Padres Draft Primer: Second & Third Round Targets

(Photo by Michael Wade)

Credit: Twitter

Ryan Clifford | Outfielder | Age: 18 | Height: 6’3 | Weight: 200 pounds
Bats: L | Throws: L | Hit: 55 | Power: 55 | Run: 45 | Field: 45 | Arm: 55 | FV: 50

Once considered the best hitter in the 2022 high school draft class, Clifford’s stock has fallen quite a bit, but he still flashes a very high offensive ceiling.


At 6’3 and 200 pounds, Clifford couples his large frame with a picturesque left-handed swing to generate at least above-average power, with scouts believing his balanced swing and approach can also lead to him being able to hit for average as well. Clifford’s swing shares quite a bit of similarity to that of Jake Cronenworth, though Clifford’s significant size advantage will likely see him surpass Cronenworth’s power-hitting abilities.

With Clifford, it all comes down to outfield defense. Clifford has mainly played first base at Pro5 Academy, and though he does get his fair share of work in the outfield, Clifford is considered only a decent corner outfielder at best as of now. To his credit, Clifford does have the arm strength to play right field and could improve his defensive abilities with more experience in the outfield, where scouts believe his frame doesn’t prohibit him from playing.

 

Spencer Jones | Outfielder | Age: 21 | Height: 6’7 | Weight: 225 pounds
Throws: L | Bats: L | Hit: 50 | Power: 55 | Run: 50 | Field: 50 | Arm: 50 | FV: 50

Credit: Vanderbilt Baseball

One of the biggest physical standouts of the draft class, Jones has drawn comparisons to the likes of Aaron Judge and James Wood, but it’s unclear if he shares their lofty ceilings.

Jones was a superb contact hitter in his last season at Vanderbilt, though his high strikeout numbers and tendency to hit to the opposite field lead some to question his ability to do so long-term. When Jones does pull the ball, he flashes at least plus power, though he’d certainly need to pull the ball on a more consistent basis in order to fully tap into it.

The outfielder is a solid runner and defender for his size, showing an ability to track down fly balls and steal bases. As a former pitcher, Jones also has the arm to stick in right field long term.

 

Jake Madden | Starting Pitcher | Age: 20 | Height: 6’6 | Weight: 185 pounds
Throws: R | Fastball: 65 | Slider: 50 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 45 | FV: 45

Credit: AP Photo

One of the more popular names on the Junior College circuit, Madden has some of the best pure power arms in this range of the draft.

Madden’s fastball regularly sat in the 94-97 mph range and was up to 98 mph in 2022, regularly overpowering opposition with it alone. He throws two solid off-speed pitches in the high-80s with his slider and changeup, though neither have become his go-to offering. Madden’s command is an issue, and he’ll need to work on keeping the ball in the zone in professional ball.

Madden has plenty of room to grow into his 6’6 frame, and scouts are fascinated with what the outcome could be when considering his already impressive stuff.

 

Nazier Mule | Starting Pitcher | Age: 18 | Height: 6’3 | Weight: 210 pounds
Throws: R | Fastball: 70 | Slider: 55 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 45 | FV: 45

Credit: BVM Sports

Once a two-way prospect, Mule set his work as an infielder off to the side to focus on his work off the mound, where scouts believe he could have quite the future.

Mule throws a powerful fastball in the mid-to-upper-90s that has reached 100 mph.

He couples this with a powerful slider that’s flashed plus at times and a solid changeup. Mule’s relative lack of experience means he’ll need time to polish his mechanics and below-average command on the mound, but he has a very high ceiling as a power pitcher.

 

Jacob Riemer | Infielder | Age: 18 | Height: 6’2 | Weight: 205 pounds
Bats: R | Throws: R | Hit: 55 | Power: 55 | Run: 45 | Arm: 50 | Field: 50 | FV: 45

Credit: Redlands Community News

While his days at shortstop may be numbered, Riemer’s bat makes him an intriguing option to be picked in the third round, even by a team with a franchise third baseman.

Riemer is more of a bat-first prospect, combining an advanced approach with raw power and bat speed to create a formidable offensive profile. Riemer played shortstop throughout high school but is likely to move to third base, where his defensive profile fits much better.

While Riemer may not have a future with the Padres at third base, his hitting ability may be too much for the team to pass up.

 

Ivan Melendez | First Baseman | Age: 22 | Height: 6’3 | Weight: 225 pounds
Bats: R | Throws: R | Hit: 50 | Power: 60 | Run: 30 | Arm: 50 | Field: 40 | FV: 45

(AP Photo/Stephen Spillman, File)

The top hitter in college baseball in 2022, Melendez will only profile at first base, but he may be the closest hitter to the MLB level in the entire class.

While there are some concerns on his ability to hit for a high average, Melendez undoubtedly has plus power generated from his raw strength, and his knack for lifting the ball should help him maintain higher home run totals.

There isn’t much to say about Melendez defensively, as he’s strictly at first baseman or designated hitter.

 

Ben Joyce | Relief Pitcher | Age: 21 | Height: 6’5 | Weight: 225 pounds
Throws: R | Fastball: 80 | Slider: 50 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 45 | FV: 45

Credit: Sporting News

Perhaps the most famous name from this year’s class, Joyce, has a legitimate chance to close out games in the MLB this year.

Joyce’s fastball is a legitimate 80-grade pitch, sitting 100-105 mph with arm side run, making hard contact nearly impossible. Joyce doesn’t have much command over his slider and changeup, but the simple fact that they’re different looks from his fastball gets them plenty of whiffs outside the zone. While his command isn’t great, Joyce doesn’t have the control issues one would expect from a pitcher throwing as hard as he does.

Evaluators aren’t sure about Joyce’s arm holding up long-term due to his lack of pitching experience and extra rest between appearances, but his unbelievable power off the mound is enough to tantalize anybody.

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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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