Since the end of the 2016 MLB Amateur Draft, scouts and baseball writers alike have gone into great detail over which players will be drafted in the first round of this year’s draft.
However, there are few sources one can access which will give them a look at who should be drafted in the second and later rounds.
Thus, the purpose of this article will be to describe some players that the Padres may want to target in the second round.
After all, the first round may provide the best talent, but there is always toolsy, high-ceiling players afterwards.
With the Padres always in search of a talented franchise shortstop, and the team more likely to go after pitching with their first pick, an underrated, yet outstanding performer could be just what the Friars need. As such, Jeter Downs, a player named after the Yankees’ great,Derek Jeter, could be a potential steal if the Padres chose him #39 overall. Some scouts see him having an outside chance at being a first-round pick, but we will see.
The Florida high-schooler has the ability to play a mean shortstop. Armed with a stronger than average arm, as well as an ability to cover a large swath of ground, Downs will be able to advance in the minors at his natural position. The fact Downs can stay at shortstop is good news, especially since the Padres’ current and brightest shortstop prospects, Hudson Potts and Fernando Tatis Jr., may not stay there long-term.
The offensive skill set that the Florida prepster possesses is exciting. He has often been seen as a future top-of-the-order hitter, because of his above-average to plus rated speed, which plays up due to smart decision making on the base paths. However, speed is not the only offensive tool the young Downs has at his disposal. Due to increased bat speed during his senior season, he has slugged 12 home runs in his last high school season. As a result, scouts have comfortably projected the talented shortstop as an average power hitter, possibly more, which equates to 15 to 18 homers per season at the big league level. As if all these tools weren’t enough, the young man has a chance at hitting at an above-average level. In short, he is a kid who has all five tools, a player whom the Padres desperately need at the shortstop position. Wouldn’t it be neat to see a hard-working man named after Derek Jeter end San Diego’s worst positional drought?
Since the Padres do not have an obvious long-term answer at shortstop, Chris Seise is another man who could make the Padres’ second round pick a stroke of genius. While not as potentially electric as Downs, this young high-schooler from Florida is a solid contributor in his own right.
He is seen as an average defender, but one able to stay at shortstop because of his smooth actions and plus arm strength. Moreover, his skill set with the glove is steadily progressing to above-average with every ounce of hard work he puts in, thus giving him the tools needed to be more than a solid, but rarely exciting, defensive player. On the other side of the ball, Seise has seen his power progress similar to Downs, even though his is more of a gamble. He has been able to put hard contact on the ball, even receiving good scouting reports on his opposite-field power, yet his swing can get long and therefore could make Seise more of a contact-oriented hitter as of right now.
There is hope that the Florida product can still provide average marks in the extra base hits departments, but it’s not as projectable as other prepsters in his draft class. Meanwhile, his speed is one of the best in the class. Rated as plus to double plus, Seise has been clocked at a 6.45 in the 60-yard dash. This recorded time showcases how dangerous Seise can be on the base paths. He has the strong work ethic to make this speed into a much-desired asset by any team. Lastly, this shortstop, even with his sometimes long swing, has one of the best bats among the high school talents in the 2017 draft. He has an easy line-drive swing path with good mechanics, making him a skilled hitter.
One of my favorite players in the draft, Drew Waters is a very remarkable outfielder. Coming out of Etowah High School in Georgia, Waters is the definition of a well-rounded prospect. He has every skill that scouts crave, and the defense to really excite teams. Ranked as one of the best defenders in the class, Waters comes with both a plus glove and a plus arm, making hard plays considerably easier. What’s more outstanding is that the Georgia preppy can be an elite-level center fielder.
His abilities on defense are electric, but he also adds exciting offensive value. In fact, his best tool is not his defense; instead, it’s his speed. Like Seise, Waters is one of the faster players the 2017 draft has to offer. With plus speed and intelligent base running, Waters will be a threat to lazy pitchers and catchers with weak arms. He will steal bases and may easily surpass 20 stolen bases per season. While this speed might make Waters a top-of-the-order hitter only, his other offensive skills give him a higher ceiling.
His power has jumped off scouts’ expectations since he posted some of the best exit velocity (104 mph) at the Perfect Game National in June 2016. He is no longer viewed as a speedster first and foremost, rather a power/speed player who progressively improves in his hard-contact rate. As a result, power is another skill of Waters’ which can be above-average. Lastly, Waters is a legitimate switch-hitter, making a platoon scenario less likely. His hit tool is nothing special and is seen as the weakest part of his game, but an average hit tool would be enough for the Georgia product to show off his power and get on base enough to cause havoc once on them. The real problem with Water lies with what the Padres have already in Manuel Margot, but since the team is a rebuilding club, drafting the best available players is the way to go in this draft. Waters is among the best waiting to be drafted in the second round.
Beck is a true wild card, but he is similar to Padres’ 2016 draft pick, Cal Quantrill, who has had a solid minor league career already. Like Quantrill, Beck is a Stanford product who has suffered from an injury prior to being available as a draftee. He was also a first-round-worthy pitcher, similar to Quantrill. When healthy, Beck was the best West Coast college pitcher due to his good arsenal and stellar command and control. He has an above-average fastball sitting in the low to mid-90s, a plus changeup, and a decent 12-6 curveball, making him a long-term starter. Since all his pitches are at least average, Beck can keep hitters honest and surprise them.
His greatest asset, command, is one of the best in the class and truly a weapon in itself. With great command, Beck’s pitches play up and allow him to retire hitters in short order. In other words, he is a projectable workhorse capable of getting through opposing teams’ lineups three times at least, with room for more. He could be another stud starter in San Diego’s farm system. This is why, without the back stress fracture that put him on the sidelines, Beck was expected to be a first-rounder. The Padres would be considered lucky if they had a chance at grabbing him with pick #39. Besides, it would be exciting to see him one day pitch for the same team as his former Stanford teammate Quantrill.
Overall, the Padres can strike gold in the second round of the 2017 MLB Draft. Any first-round pick Preller and company decide on will come with high expectations. The second pick the Padres make could very well be a top prospect themself, so this pick should not be taken lightly. This is evidenced by the fact that each of the draft-eligible players listed above don’t have a tool considered below-average. This upcoming draft is truly exciting, as the best young talent the San Diego Padres may add this season could come from it.