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Padres tab high school lefty Fried with top pick

SAN DIEGO -- The Padres went big Monday in the First-Year Player Draft -- big as in 6-foot-4 left-hander Max Fried, a hard-throwing pitcher from Harvard-Westlake High School in Studio City, Calif.

The Padres later added two more high school pitchers -- Zach Eflin with the 33rd overall pick and Walker Weickel at No. 55 -- in addition to a college outfielder, Travis Jankowski, with the 44th overall selection.

"We wanted upside, impact guys. ... Vanilla wasn't going to be good enough," said Chad MacDonald, the Padres' assistant general manager of player personnel.. "Every club thinks they had a good day. I know we did."

Fried was rated the fifth-best player on the Padres' Draft board going into the day, and they were happy to get him with the seventh overall pick.

"It's loose, athletic, 6-foot-4, a downhill delivery and good arm action," MacDonald said. "It's the way it's supposed to look. We were tickled to death to get our lefty at seven."

Fried has a fastball that sits in the 90-91 mph range, though he can reach higher at times. He also has a very good curveball, which is regarded by many as a plus pitch.

Fried previously pitched for Montclair Prep, which is also in California, but when the school ended its athletics program, Fried then joined forces with pitcher Lucas Giolito, whom he had befriended at Area Code tryouts the summer prior and was picked by the Washington Nationals nine spots after Fried.

"Being a Southern California boy and being drafted by a Southern California organization, there's no better place I'd rather be, especially with it being a pitchers' park," Fried said on a conference call Monday. "I felt at home there, I felt it was somewhere I was able to be myself than other places I wasn't.

"I can't say enough about the Padres' organization. It's an amazing opportunity for me to be selected."

Fried was 8-2 with a 2.02 ERA and 105 strikeouts against 29 walks and 43 hits allowed in 66 innings during his senior season. The 18-year-old also played in the Perfect Game All-American Classic last year at Petco Park and was rated as the top left-handed pitcher by Baseball America among all players in the 2012 Draft class. The southpaw has committed to play for UCLA.

"Max goes through spurts when he wants to do everything on his own," Harvard-Westlake coach Matt LaCour told "He's at his best when he's pitching to contact and getting guys out early in the count. He's shown when he's at his best, he's going to strike out guys. He just doesn't need to strike out every guy.

"That's something with extended time on the mound, he'll learn. He will try to overthrow at times, but mechanically, he's in a good spot. I wouldn't identify that as something people need to be worried about in the future."

Fried has pitched twice before at Petco Park, most recently at a pre-Draft workout.

"I love the stadium, the mound, the atmosphere ... everything," Fried said. "It's mostly because I've been there before. But also the weather. San Diego is very similar to L.A. weather. I felt it was the easiest place for me to focus."

Fried, who is represented by CAA, wasn't sure what happens next for him, but he sounded anxious to start his professional career.

"I have no idea what the timetable is," he said. "Right now, I'm sort of on cloud nine still. Right now, [I'm] still trying to take in the moment."

San Diego scout Brent Mayne, who spent 15 seasons as a Major League catcher, was the one who recommended Fried. Mayne, like a lot of local scouts, saw Fried a lot in the past year.

"To be honest, I saw him very, very good, outstanding, in-between and not-too good," Maybe said. "I look at mechanics from a certain extent, but for me, as a former player, it's whether I would like to face him or wouldn't I like to face him. And he was a guy I wouldn't have been real comfortable facing."

Mayne, who is in his second season in the Padres' scouting department, said he's continually been impressed by Fried's maturity.

"The thing that stood out for me was that he was mentally consistent, and even when he didn't have his best stuff, he battled," Mayne said. "The routine was always the same, he didn't freak out. It was always the same kind of approach. That's something that I value a lot."

This is the third Draft for the Padres' Jaron Madison, the director of scouting, and the first Draft with the team for MacDonald.

A year ago, the Padres surprised the Draft field when they selected a junior college infielder at No. 10 -- Cory Spangenberg. The second baseman looks to be a smart pick, as he signed quickly and has already advanced to Class A Lake Elsinore of the California League. After a slow start, he's hitting .296.

The Padres received two additional Draft picks (Nos. 33 and 70) after Heath Bell signed with the Marlins, the 44th pick after Aaron Harang signed with the Dodgers and the 55th selection when 2011 pick Brett Austin didn't sign with the club.

On Tuesday, the team has a second-round pick at No. 68 with a third-round pick set for No. 68 overall -- meaning the team will have had seven of the first 102 overall Draft picks.

Under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, each team has an allotted bonus pool equal to the sum of the values of that club's selections in the first 10 rounds of the Draft. So for the Padres, this equates to $9,902,300 for their 14 picks through those first 10 rounds.

The signing bonuses for a team's selections in the first 10 rounds, plus any bonus greater than $100,000 for a player taken after the 10th round, will apply toward the bonus-pool total.

Any team that exceeds up to five percent over its allotted pool will be taxed at a 75 percent rate on the overage. Overages can result in a team being taxed with the potential loss of future Draft picks.

San Diego Padres