Monday, June 13, 2011

2011 Padres Draft: First Impressions

From a strategy standpoint the Padres did very well in the 2011 draft. They drafted a solid combination of upside and safe picks.

The first pick, Spangenberg, is considered a reach by many. The Padres insist he was the highest player on their board when the 10th pick came up. I suspect he was the Padres highest player on the board for that pick, but not for talent alone. I am sure the Padres prioritized signability. That said, I like the pick. Spangenburg has good upside as a potential 1 or 2 hitter. He has speed and can hit for average. The Padres also picked up Jace Peterson in the supplemental round to pair with Spangenberg as middle infield/lead off candidate talent. Peterson may be a steal, IMO, as he has a low strikeout rate and a solid walk rate.

The rest of the supplemental and 2nd round picks were used on upside players. Joe Ross is the safest of the "upside" picks. He projects as a middle of the rotation starter, IMO. Michael Kelly is the more intriguing upside pitcher. With the Padres having several young pitchers at the MLB level now and with Bass, Kelly, Hefner, and Castro all near ready, they can afford to wait a few years for these upside pitchers to develop. The Padres also added two young Catchers in Brett Austin and Austin Hedges. Brett Austin was drafted for his offensive upside and Austin Hedges is one the best defensive catching prospects to come around in recent years. The Padres have Hundley now and may have Jason Hagerty within 1-2 years. This affords the Padres the time to develop these young catchers.

The Padres drafted several college pitchers that project well as relief and back of the rotation starters. Mark Pope had a very nice college career and could move quickly.

Overall, I am very pleased with the Padres draft. They emphasized impact upside talent early on. They drafted for Petco and also for need without passing on guys they "should" have taken. I give this draft an early A.