Round 3, Pick #78– Mason House, CF, Whitehouse (Texas) HS
With their first selection on day two of the draft, the Padres went with yet another high schooler, this time outfielder Mason House out of Texas.
Going into this season, House was getting much attention from professional scouts or college recruiters. However, after the 6-3, 190 pound outfielder got going this season, scouts flocked to see him play.
With very athletic actions both in the field and at the plate/on the bases, House already has the look and feel of a future big leaguer.
Known most for his bat speed and power projection from the left side, House is a switch hitter who has shown strong intangibles at the plate. With a projectable frame and good underlying skills, there is a potential for enough of a hit tool to make House an everyday player.
However, House has not faced much serious competition in East Texas, so it remains to be seen how he will react to facing quality pitching and using wood bats.
On defense, House has demonstrated a solid glove, although his lack of plus speed makes it unlikely that he can stick in center field long term. Despite the possible need for a shift, House should be a solid defender with a good enough arm for a corner position.
Round 4, Pick #108– Sam Keating, RHP, Canterbury HS (Fort Myers, Fla.)
Despite selecting four straight high school players to begin the 2017 MLB Draft, the San Diego Padres went with yet another high schooler, this time right-hander Sam Keating out of Canterbury HS in Florida. At 6-3, 175 pounds, Keating is about as much of a prototypical projectable high school arm as you could find.
This spring Keating has sat mostly in the 90-94 mph range with his fastball after seeing an uptick in velocity this season, although there is still a potential for more velocity as he matures. There is a potential for a high 70s/low 80s slider to be an above average pitch, but there is still some work to do in separating that pitch from his other off-speed pitches and locating it more effectively. Keating also sports a changeup that he uses on occasion, although that pitch lacks the success of his two best pitches.
The biggest concern on Keating is his violent arm action, which has led to some command and control issues and could push his profile into being more of a reliever type. Keating does have a commitment to Clemson, but it appears Keating will sign with the Padres. If Keating can clean up his delivery and work on his off-speed pitches, he may be able to stick in the rotation long-term for the Friars.
Round 5, Pick #138– Jonny Homza, 3B, South Anchorage (Alaska) HS
With their fifth round selection, the Padres went for yet another high school player, this time third baseman Jonny Homza out of South Anchorage HS. A rare baseball player from Alaska, Homza has played a variety of positions, including third base, catcher, and shortstop.
From all reports I have heard, Homza will likely play at third, or more likely second base, at the next level, although the bat could play at either position. Homza has quick hands and a good feel for hitting. The real concern for Homza is his lack of play against serious competition, as Alaska is not much of a baseball hotbed. Even so, the tools are there and Homza is a guy to watch.
Round 6, Pick #168– Aaron Leasher, LHP, Morehead State
With their sixth round selection, and their seventh selection overall, the Padres finally picked a college player after a string of six consecutive high school picks. The Padres sure do love their left-handed pitchers, huh? On top of MacKenzie Gore, and the plethora of left-handed pitchers already in the Padres’ system, they got yet another one in lefty Aaron Leasher out of Morehead State.
In his junior season at Morehead State, Leasher became just the second player in program history to record back-to-back 100 strikeout seasons, as Leasher finished the season with 105 strikeouts and just 32 walks. In his sophomore season, Leasher was even better, as he struck out 107 batters altogether. With a very easy delivery from the left side, Leasher kind of reminds me of Eric Lauer, although he lacks the pedigree coming out of college that Lauer had. As a junior, there is at least some chance Leasher goes back to school, although the potential for a $300,000 payday may be enough to get Leasher to sign.
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