Last year when the San Diego Padres didn’t pick until the middle of round two, I wrote about several players in an attempt to predict who the Padres might snag with their top pick. Austin Smith was one of the guys I wrote about and turns out I was dead on about the Padres targeting him.
This year I’m going about it a little differently since the Padres pick eighth overall. My goal is still to get a good idea of who the Padres might be considering, but while I will mention several different players, I will make a specific prediction about who the Padres will take with their first pick, as well as make predictions about the rest of the top 10 picks. I will also mention some guys that the Padres could take with their two picks later in round one.
First, some process of elimination. Who will be picked in the top seven, and therefore not be available to the Padres at eight? Some names have consistently popped up at the top of mock drafts, and while the order has varied, it seems the top five or so have begun to separate themselves
A.J. Puk appears to be the likeliest candidate to be taken first overall, and if he falls beyond 1.1, it probably won’t be very far. In a draft class full of pitchers, particularly high school pitchers, Puk’s college experience at Florida, and powerful arsenal of pitches, both make him a highly sought after player. If he happens to get passed over by the Phillies and Reds, I can’t imagine the Braves passing on him at three. In the middle of a rebuild and once again focusing on building around pitching, the Braves look like a logical worst case scenario for Puk on draft day.
Jason Groome and Riley Pint are the top two high school pitchers and have consistently been mentioned near the top of mock drafts. Although one has Pint falling to the Padres at eight, I personally don’t expect that. Pint can reach 100 mph and has some understanding of how to throw a changeup. Not many high school pitchers can throw that fast, and the ones that can, don’t have to do much else. So the fact that Pint can throw 100 AND do something else makes him a rare breed. The risk associated with taking a high school pitcher might cause some teams to pass on Pint, but the clear upside is what leads me to believe he won’t drop to the Padres.
Kyle Lewis is a projectable college outfielder with a chance to stick at center and for those reasons could be picked as high as first, and probably no lower than sixth by the Athletics. Nick Senzel’s stock has risen this spring to the point that he is strongly linked to the Reds at second overall, and as a college bat (that can stick at third long term, no less) In a draft class that is weak on those, Senzel seems like a lock to go in the top six to me. Rounding out my list of players that I don’t think will fall to the Padres is outfielder Mickey Moniak. He’s been as high as first on some mocks and as low as outside the top 10 on others, but the dude can simply hit, and could have the best hit tool in the entire draft. I just don’t see a guy like that dropping on draft day.
Here is my prediction for the top six
1. Phillies: A.J. Puk
2. Reds: Nick Senzel
3. Braves: Mickey Moniak
4. Rockies: Kyle Lewis
5. Brewers: Riley Pint
6. Athletics: Jason Groome
After the top six things get a bit murkier. Here are some guys that could be in play at the back end of the top 10.
Corey Ray- A toolsy outfielder that could stick at centerfield and could get snagged in the top seven, his draft stock has gone down recently, which could mean the Padres would have a chance at him. Given Preller’s tendency to pick toolsy players, Ray is certainly a possibility.
Delvin Perez- Another toolsy hitter, this one a shortstop that could get taken earlier than eight, but whose stock is falling. He will stick at short long term, but his hit tool lags behind everything else. As a result, he’s not a personal favorite of mine, but the defense and speed will certainly put him on Preller’s radar.
Matt Manning- A “flamethrowing” high school pitcher with the size, athleticism, and projectability scouts like, as well as a power curve to complement his upper 90’s heat. He’s been linked to the Padres, and his scouting report reads like one you’d expect of an A.J. Preller pick. He’s expected to be a tough sign and will expect above slot money, however.
And here is who I predict the Padres will take with the eighth pick.
Dakota Hudson- The second best college pitcher in the draft behind Puk, and a guy the Padres could sign for below slot money, which they are rumored to be considering doing with their first pick in order to have money for over slot picks later in the draft. He’s got the fastball to wow Preller, and the track record of pitching in the SEC that raises his floor and makes him a potential fast riser once in the minors. Hudson’s slider rivals his fastball as his best pitch, and after struggling in his early college career, he has looked very sharp this season. Given the Padres lack of potential frontline starters in the high minors, Hudson looks like a good fit for many reasons. And oh yeah, Preller already drafted him while with the Rangers, before Hudson decided to sign with Mississippi State
My 6-10 prediction
7. Marlins: Corey Ray
8. Padres: Dakota Hudson
9. Tigers: Matt Manning
10. White Sox: Delvin Perez
Late Round Options
Later on in round one the Padres are linked with injured pitcher Cal Quantrill, but he might not fall all the way to 24 as he has top 10 talent. It is possible that the Padres take Quantrill with their first pick instead of waiting and hoping he falls to 24. Will Benson is a toolsy outfielder that has drawn comps to Jason Heyward and at one time looked like a potential top 10 guy, but now might fall out of the first round. Joshua Lowe is a two-way player that could end up at third base long term and has a lot of raw power, and Forrest Whitley is another high school pitcher with a fastball that Preller will surely like. There are several other young arms that could be in play here, but honestly they all have pretty similar scouting reports. Anybody with a good fastball, athleticism and projectability will be on Preller’s radar. Additionally, the Padres could be looking for a high ceiling prep bat to take at 24 or 25, and Preller will surely be looking for a quick twitch athlete.
Who would you like to see the Padres pick in round one? Should they snag Quantrill at eight or just hope he falls to 24? Would Dakota Hudson be a smart pick? Feel free to yell at me in the comment section and tell me why my predictions are completely wrong. 🙂