Padres take Pitchers with four of six picks in 2020
The San Diego Padres participated in the 2020 Major League Baseball draft and had a total of six picks. The draft was five rounds and the Padres had a competitive balance pick by being in the 10 smallest markets or revenue pools.
Joining what is arguably one of the deepest minor league systems in the MLB will be four pitchers and two outfielders. Four of the six are coming from the High School ranks, the other two from the University of Georgia (SEC) and Troy University (Sun Belt).
The eighth overall pick went to Robert Hassell III a lefty outfielder from Tennessee. The first prep star taken off the board in the draft can play! Not only did he tear up the USA National Team with a .514/.548/.886 slash line at the under-18 World Cup a year ago in South Korea. The 2019 Tennessee Baseball Player of the Year was expected to go to National Contender Vanderbilt but with an estimated 5.18 Million dollar payday waiting, Coach Tim Corbin will have to find another center fielder. The 6-foot-1 left-hander will look to get some playing time in both center field and left. With Wil Myers, Josh Naylor and Frenchy Cordero manning the major league outfield it could be a couple of years before we start hearing of him challenging for a big league roster spot.
In the competitive balance round the Friars went with a RHP from Llano High School in Llano, Texas (75 miles Northwest of Austin). Last August, not many people knew of Justin Lange. He was rather lackluster in the Area Code Games for the Royals. He topped out in the low-90’s and didn’t have much movement. Then in September at the Future Star series he jumped up to 95mph on his fastball. This spring in the few games that he was able to play in he touched 100 a few times and was constantly in the upper-90’s. The Dallas Baptist recruit is going to need to learn how to harness his slider among other pitches as it did not have much life on it as he was over-throwing it. There were also times when he would show signs of being an outfielder. There were flashes of raw power and speed. Only time will tell where the righty will show up on the radar.
On Thursday, the draft concluded and saw the Brown and Gold take three pitchers and an outfielder.
The second round saw the Padres go North, like way North. All the way to Ontario Canada North. Owen Caissie is not the first pick the Padres have from Ontario. No, one Josh Naylor (OF) is already on the Major League Roster and they look to strike it lucky again with Caissie. The 6-foot-4 Left-handed hitter (right-handed thrower) is a Michigan recruit that projects to be a right-field asset. He has some legit raw power from the left-side and in true Right-field tradition in San Diego can hit it to all fields. The Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School product has some scout worried that the power may not come as his swing plane is not exactly the best. While playing for the Canadian National team, his arm showed plenty of power as he was unleashing 90mph throws from the track and regular intervals.
In the third round, the Swinging Friars stole Cole Wilcox. The University of Georgia Right-handed pitcher was projected to be taken with the 23rd overall pick, but some how slid all the way to the Padres in the third round and 80th overall pick. Wilcox was slated to get taken in the first round back in 2018, but the Nationals took him in the 37th (out of 40) round (1,121 overall). He is a draft-eligible Sophomore with absolute electric stuff. In 23 appearances (10 starts) covering two seasons the Chickamauga, Georgia native has a 6-2 record and a 3.38 ERA for the SEC ‘Dogs. The 6-foot-5, 232-pounder had a WHIP (Walks and Hits per Innings Pitched) 0.87 over 23 innings this season as he was 3-0 and not only on his way to being an Academic All-American he was well on his way to getting the Bulldogs back to Omaha for the first time in 30 years. He has a fastball that is in the 92-97 range and has been known to touch the triple digits. His secondary stuff is amazing as well. A power slider and absolutely filthy changeup. It looks like he might project to either a late rotation guy or middle relief.
The other College choice this year was Levi Thomas in the fourth round from the Troy Trojans in the Sun Belt Conference. The Cullman, Alabama native was 2-2 this season with 0.39 ERA over 23 innings. Over his career in Alabama he was 12-3 with a 2.98 ERA in 34 appearances (26 starts). He possesses an interesting sling delivery from the high-3/4 slot. He has been able to harness the delivery and has an outstanding 185/53 strikeout-to-walk ratio (nearly 3.5 K’s to every walk) and could be a middle of the rotation guy. His fastball is in the Greg Maddox range of 88-94 but his breaking balls have true swing and miss stuff.
For their final pick of the draft the Swinging Friars went with a High School Senior from West Columbus High School in Cerro Gordo, North Carolina (44 miles due North from Myrtle Beach, SC right on the border of the two Carolinas). The left-handed pitcher is currently slated to be a Tar Heel in Chapel Hill this coming Fall. The three-sport athlete (Football, Basketball and Baseball) has had his fastball clocked in the low-90’s. It is very unlikely that the 17-year old will go anywhere other than Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
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