The transition from Jed Hoyer's drafts to Josh Byrnes' first draft see to be seamless. Many of the picks under Hoyer's regime were high upside high school arms and athletic position players. Those two archetypes would again make up the majority of higher pick selections in the Padres 2012 draft. Another thing to note about this draft is that it was the last under the old draft pick compensation system. The Padres would receive compensation picks for the loss of free agents Heath Bell and Aaron Harang. Bell netted two picks: a supplemental 1st rounder and the Marlins' 2nd round pick. Harang netted only a supplemental 1st round pick. The Padres also received the 55th overall selection as compensation for failing to sign Brett Austin the year before. Hitting on some of those picks and providing extra talent into the farm system would seem to be key since it would be the last time the Padres would ever receive so many picks that early in the draft.
Byrnes' staff, now with A.J. Hinch as an assistant general manager, Chad McDonald as assistant general manager in charge of player personnel and for the last draft still with Jaron Madison, would take a big swing with their first pick (the 7th overall selection). They drafted another HS pitcher (as the team had done in the previous two years with Karsten Whitson and Joe Ross) that they would have to buy out of a scholarship commitment. The selection was Max Fried and he, like Ross before him, was committed to UCLA. The Padres would pay him $3 million to forgo that scholarship and join the franchise. That was $250K more than what Ross got and $900K more than what Whitson was allegedly offered. The Padres meant business here.
Next came those aforementioned compensation picks. HS RHP Zach Eflin, speedy college OF Travis Jankowski and HS RHP Walker Weickel made up those 3 selections. That meant two more high school pitchers the Padres would have pay handsomely ($1.2 million for Eflin and $2M for Weickel). Jankowski signed for just under $1 million, a tactical move where the Padres knew the college senior did not have the leverage to sign for a bigger bonus. Still even with that compromise, the team got another athletic player in a similar mold to players like Cory Spangenberg, Jace Peterson and Rico Noel drafted in the previous two years. As I mentioned at the beginning, it was a seamless transition from one general manager to the next when it came to the draft.
Everyone of those picks has received there share of plaudits. Max Fried is possibly the one pitcher in the organization that is considered to have ace potential. Zach Eflin easily ranks as one of the team's top 10 prospects and is more than holding his own with Lake Elsinore currently. Travis Jankowski has steadily moved through the farm system and is currently in AA just two years later. Walker Weickel has been loved by scouts since his selection, but has struggled the most of any of the selections and is still working things out with the Fort Wayne TinCaps.
Beyond those top 4, the Padres did well for themselves with other picks:
-Jeremy Baltz, a college OF selected in the 2nd round has hit at every level. He seemed ticket to join Jankowski in AA, but he is currently recovering from an injury that occurred when he collided with another player in Spring Training.
-Dane Phillips, a college C selected with the 2nd Heath Bell compensation pick has earned some love at times from scouts. He currently is hitting very well for the TinCaps and should get a promotion to Lake Elsinore soon.
-Fernando Perez, drafted as a SS out of a community college in the 3rd round is an Otay Ranch HS alum and is still just 20 years old. His bat is killing it with the TinCaps right now. He has since moved away from SS and has played 3B, 2B and 1B.
-Andrew Lockett, a HS pitcher drafted in the 4th round gets praise for his upside, but he needs to stay away from the injury bug.
-Mallex Smith, a 5th round pick out of community college is another speedy OF. He swipes bases with no respect for opposing catchers' feelings.
-Roman Madrid, a college pitcher selected in the 7th round has been excellent for both the Eugene Emeralds and Fort Wayne TinCaps out of the bullpen. The injury bug has bit him in 2014 and he has yet to pitch this season.
-Maxx Tissembaum was the Padres' 11th round selection. The Canadian infielder who blogs about his baseball experience was part of the trade that landed the Padres Alex Torres and Jesse Hahn from the Tampa Bay Rays.
-10th rounder Stephen Carmon, 16th rounder Ronnie Richardson, 24th rounder Chris Nunn and 26th rounder Brandon Alger have all been productive members of the farm system and despite their lack of prospect status you shouldn't count any of them out at this early date.
This draft is still pretty recent, as you can tell since none of these players have even sniffed AAA let alone the majors, but it shapes up to be a pretty good one. Probably not as good as the 2011 draft, but better than the 2010 draft. Although only time will tell if it can produce someone better than 2010's Jedd Gyorko. It's just that there are so many more actual prospects in this draft class than their ever were from the 2010 one.
Here is the rest of the 2012 draft for your perusal: