On the second day of the 2018 draft, the Padres added eight more players to the #HotTalentLava pool. It’s not a done deal, they have to negotiate their signing bonuses, but in the meantime we can see what we can learn about these kids. First we’ll run down the individuals and then we’ll pick out some trends among them.
Round 3: Owen Miller, SS, Illinois State University - A right-handed hitting middle infielder, Miller is likely to move off shortstop but will likely be carried by a bat that makes a ton of contact with decent pop to go with some pretty good wheels. Fun fact: he hit for the cycle twice in three days. He played basketball in high school, which seems to be a trend this year, and he’s a 4-year Junior. I hope @SacBuntDustin doesn’t mind if I borrow from his Twitter feed:
The Padres last pick, Owen Miller, cut his strikeout rate in half this season from his first two years in college. Also OPS'ed 1.052 in the wood bat Northwoods League last summer (only 60 PAs). Not ranked on BA's top 300, he's still probably a signability pick here.— Sac Bunt Dustin (@sacbuntdustin) June 5, 2018
Round 4: Dylan Coleman, RHP, Missouri State University - Coleman joins fellow Missouri collegian Joey Lucchesi and brings a similar strikeout ability by finishing 14th in the nation in the stat. He’s 6’6” and features a high 90’s fastball & slider repertoire. He also set high school scoring records in basketball. The 4th year junior already made a gracious debut on #PadresTwitter:
Just want to say thanks to the @Padres for the opportunity they’ve given me. Also want to thank my family, friends and fans for all the support they’ve give me over the years. Lastly want to thank @MSUBearBaseball for taking the chance and giving me an opportunity 3 years ago.— Dylan Coleman (@27_coleman) June 5, 2018
Round 5: Dwanya Williams-Sutton, RF, East Carolina University - Another 4th year junior, the 6’2”, 215lbs corner outfielder looks like a grown-ass man playing among high schoolers in his college mixtapes. He has big raw power and hits some of the hardest balls in the draft according to Fangraphs’ Kiley McDaniel. His big frame allows for projection of more power and his mechanics leave a lot to be desired, which means that he’s gotten this far with hand-eye coordination and strength... but he’s very athletic for a guy with his size. Oh, and he’s a baller as well.
Round 6: Alexuan Vega, LHP, Leonides Morales Rodriguez H.S. - The only high schooler drafted on Day Two, he’s 6’2” and throws with his left hand. That’s all I have to say about that.
Round 7: Jawuan Harris, CF, Rutgers University - While he is a little undersized as 5’9”, Harris makes up for it with speed in his feet and in his bat. A two-way athlete, Harris has made more of a name for himself as a football defensive back, but he’s expected to sign after being drafted. He was suspended for violating team rules three times in his (4th year) junior season, so there may be makeup concerns, but those have been publicly dismissed as maturation issues that he should outgrow. I’ll let the Rutgers Twitter account give you some nice stats (including a Former Padre nugget) on this athletic kid:
Jawuan Harris...— Rutgers Baseball (@RutgersBaseball) June 5, 2018
- Had 82 stolen bases to lead the nation over the last three seasons.
- Produced 42 extra-base hits, including a three-homer game in 2017.
- Is the highest #RBaseball draft pick since Patrick Kivlehan in 2012. pic.twitter.com/UPGxUzMdaw
Round 8: Steven Wilson, RHP, Santa Clara University - A fifth-year senior, the 6’3” righty took a leadership role this year while earning the nickname of “grandpa” (even though he wasn’t the oldest guy on the team). He missed the 2017 season due to Tommy John surgery, but successfully rehabbed to return as a reliever this season. He’ll get along with Wil Myers just fine because he loves the queso. Here’s an interesting note:
Steven Wilson, Padres' 8th-round pick from Santa Clara, thrived under his new coach last season: Rusty Filter, former player & pitching coach at SDSU who coached two No. 1 overall picks: Strasburg & Appel (while at Stanford), and also Cal Quantrill.— Jay Posner (@sdutPosner) June 5, 2018
Round 9: Luke Becker, 2B, University of Kentucky - A switch-hitter known for plate discipline and bat control, the 5’11” Becker sounds like another 2B from KY - Andy Green. He’s a 4th-year senior, he walked twice as often as he struck out last season, and his makeup draws praise. He has a chance to overtake Andrew Cashner and challenge John Kruk for the title of “Best Mullet in Padres History. That must be arugula, because that salad is spicy!
Kentucky's Luke Becker is sporting the greatest mullet since Billy Ray, circa 1993.— Not Jerry Tipton (@NotJerryTipton) May 18, 2018
See you in Omaha, Cats. pic.twitter.com/Or7fppPeHD
Round 10: Jose Quezada, RHR, Texas Tech University - This 5’9” reliever joins classmate Grant Little as the second Red Raider selected by the Padres this year. Born in Chihuahua, MX, Quezada transferred from Howard College prior to the 2017 academic year.
The thing that jumps off the board is that this set of draftees is almost entirely college upper classmen. That means a couple of things, namely signability and proximity to the majors. These kids have less physical maturation needed than high schoolers or underclassmen, and they’re eager to pursue their professional careers, so most if not all of these guys should sign for less than the slot projection. With an under-slot selection in the first round and possibly later on the first day as well, the Padres should have a bunch of cash left to make some lucrative offers to high-ceiling kids in the later rounds. There’s a surprising balance of four pitchers and four position players, and these aren’t all the model “loud tools” prospects we’ve seen the Padres target in the past. Rather we have hitters with high contact rates, and speed and athleticism have been consistent features for the position players. We’re seeing pitchers with more stoutly built bodies, and the selection of relievers is a bit of a surprise. To me, this looks like a shift to high-floor players with potential for growth, an interesting contrast to the electric athleticism bubbling up from the international amateur signings.
The MLB draft is a tough process to grasp. Unlike other leagues, the players selected this week will take years to develop into Major League players, and most of them will fall by the wayside. But for the few who will wear the SD on their chest, we can look back and remember the day that they joined the Padres organization.