*(Update) Jabari Blash and Ryan Schimpf were traded Tuesday morning by A.J. Preller and the Padres
The San Diego Padres pulled off a trifecta last year as they selected Miguel Diaz, Luis Torrens, and Allen Cordoba in the 2016 draft and kept all three for the whole season. Each will probably start the season in the minors, but they are important members of the system.
This year, the team currently has no room to make a selection, but things could change. We all know that A.J. Preller is a wizard when it comes to making baseball moves. A trade or a release could happen in the next few days.
The Padres have a few names on the 40-man roster who could be DFA’d to make room for youth. Ryan Schimpf, Andrew Lockett, Jabari Blash, and Rocky Gale are all on the bubble. If the team can acquire some talent that is nearly major league ready, then they will surely pull the trigger. Time is ticking though. Players will need to be DFA’s before the draft or the Padres must make a deal to create space.
Schimpf could be released simply because he has no spot on the team. It could also be done as a favor to him, so that he can catch on somewhere in the spring. Blash was already released once by the team and not claimed. Gale is a journeyman backstop with little to no value. The team also signed Raffy Lopez this week to a minor league deal, so the left-handed-hitting veteran could be an option as Hedges’ backup this year. Finally, there is Lockett, who has yet to get a chance at the major league level. He is not much of a prospect in terms of upside and the team could risk trying to pass him through waivers. We will have to wait and see.
Surprisingly, the team left Franmil Reyes off their 40-man. He is recovering from hamate bone surgery, but has incredible raw power and is looking like someone who has figured it out offensively. Hopefully he is not selected this week as his loss would not be a positive for this organization that lacks talented youngsters with plus power.
A.J. Preller and his baseball operations team have been all over the draft and are surely well prepared. If they see a need and a player worth their time, they will do what it takes to make the necessary moves.
Here is a list of 13 players to keep an eye on as the draft approaches this Thursday.
Tyler Eppler (PIT) RHP
He is on this list as the right-handed pitcher is nearly major league ready. He was drafted by the Pirates in 2014 in the 6th round out of Sam Houston State. In 2017 he threw at Triple-A Indianapolis and was 8-9 with a 4.89 ERA in 27 games (21 starts) and 136.1 innings pitched. The 6′ 6″ Eppler has a low to mid 90’s fastball with a decent slider. His mechanics are clean for his large frame, but he has issues with the long ball and become too wild in the zone. Eppler is worth taking a look at, but doesn’t offer much in terms of upside. He would just be an immediate arm to throw into the bullpen/back-end of the rotation.
Montana DuRapau (PIT) RHP
This short in stature, right-handed pitcher saved 15 minor league games last season and could be an interesting choice. He went 3-2 last season with a 2.04 ERA between the Double-A and Triple-A level. DuRapau struck out 62 batters in 53 innings while only allowing two homers. He was drafted in the 32nd round by the Pirates in the 2014 draft out of Bethune-Cookman College. He has decent stuff, but would be a hard sale as he is 25 and only 5′ 11″.
Victor Reyes (ARZ) OF
The switch-hitting outfielder has a simple line drive swing from both sides of the plate. He is 23 and looks to be just growing into his 6′ 3″ frame. The reports indicate he has a lack of power, but he makes up for it with decent foot speed. He usually puts the ball in play and could develop into a decent corner outfielder in time. Reyes has an above average arm, but hasn’t played much center field. He played in 126 games at the Double-A level last year and put up a .292/.332/.399 batting line with 18 steals. The Padres are loaded in the outfield presently. Victor Reyes looks like a nice pick, but probably not a fit for the Friars.
Kyle Martin (BOS) RHP
If the Padres want to take a flier on a decent reliever, they can take a look at Martin from the Sox. The 6′ 7″ hurler has a low to mid 90’s sinker and teams that with a plus changeup. He has no breaking pitch at the moment, but with two plus pitches, he could be useful in spurts. Martin was 0-4 in Triple-A last year with a 4.36 ERA. He struck out 50 batters in 53 innings and recorded one save. At 26, he is not young, but could be a decent option if the Padres feel they are in the need of immediate relief help.
Jake Reed (MIN) RHP
Another decent relief option is this 25-year-old from the Twins. Reed was 2-0 last year between Double-A and Triple-A, where he was 2-0 with a 2.13 ERA and six saves in 38 innings pitched. A sore shoulder sidelined him for the start of 2017, but he came back with a consistent mid 90’s heater that has excellent movement. He has a serviceable slider and a changeup as well. Reed has Triple-A experience and could immediately step in for the Friars in 2018.
Cale Coshow (NYY) RHP
This hard-throwing reliever is worth taking note of as well. He has a high 90’s fastball and a very serviceable slider to go along with it. Coshow was 2-6 last year with a 3.75 ERA in 45 games and 60 innings pitched. He saved 15 games and struck out 76 batters. He is a large framed pitcher at 6′ 5″ and 270 lbs. Despite being a big man, he has pretty smooth mechanics and is able to repeat his delivery. The 25-year-old is a decent bullpen option in 2018, with a possible future as a setup man or closer in the big leagues.
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