The San Diego Padres followed the script Monday afternoon, selecting dynamic Georgia high schooler C.J. Abrams with the sixth overall pick in the draft.
As with so many draft and international free agent targets in the A.J. Preller regime, Abrams offers elite athleticism in an up-the-middle package. Taller and more wiry than last year’s competitive balance pick Xavier Edwards, the Padres hope that he’ll offer the same mix of bat-to-ball skill and strike zone awareness that Edwards has shown in his year with the organization.
Abrams, who played at Petco Park last summer as part of the Perfect Game All-American Classic, earned national Rawlings Defensive Player of the Year honors at shortstop heading into his senior campaign. He’s regularly turned in sub-4.00 times to first base from the left-hand batters box, topping most lists for the best speed in the draft class.
The Padres were largely thought to have locked in on Abrams and fellow high school hitter, Riley Greene once it became apparent the top college hitters in the class would be off the board when they selected. While Greene is seen as a more advanced hitter, Abrams’s overall package of skills is seen as offering more upside.
Abrams was recommended by area scout Tyler Stubblefield, who has had the first player in the Padres’ draft class for three straight years.
The Padres will be back on the clock with the 48th and 73rd overall picks Monday night.