The regular season hasn’t even started. Heck, spring games haven’t even started. But considering the number of pick the Padres have in the next couple of drafts and their continuous plan of building with youth, it makes sense to get a jump start on draft candidates. It also helps that our friends at Seedlings to Stars have done a fantastic job with their first mock draft of 2012.
The Padres were bad last year, but that futility earned them the number seven pick this year. They will be picking right behind the Chicago Cubs. At 71-91, the Padres actually tied the Cubs for the second worst record in the National League. The Cubs “won” the tiebreaker, though, and will pick ahead of San Diego. Nevertheless, the Padres should get a nice pick at 7, and according to Robbie Knopf of Seedlings to Stars, that pick could be Deven Marrero.
Marrero could be the poster-child of the type of team the Padres are trying to build based on speed and defense. Marrero, a 6’1″, 194 shortstop who currently attends Arizona State University, possesses picture-perfect motions and soft hands at the shortstop position, and his great arm and excellent instincts help him make up for the rare times he does make mistakes.
According to the Sun Devils’ official athletic site and player profile page, Marrero was the 2011 PAC-12 Defensive Player of the Year. Marrero is currently playing his Junior year of college baseball, but is no stranger to the draft process.
In 2009, the Cincinnati Reds picked Marrero in the 15th round, but he chose to play collegiately instead. The Reds saw some promise back then though. He served as team captain for his high school team in Florida in 2008 and 2009. He also received All-State and All-County in 2008, all while leading his team to a state championship and a national championship.
Once Marrero reached ASU, he thrived. He set an ASU freshman batting record with a .397 average during the 2010 season. He slugged .628 that same season. Last year, Marrero reprised his role as a dominant shortstop with the aforementioned defensive player of the year award, but he also continued to dominate at the plate. He hit .319 in his sophomore year, and he also led the USA Team with 19 hits.
Knopf said, “he’s a perfect fit for the Padres and a player with a chance to be a Gold Glove shortstop for the Padres within a couple of years.”
That’s high praise and an exciting proposition considering the Padres current middle-infield situation. There are players in line to get a shot at proving themselves at short, namely Drew Cumberland and a perennially-struggling Everth Cabrerra, but there are no sure things coming through the system. Marrero would have as good a shot as anyone at becoming a future starter with the major league club.
I spoke with Robbie Knopf a little more to get an idea of who some other targets for the Padres may be if they can’t snag Marrero, and he also shared some insight in the Padres drafting strategies.
The Padres like to draft college players in the first round, and their major organizational needs are at shortstop and starting pitcher (they have depth, but not much upside beyond Casey Kelly). I could see them drafting Marrero, Kevin Gausman if he falls to them, Chris Beck, and a little bit more of a stretch is Jake Barrett. A high schooler they may have to consider if Marrero is drafted before they pick is Gavin Cecchini, but again, they prefer college players in the first round.
It’s clear why teams like the Padres don’t generally consider high school players. Many high schoolers choose to go to college rather than sign, and a team like the Padres can’t afford to waste a draft pick like that. With that in mind, Marrero does seem to fit the mold of picks the Padres love to snatch up.
As the college baseball season moves toward to College World Series, we’ll get a better idea of the draft prospects. A lot can happen between now and then. The draft is in June, and players like Marrero can either improve their stock or fall. As the draft approaches, we’ll cover the Padres picks in more detail.