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Padres take top prep catcher in second round

MLB.com @AJCassavell

SAN DIEGO -- When Luis Campusano-Bracero stepped on the field at Petco Park for the Perfect Game All-American Classic last August, he made sure to soak in the moment.

"I walked onto the warning track," he said. "The first thing I did was I threw some dirt over my shoulder and told myself I was going to [play] here one day."

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SAN DIEGO -- When Luis Campusano-Bracero stepped on the field at Petco Park for the Perfect Game All-American Classic last August, he made sure to soak in the moment.

"I walked onto the warning track," he said. "The first thing I did was I threw some dirt over my shoulder and told myself I was going to [play] here one day."

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Campusano-Bracero is at least part of the way to reaching that goal. The Padres selected the 18-year-old backstop with their second selection in the 2017 MLB Draft on Monday night.

:: 2017 MLB Draft coverage ::

The No. 39 overall pick, Campusano-Bracero attended Cross Creek High School in Augusta, Ga., where he batted .622 with 13 doubles and six homers during his senior year, en route to being named the state's player of the year.

"We felt he was as good as any of the catchers at the high school or college ranks," said Padres general manager A.J. Preller. "He sits well, receives really well, blocks well. He has a contact bat, knows the strike zone."

Campusano-Bracero was the first of two prep catchers that the Padres selected Monday. They would later take Blake Hunt at No. 69 overall in the compensation-pick B round. The two backstops followed left-hander MacKenzie Gore, who was selected third overall, the club's highest pick since 2009.

The Draft will continue Tuesday with Rounds 3-10. The MLB.com preview show begins at 12:30 p.m. ET, with exclusive coverage beginning at 1 p.m. ET.

MLBPipeline ranked Campusano-Bracero as the Draft's best high school catcher and its second-best catching prospect overall. It appears as though Campusano-Bracero has the tools to remain behind the plate, where his arm and pop time are both elite among catchers his age. According to MLBPipeline, he also possesses power potential that could lead to double-digit homers in the big leagues.

Video: Draft Report: Luis Campusano, High School catcher

"My defense is first, but I feel like I'm more well-rounded than most catchers," said Campusano-Bracero. "My priority is to catch first, but I feel like I can also bring some hitting ability and power to the plate. I feel like the San Diego Padres have brought in a well-rounded catcher that they can develop."

Campusano-Bracero said he spends hours online watching the ways different catchers receive and block pitches. His favorite player to emulate is Kansas City's Salvador Perez, a four-time Gold Glove Award winner.

His father, Genaro Campusano, was drafted by the Pirates as a catcher in 1989, and he played five seasons in professional ball, never making it past Class A.

"That was important, coming from a professional background," said Preller. "You start to talk to him, you see his work ethic, see him talk about the game, breaking down Minor League catchers, breaking down other prospects, guys that he wants to be better than. That's a high-school catcher who's been around the game."

Campusano-Bracero spent Monday night watching the Draft from his high-school auditorium, surrounded by friends and family. When his name was called, they erupted.

"I was just really anxious to hear my name picked," he said. "I'm glad I got picked by the Padres. I just celebrated the moment with my family and friends. It turned out where I wanted to be. I couldn't ask for anything better."

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.

San Diego Padres