MadFriars' Chat: Chad MacDonald - Part 3

For the final part of our interview series with Padres' Vice-President and Assistant General Manager Chad MacDonald we discussed the top picks in the 2012 draft.

You still have your three of your first six draft picks unsigned. How have the negotiations been going?

Chad MacDonald: Its been progressing well. We got Max [Fried] signed and are excited to get him in uniform. We are really close with the other guys and [Travis] Jankowski is still playing with Stony Brook in the College World Series and we hope he keeps playing for a long time.

Editor's Note: The interview was conducted on Saturday night before the Padres' signed first round supplemental pick Zach Eflin]

For those of us that were watching on the MLB network, nearly all of your high school selections were seen as "having a strong college commitment."

I know before you guys use one of your draft picks you have a pretty good idea wether or not someone is going to turn professional. What steps do your scouts take?

Chad MacDonald: Our area scouts do a great job of knowing them on and off the field. So they have a pretty good idea of what they want to do and the type of signing bonuses they are looking for.

In previous interviews you spoke quite a bit about the concept of "risk/reward" and by most standards you really took some of the riskiest bets in the draft; high school pitchers.

What made you so willing to take these types of chances with Fried, Eflin and Weickel?

Chad MacDonald: Because all three of these pitchers have the ingredients to become front line starters in the major leagues. We know the history of right-handed high school pitchers but the Giants took Matt Cain with a late first round pick in 2002 and I think they are pretty happy with that selection right now.

I'm not saying our guys are going to be Matt Cain but all three have a chance to be very good.

Travis Jankowski was being portrayed in various media as a speedy outfielder with little to no power. In an interview I did last year for Baseball America then Lake Elsinore manager Phil Plantier, the current Padres' hitting coach, talked about how tough it is when you have to hit in front of the outfield.

What type of player do you see Jankowski as?

Chad MacDonald: First Jankowski is not a slap hitter. He hits the ball hard and on the line. We think he is going to be able to put a few over the wall but his main asset is going to be his ability to put the ball into the gaps and turn a few more singles into extra-base hits with his speed.

We like guys who can swing the bat, we are not real keen on taking slap hitters.

Are Dane Phillips and Fernando Perez going to be able to stay at catcher and shortstop?

Chad MacDonald: Both of these guys we thought were plus left-handed hitters. Perez is moving to third and possibly second. Dane has a shot to stay behind the plate. We are going to try to keep them up the middle as long as we can. Do they stay there? I'm not sure but their bats also profile well at other positions.

Was Walter Lockett being drafted as a pitcher or first baseman?

Chad MacDonald: We really like him as a pitcher. He is a very athletic 6'5" and works easily downhill with minimal effort. He has an advanced feel for the changeup for someone that hasn't been pitching that long and we are confident we are going to get him signed.

Brian Adams is another player that really seems like a plus athlete in addition to a great student. However he didn't really hit the past two years at Kentucky what makes you think he is going to hit in the pros?

Chad MacDonald: He's probably one of the better athletes in the entire draft. He's a plus to plus plus runner who can throw and has some power. He hasn't played a lot of baseball and what we took was the tool package with the hope that we can develop the skill set. Where he was in the draft it was a no-brainer with the risk-reward concept.

Tell us a little about your two second baseman, Jalen Goree and River Stevens.

Chad MacDonald: Goree is more of a shortstop. He's an athletic kid that can run and hit. He has some rawness but is the type we really wanted in our system.

River Stevens is someone with a really good left-handed stroke. He hits to all fields with a line drive stroke. We think he can stay in the middle of the field.

Finally I know you have been getting a lot of questions about this but tell us about Terrence Owens, the football player that you drafted out of Akron?

Chad MacDonald: [laughs] Well I guess you are always scouting.

I don't know at that round you want to take the best athlete on the board. We reached out to him before the draft and he hadn't really pitched since high school. Whether we were thinking out of the box I don't know but I do know if you take enough good athletes one of them is going to come through.


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