Draft Preview: No pressure on new regime
Hoyer, McLeod, Madison want to make right pick for Padres
SAN DIEGO -- It's hard to know who the Padres will select with the No. 9 overall pick in Monday's First-Year Player Draft -- and not just because those involved in the process are trying to be, understandably, discreet.
The Padres have a new general manager (Jed Hoyer), a new assistant general manager who oversees scouting (Jason McLeod) and a new director of scouting (Jaron Madison). And while Hoyer has pledged to add players who give the team an advantage at its spacious downtown ballpark (PETCO Park), there's some intrigue surrounding the first pick of the new regime.
Pressure? That's not how McLeod sees it.
"The standard answer is you always want to hit on your first pick no matter what, but coming back [from Boston with Hoyer], I couldn't call it pressure at all," McLeod said. "For us, the work doesn't change, there's no added pressure to make sure we're right. In saying that, from a pride factor, we want to make sure we get it right more than anything.
"We're not looking to make a lot of splash with the pick, but just want to make the right pick."
MLB.com will offer live coverage and analysis of the entire First-Year Player Draft from June 7-9 on MLB.com/Live. The first round and Compensation Round A will be broadcast live on MLB.com and MLB Network on Monday, beginning with the Draft preview show at 3 p.m. PT.
MLB.com Draft expert Jonathan Mayo will join Greg Amsinger, Harold Reynolds, John Hart, Peter Gammons and Baseball America executive editor Jim Callis on Monday's broadcast.
Coverage for rounds 2-50 will shift exclusively to MLB.com/Live. Rounds 2-30 will be streamed on Tuesday, beginning at 9 a.m., and rounds 31-50 will be streamed on Wednesday, starting at 9 a.m. Host Pete McCarthy will be joined by Mayo and former general manager Jim Duquette.
Here's a glance at what the Padres have in store as the Draft approaches:
In about 50 words
McLeod said the overall strength of this Draft is high school pitching. There's plenty of talent there and plenty of depth as well. McLeod said there aren't as many "impact" players at the top of the Draft as in the past. "After the first couple of guys ... it turns into a depth Draft," McLeod said.
"I think we have a pretty good idea of the three or four players we like and who might be at that pick," McLeod said. "You'll see a little more variety in who is taken and you might see a few more high school players taken. It will be pretty fun."
The Padres have the No. 9 overall selection and would love nothing more than to land the "impact" player they covet at that spot. In the past, the Padres have leaned toward taking polished college players. It's hard to tell what the new regime will do. Will they jump on prep pitcher Karsten Whitson, the son of former Padres pitcher Ed Whitson? Or will prep third baseman Nick Castellanos be there? With not a lot of top college pitchers out there, the Padres could turn to Texas-Arlington outfielder Michael Choice, who is said to have raw power and a big upside.
The Padres certainly won't be drafting for need here, though some of the college players they have taken in the past -- Chase Headley, Wade LeBlanc, etc. -- have moved quickly through their system. The Padres made a point of drafting athletes with upside -- knowing it was risky -- a year ago. Will they do the same this year? "Our preference is to find the most impact we can get for this organization," McLeod said.
Throw history out the window here with a new general manager and with the additions of McLeod and Madison. There was a movement last year to draft players who can best be described as plus athletes, like No. 3 overall pick, Donavan Tate. McLeod is not one to be pigeonholed with what kind of particular players the Padres are targeting. "It doesn't matter where they come from," he said.
Recent Draft History
Drew Cumberland, a compensatory pick in 2007 as a prep shortstop, is only 21 but is off to a strong start for advanced Class A Lake Elsinore, hitting .364 with five home runs and a .416 on-base percentage in his first 38 games. Cumberland's defensive game is getting better and he already has 16 stolen bases.
Outfielder Dan Robertson was selected in the 33rd round of the 2008 Draft but has hit at every level. He was hitting .331 through his first 48 games with Lake Elsinore in 2010. He can run (six triples, 13 steals) and had 23 doubles last season with Fort Wayne. With an advanced bat, he could end up with Double-A San Antonio before too long.
In The Show
Shortstop Lance Zawadzki was the first member of the 2007 Draft class to make it to the big leagues.
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.