done nothing but just hit the baseball hard. France is a gamer and made his debut with the Padres in 2019. There is not a lot of power of any particular tool that stands out for the 25-year-old. France does everything well, including playing all around the infield. A fantastic value from a 34th round pick.
Evan Miller– 22nd round 2016
This pitcher has a chance to make his mark in 2020 as he will be in spring camp early this season. The right-handed hurler saved 15 of 16 games last season across three levels for the Padres. He ended his season in Triple-A El Paso and will likely debut very soon at Petco Park. Excellent return for a 22nd round pick.
David Bednar– 35th round 2016
Armed with a splitter-like offspeed pitch, Bednar debuted with the Padres in 2019 and looked solid. The right-handed pitcher struck out batters at an above-average rate throughout his minor league career and should continue to do so in the majors. There is no guarantee for Bednar in 2020 when it comes to making the team, but a 35th round pick isn’t even supposed to make it past Double-A.
Joey Cantillo– 16th round 2017
Motivated by his 16th-round selection, this native of Hawaii is just getting better with age. The left-handed pitcher added velocity on his fastball this past year and finished the year in Lake Elsinore. At 20 years old, he is way ahead of schedule in terms of growth. Cantillo is a competitor and should be a very good major leaguer one day. Keep a watchful eye on this lefty.
Robbie Podorsky– 25th round 2017
Though he is not blessed with size, Podorsky makes up for it with heart and determination. The right-handed hitter is speedy and makes excellent contact with the bat. The outfielder was an All-Star in 2019 for the Storm until a shoulder injury ended his season. The 25th rounder will probably be in Double-A Amarillo this year and will easily be a fan favorite.
Matthew Batten– 32nd round 2017
This right-handed hitter is scrappy and can play all over the diamond. It took him a little under two years to make it to the Triple-A level as he ended his season in El Paso. Batten does not have much power, but he is useful, and that alone could prove to make him a major leaguer one day. Traditionally, 32nd round picks are not supposed to have this much success so early. A great value pick for the Padres.
Blake Rogers– 37th round 2017
Right-handed pitcher Blake Rogers is grinding his way through the system. Not blessed with a triple-digit heater, this University of Oklahoma product relies on location. Rogers will probably start the year in Amarillo or El Paso and provide even more depth for this already deep system. A 37th-rounder on the verge of major league service time. Not too bad.
Mason Fox– 21st round 2018
Fox was a two-way player in college. The right-handed hitter recorded a .777 OPS in 161 games for Gardner-Webb University. As a pitcher, he did not show much as he recorded a 5.80 ERA, but that did not stop San Diego. Under the tutelage of the Padres, he has struck out 84 batters in 54 minor league innings and looks very promising. San Diego is getting excellent value with this 21st round pick.
Gabe Mosser– 27th round 2018
Taken six rounds after Fox, this right-handed pitcher has emerged. He threw 108 innings this past season for both Single-A teams and could be a factor eventually for the Friars. Mosser does not throw hard, but there is a lot to like about his makeup. Mosser should begin 2020 in Lake Elsinore.
Chris Givin– 19th round 2019
Early indications are that this right-handed hitter can swing the bat. The swing is compact, and Givin has only finished under .300 in one season (freshman year in college) since high school. There is versatility with this young player as well, given that the Xavier product can play all over the infield. He is an excellent value pick for San Diego in the 19th round.
Taylor Lomack– 24th round 2019
Lomack was nicknamed “The Machine” by his AZL teammates as all he did was get a hit in virtually every game he played. The right-handed hitter is highly motivated and will surely advance in the system pretty well. The 24th round pick should start the season in Fort Wayne this coming year.
Ripken Reyes– 30th round 2019
Switch-hitting Ripken Reyes is an enjoyable player to watch play the game of baseball. The USD product performed so well in his first taste of pro ball that the Padres advanced him to Single-A Fort Wayne to end his season. He was not overmatched there and will be one to keep an eye on moving forward. The 30th round pick does not have a lot of power but makes up for it with heart and hustle.