Identifying Padres Draft Targets (Version 1.0)

The Padres pick No. 8 overall in this year’s 2020 Amateur Player Draft. I will take a shot at exploring some potential targets I like for San Diego, and some I think could be logical fits (albeit very early on), and update later on reassessing closer to the draft (2.0).

OF Zac Veen

Spruce Creek (Fla.) HS 

Veen is a 6-foot-4, 190-pound left-handed hitter with with a beautiful swing and approach that creates tremendous natural leverage and backspin partly due to his size. He’s extreamly projectable. He’s added a ton of muscle recently, and while he is still more hit over in-game power, his size and future projection, in addition to his ridiculous exit velocities, have scouts raving. While he is an above-average runner, he could lose a step given his size, but should be at least an average defender on a corner with a now plus hit-tool and a future plus-plus power potential.

SS Ed Howard  

Mount Carmel (Ill.) 

Howard, listed at 6-foot-2 and 185 pounds, is a wiry strong shortstop who has now power and room to grow into a future 60 power/plus-fielding combination; that should also hit enough regardless of where his power ceiling falls. There’s no question he can stick at short with his quick hands, above-average arm, and movements defensively. His quiet approach at the plate, consistent hard contact, quick hands, bat speed and knack for barrelling balls along with his projection psychically at a premium position has scouts slamming war-room desks discussing his potential upside and top-10 draft potential. He is also another strong makeup, high-character kid with a tremendous baseball IQ. He batted .396/. 478/.625 with a 1.103 OPS, 76 hits, 20 doubles, three triples, six homers, almost a walk per strikeout and 16 stolen bases in 64 games.

OF Austin Hendrick

West Allegheny (Pa.) HS 

Hendrick stands at 6-foot-1 and 205 pounds and is a strong athletic outfielder that should profile on a corner at the next level. With an above-average arm and moderate room to grow, he is an already big power threat who has massive future upside. He also has quick hands, bat speed, and ridiculous exit velocities while leveraging his left-handed swing with tons of carry and backspin to aid his power to all fields. There’s ample swing-and-miss to his game, and some of that might be contributed to his altering mechanics and set up; getting too pull-happy and launch angle-oriented led to inconsistent showings. If he stays within his strengths and slows the game down, the hit tool is good enough, letting the game come to him, his massive power upside might make him a middle-of-the-order masher with light-tower-power at the highest level.

OF Robert Hassell

Indepence HS (TN)

Hassell, listed at 6-foot-2 and 195 pounds, is a wiry left-handed hitter who also had an impressive pitching track record. However, his bat will carry him at the next level. Hassell’s stock rocketed up the big board this last summer after a strong showing with Team USA, hitting nearly .475 (524 OBP, .806 OPS) and also garnering him the Tennessee Gatorade Player of the Year honors. With a projectable frame that should add even more power as he matures, Hassell could only aid his already-impressive bat speed and power. He has shown in-game power and adjustments along with discipline to foresee room to grow with his alley-to-alley approach. A solid running ability should enable him to cover plenty of ground in the outfield at the next level, in addition to his plus arm indicative of his 99th-percentile showcase velocities touching 93 MPH. While he was in the 85th percentile in exit velocity (which isn’t nearly as impressive as some counterparts), believers buy into his power moving forward along with his exemplary makeup.

OF Pete Crow-Armstrong

Harvard Westlake HS (CA)

Crow-Armstrong, listed at 6-foot-1 and 175 pounds, is a left-handed hitter who has drawn comparisons to Grady Sizemore. Some believe he’s been over-scrutinized due to his continuous presence on the big stage over the last couple years for USA’s 18-and-under team. Evaluators love his swing mechanics and if you’re buying into the belief the power could come with maturation and the plus run, defense, and hit tool, he could jump back up the draft boards with another strong showing this year.

SS Casey Martin

School: Arkansas

Martin, listed at 5-foot-11 and 190 pounds, has star upside with his speed and power combination at a premium position. Casey has a good feel for the game with a high baseball IQ. He barrels balls consistently with loud, hard contact. A 70 runner with 20-20 plus potential ceiling if he can be more consistent and less power-happy, he is more power than hit tool feel but his upside and ability to play multiple positions as a tremendous athlete should garner top-10 consideration.

RHP Jared Kelly

Refugio HS (TX)

Kelly, listed at 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds, possesses some of the filthiest pure stuff in the draft class, as he demonstrates with his effortless repeatable delivery and upper-90s fastball that touches 99 MPH with movement. He has a projectable arm that should mature some physically, and his pure now stuff is already ridiculous. In addition, he has had glowing performances at showcases dominating his competition on big stages that have scouts raving. If he can hone his secondary offerings, he could be a true workhorse starting pitcher.

2B Nick Gonzalez

New Mexico State

Gonzalez, listed at a generous 5-foot-10 and 190 pounds, is a classic over-scrutinized, undersized collegiate hitter, considering his insane bat-to-ball skills and elite hitting tool. While he doesn’t have a defensive home to speak of and is about average defensively at second,  he is drawing loose comparisons to Keston Hiura due to his hit tool. While he had some detractors hitting on the moon in New Mexico State, he followed up his strong showing by slashing .351/.451/.630, which was enough to take home the Cape Cod MVP honors using a wooden bat. In addition to his ludicrous numbers, he is a high-makeup grinder that loves the game of baseball and is hungry to not only advance himself to the next level, but to be productive doing so.

1B Blaze Jordan

SDesoto Central HS (MS)

Jordan, listed at 6-foot-1 and 215 pounds,?might not be completely maxed out physically and has already drawn spectacular praise for his legendary power performances that went viral as an 11-year-old, smashing jaw-dropping 50—foot home runs. Moreover, he has some now-hit to his game and isn’t just a YouTube sensation as he has shown some ability to make adjustments. He has a strong arm, but his bat will be his calling card regardless of his maturation in the field. There’s swing-and-miss to his game, but he’s also younger than most of his competition. He is a very hard worker, as his dedication to lose weight has shown and his prodigious power should garner him top-10 consideration alone if you’re buying future hit-ability.

Honorable mentions

Garrett Mitchell

He could easily be a top target at the Friars’ top pick as he does everything well. He is a plus-plus runner accompanied by some of the loudest and most-polished tools in the draft.

Asa Lacey

Lacey racked up impressive strikeouts over the summer with the U.S. collegiate national team. A big lefty with four offerings while touching in the upper-90s, he is known for dominating hitters and leveraging his size on a downdown plane. If he can control the zone more consistently, he could be special.

Jordan Walker

This is a super projectable athlete at 6-foot-5 and 215 pounds. He is an above-average runner (especially for his size), touches mid-90s on the mound with big-time power upside, and owns a high baseball IQ.

Chase Davis

Davis has insane bat speed with quick hands to the baseball generating whip through the strike-zone. He also has a plus-plus arm and tools across the board with real feel for the game. He could be a Friars second-round target

Casey Schmitt

In the Padres’ backyard at San Diego State, Schmitt is a true two-way player as he is a third baseman and pitcher that has served as the closer. He has big power bat potential and homered five times with a wood bat in the Cap Cod League; this is another second-round target

Enrique Bradfield

The final second-round target, Bradfield is an 80-grade runner with a contact-oriented approach that barrels balls well and has fluid actions and reads in the outfield.

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