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Padres continue trend of drafting up the middle talent

San Diego selected center fielder Dillon Head with their first round pick

Colorado Rockies v San Diego Padres Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images

The San Diego Padres used their first round pick in the MLB Draft last night on high school center fielder Dillon Head. There were reports before the draft linking the Padres to Vanderbilt outfielder Enrique Bradfield, who ended up going to the Baltimore Orioles at 17, so it wasn’t a surprise to see San Diego select someone who is similar to him.

MLB prospect guru Jim Callis said on MLB Network last night that Head has 80 grade speed and is a high school version of Bradfield. “This is a classic A.J. Preller type athlete. [The Padres] gotta be jumping up and down.”

Head is committed to Clemson so it’s not a guarantee he signs with the Padres but based on what he said during his press conference last night, it seems like San Diego will be able to sign him.

“San Diego is beautiful,” Head told the San Diego media. “I love it there. It’s probably my favorite place on earth. And I went to a Padres game while I was down there on top of that when they played the Giants...I loved the atmosphere, the game, the fans, all that type of stuff.”

This is Preller’s latest first round pick that plays up the middle. In past years, San Diego has used their top picks on Jackson Merrill (shortstop in 2021), Robert Hassell (center fielder in 2020) and CJ Abrams (shortstop in 2019). The Padres like doing this in part because they have a better chance at being able to transition to new positions down the road if that’s what the organization needs.

So far in Day 2 of the draft, the Padres have selected catcher Jandaniel Gonzalez (96th pick), center fielder Homer Bush Jr. (128th pick) and second baseman Jay Beshears (191st pick).

Head hit .484 in his senior season at Homewood-Flossmoor High School in Illinois, stealing 31 bases and homering six times.

“We see a guy from an offensive standpoint, has extra-base ability — doubles, triples, home runs. If not one of the fastest, maybe the fastest player in the draft. It’s a real, explosive athletic burst and a guy that can impact the game with his legs defensively,” Preller said. “That’s one of the things over the last few years, what some of the players have in common, what some of those guys that are doing well in the minor leagues or gotten to the big leagues, Dillon has a lot of similar traits to them.”