Friars close 1st-round haul with college lefty

Friars close 1st-round haul with college lefty

SAN DIEGO -- If Eric Lauer can translate his success at Kent State to the professional level, the Padres will have gotten a steal with the last of their three first-round selections in this year's Draft.

The Padres envision Lauer moving quickly through their system, and the 21-year-old lefty -- coming off one of the best college seasons in recent memory -- is certainly on board with that notion.

Speaking with reporters after he was selected with the No. 25 pick in the Draft, Lauer said of pitching in the big leagues: "I'd like to get up there as fast as possible."

"My goal is to be up and helping the big league club by next year, if I can," said Lauer. "I don't have too in-depth of a timeline, but as soon as possible."

In his junior season with the Golden Flashes, Lauer put together quite the resume. He finished with a 0.69 ERA -- the lowest in NCAA Division I play in 37 years. He went 10-2 while recording 125 strikeouts in 104 innings and was a first-team All-American as well as an Academic All-American.

On May 14, Lauer pitched Kent State to a MAC title in style. He tossed a no-hitter against Bowling Green in the clincher, with 13 strikeouts and no walks. Only an error kept Lauer from perfection.

"He's a strike thrower that attacks people with the heater and has enough secondary [stuff] to keep people off balance," said Padres general manager A.J. Preller. "He's a really good athlete, too. It was really just the natural progression. He's had a lot of success in college. Then this year as a junior, he just took it to another level."

An all-state wide receiver at Midview High School in Elyria, Ohio, Lauer was selected by the Blue Jays in the 17th round of the 2013 Draft but opted to attend Kent State instead. He posted a 1.98 ERA in his sophomore season before a record-setting junior campaign.

Last summer, Lauer led the Cape Cod League in strikeouts with 50 over 39 2/3 innings. His fastball sits in the low 90s, and he also throws a curveball, changeup and slider.

"The way I like to describe myself is: I'm a calculated power pitcher," Lauer said. "I don't blow up the radar gun with 98 [mph] and stuff like that, but the way I'm able to use my pitches and secondary pitches, it allows me to use my fastball as a power pitch. The command of every pitch has to be there, and that's what's allowed my fastball to be a little better."

Scouting director Mark Conner said he expects Lauer to move pretty quickly through the Padres' system, but -- unlike Lauer -- Conner wouldn't put a timetable on when the 6-foot-3, 205-pounder could be big league-ready.

Conner has scouted Lauer since the pitcher's high school days, when Conner was an area scout in the region, and he said he's always been impressed with the left-hander.

"He's a left-handed pitcher with probably one of the best arm-action/delivery combinations in the country," Conner said. "It's a very easy delivery."

Along with Lauer, the Padres also selected Stanford righty Cal Quantrill (No. 8 overall) and high-school shortstop Hudson Sanchez (No. 24) in the first round. They took University of Florida outfielder Buddy Reed (No. 48) and right-hander Reggie Lawson (No. 71) with the last two of their MLB-high five selections on Day 1.

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

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