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Padres hope to build farm with picks

Padres hope to build farm with picks

SAN DIEGO -- Perhaps no other team in baseball has valued the compensatory pick more than the Padres, who again will recoup extra picks during the 2008 First-Year Player Draft.

The Padres, who have five picks among the first 110 selections, will have their own first-round pick at No. 23 and then supplemental picks at No. 42, No. 45, their own second-round pick and a supplemental pick at No. 110.

The Padres like college pitchers, but scouting director Grady Fuson said recently that this Draft is "not quite as gifted with polished college pitching."

MLB.com will carry every pick of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, which takes place June 5-6 at The Milk House at Disney's Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando, Fla.

Day 1 coverage begins at 11 a.m. PT with a simulcast of ESPN2's broadcast of the first round and compensation picks. The remaining rounds on Day 1 will be shown exclusively at MLB.com, with live analysis on site from MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo.

Several of the top amateur prospects are expected to be in attendance in Orlando for Day 1 of the Draft, and each of the 30 Major League Clubs will be represented by front office executives and baseball luminaries. Former Padres pitcher Randy Jones and outfielder Dave Winfield will represent the Padres.

Fans are welcome to attend Day 1 of the Draft, and admission to The Milk House is free with seating limited to a first-come, first-served basis. Day 2 will get under way at 8:30 a.m. PT and continue through Round 50, if necessary. Every pick on Day 2 can be heard live at MLB.com.

Here's a glance at what the Padres have in store as the Draft approaches:

In about 50 words
The Padres will again have a handful of compensatory picks for losing free agents. It's a practice that the team actually covets as it goes about trying to stock a farm system that had struggled to deliver Major League talent before team CEO Sandy Alderson and Fuson came aboard. The Padres had five supplemental picks a year ago and will have two more this year.

The scoop
"As we sit here today, we are more [position] player oriented than pitching. That doesn't mean we wouldn't have interest in pitchers. Among those position players, there are one or two high school players we'll discuss," -- Fuson on what the team may target in the Draft

First-round buzz
The Padres don't draft until 23rd in the first round, which leaves them in a position of having to wait and see what other teams do before they move on a player. San Diego has used its first-round pick on a college player all but once since 2001. They might jump on a talented prep position player in the first round.

Shopping list
The Padres are excited about some of the pitchers they have in their farm system, though they would like to get more depth among position players. Shortstop Khalil Greene and outfielder Paul McAnulty are the only homegrown position players on the Padres' 25-man roster. San Diego talks about being strong up the middle, so don't be surprised if it goes after a catcher, shortstop or possibly an outfielder who projects as a center fielder.

Trend watch
The Padres typically lean toward drafting college players, in particular college pitchers who fit their philosophical mold of being strike throwers with above-average control as well as the ability to throw a plus changeup. Seven of their first eight draft picks a year ago were college players, including first-round pick Nick Schmidt, a pitcher.

Recent top picks
Schmidt had Tommy John ligament replacement surgery on his left elbow in October and will miss the 2008 season. Their top pick from the 2006 Draft, second baseman Matt Antonelli, has moved quickly through the system, though he has struggled at Triple-A Portland this spring. Pitcher Cesar Carrillo, a first-round pick in 2005, had Tommy John surgery a year ago on his right elbow and could report to Portland in a month or so.

Rising fast
Right-handed pitcher Mat Latos -- an 11th-round pick in 2006 -- signed just before the 2007 Draft for a bonus of $1.5 million. He might have the best power arm in the entire organization. Latos has been clocked at between 93-97 mph, with the ability to get hitters out with his changeup and slider as well at low Class A Fort Wayne.

Cinderella story
The Padres certainly didn't have a whole lot invested in pitcher Matt Buschmann, a 15th-round pick in the 2006 Draft out of Vanderbilt. He was impressive at Lake Elsinore a year ago (12-6, 2.89) and opened the season going 3-3 with a 3.57 ERA with 50 strikeouts and just 13 walks in 45 1/3 innings at Double-A San Antonio.

In The Show
Converted third baseman Chase Headley -- who is now playing left field -- appeared in the Major Leagues twice last season. Headley was a second-round pick in 2005. No one from the 2006 or 2007 Drafts have made it to the Major Leagues yet.

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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