Padres Draft Primer: First Round Targets

Credit: MLB

Credit: Las Vegas Sun

Justin Crawford | Outfielder | Age: 18 | Height: 6’3 | Weight: 175 pounds
Bats: L | Throws: R | Hit: 55 | Power: 40 | Run: 70 | Arm: 55 | Field: 60 | FV: 55

The son of former MLB star Carl Crawford, Justin Crawford’s skill set has scouts believing he could one day match, or even surpass, his father’s lofty skillset.

Crawford is an excellent runner and displays plus defensive ability in centerfield, as well as possessing great bat-to-ball skills that warrant his above-average hit tool. The only questionable part of Crawford’s game is his power, which has largely failed to show up in games due to his contact-oriented swing. Scouts point toward his 6-foot-3 frame as an indicator that Crawford can add more power in the future. But with swing adjustments possibly being needed as well, Crawford’s power will remain a question as he starts his minor league career. If Crawford does tap into at least average power, he could have an elite five-tool skill set on par with those projected to go within the top ten.

 

Robby Snelling | Starting Pitcher | Age: 18 | Height: 6’3 | Weight: 210 Pounds
Throws: L | Fastball: 55 | Curveball: 60 | Changeup: 45 | Control: 50 | FV: 55

Credit: Nevada Sports Net

Arguably the biggest riser in the draft, Snelling exploded up boards once he fully committed from football to baseball, with teams dreaming on the powerful left-hander’s high ceiling.

Snelling sits in the mid-90s with his fastball, topping out at 97 mph. His go-to pitch is his outstanding high-spin curveball, and high-70s offering that misses both right-handed and left-handed bats in droves. While Snelling doesn’t throw it much, he does have a decent changeup as well in the mid-80s. Snelling is a strike-thrower, and is able to use his fastball to set up his plus curveball in favorable counts.

 

Cole Young | Infielder | Age: 18 | Height: 6’0 | Weight: 180 pounds
Bats: L | Throws: R | Hit: 60 | Power: 40 | Run: 55 | Field: 50 | Arm: 55 | FV: 55

Credit: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Another player linked to the Padres in the draft, Young, is a contact-oriented shortstop not too dissimilar to former Preller draftees C.J. Abrams and Xavier Edwards. Young excels at making contact and avoiding strikeouts, but he flashes gap power at best and doesn’t quite have the frame to make scouts believe he’ll be able to add anymore significant power like Abrams was able to. Young’s overall profile ticks up thanks to the rest of his game being well rounded, as he’s a solid runner with good defensive skills that should allow him to stick at shortstop.

At his best, Young could boast a similar skillset to a player like Adam Fraizer, with the ability to hit for a high average and make a solid impact on defense, but being limited by his lack of power. While a Fraizer-type may not exactly be what Padres fans hope to see the team take at 15th overall, A.J. Preller’s draft history certainly suggests Young may be a possibility.

 

Gabriel Hughes | Starting Pitcher | Age: 20 | Height: 6’4 | Weight: 220 pounds
Throws: R | Fastball: 60 | Slider: 55 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 50 | FV: 55

 

Credit: Baseball Prospect Journal

After many of the top college starting pitchers succumbed to injuries in the 2021 and 2022 seasons, Hughes has found himself standing as the de facto best college arm in the upcoming draft class.

While he may not have the prettiest delivery, Hughes is an imposing figure on the mound with premium stuff to back it up. His fastball is routinely in the 94-97 mph range, with scouts believing that he will inevitably reach triple digits in the future. His slider has touched 90 mph and features a heavy two-plane break, garnering a large number of whiffs.

With an average changeup and decent command rounding out his profile, Hughes has the making of a prototypical MLB power-pitcher.

 

Jett Williams | Infielder | Age: 18 | Height: 5’8 | Weight: 175 pounds
Bats: R | Throws: R | Hit: 55 | Power: 45 | Run: 60 | Arm: 50 | Field: 50 | FV: 50

Credit: dallas Morning News

Outside of Dylan Lesko, the versatile Jett Williams may be the name most connected with the Padres at 15th overall.

Despite being undersized, scouts continue to be impressed by Williams’s skillset. Williams is a talented hitter, regularly making solid contact and flashing surprising power that many believe could translate to double-digit home runs at his peak. Williams has plus speed which allows him to show good range both at shortstop and in center field.

Williams’s small stature will likely cause evaluators to question his ability to hit for power long term, but his athleticism and feel for hitting could carry him into an everyday role.

 


Honorable Mentions: LHP Connor Prielipp and RHP Kumar Rocker

Prielipp was once in consideration to go first overall in the year’s draft, and with the Padres rumored to be after pitchers that have undergone Tommy John surgery, many have speculated that Prielipp is on their radar. Prielipp is a 6’2 left-handed pitcher that primarily relies on his mid-90s fastball and 70-grade slider that sits in the upper-80s.

Rocker, arguably the most recognizable name in the draft, has battled health issues and inconsistencies since failing to sign with the Mets. He appears to have regained his Vanderbilt form after touching 99 mph and featuring his trademark wipeout slider in independent league action.

In the case of both pitchers, their recent health issues lead to some questions as to where they will be picked this year, with many projecting them to be picked late in the first round. However, their high ceilings still give them a legitimate outside chance of being taken in the middle of the first round.

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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.
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Tony C
Tony C
4 days ago

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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