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Weathers latest in Padres' stable of LHPs

Organization boasts several talented lefty arms; Guilbe a high-upside reach on Day 3; Preller likes multi-sport athletes
MLB.com @AJCassavell

SAN DIEGO -- Before this week's Draft, the Padres already boasted the top contingent of left-handed pitching prospects in baseball. And then they added Ryan Weathers in the first round.

• Every Padres pick

SAN DIEGO -- Before this week's Draft, the Padres already boasted the top contingent of left-handed pitching prospects in baseball. And then they added Ryan Weathers in the first round.

• Every Padres pick

The 18-year-old southpaw out of Loretto High joins a group of immensely talented lefties in the Padres' system -- from the top down. Already this season, Joey Lucchesi and Eric Lauer have reached the big leagues. But according to MLB Pipeline, they were only the fourth- and fifth-best left-handed prospects entering the year.

• Padres Top 30 prospects

:: 2018 Draft coverage ::

Atop that list is MacKenzie Gore, the No. 3 overall selection in the 2017 Draft. Adrian Morejon -- San Diego's No. 6 ranked prospect -- got off to a rough start at Class A Advanced this season, but he owns a 2.34 ERA over the past month. Logan Allen, meanwhile, has been excellent for Double-A San Antonio. He pitched seven innings of a combined no-hitter this week and owns a 3.24 ERA.

Now the Padres have Weathers, too. Taken with the seventh overall selection on Monday night, Weathers posted absurd numbers in his senior season at Loretto High. He pitched 76 innings, struck out 148 hitters and allowed only one earned run.

Make no mistake: The organizational push toward left-handers wasn't a coincidence.

"Dating back to 2015, that year we definitely learned a valuable lesson," said Padres general manager A.J. Preller. "At the big league level, Frank Garces was probably the only real option we had to come in from the left-hand side, and we didn't have a lot of left-handed pitching in the system. We definitely made it our priority in trades, free agents, international."

Three years later, Preller has a roster and a farm system packed with lefties. On Wednesday afternoon, the Padres used left-handers Matt Strahm, Jose Castillo and Brad Hand for multiple innings. Allen started for Double-A San Antonio. Nick Margevicius started for Class A Fort Wayne.

"Our group has done a really good job identifying left-handed pitching over the last few years that we feel are big league-type guys," Preller said. "They're definitely a big part of our system. We've got some depth there."

Padres reach for Guilbe on Day 3
The Padres used seven of their eight Day 2 selections on college players, including a trio of seniors to end the afternoon. Very few of those picks feature signability concerns, meaning the Padres could have some extra money to play with in their Draft pool.

Video: ATL@SD: Preller on Padres' early draft selections

Enter Sean Guilbe, MLB Pipeline's No. 155 Draft prospect -- taken in the 12th round at No. 351 overall, largely because of his commitment to Vanderbilt. He's a strong right-handed hitter, who can play both second and third base.

The Padres own the seventh-largest bonus pool in the Draft at $10,462,200. They acquired an extra selection -- and an extra $812,000 toward that pool -- in the Phil Hughes trade in late May. With that flexibility, they might be able to pry Guilbe from Tennessee.

"Today we tried to be creative in who we took and who we looked at, how we may allocate the money post-[10th round]," said scouting director Mark Conner. " ... Today was a day of being creative."

Preller keen on multi-sport athletes
Not only did Weathers lead Loretto to consecutive state baseball title games. He also led his school to its first Tennessee Class A basketball title. Third-rounder Owen Miller and fourth-rounder Dylan Coleman both set their high school's scoring records in basketball.

Video: Preller, Conner on picking Weathers seventh overall

Fifth-rounder Dwanya Williams-Sutton was a three-sport star who once threw down a highlight-reel putback dunk. Seventh-rounder Jawuan Harris played wide receiver and safety at Rutgers and was named to the All-Big Ten freshman football team in 2016.

Obviously, there's a theme here.

"You used to go in and talk to everybody, and everybody was playing three sports," Preller said. "Most of these guys play baseball year-round now. That's definitely been a shift probably in the last five to seven years. ... In terms of the guys that we took that are athletic and play other sports, we see it as a positive."

By the numbers
Over the course of the three days, the Padres skewed slightly pitching-heavy, taking 25 arms and 16 bats. Of those 25 pitchers, 17 were right-handers.

They also took 23 college players, compared with just 18 out of high school. Among their first 12 picks, nine played baseball in the college ranks this year.

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

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