Day two on the draft has come and gone and the San Diego Padres made eight picks. It started with outfielder Hunter Head, followed by eight pitchers. The last three were lefties.
While it is true that projecting how players will develop is nearly impossible, that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth taking a stab at.
So, let’s look at the top three pick made by the Padres on day two.
3. RHP Chris Lincoln, UC Santa Barbara
Lincoln has a good frame to throw from, standing at 6’4” and 175 pounds. He generates the power for his low 90’s fastball, that can reach mid 90’s, from both his lower half and a quick arm. His violent delivery signals a a future in the bullpen.
He stays high while he follows through, and his back leg finishes very high. The arm speed comes from his ability to create torque from his shoulder before he rotates to deliver the ball, what is known as his power slot.
When he can keep the ball low in the zone, he gets some decent two seam movement on it. He will flash a changeup, but any video makes it clear that his preferred secondary pitch is his breaking ball.
With his size, he might be given the opportunity to start. If he could develop that changeup he might find some success. I believe his best future is in the bullpen. Lincoln will be able to get the best out of his stuff, and his delivery, as a reliever. I believe his ceiling his higher that way too.
2. LHP Ethan Elliott, Lincoln Memorial University
People might be quick to knock the San Diego Padres 10th rounder because of his fastball, or lack thereof. He sits 85-89 MPH. However, he has some tools that can help him to climb the ladder.
To me, one of the biggest things to like about Elliott is his changeup. He couples a feel for that pitch with his fastball and strike throwing ability to find success. Believe it or not, he posted a 134/12 K/BB ratio over 92.2 innings in college.
He will look to build on his 6’3” and 180 pound frame to sit towards the top of his velocity range. Coupled with that changeup, the Padres could be looking at a crafty lefty out of the bullpen, if not a back end starter.
His strike throwing ability will translate to the professional ranks. While the strikeouts might not, he should still be able to keep hitters off balance to create weak contact. That is where a well placed changeup comes in handy. It might take some adjusting, but Elliott has the tools to be successful in his professional career.
1. RHP Drake Fellows, Vanderbilt
Ah, Vanderbilt. They have an extensive history of successful players. In the 17 years that Tim Corbin has coached that team exactly three freshman have earned a start on Opening Weekend. Tyler Beede, projected future first rounder Kumar Rocker, and Drake Fellows.
Getting Fellows in the sixth round looks like amazing value on the surface. By pure numbers, he has a 6’5” and 216 pound frame to throw from. He has a fastball, with sink, that tops out at 95 MPH. And he adds an above average slider with an 50 grade changeup.
MLB Pipeline ranked him at 152, the Padres took him 173rd overall. His listed ceiling is as a fourth starter, but I don’t buy it. As with any draftee, he has some work to do. Namely, refining his changeup to help against lefties, per his scouting report.
Fellows has been very successful in the SEC, and was the number one starter in a good Vanderbilt program. I am not predicting ace level ceiling, or even close, but I think he can channel his competitive nature to grow into a higher-than-predicted potential as he moves through the ranks.
If anything, Fellows floor is what should be intriguing. It didn’t flash as much this last year, but he has been known for command over stuff in the past. Recently, his stuff got better with command falling. Put that together and the Padres have themselves a pitcher.
There is little doubt that Fellows will be brought along as a starter, and will remain that way. I would expect him to be a quick mover, at least early on. To me, this is the clear cut best pick the Padres made on day two. Of course, who knows what will happen when they take the field as professionals.