There appears to be no question that the recent influx of high ceiling prospects in the Padres system has given A.J. Preller and company the confidence to take some chances early in the draft, selecting a fifth straight high school player in Sam Keating from Canterbury High School (Florida).
Keating couldn’t quite match MacKenzie Gore’s sparkling ERA, but he still dominated Florida baseball to the tune of a career 0.78 ERA and .175 batting average against. Additionally, he struck out a whopping 224 batters while walking a mere 44 batters over his prep career.
His fastball generally works in the lower 90’s, but as he clears up his delivery and adds some strength, he should see an uptick in velocity. The breaking ball is far from refined; however, it projects to be average and is a step ahead of his changeup. To be fair, he had the fastball to blow past high school batters, as his above stats indicate, so he didn’t need to rely on the changeup all that often, so there is no reason to think he’s not capable of one day having it as a key part of his repertoire.
With that being said, the Padres will likely give him an opportunity to develop as a starter early in his career, but don’t be surprised if he gets shifted to the bullpen he has difficultly cleaning up his delivery. It’s not the best angle to see, but his release has a little too much effort to it at the moment.