Saturday, May 09, 2009

Who Will the Padres Draft in June?

Saturday May 9, 2009

Who Will the San Diego Padres Draft in the June MLB Amateur Draft?

The draft is approaching and the Padres have their highest draft pick since 2004.

At the number 3 overall pick, impact type players are certain to be available when the Padres turn comes up.

For 2009 there is a glaring dearth of positional players that are expected to go high in the draft, but as many as 3 of them may go in the top 10 overall picks.

I will start with 4 college players that are either consensus top 10 or in the case of Grant Green were expected to be picked by the Padres prior to the college season on the basis of system need.

So who will the Padres pick and why?

Grant Green (Boras)

Early in the year many said the Padres should go after an area of need and draft USC Shortstop Grant Green, but Green, whom the Padres drafted in the 14th round in 2006 out of high school and were unable to sign, has not hit for power in the 2008-2009 college baseball season and has committed 15 errors in just 44 games.

Green's batting average of .368 through May 5th sounds good, but he has hit only 3 home runs and 22 extra base hits total. His 31-17 SO/BB ratio is not promising for a light hitting SS either.

On most draft boards Grant Greens stock has fallen precipitously and he is now expected to go in the middle of the 1st round.

I do not expect the Padres to draft Green with their pick in 2009.

Alex White

Alex White of the University of North Carolina is another player that has been mentioned in connection with the Padres. White is a right handed sinkerball pitcher that can hit 95-96 on the gun. He also has a plus slider that he often uses an his out pitch.

In 2009 White has a 7-2 record with a 3.45 ERA in 11 starts. In 75.2 IP he has given up 61 hits and 31 walks while striking out 82.

After a 13-3 record with a 2.83 ERA in 15 starts and just 78 hits and 42 walks vs 113 strike outs during his sophomore year in 2008, many expected White to improve on that record in 2009, but his draft stock has not dropped.

He is still a good candidate to go #3 overall to the Padres in 2009.

Dustin Ackley (Boras)

White's teammate, 1B/OF Dustin Ackley is another prospect that is projected to go high in the draft. the left handed batting Ackley is hitting .400 with a ridiculous .726 slugging percentage and 15 home runs in 49 games. He is far and away the best college hitting prospect available in the draft.

The problem for the Padres is that he has primarily played first base following Tommy john surgery in July 2008. First base is a position of strength already in the Padres system headed by Adrian Gonzalez at San Diego with Kyle Blanks, the power hitting Felix Carrasco and 2008 1st round pick Allen Dykstra following close behind.

Many feel Ackley will move back to the outfield as a professional and while there are many outfielders in the Padres system with potential, none have stepped up and showed they can be a major league starter.

I would not be surprised at all to see the Padres pick Ackley with their #3 pick and move him to a corner OF position.

Kyle Gibson

This University of Missouri pitcher burst out of the gate so strongly this season that many felt he may go as high as 32 overall. While he has come down to earth a little, Gibson still has a 9-3 record in 13 starts with a 3.73 ERA. Gibson has given up 84 hits and 15 walks in 91.2 innings while striking out 115.

Gibson has a low 90's fastball which many scouts believe will improve in velocity as he bulks up from his current 208 lbs on a 6'6" frame. He also has a very good change up which he commands well and a devastating slider which grades out as a ++.

While Gibson lacks the high upside potential of some of the other pitchers in the 2009 draft, because of his outstanding control and size, in my opinion he is the most likely to reach his full potential as a professional.

In the past the Padres have chosen a large number of college pitchers with good control, so do not be surprised to see Gibson's name called when the Padres pick at #3.

In my next post I will cover 6 other players whose names may be called when the Padres pick int eh 2009 Amatuer Draft.

LHP Tyler Matzek of Capistrano Valley HS (CA)

RHP Aaron Crow - 1st round pick of the Washington National in 2008 out of the University of Missouri and current independent league Forth Worth Cats pitcher.

OF Donovan Tate of Cartersville HS (GA)

RHP Zack Wheeler of East Paulding HS (GA)

LHP Mike Leake of Arizona State University

LHP Matthew Purke of Klein HS (Tx)

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