SAN DIEGO -- Bill Gayton, Padres director of scouting, recalls a trip to Ocala, Fla., this spring as one of his favorite scouting visits.
Gayton said the stands were packed to watch Keyvius Sampson, who hit two home runs and threw 96-mph fastballs through seven innings while working in a power curveball.
"It was one of the most electric nights," Gayton said. "It was fun to be in the stands and at that ballpark."
On Wednesday, the Padres used their fourth-round Draft pick to select Sampson out of Ocala's Forest High School.
Representatives from the Padres said they have little concern about Sampson's youthful, troubled past.
Sampson, a right-handed pitcher, was arrested and charged with a first-degree felony after the then-15-year-old allegedly drove friends who had weapons in their possession.
According to local newspaper reports, Forest High coach Scott Carpenter took Sampson into his home and now serves as his guardian. Carpenter was alongside Sampson when he received the devastating word of his mother's death, due to a heart attack, less than a year after his legal troubles.
Despite his suspension and absence from the baseball field in his would-be sophomore season, Sampson rebounded and was named a 2008 Aflac All-American. He finished his senior season with a 9-0 record and 0.98 ERA, striking out 124 and walking just 14 during 64 innings.
"We certainly did our work," said Grady Fuson, Padres vice president of scouting and player development. "There was little issue about the arrest. It's something that he's taken responsibility for. This kid has become a town favorite."
Fuson said Sampson, listed at 6-0, 185 pounds, is a "high-profile kid" with "powerful velocity." Sampson has committed to play at Florida State.
Gayton echoed Fuson's comments, saying that the player's early troubles were not a major factor in the decision-making process.
"We did all of our work through his coach, who is his guardian," Gayton said. "The community has embraced him. He is a really good teammate, and they kind of rally around him."
The Padres took Jason Hagerty, a junior catcher out of the University of Miami, in the fifth round. Hagerty hit .315 with a team-leading 60 RBIs during the Hurricanes' 2009 season.
In the sixth round, the Padres selected San Diego County native James Needy, a right-handed pitcher out of Santana High in Santee, Calif.
Fuson said two late-day selections, outfielders Cameron Monger (6-2, 210) and Wande Olabisi (6-0, 212), are speedsters to watch.
"These are two big, physical kids that can absolutely fly and that have raw strength," he said. "You're trying to catch lightning in a bottle, but they're fun ones to at least work with. That's all you can ask for with player development."
Monger is out of the University of New Mexico and Olabisi, who is in the royal family of Nigeria's Urhobo tribe, played for Stanford.
Round 4, Keyvius Sampson, RHP, Forest High School, Ocala, Fla: The Padres kicked off Day 2 of the Draft by selecting Sampson, a 2008 Aflac All-American, with the 114th overall pick. Sampson threw 64 innings for a 9-0 record his senior season, with 124 strikeouts and a 0.98 ERA.
Round 5, Jason Hagerty, C, University of Miami: Hagerty hit .315 with 14 home runs and a team-leading 60 RBI during the Hurricanes' 2009 season.
Round 6, James Needy, RHP, Santana High, Santee, Calif.: The San Diego County native threw 79 innings for a 1.14 ERA his senior season. He struck out 87, allowing 61 hits and 21 walks.
Round 7, Miles Mikolas, RHP, Nova Southeastern University: Listed at 6-5, 220 pounds, the righty has a fastball up to 94 mph.
Round 8, Nathan Freiman, INF, Duke University: A 6-8 first baseman, Freiman hit 19 home runs during his senior season with the Blue Devils.
Round 9, Christopher Fetter, RHP, University of Michigan: A 6-8 starting pitcher, Fetter had 103 strikeouts and 17 walks this season.
Round 10, Ryan Hinson, LHP, Clemson University: The Padres' first left-handed pitcher selection, Hinson is a 6-2 reliever.
Round 11, Andrew Madrigal, RHP, San Jacinto JC: He hit .400 and struck out 138 in 106 innings.
Padres -- Top five selections
|3||CF||Donavan Tate||Cartersville HS
|52||CF||Everett Williams||McCallum HS
|83||RHP||Gerald Sullivan||Oral Roberts U
|114||RHP||Keyvius Sampson||Ocala Forest
|144||C||Jason Hagerty||U Miami
|Complete Padres Draft results >|
Round 12, Brayden Drake, INF, Missouri State University: Hit .414 with 10 home runs and 54 RBIs this season.
Round 13, Matt Vern, INF, Texas Christian University: Hit a two-run homer against Texas to force third game in the NCAA Super Regional.
Round 14, Nicholas Greenwood, LHP, University of Rhode Island: Went 7-3 with a 3.61 ERA this season.
Round 15, Matthew Lollis, RHP, Riverside CC: Eighteen years old and already 6-8, 260 pounds. Lollis struck out 30 batters, while walking 10 for a 2-3 record this season.
Round 16, Griffin Benedict, C, Georgia Southern University: Lefty hitter and son of Bruce Benedict, a former Major Leaguer.
Round 17, Jorge Reyes, RHP, Oregon State University: Started strong this season but fell off late, finishing 6-2 with a 4.20 ERA.
Round 18, Shuhei Fujiya, RHP, University of Northern Iowa: Closer at 6-3, 175 pounds.
Round 19, Christopher Tremblay, INF, Kent State University: Named MAC tournament MVP after with seven hits in 14 at-bats, scoring eight runs with a home run.
Round 20, John Wooten, INF, Eastern Wayne High School (Goldsboro, N.C.): Third baseman and team-leading hitter at Eastern Wayne. Signee at Eastern Carolina University.
Round 21, Kendall Korbal, RHP, Blinn College (Brenham, Texas): Sophomore, 20, who transferred from the University of Arkansas.
Round 22, Cody Decker, INF, UCLA: First baseman who batted .322 his senior year to lead the Pac-10 with 21 homers.
Round 23, Jeff Ibarra, LHP, Lee University: Has a fastball around 90 mph with a nice slider and changeup.
Round 24, Bo Davis, OF, University of Southern Mississippi: First-team all-Conference USA selection who led Southern Miss with 14 home runs this season.
Round 25, Ty Wright, OF, Georgia Southern University: Wright was a second-team All-America selection in 2008 after being named the Georgia Junior College Player of the Year in 2007.
Round 26, Kevin Winn, INF, Louisiana Tech University: Started all 51 games for Tech this season. Led the team with 81 hits.
Round 27, Cameron Monger, OF, University of New Mexico: The Padres think his speed makes him a raw talent to watch. He was 6-for-6 on stolen bases in the 2008 summer Jayhawk League.
Round 28, Vince Belnome, INF, West Virginia University: Had a school record 84 RBIs during his junior season.
Round 29, Robert Poutier, RHP, University of Virginia: Reliever headed to Omaha, Neb., with the Cavaliers for the College World Series.
Round 30, Wande Olabisi, OF, Stanford: Biomechanical engineering major at Stanford, where he's been effective as a pinch-runner. Born in Nigeria, where his family is royalty in the Urhobo tribe.