Padres take House to open Day 2 of Draft

June 13th, 2017

SAN DIEGO -- After taking three high school prospects on Day 1 of the 2017 Draft, the Padres added three more to start Day 2 on Tuesday.

It's the first time in franchise history that the Padres have opened a Draft with six consecutive high school players. (They began the 1971, '75 and '93 editions with five straight.)

"A lot of people are going to say high school is more risky than college, because they're a few years younger," scouting director Mark Conner said Monday. "The work our scouts did on these players, getting to know the player, takes a little of that away. ... We took multiple times, seeing them in practice settings, game settings, workouts, summer, fall. We were around these guys constantly. I think when you get to know them as people that mitigates risk."

:: 2017 MLB Draft coverage ::

Here's a pick-by-pick breakdown of the Padres selections on Day 2.

Round 3 (78th overall), OF Mason House, Whitehouse High School (Texas)

The Padres are supremely confident in their scouts' ability to discern talent in a vacuum. That much was evident with their selection of House.

The left-handed-hitting outfielder is a highly regarded prospect with a smooth swing and a big leaguer's 6-foot-3, 190-pound frame. But he didn't play much on the showcase circuit, meaning scouts didn't get much of a look at House against elite competition. He batted .409 with an .833 slugging percentage during his senior season.

"Everyone I met in the Padres organization, I've really enjoyed talking to them," House said. "I was ecstatic to hear them call my name today."

House isn't the only draftee out of Whitehouse this year. His high school was also home to Patrick Mahomes, the No. 10 pick in the NFL Draft, whose father, Pat, spent 11 years in the big leagues.

In a bit of a fun coincidence, House's selection marked the second year in a row in which the Padres have opened Day 2 by taking a Texas high schooler named Mason. Righty Mason Thompson has panned out thus far, having shot to No. 21 on the Padres' top prospects list.

Round 4 (108th overall), RHP Sam Keating, Canterbury High School (Florida)

Keating's velocity jumped into the mid-90s this year, and he moved into the spotlight with four shutout innings in March at the National High School Invitational.

"We definitely see him as a starting pitcher," Conner said. "It's a good arm action, delivery, potential for a plus strike-thrower with four pitches. We're going to start that."

In his senior season at Canterbury High, Keating went 11-1 with a 1.06 ERA.

Round 5 (138th overall), 3B Jonny Homza, South Anchorage High School (Alaska)

Jonny Homza turned 18 on Tuesday. Not a bad way to celebrate.

The high school infielder can play both shortstop and third base, but he's projected to play third base professionally. Homza was named the Alaska high school player of the year for the second year in a row this season.

"We're in a corner of the United States that doesn't get much recognition," said Homza's high school coach Taylor Nerland. "We tell all our guys that if you're good enough, someone is going to find you. ... And when you see him play, you take notice. He sets himself apart, even in warmups, he never takes an at-bat or a ground ball lightly. He does everything at game speed."

In the same vein as House, Homza furthers the trend of the Padres' confidence in their scouts. Having played high school ball in Alaska, Homza didn't compete much against top competition, but his numbers -- a .560 batting average, .700-plus OBP and 19 steals are flat-out excellent.

Round 6 (168th overall), LHP, Aaron Leasher, Morehead State University

Leasher's numbers don't jump off the page. During his junior season at Morehead State, the Michigan native posted a 4.19 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP. The Padres think his stuff is the real deal, however, and there are peripheral reasons to believe that. Conner said Leasher was a "gut-feel guy" among Padres scouts.

Leasher, who wasn't drafted out of high school, has 212 strikeouts over 28 starts in his past two seasons at Morehead State. He owns two of the three highest single-season strikeout totals in school history. Leasher could become a serious strikeout threat in professional ball, but he needs to cut down on walks after recording 102 of them in 211 college innings. There are signs he may already be doing so, however, as his walk rate plummeted in 2017.

"When you face the professional hitter, time will tell if he's a big punchout guy," Conner said. "But there's a lot of ingredients to like."

Round 7 (198th overall), LHP Nick Margevicius, Rider University

Despite his 6-foot-5 big league-type frame, Margevicius is more effective with his command than his power. He posted a 2.89 ERA with 79 strikeouts in 87 1/3 innings during his junior season at Rider, where he served as captain. Margevicius, whose fastball sits around 90 mph, is still developing a slider, which could augment his strikeout numbers. The left-hander proved himself extremely durable in college, having averaged nearly seven innings per start this season.

Round 8 (228th overall), SS Olivier Basabe, Faulkner University

Basabe led Faulkner to the NAIA title game, hitting .342 this season with 20 doubles and three homers this season. It's unclear whether he'll play shortstop or second in professional ball, given the slew of shortstops the club has signed internationally over the last 12 months.

"Outside chance he could stay there," Conner said. "He's definitely got actions and hands that could potentially keep him in the middle of the diamond at short and would most likely move him to second base. I think there's a chance, but internally we've got some pretty good shortstops that [international scouting director] Chris Kemp signed, so there will be some competition."

Basabe hails from Maracaibo, Venezuela, the hometown of current Padres right-hander .

Round 9 (258th overall), RHP Alex Cunningham, Coastal Carolina

The Padres went with a proven winner in the ninth round Tuesday afternoon. After all, it was Cunningham who closed out one of the unlikeliest national championships in recent memory, when Coastal Carolina won the 2016 College World Series.

Though he pitched the final three frames last June in Omaha, Cunningham has been primarily a starter throughout his collegiate career. After he was taken in the 28th round of the 2016 Draft by Detroit, Cunningham opted to return for his senior season. He posted a 2.63 ERA and an absurd strikeout-to-walk rate of 117-to-24. He limited opponents to just a .195 batting average against.

Round 10 (288th overall), RHP Dominic Taccolini, University of Arkansas

Taccolini moved into the Razorbacks' bullpen for his senior season in 2017. He posted a 4.24 ERA in 20 appearances -- 15 of them coming in relief. With a mid-90s fastball, he could become a valuable bullpen arm for the Padres -- and he could progress quickly.

Taccolini helped pitch the Razorbacks to a top seed in their regional this year. But his personal career highlight came in 2016 when he served as Arkansas' primary Friday night starter. He pitched the only 10-inning shutout in Division I last year, blanking 12th-ranked Kentucky in a 1-0 victory.

The Draft concludes on Wednesday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on at 9 a.m. PT.