Sunday, May 10, 2009

Who Will the Padres Draft in June? Part Deux

Sunday May 10, 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.

In the first part of this article I profiled 4 players that the Padres have either been rumored to be interested in or whom the Padres are currently scouting heavily.

In this section I will profile 6 players I think are high tools type players or players that the Padres should be scouting heavily.

So who will the Padres pick and why?

LHP Tyler Matzek of Capistrano Valley HS (CA)
This 6'3" 190 lb lefty is among the most polished high school pitchers I have seen in many years. His delivery is absolutely effortless and his mechanics are spot on.

While his fastball sits at 91-93, he can crank it up to 95 when needed and he has a two Plus secondary pitches in an 1-7 curve that is nasty and a slider that breaks late. He also mixes in an improving change up that could be a 4th plus pitch.

He may not have #1 upside, but I can see him being a very good #2 in the major leagues for years to come.

He may go as high as number two overall and the Padres could gain something they have not had in years, a dominating lefty starter.

I can see him going to the Padres with the number 3 pick.

OF Donovan Tate of Cartersville HS (GA) (Boras)

The 6'3" 210 lb Tate may be the best overall athlete expected to be drafted in the first round. He is already committed to North Carolina as a Quarterback and wants to play baseball for the Tar Heels as well.

Tate has blazing speed, his 6.4 in the 60-yard is .3 faster than any current player in the Padres system, and he throws a 92-93 mph fast ball.

But it is as a hitter and an outfielder that most teams are looking at Tate. Tate is projected to have 80 speed, 70 arm and 60+ defense, while hitting with 20+ home run power as a professional.

The drawbacks are that Tate is very raw as a hitter and is lacking in patience at the plate. Combine that with Boras as an agent/adviser and the fact that he has already committed to the University of North Carolina in football and that his father, Lars Tate, was a former NFL player and you have a potential signability problem.

Tate may be the first high school player taken in the June Draft and he may fall out of the top 10 rounds depending on how hard teams feel it may be to sign him.

RHP Aaron Crow - 1st round pick of the Washington Nationals (#9 overall) in 2008 out of the University of Missouri and current independent league Forth Worth Cats pitcher. (Boras)

Crow is a 6'2" 205 lb power pitcher who is a fierce competitor. His fastball touches 96 mph and he normally sits 93-94 with with good command to both sides of the plate. He also throws a hard biting slider and a change up that shows real promise.

He was drafted with the 9th overall pick by the "Natinals" in 2008, but they failed to come to terms and Crow went on to pitch for the Cats.

A potential drawback is a hitch in his pitching mechanics that has many scouts leary of future injuries. It is the same type of mechanical flaw that most feel led to Mark Prior's devastating shoulder injuries.

Where Crow goes in the June draft will depend heavily on how he pitches for the independent league Ft. Worth Cats who started their season May 4th. Crow threw 4 scoreless innings in his first start before giving way to the bullpen.

RHP Zack Wheeler of East Paulding HS (GA)
The 6′4, 180 Wheeler is long and lanky and undoubtedly will grow into his body over time. His fastball sits at 90-93 with good late movement and can hit 96. Many scouts believe that his velocity will increase as a professional as he adds some bulk.

Wheeler's secondary pitches include a + hard slurve at 74-78 and change up that still needs work. He has a consistent delivery and good command of his fastball and slurve.

Wheeler projects as a #1-#2 type pitcher and also to go in the top 10 on draft day and may go as high as #3, but is likely going to be drafted after the Padres pick at #3.

LHP Mike Leake of Arizona State University
At 6'0" 180 lbs, Leake is not an imposing figure on the mound, but he gets outstanding results.
This season he has gone 12-1 in 13 appearances with a 1.47 era. In 97.2 IP he has given up just 59 hits while striking out 104 vs just 18 walks.

His 2 seam fastball sits 88-92 with lots of late movement. He has good command over all of his pitches. His change up and curve have a sharp break and has went to a slider more this season. None of his pitches are ++, but he throws strikes and keeps batters off kilter by changing speeds and location. His delivery is smooth and compact and he works very quickly.

Of all the people on this list, Leake may have the quickest path to the major leagues, but his ceiling is lower than many on here. In most books he projects as a #2 or most likely a #3 starter.

Leake will probably be on the board long past the Padres pick at #3, but he will definitely be drafted in the top to middle of the 1st round.

LHP Matthew Purke of Klein HS (Tx)
At the beginning of the season Matthew Purke topped many lists of high school pitchers. A good but not outstanding prep season has seen him fall from a consensus top 5 pick to somewhere in the top-mid 1st round.

The 6'3" 185 lb Purke throws from a 3.4 arm slot which gives his fastball good sink. His fastball sits at 89-92 and regularly touches 94. He has a plus curve, but his slider and change up need work. What worries many scouts most is his long delivery and "inverted w" mechanics. This means his hands break low and this puts stress on his shoulder as his hand catches up with his stride.

Purke will probably still go in the top 10-12 in the 1st round, but I do not believe he will go at #3 to the Padres.

A few other names have been thrown around by many of the MLB draft mavens, but the Padres are not known to have heavily scouted them so I would place them on a list of interesting players, but not likely to be drafted by the Padres at #3.

They include:
RHP Tanner Scheppers of the Independent League St. Paul Saints
RHP Shelby Miller of Brownwood HS (Tex.)
RHP Jacob Turner of Westminster Christian Academy (Mo.)

Now the big question.

Who do I feel the Padres SHOULD take in the draft?

If he is available I think the best pick on the board is Dustin Ackley. He is a true 5 tool player.

Who do I think the Padres WILL take?

If he is still on the boad I believe the Padres will take Ackley. He is simply the best player on the board other than Strasburg. If he is not available I believe the Padres will either take Alex White of North Carolina or Aaron Crow of the Ft Worth Cats.

I have had my say. Now what do you think?

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