"What we were hoping to do was draft some players that could give us some immediate value in our system," Kevin Towers told MLB.com after Day 1 of the 2005 MLB First Year Player Draft.
Towers isn't implying that any of the 20 players taken Tuesday would be milling around the clubhouse at PetCo Park in September, but the college centric approach the Pads took on day one does mean that when the trade deadline rolls around there will be known commodities the Padres can offer.
While virtually every pun in the land has already been used, we'll offer up our own when we say there was much more than window dressing in the Padres two first round picks, righty Cesar Carrillo from the University of Miami (18th overall), and lefty Cesar Ramos (a 'sandwich' pick in compensation for the departure of David Wells, 35th overall, this would have been much easier if it were a 'salad' pick instead of a sandwich pick). The two pitchers couldn't be more different, as Carrillo is a power righty with a fastball that sits in the mid 90s, and can be amped up a bit if he needs it, while Ramos is a crafty lefty in the Tom Glavine mold, using pin point accuracy and four different pitches to keep hitters off balance. Ramos has been called 'the most polished pitcher in the draft' and could move up quickly, while Carrillo's pure heat is the kind of stuff that makes scouting directors salivate.
Though they drafted high school players with their first three picks in 2004, the Padres returned to the college first philosophy this year, taking undergrads with their first 13 picks In the 12th round (their 14th pick) the Padres re-drafted righthander Aaron Breit out of Garden City (Kansas) Community College. It was deja vu for Breit, whom the Padres also drafted last year in the 46th round, but failed to sign. It wasn't until round 15 that the Padres dipped into the prep ranks, taking southpaw Joshua Romanski out of Norco (CA) High 458th overall, though according to Towers and Scouting Director Bill Gayton they weren't adverse to high schoolers, the ones they wanted simply weren't available.
The baseball maxim is that you can't have enough pitching, and the Padres seem to agree, selecting 11 pitchers (five lefty, six righty) on day one. The other maxim is that you take the best player available, so trying to read too much into the fact that they took a third baseman with their second round pick (Tennessee's Chase Headley), or three outfielders (including Princeton's Will Venable, son of former Major Leaguer and current Fort Wayne hitting coach Max Venable) shouldn't make Sean Burroughs or Ryan Klesko nervous.
A prime example came in the second round when the Padres took University of Arizona catcher Nick Hundley. While the Padres appear to be stocked at backstop, with 29 year old Ramon Hernandez at the big league level, and two youngsters, George Kottaras and Billy Killian impressing at lower levels, according to U of A Athletic Director Jim Livengood the Padres grabbed a winner.
"He's an outstanding hitter, and an outstanding catcher," Livengood says, "but he's also an incredibly good person. This was a no miss pick for the Padres."
It also shouldn't set off warning bells that of the 16 Division 1 college players taken, five were from the SEC. What should set off warning bells is that even though every publication (except this one) from here to Bangladesh ran a pun filled headline about the two Cesars, nobody even bothered to make a joke about the video game potential of the Padres eighth round pick out of Auburn, pitcher John Madden.
Most experts agree that the 'trends' really start to emerge on Day 2, when teams make their final (up to) 32 selections, and the pace gets fast and furious. Tune into MadFriars tomorrow for continuing coverage.
The first 18 rounds (20 picks) of the Padres:1. (18) RHP Cesar Carrillo, Univ. of Miami
1A. (35) LHP Cesar Ramos, Long Beach State
2. (66) 3B Chase Headley, Univ. of Tennessee
2A. (76) C Nick Hundley, Univ. of Arizona
3. (98) RHP Josh Geer, Rice
6. (188) RHP Neil Jamison, Long Beach State
7. (218) OF Will Venable, Princeton
8. (248) RHP John Madden, Auburn
9. (278) 1B John Smith, Erskine College
10. (308) OF Josh Alley, Univ. of Tennessee
11. (338) RHP Josh Tomlin, Angelina College
12. (368) RHP Aaron Breit, Garden City (KS) CC
13. (398) LHP Arnold Hughley, Auburn
14. (428) SS William Richardson, East Carolina
15. (458) LHP Joshua Romanski, Norco (CA) HS
16. (488) LHP Brent Carter, Univ. of Alabama-Tuscaloosa
17. (518) LHP Chad Decker, UC-Riverside
18. (548) CF Michael Sansoe, St. Mary's College