We take a look at who the San Diego Padres took on day one of the 2020 MLB Draft and how those picks could end up being huge risks.
The MLB Draft is always a bit of a crapshoot. Trying to predict how 18-22-year-old kids will develop is a fool’s errand. And the San Diego Padres made that evaluation even more difficult by taking two high school kids in the first round.
Taking high school players in the first round is always a huge risk, but it can always lead to the biggest reward.
However, this year it comes with an even higher risk as most high school players didn’t get to play much of a senior season, so we have very little information to go off of with these players.
Obviously the Padres know way more about these guys than we do, but still, taking two high school kids in the first round is very risky.
Normally when a team has multiple top 40 picks you want to take a safe player at or under slot value and then take a big risk on a high school player you can sign over slot value.
The Padres, who have plenty of bonus pool money because of their additional picks, should have the funds to make a push to sign both players.
But something else to keep in mind is that if they aren’t able to sign one of these players, they’ll get that pick back next year.
And that could have played into this decision as well. Perhaps the Padres figured they take a shot on signing one of these high school kids with upside, and if it doesn’t work out they’ll get that pick back for next year when we’ll likely have an even better crop of players to choose from with more a sample size to evaluate them on.
But even that strategy doesn’t make a ton of sense as there were still a lot of good and safe players on the board when the Padres drafted.
With the eighth pick, they could have taken a safe bet in a college arm like Reid Detmers who went 10th overall.
And honestly, there were better high school players available (at least in my opinion) like Zac Veen and Mick Abel.
Maybe the Padres believe Hassell will be the better players, but it’s also possible they had this game plan in mind and knew they couldn’t sign someone like Veen or Abel AND sign another high school player with their 34th pick.
At 34 they could have taken someone safe like Tanner Burns who has the upside to be a top 15 player had injuries not held him back at Auburn.
Instead, they took another chance at signing a high school player in drafting Lange.
But his value at 34 seems right on par considering FanGraphs had him ranked 36th overall in this draft class.
The Padres have gone high school heavy in recent drafts taking the likes of Xavier Edwards, Ryan Weathers, and MacKenzie Gore all out of high school in the first round.
However, going back further, high school picks in the first-round have not really worked out.
Guys like Hudson Potts (2016), Walker Weickel (2012), Zach Eflin (2012), Max Fried (2012), Brett Austin (2011), Joe Ross (2011), and Karsten Whitson (2010 — didn’t sign).
Some of them have had gone on to have fine careers (mostly for other teams), but none of them have really become superstars.
And obviously the case is still out on the most recent picks like Gore.
I’m not trying to discourage any of you with these picks, just pointing out the risk the Padres took by selecting to high school guys. Hopefully it pans out and at least one of these guys turns into a superstar.