The Padres will have five of the first 58 overall picks in the First-Year Player Draft -- including two picks in the first 25 overall selections.
It's an enviable position for the organization, especially for assistant general manager Jason McLeod and director of scouting Jaron Madison.
"It's going to be a fun year to have the extra picks," McLeod said.
The First-Year Player Draft, which will begin on Monday, will be the second Draft that McLeod and Madison have presided over.
The Padres have the No. 10 overall pick as compensation for not signing their 2010 first-round pick, high school pitcher Karsten Whitson. The team also has its own first-round pick for this year, No. 25 overall.
San Diego will then have three picks in the compensation round after losing free-agent pitcher Jon Garland (who signed with the Dodgers), catcher Yorvit Torrealba (Rangers) and pitcher Kevin Correia (Pirates).
Those picks are Nos. 48 (Garland), 54 (Torrealba) and 58 (Correia).
This won't be the first time McLeod has had a bevy of early picks. In 2005, while still the director of amateur scouting for the Red Sox, McLeod made the most out of five picks in the first 47 overall selections.
Of those picks, McLeod got outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury at No. 23, pitcher Clay Buchholz at No. 42 and middle infielder Jed Lowrie at No. 45.
Ellsbury has become a standout for the Red Sox with a .291 career batting average and two seasons of 50 or more steals. Buchholz was an All-Star last year and won 17 games. Lowrie is hitting .306 as the Red Sox's starting shortstop.
"Looking back at 2005 ... that was a ridiculous Draft [as far as talent]," McLeod said. "Maybe once every 15 years you'll get that much talent in a Draft. We had five picks that year and were able to do good things.
Padres' recent Draft picks
|2010||Karsten Whitson||RHP||Did not sign|
|2009||Donavan Tate||OF||Class A (injured)|
|2008||Allan Dykstra||1B||Double-A Binghamton (Mets)|
|2007||Nick Schmidt||LHP||Double-A San Antonio|
|2006||Matt Antonelli||2B||Triple-A Syracuse (Nats)|
|2006||Kyler Burke||OF||Single-A Daytona (Cubs)|
"We have that opportunity here to ramp up the system or infuse the system with impact talent."
Live coverage of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft begins with a one-hour preview show on Monday at 3 p.m. PT on MLB.com and MLB Network, followed by the first round and supplemental compensation round. MLB.com will provide exclusive coverage of Day 2 and 3, featuring a live pick-by-pick stream, expert commentary and Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of every Draft-eligible player.
What direction will the Padres turn? A lot of that will depend on who is still on their Draft board when their first pick comes around at No. 10. But McLeod is impressed with the pitching in this Draft.
"The strength of the Draft is in the pitching. What I'm seeing more and more and hearing more of is how much velocity there is in this Draft," McLeod said. "There's a lot of guys who have very good arm strength and are performing on top of it.
"The college class [of pitchers] is pretty deep, and so is the high school class. It's a little light on the top end of college position players. But there are some toolsy high school position players with upside. It's a great opportunity to put some impact talent into our system."
Here's a glance at what the Padres have in store as the Draft approaches:
In about 50 words
This Draft is deep with pitching, especially on the college side. It's a good year to have additional picks. The Padres might find it hard to pass up on an advanced arm. Don't be surprised if they pick a toolsy high school or college position player early, too.
"We have five early picks in one of the deepest Drafts in recent memories. We need to get it right. We need to fill the farm system. The best way to do that is to add depth." -- Padres general manager Jed Hoyer
The Padres believe they have a chance to land two potential impact players with their two first-round picks, at No. 10 and No. 25. Don't be surprised if the Padres take at least one college pitcher in the first round. University of Kentucky pitcher Alex Meyer was a player McLeod drafted while running the Red Sox's Draft in 2008. UConn pitcher Matt Barnes is another pitcher the Padres like.
The Padres don't necessarily enter this Draft with any "must-haves," though they might keep an eye out for a shortstop as the system is mostly devoid of talent at that position. While in Boston, McLeod picked a high school shortstop in the first three rounds of each of his last three Drafts. This organization is built on pitching and defense, so expect for the Padres to jump on pitching, especially since there's quite a few pitchers in this Draft that interest them.
This will be the second Padres Draft McLeod and Madison have presided over. They'll stick to the approach they used a year ago -- looking for athletic, toolsy players who can have success at spacious PETCO Park. The Padres want players who can run, who are athletic and have defense on the brain. Gap power plays at PETCO Park, and the team will always keep an eye out for strike-throwers who have the potential to move fast.
Recent Draft History
Right-handed pitcher Keyvius Sampson, a 20-year-old pitching in the Midwest League, was 6-1 with a 2.09 ERA over his first nine starts and had allowed just 29 hits in 47 1/3 innings with 53 strikeouts. He was a fourth-round pick in 2009. Infielder Jedd Gyorko, a second-round pick in 2010, has torn through the high-A California League. Gyorko, a third baseman, had 37 extra-base hits in his first 51 games and could be bucking for a promotion to Double-A San Antonio. The Padres love his bat, but aren't entirely sure where Gyorko will end up defensively.
This is easy enough. Brad Brach, the closer for Double-A San Antonio, has made a big name for himself with his ability to close games. A 42nd-round Draft pick in 2008 out of Monmouth College, Brach had 33 saves in 2009 and 41 last season. Brach appears well on his way to another big season, having saved 14 games in the first two months of the season for the Missions.
In The Show
Second baseman Logan Forsythe, a supplemental-round pick in 2008, is currently on the 25-man roster. He has been recalled twice this season from Triple-A Tucson to fill in for an injured Orlando Hudson. Outfielder Blake Tekotte, a third-round Draft pick in 2008, was added to the roster this month. He had two hits and reached base three times in his first Major League start on May 28 in Washington. Left-handed pitcher Cory Luebke, a 2007 compensation-round pick, has been a big piece of the bullpen this season, pitching in long relief.