Padres preparing for plenty of picks
San Diego has No. 23 selection in First-Year Player Draft
Just because the Padres have eight selections in the first 88 picks of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft on June 7-8 doesn't mean life has been considerably more difficult on Bill "Chief" Gayton, the team's director of scouting.
Truthfully, Gayton and the team's scouts, national cross-checkers and even general manager Kevin Towers would have likely been this busy anyway preparing for baseball's annual draft regardless of how many picks the Padres have.
"I've bounced from the West Coast to the East Coast to the Midwest," Gayton said. "I have been to the Big 12 tournament, the ACC tournament, the SEC tournament. This is what you live for. But it doesn't stop."
It will next week when the 2007 First-Year Player Draft takes place June 7-8 at Disney's Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando. The first round will be aired on ESPN2 at 11 a.m. PT, and MLB.com will have every pick of the 50-round Draft, start to finish.
The Padres won't make their first selection until the 23rd overall pick, which is when they figure to get plenty busy, as they'll also make selections at Nos. 40, 46, 57, 63, 64, 82 and 88.
Aside from their own first-round pick at No. 23, the Padres will have five supplemental first-round picks for losing a handful of Type B free agents -- Woody Williams (Astros), Dave Roberts (Giants), Chan Ho Park (Mets), Alan Embree (A's) and Ryan Klesko (Giants).
But Towers said the abundance of picks hasn't changed the way the team will approach the draft much, though the players the Padres are considering will likely get much more attention to paid to them.
"We've probably got more [players] getting looks," Towers said. "For me, it's a good problem to have."
Which could make for a wild time when the Padres get around to picking, considering their picks are bunched together and that they won't have a lot of time between picks.
"It's a deep draft, but there's not a lot of separation," Gayton sad. "There are a lot of very similar players. What you get, for instance, at No. 23 might be similar to what you get at Nos. 40 or 50. That's good, but it makes it a bit more difficult."
The Padres will likely pay attention to drafting players in the middle part of the field -- catchers, pitchers and middle infielders. But they insist that they don't have a preference of where those players come from, high school or college.
"This year seems a little more high school-oriented," Towers said. "We can probably afford to take some high school kids if we think there's a better upside there."
|1. TB||LHP||David Price||Vanderbilt U|
|2. KC||SS||Michael Moustakas||Chatsworth HS (Calif.)|
|3. CHC||3B||Josh Vitters||Cypress HS (Calif.)|
|4. PIT||LHP||Daniel Moskos||Clemson U|
|5. BAL||C||Matthew Wieters||Georgia Tech|
|6. WSH||LHP||Ross Detwiler||Missouri St U|
|7. MIL||LF||Matthew LaPorta||U Florida|
|8. COL||RHP||Casey Weathers||Vanderbilt U|
|9. ARI||RHP||Jarrod Parker||Norwell HS|
|10. SF||LHP||Madison Bumgarner||South Caldwell HS|
Recent Padres first-round picks:
2004: SS Matt Bush (No. 1 overall): Bush continues to struggle offensively and defensively at Class A Lake Elsinore, so he is going to try pitching. He was hitting just .208 in his first 96 at-bats with 21 strikeouts. A career .221 hitter in the Minor Leagues before this season, Bush missed time earlier in May with an inflamed right knee. The Padres hope that Bush doesn't become the third No. 1 overall pick to not make it to the Major Leagues (the others are Steve Whitaker and Brien Taylor).
RHP Cesar Carrillo (No. 18 overall): After missing half of last season with a right forearm strain, Carrillo was dealt even more bad news this spring when he had to undergo Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery after making five starts for Triple-A Portland. Estimated time for recovery is nine months to a year.
LHP Cesar Ramos (No. 35 overall): After going 7-8 with a 3.70 ERA over 24 starts a year ago at Lake Elsinore, Ramos has fared well in the hitter-friendly Texas League, posting a 4-4 record with a 3.75 ERA in his first 10 starts for the Missions. Ramos doesn't have a power arm. but doesn't walk many (16 walks in 57 2/3 innings) and is always around the plate.
2006: 3B Matt Antonelli (No. 17 overall): Antonelli has had success right out of the chute. And his transition from third base to second base has mostly been seamless. Offensively, Antonelli's been one very tough out at Class A Lake Elsinore, where he was hitting .314 with seven home runs in his first 191 at-bats, with 14 stolen bases.
2006: OF Kyler Burke (No. 35 overall): The 19-year-old Burke has struggled at the plate in his first one-plus professional seasons. He was hitting just .205 with one home run and 56 strikeouts in his first 156 at-bats for the Wizards. Burke hit .209 in his first professional season in 2006 in the short-season Arizona League.
Rising Fast: San Antonio third baseman Chase Headley, a second-round pick in 2005, has been tearing up the Texas League. Headley, a 23-year-old third baseman, was hitting .341 in his first 185 at-bats for the Missions with nearly as many home runs (eight) as he hit in 2006 (12). Headley is a switch-hitter who is better from the left side (.351), although he's had success (.314) from the right side.
Cinderella Story: And a big Cinderella Story, at that. Kyle Blanks, listed at 6-foot-6 and 281 pounds, is certainly giving the Padres a nice return on their 42nd-round investment in 2004. Blanks was hitting .333 with 10 home runs and 43 RBIs in his first 171 at-bats for Class A Lake Elsinore. He was hitting .354 in his first 79 at-bats in May.
In the Show: No Padres draftee from '04, '05 or '06 has made the Major Leagues yet.
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.