Padres make 10 picks on busy Day 2 of Draft

July 12th, 2021

After taking high school shortstop Jackson Merrill on Day 1 of the 2021 MLB Draft, the Padres had 10 selections on Day 2.

They started with another high-upside high schooler from Maryland, then they went with nine straight college players -- six pitchers, a couple infielders and a catcher. Here's a rundown of the Day 2 selections:

Round 2, 62nd overall: James Wood, OF, IMG Academy (Fla.)

Notable Skill: Wood, who burst onto the scene after transferring from his Maryland high school to IMG Academy in Florida for his senior season, has ridiculous raw power, which scouts say could project as a 25-30-homer type bat in the big leagues. It might take some work to get there, however, as Wood’s mechanics lead to some swings and misses. Still, the Padres seem confident enough that he’ll get there, and they couldn’t pass up his blend of athleticism and power.

Fun Fact: Wood's father played basketball professionally in Europe and his sister currently plays basketball at Northwestern.

Quotable: "It was never really a question with him, between baseball and basketball. He always loved baseball." -- Wood's mother, Paula, to the Sag Harbor Express

Competitive Balance Round B, 71st overall: Robert Gasser, LHP, Houston

Notable skill: Gasser spent two seasons at junior college before transferring to Houston, where he posted a 2.63 ERA in 2021. His fastball rose into the low 90s and now tops out around 96 mph, and he has a hybrid breaking ball with an OK changeup. But his most notable trait is probably his advanced feel for simply throwing strikes.

Fun fact: The Padres have developed a habit of drafting lefties with excellent pickoff moves in recent years. Think Eric Lauer and Ryan Weathers. Gasser led the American Athletic Conference with seven pickoffs in 2021.

Round 3, 99th overall: Kevin Kopps, RHP, Arkansas

Notable skill: His resilience. Kopps redshirted the 2016 season and missed the '18 campaign following Tommy John surgery, but he flourished as a sixth-year senior at Arkansas. Kopps projects exclusively as a reliever, and although his fastball sits only 90 mph or so, he gets by with a very good cutter in the mid-to-upper 80s.

Fun fact: Kopps was the SEC Pitcher of the Year, and he led Division I pitchers with a 0.90 ERA and a 0.76 WHIP en route to winning the Dick Houser Trophy as the college player of the year.

Quotable: "I'd say because of Kevin's age and his maturity, you could send him to a Double-A clubhouse right out of college and he would be accepted by the players because of who he is and the way he acts, and the way he works. They're going to like him.” -- Dave Van Horn, Arkansas head coach, to the Northwest Arkansas, Democrat-Gazette

Round 4, 129th overall: Jackson Wolf, LHP, West Virginia

Notable skill: At 6-foot-7, Wolf's biggest asset on the mound might be his imposing presence. There's a chance his stuff plays up in the bullpen, as he owns a low-90s fastball, to go along with a slider and a changeup.

Fun fact: Wolf threw a 138-pitch complete game in West Virginia's upset of top-seeded Texas in the Big 12 Tournament.

Round 5, 160th overall: Max Ferguson, 2B, Tennessee

Notable skill: Ferguson has a knack for hitting, simple as that. Though his average took a bit of step back in 2021, he added plenty of power, helping lead Tennessee to the College World Series. Ferguson's speed is also special, and he'll likely be able to find success anywhere up the middle -- second, short or center field.

Fun fact: Ferguson hit a clutch walk-off home run against No. 1 ranked Arkansas on May 15.

Round 6, 190th overall: Ryan Bergert, RHP, West Virginia

Notable skill: It's hard to know what to make of Bergert from his time at West Virginia, considering he missed the 2021 season due to injury and made only four starts before the pandemic shut down his '20 campaign. But in '19, Bergert posted a 1.85 ERA in 17 games. His fastball gets up to the mid-90s, and it has life.

Fun fact: Bergert shared a rotation with fellow Padres draftee Jackson Wolf.

Round 7, 220th overall: Ryan Och, LHP, Southern Mississippi

Notable skill: Och projects as a left-handed reliever with a knack for striking out hitters. Needless to say, those are extremely valuable organizational pieces. His fastball hits the mid-90s.

Fun fact: Och went undefeated during his senior season: 8-0 with a 1.27 ERA.

Round 8, 250th overall: Lucas Dunn, 2B, Louisville

Notable skill: Dunn's defining trait might be his versatility. He played second, short, third and outfield during his senior season at Louisville, and he can hit a bit, too, with a smooth right-handed stroke.

Fun fact: Dunn, who has played for the German national team and has dual citizenship, speaks fluent German.

Round 9, 280th overall: Garrett Hawkins, RHP, University of British Columbia

Notable skill: Hawkins comes right after hitters, the trait the Padres liked most in the 6-foot-5 right-hander. His fastball hits 95 mph, and he complements it with a swing-and-miss split-finger fastball. He perhaps projects as a bullpen weapon, or -- if he can add a third pitch -- a back-end starter.

Fun fact: Hawkins hails from Biggar, Saskatchewan. The town motto: "New York is big, but this is Biggar."

Round 10, 310th overall: Colton Bender, C, Quinnipiac

Notable skill: Bender has the precise makeup you want in a catcher. He's tough, he’s a leader and he's fantastic at working with pitching staffs. Oh, and he can hit, too. Bender posted a .295 average across four college seasons and he should grow into some power.

Fun fact: Bender made the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference All-Academic First Team in each of his four seasons at Quinnipiac.

Quotable: "I've always been one of the smaller kids on the team, but I've always proven myself, no matter where I've played, no matter what team I've been on. That's what drives me every single day to become a better version of myself." -- Bender, to the New London Day