Having already locked up their highest draft picks, the Padres continued to sign players from the recent 40-round MLB Draft, inking two more draftees to deals on Saturday.
First to sign was Ryan Butler, the Padres’ seventh round draft pick. Butler, a right-handed pitcher who comes into the organization from the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, has ideal size for a pitcher at 6-foot-6 and 230 pounds. Butler took a tumultuous road to the Padres, as UNC-Charlotte is the third college he’s played for. Butler, originally from Charlotte, started out at Marshall University but after poor academic performance transferred to Northwest Florida State College. Butler pitched for half a season at NWFSC but injured himself and had to have Tommy John Surgery. After coming back to Charlotte, Butler joined the team at UNC-Charlotte and found consistent success. Boasting a fastball in the mid-90’s that’s touched upwards of 97 mph, he also throws a solid changeup in the low 80’s and is working on a breaking ball.
Second to sign was 13th round pick Joey Epperson, an infielder from UC-Santa Barbara. At 6-foot-2 and 195 lbs, the 23-year-old hit .376 in his senior season for the Gauchos, adding 15 stolen bases along with 4 homers. While listed as an infielder, Epperson showed versatility by playing the outfield for UCSB.
The Padres have now signed 24 of their 40 draft picks, and while one of them (Johnny Manziel) will almost assuredly not sign, the team is working to sign the remaining 15 players from their 2014 draft haul.