Padres Draft Primer: First Round Targets

Credit: MLB

Credit: MLB

Over the past half-decade, the San Diego Padres farm system has undergone a fairly drastic change.

It is arguably at its weakest point in the past five or so years since it was ranked as baseball’s best in back-to-back seasons. While the organization has been able to hold on to nearly all of its elite-level prospects such as C.J. Abrams, MacKenzie Gore, Robert Hassell, and Luis Campusano, the once robust middle-tier of their system has been eroded by the many high and low-profile trades swung by general manager A.J. Preller in his bid to build a strong contender.

Due to their play in 2022, some prospects like Esteury Ruiz have done more than their share to push their way into higher consideration in the Padres system.


The system’s biggest shakeup will come during All-Star week starting on July 17, which marks the first day of the annual MLB Amateur Draft. Luckily for the Padres, the 2022 draft class is particularly strong in areas they need. In the first few rounds, the Padres hold three of the top 53 picks.

Let’s take a look at some of the more prominent yet still realistic targets the Padres may select with the 15th overall pick in round one.

Quick Note: This will be based on MLB Pipeline’s recently updated Top 200 Draft Prospects list. Different scouts and outlets have different rankings, so some names may be ranked differently elsewhere. Secondly, the MLB Draft is very unpredictable, so not only may some of these names go dramatically earlier or later, but the same may apply to other players with different rankings.

 

Dylan Lesko | Starting Pitcher | Age: 18 | Height: 6’2 | Weight: 195 pounds
Throws: R | Fastball: 60 | Curveball: 55 | Changeup: 70 | Control: 55 | FV: 55

Credit: Baseball America

Considered the best high school pitching prospect since MacKenzie Gore, Lesko was a guaranteed top-ten pick prior to Tommy John surgery but now has a chance to fall all the way to 15th overall thanks to a glut of healthy and talented prep arms projected to go in the first round.

Prior to his injury, it was clear why Lesko had a leg up on the rest of his peers in the draft. The right-handed pitcher sat in the mid-90s with his fastball and was able to run the pitch up to 99 mph. He paired this pitch with a low-80s changeup, which is considered by many to be the best offspeed pitch in the entire draft, as well as an above-average curveball in the high-70s that would be the best offering of many other arms in the class.

Lesko has been mocked by many as going to the Padres at 15, citing that they plan to take a pitcher coming off of Tommy John Surgery in the first round. Late surges by Justin Crawford, Cam Collier, Brock Porter, and Brandon Barriera may just be enough to realistically push Lesko to San Diego.

 

Chase DeLauter | Outfielder | Age: 20 | Height: 6’4 | Weight: 235 pounds
Throws: L | Bats: L | Hit: 55 | Power: 60 | Run: 55 | Arm: 50 | Field: 50 | FV: 55

Credit: James Madison University

DeLauter’s possible fall to 15th overall is under similar circumstances to Dylan Lesko after the outfielder suffered a recent broken foot. DeLauter, at his best, has plenty of similarities to recent Padres draft pick James Wood. At 6’4 and 235 pounds, DeLauter is a physical specimen with loads of raw power and surprising speed for his size. On top of that, DeLauter is an advanced hitter with a propensity of limiting strikeouts and drawing walks, making him a potential all-around threat on the field.

Some scouts point to inconsistent performances and a few unorthodox swing mechanics as reasons to be wary of his offensive ceiling. Those concerns, along with this broken foot, will hang concerns over DeLauter’s head until he is able to show what he’s made of in professional ball. While A.J. Preller has never taken a college bat in the first round, DeLauter certainly has the tools to at least be considered.

 

Brock Porter | Starting Pitcher | Age: 18 | Height: 6’4 | Weight: 205 pounds
Throws: R | Fastball: 70 | Curve: 50 | Slider: 55 | Changeup: 60 | Control: 50 | FV: 55

Credit: Prime Time Sports

The opinion is divided on who the best prep arm is after Dylan Lesko, but Brock Porter certainly makes a compelling argument to be held in such regard. Porter’s 6-foot-4 frame powers the best fastball among starting pitchers in the entire draft, sitting 94-97 mph and reaching 100 mph. Porter pairs his power fastball with a plus changeup in the low 80s as a pair of decent breaking balls in his slider and curveball.

With Lesko having Tommy John Surgery, many view Porter as the most likely arm to go off the board first, but it remains a slight possibility that he falls to the Padres in the first round.

 

Jackson Ferris | Starting Pitcher | Age: 18 | Height: 6’4 | Weight: 190 pounds
Throws: L | Fastball: 60 | Curveball: 55 | Changeup: 55 | Control: 50 | FV: 55

Credit: Mt. Airy News

One of two arms under consideration as the best left-handed pitcher in the draft, Ferris has the frame and power to be one of the game’s premier power-lefty starters. Ferris’s fastball currently sits 92-95 mph and regularly reaches 97 mph with good riding life through the zone. Coupled with a delivery that is difficult to time, the velocity and life on his fastball from the left side make the pitch very difficult for hitters to time.

Ferris pairs his fastball with two solid offerings in his mid-70s curveball and mid-80s changeup. While not quite having his ceiling, Ferris shares some similarities with Padres pitcher MacKenzie Gore. He’s tall and powerful, he generates uncommon power from the left side, but his deceptive delivery can sometimes lead to command issues.

 

Brandon Barriera | Starting Pitcher | Age: 18 | Height: 6’1 | Weight: 170 pounds
Throws: L | Fastball: 55 | Slider: 55 | Changeup: 55 | Control: 55 | FV: 55

Credit: Twitter

The other potential top left-hander in the draft is Brandon Barriera. There are some concerns about his small stature, but his arms plays just as big as anyone in the draft. Barriera’s velocity has climbed to the point where his fastball now sits in the mid-90s and can touch 98 mph.

Barriera has a good feel for his mid-80s slider and changeup and has a leg up over many of his hard-throwing peers with his command. The southpaw could have the best pure stuff in the draft behind Lesko, but his smaller frame and questions of his ability to maintain his newfound velocity may hold him back a bit.

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Ryan Michel
Born and raised in San Diego, aspiring Baseball Journalist and lifelong fan of the San Diego Padres. My life's goal is to retire early, become a season ticket holder and practically live at Petco Park in the summer.

1 thought on “Padres Draft Primer: First Round Targets

  1. Good article!

    I enjoy reading about the guys we have targeted. I’m hoping we go pitching since we already have a relatively young position player team and a good crop of youngsters available soon. It seems like good pitching is always needed and brings a higher price if you move them.

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