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Draft Report Card

Jake Gautreau
Photo: Mel Bailey

Best Pro Debut: 3B Jake Gautreau (1) hit as expected, batting .309-6-36 in the short-season Northwest League and homering in his first Triple-A game, as did 2B Josh Barfield (4), who batted .310-4-53 with 12 steals in Rookie ball. C/1B Greg Sain (5) hit .293-16-40 and led the NWL in homers, while OF Marcus Nettles (11) matched that batting average and topped the league with 35 steals. LHP Jason Weidmeyer (6) was solid in the NWL and even better in full-season Class A, where he went 1-1, 1.85 with 29 strikeouts in 34 innings.

Best Athlete: The Padres considered Nettles the fastest player in the draft but weren’t sure how early they’d have to select him. He lost his starting job at the University of Miami toward the end of the college season, and a broken arm several years ago severely hampers his throwing. They were elated to get such a fluid athlete in the 11th round, and they think he’ll hit and be able to play a sterling center field.

Best Hitter: Gautreau and Barfield are two premium hitters who should produce for average with plus power.

Best Raw Power: San Diego loaded up on more legitimate power hitters than any other club. OF Doc Brooks (7) has the most sock in a group that also includes Gautreau, Barfield, Sain and 1B Jon Benick (9). 1B/3B Taggert Bozied (3) would fit right in that mix if he can be signed.

Fastest Runner: Nettles runs the 60-yard dash in 6.2-6.3 seconds. He was caught stealing 17 times in 52 pro attempts, which was too often for someone with his wheels. He had 88 steals and 90 starts in his college career.

Best Defensive Player: SS Jason Bartlett (13) has everything going for him defensively. He has very good hands and actons, quick feet and a loose arm.

Best Fastball: RHP Matt Harrington (2) threw 94-96 mph and touched 98 as a high school senior in 2000, when he was considered the top prospect in the draft and was taken seventh overall by the Rockies. He still hadn’t signed as of late October, so the best fastball that’s Padres property belongs to RHP Zach Wykoff (34). Wykoff dropped out of Kennesaw State (Ga.) and stood out at a tryout camp with heat that reached 94-95 mph.

Most Intriguing Background: Barfield’s father Jesse was the 1986 American League home run champion. Unsigned OF Nick Walters (39) is attending Princeton, where his father Gary is the athletic director. Unsigned RHP Scott Shapiro (18) is the nephew of 1968’s No. 1 overall pick, Tim Foli.

Closest To The Majors: Gautreau and OF Matt Hellman (26) were two of four players from the 2001 draft to reach Triple-A during the summer, though Hellman was promoted only to fill a sudden hole that arose. Gautreau will start 2002 in high Class A and Double-A is a realistic goal for the second half. Though several teams questioned his defense at third base before the draft, the Padres are enthused by the skills he showed at second base in instructional league.

Best Late-Round Pick: Bartlett, a four-tool shortstop who was named a Northwest League all-star. Before trading for D’Angelo Jimenez, San Diego had been desperate for a shortstop. Not only did Bartlett shine defensively, but he also hit .300-3-37 with 12 steals. The only thing he lacks is power, though his pop is more than acceptable for his position.

The One Who Got Away: Both Harrington, who’s recovering from shoulder tendinitis, and Bozied played in the independent Northern League and still were negotiating with the Padres. The best player who definitely won’t sign is Shapiro, a strong 6-foot-5, 230-pounder who has a 92-94 mph fastball that peaks at 96. He’s at Vanderbilt.

Assessment: San Diego had plenty of pitching in its system, so it focused on position players in the draft. No organization signed as many tantalizing hitters, and the Padres could get a real bonus if Harrington signs and regains his 2000 form.

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