2017 MLB Draft Grades: San Diego Padres
Best pure hitter: C Luis Campusano (2) impressed scouts defensively and offensively prior to being taken with the 39th pick of the draft, and has hit well in his first stint with pro ball, to the tune of a .269/.344/.388 triple slash in the Rookie-level Arizona League. Best power hitter: OF Mason House (3) was one of the biggest late-rising prospects prior to the 2017 draft and has plus raw power in the tank. He only managed two home runs in 39 AZL games this summer, but he also had eight triples—tied for second in the league—and six doubles, with a .171 isolated slugging.
Fastest runner: OF Robbie Podorsky (25) stole 39 bags and was caught just five times (an 88.6 percent success rate) during his spring season with McNeese State and has stolen 19 bags in 26 tries (76 percent) across two levels in pro ball. A legitimate 80-grade runner, Podorsky should become more efficient with more professional reps and is already a serious threat on the bases.
Best defensive player: Campusano put a lot of work into improving his body during his senior year of high school, and it's paid off for him behind the dish. While he caught just 14 percent of base stealers in the Arizona League this summer he has the tools to improve that mark going forward with average arm strength and improving receiving skills.
Best fastball: RHP Chandler Newman (11) was drafted out of high school in the 11th round because of his arm strength and again in the 11th out of college for the same reason. He can get his fastball up to 100 and sits in the mid-to-high 90s, but had serious control issues in his brief Arizona League stint this summer.
Best secondary pitch: LHP MacKenzie Gore (1) made a concerted effort to throw his changeup more frequently during his senior season at Whiteville (N.C.) High, and the Padres see the pitch as his best secondary offering—and the best of their 2017 class. His curveball and slider aren't far behind.
Best pro debut: Gore debuted in the Arizona League and put together one of the best performances by a pitcher in the league's history and was Baseball America's No. 1 prospect in the league. He allowed just three earned runs in 21.1 innings (1.27 ERA) and struck out 40.5 percent of opposing hitters.
Best athlete: Gore was one of the best athletes in the draft. He could have been a real two-way player in college if he had gotten to campus at East Carolina, with the ability to play a strong center field. As a professional pitcher though, Gore uses his immense athleticism to repeat a unique, high-leg-kick delivery and field his position well.
Why The Padres Chose Ryan Weathers For Their NLDS Roster Over MacKenzie Gore
In the context of what the Padres need and the pitchers’ performances this summer, the decision makes sense.
Most intriguing background: RHP Vijay Miller (14) is likely known more as a football player thanks to his role in Netflix's second season of "Last Chance U." Drafted out of East Mississippi JC, Miller was a backup quarterback for the famous school and started the first game of the season, where he was one of the focuses of the season's opening episode. IF Johnny Homza (5) is the second-highest drafted player in Alaska history, behind Brian Montalbo (fourth round, 2000). RHP Cole Bellinger (15) is the younger brother of Dodgers first baseman Cody and son of ex-Yankees infielder Clay.
Closest to the majors: The Arizona League didn't provide Gore with much of a challenge, at least statistically, and he has the control, pitch mix and athleticism to move through the system quickly.
Best late-round pick: Getting an elite tool in the 25th round is rare, but that's certainly what San Diego has in Podorsky's running ability.
The one who got away: OF Daniel Cabrera (26) was one of the most talented pure hitters in the 2017 high school class, and from the left side as well. Ranked as the 82nd overall prospect in the class, Cabrara figures to be an impact freshman for Louisiana State.