Padres 2010 draft: Sabremetrics

Scouting the draft can be done a number of ways. In this installment, we take a look at the San Diego Padres potential draft from a sabermetrics perspective.

FIRST ROUND
OF Michael Choice, Texas Arlington

This year college bats are not that great in the big conferences and in the MLB draft. Choice goes to a smaller college but do not mistake that for how good he is on the field. He played for Team USA and did well, hitting .350 3 home runs and an OBP .453. Choice will hit for average. He hit .376 as a freshman, 413 as a sophomore, and .383 as a junior. He has raw power and can hit to all fields. He has good speed and it is better when it is underway. He plays center field and he has the solid to good arm and his range is solid but is better suited to play right field. He does not have much projection 6-foot-1, 215-pound frame. Some scouts are worried about his hitting mechanics. Choice has a lot of moving parts in his swing and may affect his hitting later on but, right now it does not look like it is effecting his hitting much.

SECOND ROUND
Cather Micah Gibbs, LSU

Gibbs is off attempting to win the College World Series. Gibbs came in as one of the catchers that scouts needed to keep an eye on, but he did not do so well when he went to the Cape Cod League, batting only .212. Then came his junior season where he came out swinging and hit .392 with an OPB .467, both best on his team. His hitting has improved this year with a fluid swing. The switch-hitter widened his stance to hit for power to all parts of the field. His glove is what he is known for. He is good at handling the pitching staff. His arm is not a plus, but he has a fast release and it is very accurate. Like most catchers, his speed is below average. He can get a little long in his swing from time to time. Gibbs has been getting compared to Boston catcher Jason Varitek.

THIRD ROUND
RHP Kyle Blair, USD

When Blair was in high school, he was getting buzz as a top pitcher in the ‘07 draft. He got drafted by the Dodgers in the fifth round that year. The Dodgers were willing to over spend to get Blair. Blair instead went to USD with top players like Victor Sanchez and Sammy Solis. He has a fastball that sits 91-93 mph and top out 95. He has a power slider that is average to good. He has a curve that goes for 12-6. His curve is solid to plus and is his outpitch. He has a feel for his changeup, but it still needs work. He is not afraid of throwing his pitches. His control has been his problem. He tends to overthrow, which has affected his mechanics. Kind of like Simon Castro, Blair started to throw his pitches at a 90% level and it has help out lot. He has the stuff to be at least a #3 starter. If he can smooth out his command, he can be even better.

FOURTH ROUND
RHP John Simms, College Park HS, Woodlands, TX

When you think of Woodlands Texas this year, you think of Jameson Taillon. Well there is another pitcher that is also getting looks also his name his John Simms. Simms had played against Tallion and out pitch him. He has a fastball that sits in the 90-93 range with good life to it. He has a slider that is good and may become a plus offering. He are already has a good feel for the changeup. He has very good control and scout have called him a pitchability pitcher. He can throw all pitches for strikes. Unlike Taillon, Simms has more projection in his 6-foot-3, 185-pound body and that may help his fastball, He will need to clean up his mechanics. He throws across his body. That may cause scouts to be scared that he might be a health risk. Most people say he will likely go play for Rice if he is not drafted in the high rounds.

FIFTH ROUND
RHP Cole Cook, Pepperdine

Cole took over the ace position for the last two year after Brett Hunter got drafted by the A's. He got more looks after a good showing against LSU. Cole has a fastball that sits in the 91-93 mph range and has top out at 94. He has an average change that will improve. He has an average slider and a slurve. Like a lot of tall players, he needs to clean up his mechanics. His control is average and will need work. He will need to work on his secondary pitches and get rid of his slurve for a more refined curveball. For a college pitcher, he has a lot of projection to his 6-foot-5, 200-pound body. He will need to add muscle not just for his fastball velocity but also for his stuff to go deeper in games. He is a college pitcher with the same type of upside as a high school pitcher.

Player that might fall to later rounds due to signability or injuries.

RHP A.J. Vanegas, Redwood Christian HS CA

Vanegas is one of the top 50 prospects in the 2010 draft with a fastball in the 90- 92 range and tops out at 94. He has a good curve that has a tight break. He already has an average changeup, uncommon for high school pitchers. He has good control and can throw all of his pitches for strikes. He has a strong body with clean mechanics. So why would he fall in the draft? Most high school pitchers have a lot of projection to their body. Vanegas does not have that much projection on his 6-foot-2, 205-pound frame. The other reason is that Vanegas has a really strong commitment to play baseball at Stanford. So a team that is willing to draft him is going to have to shell out some dough to sign him.

Likely first round picks by the Padres" and/or "possible alternatives by the Padres

OF/2B Kolbrin Vitek, Ball State: Just like Michael Choice, a lot of scouts are looking at smaller schools for college bats. Vitek is one of them. He started to get some buzz after a good performance last summer. Vitek has a quick bat and makes good contact. He will hit for average. He has average power that may get better. He has good speed and uses it well. He has a good to plus arm. He also pitches for Ball State and his fastball in the 88-92 range Vitek does not really have a position. He played third and now second. He does not have the hands and fundamentals to stay there but will have to play CF as a pro. He has a straight line drive swing that will affect his power numbers. The Padres have been linked to really scouting Vitek.

3b Zack Cox, Arkansas: Cox right now is considered the best college hitter in the draft. His stock skyrocketed when he .344 in the Cape Cod League. He has good hands with a quick, short swing. He can hit to all fields. He has very good power anda good arm. He had a low-90s fastball as a pitcher last year. He has average speed and is not a cloggier on the base paths. He tends to sometimes be a little bit pull happy. Scouts are mixes on his position and ability to stay at third. Some are saying he does not have the footwork and range. If he does move, it will likely be LF. He has the bat to make it the major leagues.

RHP Perci Garner, Ball State: Garner played for Ball State football for two years as a quarterback. He did not get any playing time so he switched to baseball. He had a good showing last summer. He was a relief pitcher than moved to a starter spot. He has a fastball that sits in the 91-95 mph range and top out at 97. He has a good curveball that that can be a plus. He has solid slider and change. He will need to clean his mechanics out. He is still very raw pitcher because of football and will need time and experience to get better.

C/OF Mike Kvasnicka, Minnesota: He started as a spot starter at catcher for Minnesota and then started full time when their main catcher went out with a leg injury. Kvasnicka has a good bat. The switch-hitter has a nice clean stroke and has a chance to have some power. He is also known for his strike zone discipline. If he stays at catcher, he will have good speed for his position. He has a good to plus arm at catcher and makes accurate throws. He is very raw at catcher, blocking balls and his arm release needs some work. There are questions whether he will have enough power in the pros. If he can stay at catcher and improve his defense, someone may have a very good player.

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