On day one of the draft, the San Diego Padres went for upside and position players. While they took another dynamic high school outfielder with their first selection on day two, they spent the rest of the day focused on older college pitchers. Where exactly that leaves them for the final 30 rounds on Wednesday is a bit fuzzy.
Coming into the draft, several public services comped Hudson Head to Mason House. The Padres added to the parallels by selecting him in the third round just as they had House in 2017. And while both are left-handed hitting pop-up Texas outfielders, the similarities don’t extend very far beyond that.
While House legitimately came out of nowhere as a draft target in the spring of his senior year, Head had some exposure against elite competition at the World Wood Bat Championships last fall. The San Antonio-area product lacked public visibility because his commitments as quarterback of his high school football team meant he declined much of the showcase circuit last summer.
Head also offers a more athletic profile than House, who has struggled to make adjustments to his swing and has struck out in almost 40% of his plate appearances since coming into the Padres organization. The Padres paid House more than $200,000 above his slot value to sign back in 2017. It’s not clear what amount it will take to get Head into the organization.
After starting their class with four straight position players, three of them from high school, the team completely changed paths and called seven straight college arms from there. None were especially high profile targets coming into the draft.
University of California Santa Barbara hurler Chris Lincoln, who teamed with fellow High Desert native Reggie Lawson in the Area Code games back in high school, generally offers the best present stuff, though his ability to harness it raises some questions. Taken in the fifth round, the 21-year-old righty is, like fourth-rounder Matt Brash, seen as a relief-only option.
Vanderbilt righty Drake Fellows fronted the rotation of one of the nation’s top college programs for three years, but his role going forward is less clear. He struggled with command as he’s tried to integrate some increased velocity this spring. He, like first-rounder C.J. Abrams and tenth-round lefty Ethan Elliott, was recommended by area scout Tyler Stubblefield.
The Padres finished their day by selecting four straight senior pitchers from lower-profile programs. Combined, their slot values total about $700,000, but it’s unlikely their bonuses will total more than a fraction of that.
How the Padres reallocate that money among earlier picks and their selections on day three will be the club’s main storyline when the draft resumes at 9:00 PDT on Wednesday. Each of the last three years, the Padres have spent pool money on two day three high school players. That gambit landed them Joey Cantillo, who’s impressing this spring, and Cole Belinger in 2017, and Sean Guilbe and Nick Thwaites last year.
Last year, the team also focused in on more signable high schoolers, landing four different players at the $125,000 threshold.