Padres' Draft class full of extra-large athletes
Of the club's 39 selections, only seven are high schoolers
SAN DIEGO -- By the time the Padres put the finishing touches on their 39-man Draft class, the scorecard didn't so much resemble a list of aspiring big league baseball players as it did a call for NFL combine hopefuls.
All told, 17 of the players the Padres drafted this week stand 6-foot-4 or taller. The tallest was seventh-round pick, pitcher Trevor Megill from Loyola Marymount (6-8). The largest was sixth-round pick, pitcher Jordan Guerrero (260 pounds) from Polk State College in Florida.
"Honestly, when we were going through and looking at players, there's a lot of things we look at in players," said Padres first-year scouting director Mark Conner. "… A lot of these guys are bigger humans, but if you look in the big leagues, there's a lot of bigger humans there, too. It wasn't by design."
But, to be clear, these aren't by any means some lummoxes the team found grazing on a local cow pasture, but big athletes who, the team believes, have bright futures in help shaping the future of the franchise.
The Padres drafted 39 players; 23 pitchers (18 right-handed, five left-handed), six outfielders, four catchers, three shortstops and one first baseman, second baseman and third baseman each.
Only seven of the 39 players selected were high school players, including second-round draft choice, pitcher Austin Smith, and fifth-round pick, outfielder Josh Magee.
The Padres didn't get their first pick (Smith) until No. 51 overall and were without their top two picks in the Draft (Nos. 13 and 41) after signing free-agent pitcher James Shields and trading away a pick to get Craig Kimbrel from the Braves.
That led to the second-lowest Draft pool ($3,671,200) in the big leagues.
But the Padres weren't fazed by that, Conner said. He relied heavily on the people in the team's Draft room, including general manager A.J. Preller and special assistant David Post, to assist the team's scouting operation, finding gems, finding value, finding athletes.
"The group in the room, the national guys, regional guys, all them have a wealth of knowledge, have different vantage points on scouting and a different feel for different areas of the country … they really harnessed in the things that separate players," Conner said.
"All of those guys were tremendous resources. This Draft was a Draft that they all put together, along with all of the area guys [scouts]."
Many of the 23 pitchers the Padres selected come with big arms, like Guerrero, who has hit 98 mph this spring. Megill is up to 96, less than two years removed from Tommy John surgery.
Conner didn't consider the added arms to have anything to do with the team restocking its farm system after several winter trades by Preller depleted some of the talent in the organization.
The team added position player athletes, too. High school outfielder Magee, a fifth-round pick, can fly at the top of the order. The team's 10th-round pick, outfielder Justin Pacchioli from Lehigh, ran a 6.39 60-yard dash. Outfielder Chris Chatfield from Spoto High in Florida fell to the 23rd round. He's committed to the University of South Florida and might be tough to sign.
Another athlete, catcher Jamar Smith (24th round) from Meridian, Miss., is headed to Louisiana Tech on a football scholarship to play quarterback. He might be a tough sign as well.