MLB Draft 2020 Recap: San Diego Padres
Our friends over at Friars On Base chime in how the San Diego Padres fared in the 2020 MLB Draft.
This article kicks off a series of MLB Draft recaps of other teams across the league. As much prep I was doing for the MLB Draft for the Detroit Tigers, I am always intrigued by how teams build their squads. and one team that approach the draft differently than the Detroit Tigers was the San Diego Padres.
General Manager A. J. Preller has done a stellar job, building one of the best farm systems in the majors. Preller’s strategy in the draft was different than Detroit’s, going with three straight high school picks before drafting Cole Wilcox out of the University of Georgia, who dropped because he was a draft-eligible sophomore seeking $ 3 million. Preller is pretty confident they can sign him and if they do, that is a good value in the 3rd round.
Their second-round pick was the University of Michigan commit Owen Caissie. 6’4 and showing already a ton of power at just 17 years old, there is a lot to like about his potential upside. To get their thoughts on the 2020 MLB Draft class from San Diego, here are the staff from Friars on Base.
The Padres landed the best high school talent in this class, and he’s already reportedly told the powers that be that he’ll sign. I really like the Lange pick in the competitive balance round, but he must prove he, not a one-trick pony. I’m skeptical of the Padres second-round pick in Owen Caissie, simply because I don’t know much about him. However, the Padres may have the steal of the draft in Cole Wilcox, assuming he signs. I also think that Levi Thomas is extremely underrated.
As far as the outlook, the future is very bright. Last year obviously didn’t go the way we wanted, but a lot of that had to do with a down year from Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis Jr.’s season being prematurely cut short. The Padres likely would have been a fringe playoff team this year under normal circumstances, but once the likes of MacKenzie Gore, Luis Campusano, and Abrams are called up, along with a couple of impact free-agent signings, it’s all systems go.
I thought the Padres took the biggest risk in the MLB draft with their first three picks being school players. But high school players often come with the highest ceilings, so if just one of them pans out I think the did well. But then the entire value of this draft hinges on whether or not they sign Wilcox. If they do it’s a definite win, but if not, it could a completely wasted draft depending on how those high school kids pan out.
As far as the future of the Padres, I still believe it’s very bright and then contend for a postseason spot regularly throughout the next decade. But they have to get out from under some horrible contracts and avoid making those same mistakes in the future.
The San Diego Padres continued their trend of targeting prep players in the draft this year. Robert Hassell III and Justin Lange became the newest friars and bring young talent to an already loaded system. Add in the second-round selection, shortstop Owen Caissie, third round ultra-value University of Georgia starting pitcher Cole Wilcox, and the Padres ended up having one of the best drafts of all teams.
Most scouts consider Hassell III as the best prep bat in the draft. His smooth left-handed swing reminds me of a young Bryce Harper. Hassell can drive the ball to all parts of the field and doesn’t swing and miss much. In Baseball America’s scouting report, Hassell has been compared to both Jarred Kelenic and Riley Greene. He is undoubtedly an exciting bat and should be a top prospect in the loaded Padres system until he reaches the Show.
The remaining class for San Diego is equally impressive. Caissie is an excellent value for the Padres and brings plus raw power at the dish. His natural swing generates loud contact and plays to his 6’4” frame. Caissie is in agreement with the Padres, which is excellent news for fans. He should continue to grow into his frame and become a top ten prospect in the system sooner rather than later.
Cole Wilcox had the talents to be a first-round selection. Surprisingly, due to the possibility of returning to Georgia for his junior season, Wilcox fell to the third round, and the Padres were there to scoop him up. Confident in being able to sign Wilcox, he immediately enters into the conversation as one of the top prospects with a fastball that runs upwards of 97-98 mph that can touch 100. Wilcox also possesses a plus-slider and a good changeup. In many’s eyes, Wilcox could be the steal of the draft.
Overall the Padres are in a great spot moving into the next decade. Their top-line system is now in place to become stronger and continue to push their talent to the major league level. It is a fun time to be a Padres fan.
With Caissie and Thomas already signed, A. J. Preller continues his aggressive strategy of getting things done. Padres fans are hopeful it can pay off. They have not had a winning season since 2010 so they have been waiting longer than Tigers fans for a payoff. If you are interested in reading more about the San Diego Padres, check out their site and follow them on Twitter @FriarsOnBase