With their seventh round pick, the Padres chose college righty Ryan Butler, who has been on team’s radars since high school, but opted to go to college instead. After bouncing around a few schools, Butler eventually needed Tommy John surgery. After the procedure, he was hitting 96 mph on radar guns as a junior, good enough to be drafted in the 13th round by the Yankees, but didn’t sign.
Ranked 141st by Baseball America on their pre-draft mock, he lasted to us at #207 due to injury concerns and being a year older than most other prospects. However, Butler holds his velocity late into outings, a good sign his UCL is at full strength. His change-up and slider are still works in progress, but the Padres’ organization has done tremendous work to their pitchers and helping them throw effective sliders.
Butler stands as an imposing figure on the mound, reaching 6’6″. His long release point has helped him add even more velocity since last year, with some reports saying he’s hit 99 mph with heavy sinking action on it. The change-up is his clear second pitch, using it against lefties often and to keep hitters from trying to time his heater. He shows the ability to help it reach its plus potential, and if the slider works out well, he could have three plus pitches. Butler profiles as a mid-to-back end starter, due to his non-elite stuff. But he has a workhorse mentality, and can eat up quality innings as a number four pitcher for the Padres in the near future.