Padres Keep Going Big on Day Three of Draft

The themes of size and carrying tools which emerged on Tuesday for the Padres continued on throughout day three of the MLB Draft. Beginning with 11th-rounder Brett Kennedy, the club tabbed 18 pitchers – four lefties and 14 righties – and then stayed primarily up-the-middle with position players.

While Kennedy, William Headean (13), Elliot Ashbeck (14), Trey Wingenter (15, pictured above) and Nick Monroe (21) are all college juniors who have the skillset and physicality to profile well pretty quickly, there are also several wildcards in the later rounds.

The club went to the high school ranks four times between the 18th and 24th rounds. There they drafted ultra-toolsy Florida outfielder Chris Chatsfield, who has big upside but a rawness to his game that could make it hard to justify paying to get him to bypass school, and J’mar Smith, who is committed to Louisiana Tech for both baseball and as a quarterback. The club has a better chance of bringing in Oregon State recruit Justin Harrer and Alan Garcia, who plays at the same powerhouse Mountain Pointe high school program where senior executive Logan White’s son plays in Phoenix.

“I think there’s a chance,” said scouting director Mark Conner, when asked about the chance of getting Smith to bypass his opportunity to play football. “A lot of guys in our organization have met him and we know him. It’s just a matter of if he really wants to pursue baseball. That’s kind of a personal decision for him, but I know he has interest.”

While the new collective bargaining agreement rules that went into place with the 2012 draft have made it harder to pull undiscovered gems out of the later rounds of the draft, the success so far of pitchers like Kyle Lloyd (29th round, 2013) and Pete Kelich (38, 2013 – returning from Tommy John surgery) provide at least one roadmap for third day success. Both pitchers have one plus pitch, and both have demonstrated the ability to make adjustments on the mound.

Among the few corner players the Padres selected is 15th-rounder Brad Zunica, whose size and raw power put him right in line with the rest of the draft class. The 19-year-old actually graduated high school a year early to attend University of Miami, but wound up leaving the program after his freshman year. The Padres took him after his lone season at a junior college where he hit exactly half of his team’s 26 homers.

Phil Maton (20) and Christian Cecilio (22) were the first of six college senior pitchers to be called on day three. At six-feet-two, Cecilio, a lefty with a funky delivery, is the smallest of the group.

“You look in the big leagues, there’s a lot of big humans in the big leagues,” said Conner. “It just happened to fall into place that some of these guys that we really liked are bigger guys.”

The team will look to get the first wave of players signed in time to join a brief minicamp for their new Northwest League affiliate, the Tri-City Dust Devils, and then begin the short season leagues next Thursday. Unlike previous years, the team does not have any draftees playing in the College World Series, so that removes one potential timing issue.

Like all clubs, the Padres have until Friday, July 17 to come to terms with all draftees (college seniors remain eligible to sign after that time), or to lose their rights to the player. Because they were without their first round or supplemental pick, the club’s $3,671,200 bonus pool is smaller than every team’s except the New York Mets. Any amount over $100,000 awarded to a player taken after the tenth round would also count against the pool.

We'll have more in-depth conversations with the players, scouts and player development team for our subscribers in the coming weeks.

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