On the search for late-Draft gems Thursday, the Padres drafted a lesser-known pitcher from the Aztecs with the hope that he can improve consistency and harness potential.
San Diego selected Jonathan Berger, a senior right-handed pitcher for the Aztecs, in the 34th round. Berger transferred to San Diego State in 2007 from the College of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas.
Berger finished the 2009 season with a 4-5 record and 5.83 ERA in 14 starts. He struck out 71 and walked 12 in 88 innings of work.
"He's got good command," said Bill 'Chief' Gayton, Padres director of scouting. "If he's able to develop a little more consistency with his pitches, he'll continue to play at the higher levels."
The Padres followed the Berger selection with Joshua Cephas in the 35th round, a senior right-handed pitcher hailing from Southern Nazarene University in Bethany, Okla.
Cephas became the fifth player in Southern Nazarene University history to be drafted to the Major Leagues. The Toronoto Blue Jays selected his teammate and fellow senior pitcher, Matt Norgal, in the 13th round.
Cephas, who spent two years at Contra Costa College before Southern Nazarene, finished his senior season with a 5-2 record and 4.14 ERA in 45.2 innings of work. He struck out 69 and allowed 14 walks.
Gayton said Cephas is nursing an elbow injury that might require surgery down the road.
"We've seen him at up to 95 mph," Gayton said. "Everyone came away going, 'Wow ... this is an arm we'd like to have.'"
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 >|
In the third and final day of the Draft, the Padres selected 26 college players and four high schoolers. Overall, the team drafted 43 college players and seven high school prospects. Of the 50 drafted players, 26 were position players, with 11 infielders, 11 outfielders and four catchers. San Diego drafted five left-handed and 19 right-handed pitchers.
"There were no restrictions. We took guys that we wanted," Gayton said. "Granted, you always watch your budget. But we saw a lot of good players on the board, and we took them.
"More so than ever, we had some upside here. We're excited about the potential of bringing them into the system. We feel like we're in the position now to be a little more patient with these kids."
Amy Brittain is an associate reporter with MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.