San Diego Padres Draft: Niko Kavadas pro comparisons and interview

(Photo by Andy Mead/ISI Photos/Getty Images)
(Photo by Andy Mead/ISI Photos/Getty Images) /
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San Diego Padres
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Niko Kavadas is one of the more interesting options that the San Diego Padres may consider in this draft. We recently had the chance to catch up with him.

At 6-foot-1, 235 pounds, Niko Kavadas presents an intriguing opportunity for the San Diego Padres in this draft. He experienced a breakout campaign in 2019 where he slashed .274/.390/.517 with 13 doubles, 12 home runs, and 43 RBI.

Before the shutdown, he was off to a blazing start this year, posting a 1.006 OPS with seven bombs and 17 RBI through the first 13 games. We recently pegged him as one of the first basemen that the Padres should consider in this draft.

He’s played all over the infield and even spent time at the designated hitter role for Notre Dame. When we recently spoke with him, Kavadas envisions himself as a future third baseman or left fielder, which conflicts with Baseball America‘s profile.

Based on his career statistics at Notre Dame, Kavadas closely profiles with Kyle Schwarber as a left-fielder and Josh Donaldson as a third baseman.

Schwarber 2019: 11.5% BB, 25.6% K, .250/.339/.531 line

Donaldson 2019: 15.2% BB, 23.5% K, .259/.379/.521 line

Kavadas Notre Dame career: 12.4% BB, 18.9% K, .280/.389/.514 line

Q: After experiencing tremendous success in your freshman year, you participated in the Northwoods League during the summer of 2018. What goals did you set out for yourself in a wood-bat league that you may not have achieved at Notre Dame?

A: Throughout my time in the Northwoods, my main goal was to increase the frequency in which I made hard barrel contact, particularly against left-handed pitching. The Northwoods league was perfect for working on this goal because we played over 70 games, so I was able to get an extraordinary number of at-bats and challenge myself against a variety of different left-handed pitchers.

Towards the end of my freshman season at Notre Dame, I began to incorporate a leg kick to improve my timing and power, so additionally, the Northwoods was the ideal league for me to continue honing in my ability to time pitches and deliver the barrel with the leg kick.