With the San Diego Padres struggling to win games and fans wanting a new manager, now is a good time for a distraction in the form of a look ahead to the 2015 MLB draft. It’ll be A.J. Preller’s first as a GM, and Mark Conner’s first as a scouting director.
Because the Padres lost the 13th pick by signing James Shields and traded away the 41st pick as part of the trade that brought Craig Kimbrel to the west coast, San Diego’s first pick isn’t until #51 overall. Not the best scenario for a club needing to rebuild it’s minor league system after trading away a lot of minor league talent. However, the draft class this year isn’t particularly strong.
There is no clear cut favorite to be the first pick of the draft, and there isn’t a big difference in talent between what will be available at #13, when the Padres would have originally picked first, and what will be available when the Padres do pick at #51 . All of that means it is pretty much impossible to predict who will get picked when.
I still would like to get an idea of who the Padres might be at the top of the Padres wishlist, and who among that group could reasonably fall to the Padres at #51 overall, though. We know A.J. Preller helped stock the Texas Rangers farm with toolsy high ceiling prospects, and since moving to San Diego he has targeted sluggers with enough power to not be fazed by Petco Park. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Padres take a pitcher either, considering several pitching prospects were traded away this past offseason. Here is a list of toolsy hitters and pitchers ranked between between #40 and #65 on mlb.com’s top 100 2015 draft prospect list. Prospects are graded on the 20-80 scale for future tools, 20 being terrible and 80 being elite.
Chris Shaw– 1B, Boston College ranked #42 on mlb.com
Why the Padres should pick him– His 65 grade power that plays to all fields.
Why he could drop to round 2– His 40 grade defense and 20 grade speed
His power plays to all fields and as such he fits the mold of players targeted by A.J. Preller. He’s a lefty, and while that isn’t the Preller mold, more balance between right handed and left handed power isn’t a bad thing. Shaw has played in the outfield at Boston College and has the arm to play there in the majors, but his below average defense and lack of mobility probably means he will be limited to first base. If he gains some patience at the plate his bat will be very valuable at any position, though.
Austin Smith– RHP, Park Vista High School (Florida) #44 on mlb.com
Why the Padres should pick him– His grade 65 fastball and low effort delivery
Why he could drop to round 2– His secondary pitches are raw and he’s only 18
His fastball already sits in the low to mid 90’s without much effort and with his big frame and athleticism there is plenty of projection left in his fastball. Not surprisingly for a young pitching prospect, his breaking pitches need work. Smith’s low effort delivery bode well for his chances of avoiding injury, which is certainly an asset for any young pitcher these days. Side note, Trea Turner also went to Park Vista High School.
Chandler Day– RHP Watkins High School (Ohio) #49 on mlb.com
Why the Padres should pick him– Across the board potential
Why he could drop to round 2 – He has a ways to go before he reaches his potential
This first line of mlb.com’s scouting report on him mentions that he is “one of the youngest and most projectable players in the high school crop”, which to me doesn’t match his #49 ranking they’ve given him. Sure, it’ll be several years before he reaches the majors, but his fastball, slider and changeup all have the potential to be above average pitches. If he drops to #51 I would definitely like to see the Padres draft him, but it wouldn’t shock me if he gets picked in round 1.
Donnie Dewees OF University of North Florida #51 on mlb.com
Why the Padres should draft him– His grade 60 speed and grade 55 bat
Why he could drop to round 2– His 45 grade power and 40 grade arm
To be honest I only looked into him because mlb.com ranked #51 which is when the Padres pick first. Although upon further review , his plus speed and above average bat make him a potential lead off hitter, which the Padres need the major league level. Being 22 already he should reach the majors quicker than most players drafted in round 2, sans relievers. If the Padres want to fill a need with a player that could contribute sooner rather than later, Dewees could be their guy.
Luken Baker– RHP/1B Oak Ridge HS (Texas) #58 on mlb.com
Why the Padres should draft him– His grade 60 fastball and grade 55 slider, 70 grade power
Why he won’t be a first round pick-His grade 20 speed, lack of an above average 3rd pitch
He could be taken as a 1st baseman or pitcher, but many scouts like him more as a pitcher. Certainly an intriguing player that I’ll pay attention to no matter who picks him. As a hitter he needs to tighten up is swing and he probably won’t be able to play anything other than first base As a pitcher he’ll need to improve his command and control, but his fastball and slider look to be a solid combo. The idea of a solid mid rotation starter that can mash home runs is pretty cool isn’t it?
Demi Orimoloye – OF St. Matthew’s HS (Ontario Canada) #64 mlb.com
Why the Padres should draft him – His 60 grade speed and 60 grade power and general athleticism
Why he could drop to round 2- He lacks polish across the board
He’s exactly the type of high ceiling, low floor, toolsy prospect A.J. Preller collected while he was with the Texas Rangers. He’s relatively new to the sport and therefore won’t reach the major leagues quickly, but he could very well be worth the wait with his combination of potentially plus power and speed. Even though he’s ranked lower than the others on this list, he’s probably the guy I’d most like to see the Padres pick.
Who would you like to see the Padres take with their first pick of the draft?