With the draft just four days away, both Baseball America and MLB Pipeline released their latest mock drafts. There seems to be consensus building that Wright and Greene will most likely be going one and two with the Padres expected to pass on the two way Louisville Star, Brendan McKay, in favor of MacKenzie Gore, the prep lefty from North Carolina.
Since we’ve been hammering away at first round possibilities all week, I thought it would be beneficial to explore what the team’s options might in round two in light of the two mock draft. They own the 39th pick (and the 69th pick), which carries a slot values of $1,760,700.
As we do this, just keep in mind that Preller is not the only general manager who might reach, especially when a few teams need maximize their financial flexibility with a couple of early picks in their possession, so while the Padres could nab a second player with first round talent, they could just as easily wind up taking someone that’s considered too risky or not expected to be taken for a couple of rounds.
Ultimately, there second round pick will either be about saving money or nabbing a guy who had a precipitous drop in the draft. If they end up with MacKenzie Gore in the first round, I think they’d prefer to not select a prep arm with their next pick, but there are few who are too tantalizing to pass up should they be available.
One of those arms is Sam Carlson, who in all likelihood wouldn’t make it past the Minnesota Twins at 35, but draft experts peg him to be one of the high schoolers most likely to slide into the late first round. The reality is that high school pitchers in the North are not generally as polished or experienced because they’ve logged less innings as a result of the more limited time that baseball can be played competitively outdoors in a state like Minnesota. In fact, the state has never had a high school pitcher selected in the first round, so it’s not impossible that teams balk at taking the right-hander.
At 6’4” and 195 lbs., he’s got the prototypical pitchers build and the talent to pair with it. His heater regularly sits in the mid 90’s with quality sink to it, and he has a more developed changeup than the average high schooler. Additionally, his slider projects to be a plus pitch, giving him a refined arsenal that should allow him to move more quickly through a system than the average prep player (just as Gore could).
According to John Sickels of Minor League Ball, the only knock appears to be that “some observers worry that he throws across his body a bit too much.”
Despite being a top 30 prospect in the draft, Sauer isn’t expected to be selected in the first round and should be available for A.J. Preller at pick 39. The right-hander from Santa Maria, California has a similar frame as Carlson with his velocity hanging around the same range, and while his changeup clearly lags behind Carlson’s, his slider projects to be every bit as good.
Because of his arm action and weak changeup, Sauer makes for a high risk, high reward type of pick with the capability of being a number two or three starter if he hits his ceiling. Perhaps, Preller will be inclined to continue loading up on that type of talent.
Blayne Enlow is another prep righty that has the talent to go in the first but likely won’t due to concerns that he’ll bolt for Louisiana State University if he doesn’t like either his landing spot or his contract offer. His forte is throwing the curve, which according to Jim Callis’ top tools, is consider the best in the draft class, beating out even the more developed collegiate arms. As far as his fastball is concerned, he typically operates in the mid to low 90’s with a chance to add a couple of ticks to that as he adds strength.
Like Sauer and many other high school pitchers, he hasn’t needed to rely on the changeup to overpower prep hitters, so it’s something that will need quite a bit of work for him to remain a starter; though, scouts remain optimistic that he could be a mid-rotation arm.
If you’ve been following high school baseball around San Diego, then Nick Allen’s name should be a familiar one. He’s a defensive monster at shortstop, garnering a fielding tool grade of 65 because of his arm, range, and innate instincts. Unlike a number of the Padres’ top shortstop prospects, there’s no doubt that Allen could stick at the marquee position.
Yet, he’s not a defensively only player as his bat also projects to be plus, nailing line drives all over the field, in addition to being a more than capable base-stealer. While his one knock is that he’s devoid of power, as would be expected from his 5’8” frame, the idea of a premier defender that could hit .275-.300 with a flurry of stolen bases could be an interesting and safer play in the second round.
Late in the first round last year, Preller selected a high floor college pitcher in Eric Lauer, and it appears to be working out rather swimmingly this season. Martin isn’t as safe a pick as Lauer, but he does have a nice floor as a potential high leverage reliever if it doesn’t work out in the rotation, spending a significant amount of time handling that role for Texas A&M.
With that being said, I feel the need to clarify that the only reason they used him in that role is because he had control issues, struggling to harness three plus pitches (Fastball, Curveball, Slider) and his changeup. He’d be a fine choice if the team wants to do an “under the slot value” deal in the second round.
(A few others: Drew Waters, Nate Pearson, Clarke Schmidt)