After going high school talent with their first two picks, will the Padres turn their attention to college players on day two of the 2020 MLB Draft?
The Padres followed general manager AJ Preller’s M.O. on day one of the MLB Draft to a “T.” Known for taking the top high school talent in the first round, that’s exactly what the Padres did, taking Robert Hassell with the eighth overall pick and Justin Lange with the 34th overall pick as part of the competitive balance round.
Hassell is considered to be one of the best, if not the best, prep stars in the country. He had a verbal commitment to Vanderbilt in the fall, and let’s hope the Padres can sign him. Lange is an interesting choice but not a huge surprise. He’s been skyrocketing up draft boards, adding nearly 50 pounds of muscle within the last year. As a result, his fastball went from a middling 92 MPH to a scoring 100 MPH.
And as we turn our attention to the final day of the draft, let’s look at a few options that the Padres should consider.
Jared Kelley, RHP (Refugio High School)
Why not keep the high school train going? Kelley was projected by most to go in the first round, so if the Padres can land him with the 45th overall pick, that’s terrific value. He has a verbal commitment to Texas in the fall and clocked 99 MPH on the radar gun at the 2019 Perfect Game Showcase. Kelley complements his fastball with an above-average changeup, but his slider remains a work in progress.
Cole Wilcox, RHP (Georgia)
Wilcox is another guy that was a sure-fire first-round pick. Yet, here he is, still available on day two. There’s a good chance that he may be gone before the Padres are on the clock, but he’s nearly Major League-ready and posted a 1.57 ERA through his first four starts this season.
Chris McMahon, RHP (Miami)
McMahon was a fringe first-round pick, and he saw his teammate, Slade Cecconi go to the Diamondbacks with the 33rd overall pick. McMahon stands at 6-foot-2, 205 pounds, and he had a fantastic 2019, making 12 starts while striking out 67 in 60.1 innings. Before the shutdown, he made four starts, posting a 1.05 ERA while striking out 38 batters in 25.2 innings. He has terrific command and pounds the strike zone.
Casey Martin, SS (Arkansas)
The Padres middle infield depth may be the strength of their farm system, outside of pitching, of course. He’s likely to stick at either shortstop or second base in the big leagues, but he’s been asked several times about the potential of moving to the outfield. Hello, centerfield? Regardless of where he plays, Martin is a phenomenal talent, posting a .912 OPS in 2019 with 21 doubles, four triples, 15 home runs, and 57 RBI while also stealing 10 bases. He needs to improve his swing-and-miss, but that should all come in due time.
Now going with a few quick ones:
- CJ Van Eyk (FSU): not overpowering stuff, but a reliable starter
- Dylan Crews (Lake Mary HS): LSU outfielder commit who batted .409 as a junior
- Daniel Cabrera (LSU): Outfielder who hit 12 home runs with 50 RBI as a sophomore. Posted a .966 OPS through 17 games this year
- Alex Toral (Miami) Big-time first base prospect who smacked 24 bombs with 67 RBI last year
- Ian Seymour (VT): A starter from day one at Virginia Tech. Terrific command and struck out 81 batters in 70.1 innings a year ago.
- Landon Knack (ETSU): Small school prospect with plenty of upside. He was leading NCAA with 51 strikeouts before the shutdown.