With the 2019 MLB Draft just a few days away, we now have a better idea of where potential prospects might slot starting June 3. The Padres have six picks inside of the first five rounds (including 73, which comes via Competitive Balance Round B) and will have loads of talent to choose from in the draft.
One oddity that the 2019 Draft presents are the consensus among evaluators concerning pitchers. The talent just isn’t there to warrant a high pick on an arm this year. In fact, there isn’t a clear Top-5 pick in the entire class when it comes to both prep and college pitchers. Nick Lodolo, Alek Manoah, Jackson Rutledge, Zack Thompson, and George Kirby are all considered first-round talents but are viewed as back of the rotation or future bullpen arms. Only Lodolo carries a grade that might slot inside of the Top 10 this year.
According to a crosschecker whom I spoke with concerning this year’s draft, of all the college arms available, he believes that only Lodolo and Thompson have a chance to be possible number three starters when they reach the majors.
So if you were pinning your hopes of the Padres landing a top of the rotation piece this year, it’s probably best to pivot and select any one of the elite bats that will be available on day one.
The Padres own picks: 6, 48, 73, 84, 113 & 143, which make up the first five rounds. They’ll have a total of $10,758,900 to distribute amongst their selections this year, with a major chunk of that to be used across their first six selections. We’ll take a look at some possible targets for each of those slots in this piece. While there’s no Casey Mize or Brendan McKay to be found early, there are still quality major league arms in this year’s talent crop.
Without further delay, let’s have a look at a few players that might be available to the Padres in rounds 1-5. Slot values will be listed alongside the pick:
Round 1, Pick 6 ($5,742,900)
JJ Bleday, OF, Vanderbilt <Ht: 6-3/Wt:205/B-T: L-L> – He’s been as dominant as he’s been consistent this season and it makes perfect sense for the Padres to snag him if he’s available. He’s a well-rounded player who profiles as a bat-first guy but could be an above average defender in a corner outfield spot. Excellent control of the barrel through the zone and a quick, left-handed swing are just two attributes that have helped turn his plus raw power into in-game power this season. Led Division I with 25 home runs.
— Aaron Solomon (@theaaronsolomon) June 10, 2018
Hunter Bishop, OF, Arizona State < Ht:6-5/Wt:210/B-T: L-R> – He’s a former wide receiver and perhaps the best athlete in the draft. No player in college baseball made a bigger leap from last year to this year than the Sun Devils outfielder. His 1.274 OPS was tied for 6th in the nation, and his 22 HRs put him in a three-way tie for fourth in Division I. Every tool projects to be above average except for his arm, which is fringe-average, but very playable. Finished 2019 with a .356/.482/.792 slash line along with 11 stolen bases.
Hunter Bishop. Home run #20.
— Jack Harris (@Jack_A_Harris) May 8, 2019
Nick Lodolo, LHP, TCU < Ht: 6-6/Wt:185/B-T: L-L> – Arguably the best college pitcher in this draft, the 6-foot-6 lefty finished the 2019 regular season with a 6-4 record and 2.18 ERA. He has a projectable body and plenty of room to add strength. Both his breaking ball and changeup are currently above-average pitches. He works his fastball mainly down in the zone, which ultimately creates weak contact.
Nick Lodolo rolling right along for @TCU_Baseball Sitting 93, occ 94, spotting to both sides. Mixing two above average breakers, 86 88 SL & 80 81 CB. No No through 4. 3-0 Horned Frogs over @UHCougarBB pic.twitter.com/LOal1QgZfM
— David Seifert (@DSeifertD1PBR) March 1, 2019
Riley Greene, OF, Hagerty HS (Oviedo, FL) <Ht: 6-2/Wt:190/B-T: L-L> – Advanced approach, able to hit the ball to all fields, with the main knock on Greene being his range on defense. His limitations in the outfield and his fringy arm make him a likely candidate for first base as his career progresses. Greene possesses elite left-handed raw power and has plus bat speed rarely seen in a prep hitter. At 6-foot-2, 190 pounds, Greene has the frame to add muscle.
Here’s Riley Greene’s swing slowed down.
— Baseball America (@BaseballAmerica) May 19, 2019
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