Padres to see if Allen sticks at catcher
Fourth-round Draft pick known for his offense
SAN DIEGO -- There's no questioning Austin Allen's bat, which is clearly the calling card of the player the Padres chose in the fourth round of the Draft on Tuesday.
Allen, a junior from Florida Tech, hit .421/.473/.728 with 11 home runs and 57 RBIs this spring with 37 extra-base hits while playing in the best Division II conference (Sunshine State) in the country.
"He had a great career for us here," said Florida Tech coach Greg Berkemeier told MLB.com. "… He's a pretty complete player for what his tools allow him to do."
But at 6-foot-4, 225 pounds, can Allen remain a catcher as a professional?
"I think he'll be able to," Berkemeier said. "He's got the arm strength. He's got to work on his flexibility. He's a larger human. He has the physical tools to do the job."
San Diego area scout Willie Bosque likes Allen's durability and makeup.
"He's a big and physical kid who shows power from the left side and handles himself well behind the plate," Bosque said.
San Diego scouting director Mark Conner said Allen will be given every opportunity to remain a catcher.
"We believe he can, but it will definitely take some work on his part," Conner said. "He'll have to work on his flexibility and his ability and stay athletic behind the plate. He does have the skill set to stay back there if he works at it."
Round 3: RHP Jacob Nix, IMG Academy
Nix is the curious case from a year ago. He was selected by the Astros in the fifth round and was set to sign before the Brady Aiken situation meant his bonus money wasn't going to be what it once was. He spent the spring at IMG in Florida, where he refined his secondary pitches and showcased the mid-90s fastball that scouts loved last spring.
Round 5: OF Josh Magee, Franklinton (LA) HS
In the fifth round, the Padres selected Josh Magee, an outfielder from Franklinton High School in Louisiana. Magee, who has committed to play at Southern Mississippi, was recently named the NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune Player of the Year.
Magee hit .529 this spring as a leadoff hitter and had 29 stolen bases. He also had a .624 on-base percentage and an .824 slugging percentage.
"Plus-athlete in center field with a feel to hit," said Stephen Baker, the Padres area scout for southern Louisiana and southern Texas. "His instincts are really good in the outfield as well as on the bases. He's a great kid who was an all-state cornerback in football."
Conner said Magee could have the chance to play second base down the road.