Padres Draft Blog: Day One/Two

The San Diego Padres had their highest pick since 2004 when they had the number one overall selection, taking outfielder Donavan Tate out of Cartersville, Georgia.


The selection of Keyvius Sampson continues to give the Padres athleticism on both sides of the field. The right-hander is a power arm with a low-90s fastball that could be an upper-90s arm as he matures. A high schooler out of Ocala (Florida), Sampson features a solid curveball and developing changeup.

The Padres have now taken a high school player with three of their first four picks.

After going the catcher route with Jason Hagerty out of Miami - a quality pick of a backstop with some power potential and the ability to command a pitching staff - they went local with a high schooler, selecting James Needy in round six.

Needy is a lanky righty of the 6-foot-6 variety. He has a low-90s fastball with a quality cutter and good changeup. He has a lot of room for projection, as this kid could add 30 pounds to his frame and still have room for more.

The Nathan Frieman pick in round eight is an interesting one. A 6-foot-8 behemoth, Frieman actually tossed 90 mph off the mound in high school - his only year pitching. He hit 20 bombs last year but might be an interesting guy if the stick does not work - he is probably hitting 95 now!

Chris Fetter and Ryan Hinson both profile well as hard-throwing relievers that have some potential as starters with some mechanical changes. Fetter throws from various arm angles and has reached 94-95 mph as a starter. The problem is Fetter is such a tall pitcher that they took away some of his potential by moving his arm down. At 6-foot-8, Fetter wasn't given a chance to throw consistently on a downhill plane. That could send Fetter back into the rotation. Hinson does not have much wear and tear on his arm and has a very good slider that can be a putaway ptich.

Drew Madrigal, taken in round 11, had been en route to a transfer from San Jacinto to Auburn. A nice jump and perhaps a nice steal for the Friars. The righty also hit six homers last season.

Is it just me or does Brayden Drake remind a bit of David Freese?


The lone concern with Donavan Tate has been signability, as he has a commitment to North Carolina to play football. His father Lars played football at Georgia and in the NFL and his agent is Scott Boras.

"Today, baseball is weighing a little bit more," Tate said.

"Just like any other athlete, if he gets drafted within the time he was looking he'd go [the MLB route]," Cartersville (Ga.) head football coach Frank Barden said. "I don't know what their number or pick is, but I know they have that in mind."

Tate is considered a raw talent at the plate with five-tool potential. He is a plus runner that is still adapting to life on the base paths and the translation of speed into stolen bases. Tate possesses a plus arm that has gunned the ball in the low-90s off the mound. He has the range to stick in center field and takes good routes to the ball.

"It is exciting," Tate said. "It is an honor for them to pick me. I am enjoying the moment."

The main point of contention is his bat. Scouts rave about his bat speed but acknowledge that he needs better pitch selection. He has raw power that should develop in time, especially as his ability to narrow his strike zone develops.

"People have different opinions - it is a little motivation for me to show people what I can do," Tate said. "They don't have to worry about my bat a whole lot."

"We are excited to have the player who we feel has the biggest upside in the draft," said Fuson. "Donavan is an incredible athlete with all the tools to play this game at the highest level."

While batting lead off, Tate ended the regular season with a .475 average and a .648 on-base percentage, with seven doubles and seven home runs. He registered 25 RBI and scored 31 runs.

Tate comes in with a rough ranking of third overall in the system without having played a game - provided he signs. He would fit nicely right behind Mat Latos and Jaff Decker based on today's projections.

Tate becomes the first outfielder selected by the Padres with their first pick since Vince Faison in the 1999 First-Year Player Draft, and just the eighth outfielder selected first by the Padres since the club's inception in 1969.

The right-handed hitting centerfielder slugged 1.000 with a .788 on-base percentage, drawing 29 walks with just eight strikeouts. Tate hit 32 home runs over his high school career and was named an Aflac All-American in 2008.

"A complete player," Cartersville baseball manager Stuart Chester said. "He is going to play the game the right way. He will run every ball out to first. If he has to dive, he will dive. He is a hard-nosed kid. Accompany that with all of his tools - it makes him dangerous at any level."

With the 52nd overall pick in the 2009 MLB Draft, the Padres selected Everett Williams out of McCallum High School in Texas - announced by Padres representative Woody Williams.

Williams is considered a power hitter out of the high school ranks with an impressive build and compact stroke. A left-handed hitter, he ended up placing second in the AFLAC All-American game last summer.

Surprisingly, he is considered to be a plus runner. Like Tate, Williams' father also played in the NFL.

An 18-year-old out of McCallum High School in Austin, Tex., he hit .462 with six home runs, 34 RBI and 27 stolen bases in 2009. The left-handed hitter was named an Aflac All-American in 2008. Williams tallied 36 home runs, 173 RBI and 73 stolen bases over his high school career, hitting over .400 each season.

With the 83rd overall pick in the 2009 MLB Draft, the Padres selected Jerry Sullivan, a right-hander out of Oral Roberts – the same club that rewarded them with 2008 Padres Pitcher of the Year Jeremy Hefner.

Sullivan went 8-3 with a 3.12 ERA (34 ER/98.0 IP), 27 walks, 116 strikeouts and two complete games in 15 starts this season. A junior in 2009, he limited opponents to a .253 batting average while recording 10.65 strikeouts per 9.0 IP. Sullivan was named First-Team All-Summit League following the season.

Sullivan has a strong arm that throws in the low-90s and touches 95 mph with solid sink. Tommy John surgery in 2005 has led to a steady increase in velocity and control.

Not surprisingly, Sullivan has a quality changeup but needs to work on its consistency. He also throws a slider, which has room to grow as it lacks consistent bite.

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