SAN DIEGO -- The Padres pick third on Day 1 of the MLB Draft on Monday. Will they go with a pitcher or a hitter in the first round?The answer could very well be "both.":: 2017 MLB Draft coverage ::Hunter Greene and Brendan McKay, the top two overall Draft prospects
SAN DIEGO -- The Padres pick third on Day 1 of the MLB Draft on Monday. Will they go with a pitcher or a hitter in the first round?
The answer could very well be "both."
:: 2017 MLB Draft coverage ::
Hunter Greene and Brendan McKay, the top two overall Draft prospects according to MLBPipeline, are both two-way players as they enter professional ball. Both have been linked with the Padres, and if either falls to No. 3 it's not a stretch to think San Diego would go that direction. General manager A.J. Preller, after all, has established a penchant for taking the Draft's top athletes.
In Sunday's pre-Draft press conference, Preller noted that the Padres would be comfortable letting both Greene and McKay continue on their two-way path in professional ball.
"We've looked at those guys seriously both ways," Preller said. "We've talked about different scenarios in which, if they end up being Padres, do they go out and focus on one area? Or do we go down the path of letting them do both, using time to see which way they're better?
"Honestly, we've got a scouting group that feels like they can do both, like they're prospects at both. My guess is, if it goes that route, we'll take some time to figure that out in pro ball."
Of course, it's very unlikely that the duo would move through the ranks as two-way players. But should the Padres select either, he would at least begin his career playing on both sides of the ball.
Greene, the top Draft prospect according to MLBPipeline, is a right-hander/shortstop from Sherman Oaks, Calif., who attends Notre Dame High School. McKay, meanwhile, is on track to win the John Olerud Award as college baseball's best two-way player for a third year in a row. Drafted by the Padres out of high school, McKay has posted a 2.34 ERA at Louisville this season, alongside a .343 batting average and 17 homers.
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"His pitchability and the success he's had in college stands out," said Padres scouting director Mark Conner. "He keeps performing with the bat. He's hit, and the power continues to come. Like anybody that's watched him play, he's a very good two-way player. Then, you go to Hunter Greene, who's the high school side of that two-way player. ... Good delivery, throws strikes, spins the breaking ball. Defensively he has some of the best hands in the Draft, and he's got a good swing."
Should the Padres go a different route, it's very likely they select someone within the consensus top five prospects. High school left-hander Mackenzie Gore, high school shortstop Royce Lewis and Vanderbilt right-hander Kyle Wright are also options.
"We're not drafting for need," Preller said. "It's best guy available. It's not NBA or NFL where you draft a guy and the next year they're playing. It's a process that goes into place. I think teams make the most mistakes when they say, hey, we have to take this position."
The 2017 Draft takes place from Monday through Wednesday, beginning with the Draft preview show on MLB Network and MLB.com at 3 p.m PT on the 12th. MLB Network will broadcast the first 36 picks (Round 1 and Competitive Balance Round A), while MLB.com will stream all 75 picks on Day 1. MLB.com will also provide live pick-by-pick coverage of Rounds 3-10 on Day 2, starting at 10 a.m. PT. Then, Rounds 11-40 can be heard live on MLB.com on June 14, beginning at 9 a.m. PT.
Go to MLB.com/draft to see the Top 200 Prospects list, projected top picks from MLBPipeline.com analysts Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo, the complete order of selection and more. And follow @MLBDraft on Twitter to see what Draft hopefuls, clubs and experts are saying.
AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.