Padres Select Arizona State LHP Josh Spence in 9th Round of 2010 MLB Draft

With their 9th pick (274th overall) in the 2010 MLB draft, the Padres selected Josh Spence, a 22-year-old lefthanded pitcher from Arizona State University.

The oldest Padres draftee to that point, he was a third-rounder in 2009 to the Angels.

Spence posted a 2.37 ERA and 125 K’s in just over 100 innings as a junior.

Born in Australia, Spence attended Central Arizona in 2007 and 2008, dazzling there before joining the ASU program.

The big red flag: Spence missed all of 2010 due to a nerve issue in his throwing elbow. That would explain the six-round slip from 2009 to 2010.

Spence does have a redshirt option, so he could still return to Arizona State and pitch again, although he may not want to wait until he’s 23 to start pro ball. Still, he’ll have more leverage in negotiations than most 22-year-olds.

Spence is a classic crafty lefty. He works in the 85-88 mph range with his heater, and complements it with a plus slider and solid changeup. He could at least be a lefty specialist with the devastating slider.

An interesting, risky pick here for the Padres. We’ll see what happens with Spence’s signability and how his progression with the injury goes.