The Padres closed out the final day of the draft with a few swings at some potential high-end prospects, but primarily built up organizational depth.
“They were a lot more conservative than last year,” said Jeff Ellis, a Senior Columnist for Scout.com and national MLB draft specialist. “Last year they had a few more opportunities, but from rounds 20 through 40 there really was not a whole lot of guys to dream on.
A quick primer on the baseball draft. Teams are allocated a certain amount of money to spend in the first ten rounds and can spend up to $125,000 - up from $100,000 last year - on players in rounds 10 through 40 without penalty. The Padres bonus pool for this year is $11,839,000. In 2016 San Diego went under-slot on six of their last seven picks in the first ten rounds with only seventh round high school pick LHP Dan Dallas getting over-slot money. The savings enabled the Padres to sign outfielder Jack Suwinski (15th round) and infielder Ethan Skender (28th round); buying them out of their college commitments to the University of Indiana and Arizona State.
As the San Diego Union-Tribune’s Dennis Lin noted in his article, the Padres selected 41 players, 16 from high school and 25 from college. However, San Diego used its first six picks to take high school guys, who will receive most of the draft money. MLB Pipeline’s Jim Callis noted on the MLB Network’s broadcast all six are nearly a lock to sign. Last year only two high school players that were selected in the first ten rounds did not sign with the club that drafted them. For teams to select them, they usually have a pretty good idea, or even as close to a deal as permissible under the rules. As with last year, if there is money to be spent after round 10 expect the savings to come from selections six through ten, where the Padres picked four college players, two of them seniors - RHP Alex Cunningham and RHP Dominic Taccolini. There simply is not much leverage even if you are a college junior, and none for college seniors; who can sometimes receive only $1,000 signing bonus. “In the later selections there are a few guys that jump out, one is outfielder Daniel Cabrera from the Dallas area. He was taken in the 26th round, but has a pretty solid commitment to LSU which I don’t think he is budging from,” said Ellis on players that the team could go over slot on in the later rounds.
Jim Callis also agreed that Cabrera was the top selection, but reiterated that he was not signable in a phone interview with MadFriars. A player that both Callis and Ellis liked was Jake Lyons, who was picked in the 22nd round out of Weatherford College (JC), a gigantic 6-foot-5, 275 pound Texan who can throw a downhill fastball for strikes in the mid-90s.
Locally, the Padres selected a pair of San Diego natives. In the thirteenth round, they took Fred Schlichtholz, a left-handed pitcher from Coronado High School and Fresno State and Madison High School right-handed Kevin Abel, who is committed to Oregon State, in the thirty-fifth.Of the two, Schlichtholz, 21, is the more likely to sign. With the Bulldogs this year had a 4.82 ERA but struck out 64 in 61.2 innings against 28 walks.
San Diego also selected Cole Bellinger, the brother of current Dodger wunderkid Cody Bellinger, as a right-handed pitcher in the 15th round. Bellinger led his team to the Arizona 6A state championship and is committed to Grand Canyon College but seems to be leaning towards going pro.
“Again there are some guys, but after the first six players taken a lot of the draft for the Padres seemed more about building depth.”