Prep infielder Sanchez goes to Padres at 24

Prep infielder Sanchez goes to Padres at 24

SAN DIEGO -- Hudson Sanchez made his presence felt right away at last summer's Area Code Games, launching a 419-foot drive for the first home run of the tournament.

That he did so as the youngest incoming senior in the group only made Sanchez even more appealing as a prospect.

With the second of their five selections on Day 1 of the Draft, the Padres picked Sanchez -- a toolsy, well-built shortstop -- out of Carroll High School in Southlake, Texas.

"It was pretty surreal, and we freaked out," Sanchez said afterward. "It was an amazing feeling. Being with such a great organization and seeing all the stuff they've been doing, I'm just really excited to get started."

Though Sanchez is committed to play at Texas A&M, it sounds as though both he and the Padres believe he'll sign a professional contract before the July 15 deadline.

The 6-foot-3, 195-pound Sanchez batted .374 with six homers during his senior season. He possesses a quality arm and a quick bat, and he impressed most during last summer's showcases.

"When I'm around the highest-level players, I perform best -- just the competitiveness with all those guys," Sanchez said. "I just think it's a lot of fun, going out there and showing your talent."

Sanchez will not turn 18 until Oct. 28, making him one of the youngest players in this year's Draft class. Though he played his entire high school career at shortstop, many believe Sanchez projects better as a third baseman or a corner outfielder.

"I'm more comfortable with shortstop, just because I've played there my whole life," Sanchez said. "But I know I'm athletic [enough] to move wherever the organization would like me to play, and I'm open for anything. I know I'll be productive wherever they want me to play."

To some, Sanchez was a bit of a surprise pick with the No. 24 overall selection -- which came to the Padres as compensation for losing Justin Upton, who signed with the Tigers as a free agent during the offseason.

But to the Padres, Sanchez was simply another high-upside Draft choice after they had taken Stanford right-hander Cal Quantrill at No. 8 overall.

"Truthfully, what we see in them, it's not risk," said Padres scouting director Mark Conner. "We are getting guys with upside and feel like once we implement them into our system of player development, it's going to come to fruition.

"It's a probability play for us that other people see as risk because they didn't do the same work we did."

The Draft continues on Friday with Rounds 3-10. The MLB.com preview show begins at 9:30 a.m. PT, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 3-10 beginning at 10 a.m. PT.

Later on Thursday night, the Padres added left-hander Eric Lauer in the first round before selecting University of Florida outfielder Buddy Reed and high-school right-hander Reggie Lawson to wrap up the evening.

Sanchez is easily the youngest of the five. And, given his birth date, he's even younger than quite a few of the high school seniors who will be selected in next year's Draft.

Said Conner: "Honestly, knowing that he still has another year of growth is very intriguing."

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.