Padres likely trawling for position players in Draft
With an abundance of power arms, team shifts its search for impact talent
SAN DIEGO -- There aren't a whole lot of promises that Padres vice president and general manager of player personnel Chad MacDonald can make about the upcoming First-Year Player Draft.
Not with the team picking No. 13 overall and not with that coveted group of seven or eight top players likely gone by the time the Padres get around to their first pick.
That said, MacDonald is certain of one thing.
"I said it last year, but we're not interested in vanilla," MacDonald said. "We need to get the guys who are going to make an impact. We're not averse to risk, especially if there's reward on the backside."
The Padres will have three of the top 69 picks in the Draft, and four of the top 86 overall selections. With plenty of good arms in the system, look for them to take their fair share of position players.
MacDonald has certainly been busy preparing for his second Draft with the team. The same could be said for Billy Gasparino, who was promoted to scouting director in September, after serving as the club's national cross-checker since 2010.
The Padres, who could take a college position player at No. 13, are considering all possibilities because, really, there's no way to be certain what the other 12 teams ahead of them will do.
"There's probably more balance [in the Draft] than people give it credit for," MacDonald said. "There are a lot of high school hitters out there. I think people are quick to grade a Draft. But our only goal is to find people who can help us win games.
"We pick 13th, so everyone has to be in play."
The 2013 First-Year Player Draft takes place Thursday through Saturday, starting with the Draft preview show on MLB.com and MLB Network on Thursday at 3 p.m. PT.
Live Draft coverage from MLB Network's Studio 42 will begin at 4 p.m. PT, with the top 73 picks being streamed on MLB.com and broadcast on MLB Network. Rounds 3-10 will be streamed live on MLB.com on Friday, beginning with a preview show at 9:30 a.m. PT, and Rounds 11-40 will be streamed live on MLB.com on Saturday, starting at 10 a.m. PT.
MLB.com's coverage includes Draft Central, the Top 100 Draft Prospects list and Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of Draft-eligible players. You can also keep up to date by following @MLBDraft on Twitter. And get into the Draft conversation by tagging your tweets with #mlbdraft.
Here's a glance at what the Padres have in store as the Draft approaches:
In about 50 words
The Padres went heavy on pitching, especially early, during the 2012 Draft. While it will never shy away from adding more quality arms to the system, the organization could turn an eye more toward position players in 2013. There's a dearth of top-tier position players in the system, and the team wants to change that.
The Padres aren't interested in "vanilla" as MacDonald says. So don't be surprised at all if they choose a player at No. 13 who others may consider a reach. But, of course, there is a risk involved with any of these players -- MacDonald and the Padres like their toolsy athletes. If the team doesn't get one early, it will surely look for athletes in later rounds.
Again, look for the team to take the plunge on a position player at No. 13 and, perhaps, several times in later rounds. Mississippi State outfielder Hunter Renfroe is an intriguing guy with a big-time arm (he was a pitcher in high school) and plus-power potential. The Padres have had multiple looks at him this spring. New Mexico third baseman DJ Peterson is one player they've looked at a lot. Like Renfroe, he's got some pop. If they go the high school route, Dominic Smith from Serra (Calif.) High School could be a fit.
Padres' bonus pool
Under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, each team has an allotted bonus pool equal to the sum of the values of that club's selections in the first 10 rounds of the Draft. The more picks a team has, and the earlier it picks, the larger the pool. The signing bonuses for a team's selections in the first 10 rounds, plus any bonus greater than $100,000 for a player taken after the 10th round, will apply toward the bonus-pool total.
The Padres have $6,808,900 to spend on their first 11 Draft picks. The pick value for their top pick, No. 13 overall, is $2.678 million.
Any team going up to five percent over its allotted pool will be taxed at a 75-percent rate on the overage. A team that overspends by 5-10 percent gets a 75-percent tax, plus the loss of a first-round pick. A team that goes 10-15 percent over its pool amount will be hit with a 100-percent penalty on the overage and the loss of a first- and second-round pick. Any overage of 15 percent or more gets a 100-percent tax plus the loss of first-round picks in the next two Drafts.
The Padres, through trades, international signings and, of course, drafting and developing players, have filled their system with arms. The need moving forward is to add as many quality position players as possible. The team won't reach -- and wouldn't bypass another talented arm with upside -- but the emphasis will be on the position-player side of things.
This will be the second Draft that MacDonald has presided over -- and the first for Gasparino, who was hired in September. The Padres will continue to look for impact players -- athletic guys who are toolsy. MacDonald's first Draft reflected that approach. The Padres have gone pitching heavy as of late, so the system is stocked with power arms. Look for them to lean toward position players more this time around.
Recent Draft History
Catcher Austin Hedges (No. 82 overall, 2011 Draft) has already advanced to Class A Lake Elsinore and was holding his own until suffering an injury to his left hand last month. Right-handed pitcher Matt Andriese (No. 112, 2011) is off to a good start with Double-A San Antonio. He's been joined by another 2011 Draft pick, right-handed pitcher Matt Wisler (seventh round), who blazed through the California League before earning a promotion to San Antonio at age 20.
This one comes with an asterisk, as outfielder/first baseman Kyle Blanks was selected in the 42nd round in 2004, though that's when the old draft-and-follow rules existed, meaning that Blanks certainly would have been drafted much, much higher in 2005 if he made it that far. Either way, there haven't been too many players drafted in rounds so late that have reached the Major Leagues, let alone had success.
In The Show
Players on the current 25-man roster who have been drafted and developed by the Padres include: Blanks, RHP Tim Stauffer, catcher Nick Hundley, infielders Jedd Gyorko and Chase Headley and outfielder Will Venable. RHP Dale Thayer signed as a free agent with the team in 2002.
Padres' recent top picks
2012: Max Fried, LHP, Class A Fort Wayne
2011: Cory Spangenberg, 2B, Class A Lake Elsinore
2010: Karsten Whitson, RHP, Didn't sign
2009: Donavan Tate, OF, Short-season Eugene
2008: Allan Dykstra, 1B, Binghamton (Mets)