An advocate of taking college players over less experienced high school prospects during his five-year run as leader of the Padres' draft team, Gayton kept to the game plan last yar. Only 13 of San Diego's 52 selections were from high school ranks, and just one of the team's top 20 choices did not attend college. Their first 16 picks through 14 rounds were collegians."We aren't opposed to taking high school kids," Towers said. "We're looking for the best talent available, basically." With a need for southpaws organization-wide, five of the team's top 17 picks last year were left-handed pitchers. The Padres have one player on the Major League roster who was recently drafted in the first round out of the college ranks in shortstop Khalil Greene (No. 13 overall in 2002). But before jumping ahead, here is a look back at how San Diego's last three first overall picks are faring. Cesar Carrillo, P, 2005, 18th overall pick: Recently promoted to Triple-A Portland, Carrillo is clearly the gem of the farm system. He was impressive after signing last summer, going 5-2 with a 4.95 ERA at Class A Lake Elsinore and Double-A Mobile, and he's putting up excellent numbers again. Despite a slender frame, Carrillo throws consistently in the 90s and has an excellent curveball. He is developing confidence in his changeup, and it would not be a surprise to see him join the Padres sometime this season. Matt Bush, SS, 2004, first overall pick: Bush is getting a late start on his third professional season, having broken a leg at the end of Spring Training after appearing as a backup in several Cactus League games. His assets are a powerful arm, solid defensive instincts and plus speed. He needs to develop a consistent approach offensively and use his speed to his advantage. He has not batted higher than .222 in his three stops in the system with a .216 overall Minor League average with two homers, 12 steals and 45 RBIs in 155 games. Tim Stauffer, RHP, 2003, fourth overall pick: Stauffer has struggled to find his command and confidence at Triple-A Portland since he was sent down last summer after making 15 appearances for the Padres, going 3-6 with a 5.33 ERA. Stauffer has the stuff to be successful, but he needs to trust it more and not bury himself in hitters' counts. The club hasn't given up on his talent, but others, such as Carrillo, have passed him. Stauffer needs to put together some consistently solid starts at Portland to thrust himself back in the picture.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.