Predicting the San Diego Padres’ 2023 first-round draft selection

2022 MLB Draft
2022 MLB Draft / Kevork Djansezian/GettyImages

According to MLB Pipeline, as of March 2023, the Padres had the 23rd-best farm system in baseball. That the Padres would fall in the rankings makes sense given that they traded James Wood, Robert Hassell III, and youngster Jarlin Susana to acquire Juan Soto. (And, in fairness, they have improved from their 28 mid-season ranking.)

While the Padres are clearly in a win-now mindset, it’s never too early to begin planning for the future. That future begins with the next MLB draft.

The 2023 MLB Draft will take place on July 9-11 in Seattle in conjunction with the All-Star Game. This year, the Padres have a bonus pool of $5.416,000, which they will spend on the following draft picks:

  • 1st round: 25th pick ($3,165,400.00)
  • 3rd round: 96th pick ($698,600)
  • 4th round: 128th selection ($511,600)
  • 6th round: $287,700
  • 7th round: $226,100
  • 8th round: $188,800
  • 9th round: $173,400
  • 10th round: $164,400

(The Padres do not have a second-round draft pick because they signed a qualified free agent.)

It’s also that time in the season when the mock drafts begin to trickle in as experts begin to project each team’s choices. Granted, it’s early in the speculating, but some interesting names are being associated with the Padres.

Baseball America (March 16, 2023)

Baseball America is projecting that the Padres will sign right-handed pitcher Charlee Soto from Christian Academy in Kissimmee, Florida. Soto began as a shortstop but has grown into a promising pitcher who features a fastball, slider, and changeup. The fastball regularly hits 98 mph while his breaking stuff is developing. Soto represents an intriguing addition to the Padres’ rotation. Given that the Padres were willing to draft high school pitchers last year, the move would be consistent with the team’s development philosophy. (And, can any team really have too many players with a surname of “Soto?”)

Prospects Live (April 8, 2023)

Third baseman Aidan Miller (JW Mitchell High School, Florida) is Prospects Live’s current prediction. Miller is known for his bat, though there are questions about some quirkiness in his swing. He was moved from shortstop to third, but the fit has been solid given his arm strength. His calling card, however, is the bat. Miller has committed to the University of Arkansas, but a first-round draft selection may change that.

Just Baseball (May 2, 2023)

Blake Mitchell, a catcher from Sinton, Texas, is Just Baseball’s projection. Drafting a catcher out of high school involves risk, but Mitchell’s skills merit serious attention. He is a better hitter than many high school catchers though the Padres may move him to a corner spot. As Just Baseball puts it, “[I]f he can remain a catcher, he has all the ingredients to be a star.” Mitchell also pitches and has a 97 mph fastball, but he is probably more valuable for his bat. Currently, he is committed to Louisiana State University. (May 5, 2023)

Jim Callis projects the Padres will draft Dillon Head, an outfielder from Homewood-Flossmoor High School in Flossmoor, Florida. The hit tool is solid thought the defense still needs some work.

Speculation for the 2023 draft is in its early stages, so watch this space for updates as the draft picture begins to emerge.