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Padres draft SS Miller in college-heavy Day 2

Illinois State standout hit .384 in junior-year season
June 5, 2018

SAN DIEGO -- The Padres went college-heavy on Day 2 of the MLB Draft, using seven of their eight picks to select college players, including a trio of seniors late in the afternoon.• Draft Tracker: Follow every Padres Draft pickA day after nabbing left-hander Ryan Weathers at No. 7, shortstop

SAN DIEGO -- The Padres went college-heavy on Day 2 of the MLB Draft, using seven of their eight picks to select college players, including a trio of seniors late in the afternoon.
Draft Tracker: Follow every Padres Draft pick
A day after nabbing left-hander Ryan Weathers at No. 7, shortstop Xavier Edwards at 38 and outfielder Grant Little at 74, San Diego kicked things off Tuesday by selecting shortstop Owen Miller out of Illinois State.
:: 2018 Draft coverage ::
The Draft concludes on Wednesday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on at noon ET. Here's a breakdown of all eight Padres selections on Day 2.
Round 3: SS Owen Miller, Illinois State
Miller succeeded Paul DeJong as Illinois State's shortstop in 2016. He played short in every inning of every game over those next three seasons. Head coach Bo Durkac managed them both.
"Owen was, in my opinion, a more complete hitter," Durkac said.
That's high praise, considering DeJong finished second in National League Rookie of the Year Award voting last season. Durkac noted that DeJong offered a bit more power. But Miller had a better all-fields approach and was a bit savvier at reaching base.
It's probably likelier that the 6-foot Miller ends up at second base. The Padres -- already loaded with middle-infield talent -- coveted his bat and his athleticism. Miller batted .384/.433/.537 during his junior season at Illinois State.
But his most spectacular feat came during summer ball in 2017. Playing for the Lakeshore Chinooks in the Northwoods League, Miller hit for the cycle twice in a span of three days. (The Padres have all of two cycles in their entire history.)
"He's as talented a pure hitter as anyone I've ever coached in 16 years," Durkac said. "... He's a good athlete and one of the more instinctive ballplayers."
Round 4: RHP Dylan Coleman, Missouri State
Two years ago, San Diego also took a fourth-rounder from a Missouri university with high strikeout numbers. It worked well in their favor, as Joey Lucchesi is now one of the top rookie pitchers in the Major Leagues.
With their fifth pick of the 2018 Draft, the Padres selected Coleman, a 6-foot-6, 215 pound junior out of Missouri State.
Coleman is coming off of a 10-2 season in which he collected 129 strikeouts, the 14th highest in the nation. He served as Missouri State's ace and notched 102 2/3 innings this season. His best pitch is his fastball, which topped out at 98 mph this season, according to MLB Pipeline's scouting report.
Round 5: OF Dwanya Williams-Sutton, East Carolina
Hand injuries have limited Williams-Sutton in his tenure at East Carolina. His at-bats were limited during his sophomore and junior seasons there.
But the Padres drafted Williams-Sutton based on his tools and his potential. He's got plenty. In his junior season at East Carolina, he batted .331/.479/.562 with seven homers and 18 steals.
Williams-Sutton was taken by Cincinnati in 26th round of the 2015 Draft, but he didn't sign.
Round 6: LHP Alexuan Vega, Leonides Morales Rodriguez High School (Puerto Rico)
A left-hander from Puerto Rico, Vega owns a very good slider, which makes up for his lower velocity. Still, the Padres are hopeful that the 6-foot-2, 160-pounder grows into his lanky frame and can add a few ticks to his upper-80s fastball.
Vega is verbally committed to Miami Dade college.
Round 7: OF Jawuan Harris, Rutgers
Harris was named to the All-Big Ten freshman football team as a wide receiver in 2016 when he hauled in 39 receptions for 481 yards and three touchdowns. In '17, he moved to defensive back where he tied the team lead with three picks.
Harris almost certainly won't get to play his redshirt junior football season. Since the beginning of the year, Harris hasn't worked with the football program, as he has begun to turn his focus to baseball full-time.
Harris struggled a bit in his junior baseball season, hitting just .246 with two homers, but he swiped 22 bags. Still, there's optimism that Harris' elite athleticism will shine through if and when his focus turns to baseball.
"I think there's a curiosity about him -- what if he just specialized in one sport?" Rutgers baseball coach Joe Litterio told "I think that's something we'll find out, I guess."
Round 8: RHP Steven Wilson, Santa Clara
A sturdy, 6-foot-4 right-hander, Wilson appeared in 16 games for Santa Clara, posting a 3.07 ERA over 44 innings.
Wilson, a six-year senior, missed the entire 2017 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. San Diego has gambled with Tommy John recoveries in Drafts of the past, with the most recent being in '16 with first-round pick Cal Quantrill and third-rounder Mason Thompson.
High risk? Possibly. High reward? We'll see.
Round 9: 2B Luke Becker, Kentucky
A four-year senior second baseman from the University of Kentucky? The Padres already have one of those: manager Andy Green.
The San Diego skipper still owns the all-time hits record at Kentucky. But Becker put up his share of impressive offensive numbers. He reached base at a .410 clip during his senior season.
Becker's story is also one of survival. He was inside a grain elevator during an explosion this past December and was thrown 20 feet in the blast. But Becker escaped with only relatively minimal burns. Six months later, he's a Padres Draft pick.
Round 10: RHP Jose Quezada, Texas Tech
Quezada made 19 relief appearances during his senior season at Texas Tech, posting a 1.99 ERA over 31 2/3 innings. He struck out 38.
Quezada is also the third consecutive college senior taken by the Padres to end Day 2 of the Draft. That could be a prelude of what's to come on Day 3.
Traditionally, college seniors sign for less than their slot's assigned value. That might leave general manager A.J. Preller and Co. with enough financial flexibility to take a bigger name late in the Draft -- even one with signability questions.

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. Katie Woo covers the Padres for Follow her on Twitter @katiejwoo.