San Diego Padres Draft: Christian Roa intriguing second round pitcher

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SAN DIEGO, CA - MARCH 20: Groundcrew members at Petco Park work perform maintenance on March 20, 2020 in San Diego, California. Major League Baseball has postponed the beginning of the 2020 season due to the (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA - MARCH 20: Groundcrew members at Petco Park work perform maintenance on March 20, 2020 in San Diego, California. Major League Baseball has postponed the beginning of the 2020 season due to the (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /
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Ranked as the 66th best prospect by Baseball America, Christian Roa presents an intriguing option for the San Diego Padres in the second round.

As a high school senior, Christian Roa was ranked as one of the best in the state of Texas. Surprisingly, he didn’t test the waters of the MLB Draft, and perhaps that’s good fortune for the San Diego Padres. He played his collegiate baseball at Texas A&M and spent the majority of his freshman year in the bullpen.

In 2018, Roa made 14 appearances – including one start – and struck out 12 batters in 14.2 innings. He spent the summer playing in the Northwoods League, transitioning towards the starting rotation.

“The Northwoods was great for the development of my skills and learning to repeat my mechanics,” Roa recently told us. “The main takeaway I gained from the Northwoods was how to transition from a bullpen pitcher into a starter.”

Roa made 17 appearances – including ten starts – for the Aggies in 2019 and struck out 46 batters in 48.0 innings while walking just 11. He’s generally displayed good command throughout his collegiate career, but he tends to get knocked around.

Before the shutdown, Roa made four starts and struck out 35 batters in 20.0 innings. He limited batters to a .234 average, which was quite the reduction from .297 and .257 in his freshman and sophomore campaigns, respectively.

It’s a shame we didn’t get to see a full season of Roa in the rotation, so there is a considerable amount of risk in taking him in the second round. But at 6-foot-4, 220 pounds, Roa has good size for a prototypical starter pitcher.

With regards to his pitch arsenal, Roa features a four-pitch mix, per Baseball America:

"Roa throws a fastball, slider, curveball and changeup, all of which are at least average and a few much better than that. Roa’s fastball sits in the 92-93 mph range for the most part, getting up to 95-96 at the upper end, but some scouts are concerned with how true the pitch is."

Already having four pitches is what makes him so attractive, and Roa indicated the development of his arsenal goes back to high school.

“I have always had four pitches ever since I really started pitching in high school,” said Roa. “But they definitely have taken a step forward in college. My pitches could always get better and I
would say my main focus is learning how to design my arsenal in the most efficient way.

Next. Latest mock draft has team taking top high school arm. dark

Assuming he continues to trend in the right direction, I see no reason that he cannot be plugged into rotation within the next two to three years. Mechanically, Roa has a simple delivery with a release from the 3/4 arm slot. Based on his career statistics at A&M, he profiles closest to Angels’ Matt Andriese.

Andriese 2019: 4.71 ERA, 9.2 H/9, 1.0 HR/9, 3.5 BB/9, 10.1 K/9

Roa A&M: 4.25 ERA, 9.3 H/9, 1.1 HR/9, 2.6 BB/9, 10.1 K/9

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