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Baseball America Online - College

Padres Draft Preview

By Jim Callis
May 13, 2003

Scouting Director: Bill Gayton (first draft: 2001).

2000 Draft (First five rounds, picking ninth)
1. Mark Phillips, lhp, Hanover (Pa.) HS
2. Xavier Nady, 3b, California
3. Omar Falcon, c, Southridge HS, Miami
4. Mewelde Moore, of, Belaire HS, Baton Rouge
5. Jon Huber, rhp, North Fort Myers (Fla.) HS

2001 Draft (First five rounds, picking 14th)
1. Jake Gautreau, 3b, Tulane
2. *Matt Harrington, rhp, St. Paul (Northern League)
3. Taggert Bozied, 1b/3b, San Francisco
4. Josh Barfield, 2b, Klein HS, Spring, Texas
5. Greg Sain, c/3b, San Diego

2002 Draft (First five rounds, picking 13th)
1. Khalil Greene, ss, Clemson
2. *Michael Johnson, 1b, Clemson
3. Kennard Jones, of, Indiana
4. Aaron Coonrod, rhp, John A. Logan (Ill.) CC
5. Sean Thompson, lhp, Thunder Ridge HS, Denver

(*Did not sign)

2003 Draft
Padres pick fourth in rotation.

It's no secret the Padres are going to draft college players. Scouting director Bill Gayton developed an affinity for college picks while working for the Athletics, and in his two years running San Diego's draft he has gone that route with 14 of his 20 picks in the first 10 rounds.

That isn't to say the Padres will ignore high school players, and they've shown a knack for finding good ones. Second baseman Josh Barfield is the best position player in the system. Righthander David Pauley (eighth round, 2001) and lefthander Sean Thompson are two of San Diego's most promising young arms at the lower levels.

For the most part, the Padres have spent the last two drafts stocking up on bats, starting with picks Jake Gautreau and Khalil Greene, their potential double-play combination of the future. They've also brought in first baseman Tagg Bozied and outfielder Kennard Jones, among others.

Add it all up, and the natural expectation is that San Diego will look for college pitching this June while avoiding high school bats. But that's not necessarily the case, as California high school outfielder Delmon Young could be mighty tempting at fourth overall if he's available. San Diego hasn't selected that early since 1995, when they took Ben Davis at No. 2.

If they do take a college arm as expected, the Padres will be able to grab one of the best, such as Wake Forest righthander Kyle Sleeth or Richmond righty Tim Stauffer. Chipola (Fla.) JC lefthander Adam Loewen also could be in the mix if the Orioles don't meet his reported price tag of $4 million as a draft-and-follow, though that figure could scare off San Diego. It's nearly twice the club's record bonus for a draft pick: $2.2 million to 2000 first-rounder Mark Phillips.

The Padres have several attractive draft-and-follows of their own, most notably Clemson first baseman Michael Johnson. He has gap power and plate discipline and may be able to move to left field as a pro. Johnson didn't sign last year, but San Diego retains his rights because he's a fifth-year senior. The Padres will get another chance to sign him unless Clemson advances to the super-regional stage of the NCAA playoffs. Other priority draft-and-follows include Grayson County (Texas) CC shortstop Andy LaRoche (21st round), Tyler (Texas) JC righthander Jared Wells (31st) and Volunteer State (Tenn.) CC outfielder Chad Etheridge (45th).