Padres 2002 Draft Overview
Scouting Director: Bill Gayton (first draft: 2001).
(First three rounds, picking ninth)
(First three rounds, picking 14th)
San Diego's best major league player was third baseman Phil Nevin. Its best minor league player was third baseman Sean Burroughs. Two of the best position players in the system were Xavier Nady and Kevin Eberwein, who could have been groomed at the hot corner had it not been apparent Burroughs would lay claim to the position.
Yet in the first draft Bill Gayton ran for the Padres, he didn't shy away from third basemen. The optimal position for Jake Gautreau, Taggert Bozied, fourth-rounder Josh Barfield and fifth-rounder Greg Sain was arguably third base in each case. Yet San Diego needed bats and didn't resist taking all four players.
Gautreau and Barfield are at second base for now, while Bozied has played mainly first base. (Sain opened this season on the disabled list after DHing for most of his pro debut.) By taking the best players on their draft board and sorting out the positions later, the Padres were able to bolster their hitting depth.
Preferring college players, Gayton chose 11 of them among his first 14 selections last year. The system's biggest weakness is catcher, though there may not be a backstop, college or high school, who warrants going as high as 13th.
If the Padres go for a college pitcher, lefthander Jeff Francis is a possibility, but they might not be able to pass up a local high school product this time around. Lefthander Cole Hamels of prep power Rancho Bernardo High is regarded by at least one team as the best high school pitcher in the draft, but others have medical questions after Hamel broke his arm last year. The Padres have cleared Hamel--their team doctor helped treat him.
The Padres also could add another power arm before the draft in righthander Matt Harrington, their second-round pick last year. Harrington, who did not sign as the Rockies' first-round pick in 2000, has hardly pitched in the last two years, and negotiations continue between general manager Kevin Towers and agent Scott Boras. Don't be surprised if they reach a late deal. If Harrington hasn't signed by May 28, he would go back into the draft for a third time.
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