25. Eric Lauer, LHP, Kent State
The Padres also had the next pick in the round as compensation for the departure of Ian Kennedy last winter. With that 25th pick, the Padres made a more intriguing move with the selection of LHP Eric Lauer out of Kent State. While not the high-slot player many expected the Padres to take with the 25th pick, especially following the selection of Sanchez, Lauer may be one of the more safe selections in the entire draft. Of all the pitching selections made in the first two rounds of this year’s draft, Lauer may be safest one, with a proven track record and strong development to this point.
Eric Lauer, the #Padres new LHP, pitched to a 0.69 ERA at Kent State this season, the lowest for an NCAA D-1 starter since 1979.
— Joe Trezza (@JoeTrezz) June 10, 2016
Lauer operates with two plus pitches in his fastball and slider, as well as two average pitches in his curveball and changeup. Lauer can locate all four pitches for strikes and has a great long-term profile. Despite not being a particularly exciting pick, Lauer has a ceiling as a third or fourth starter, with a similar floor as a back-end starter. With that kind of profile, it’s pretty clear to why Lauer is called a safe pick. Even so, Lauer has some room for growth in his game, and could be a good long-term piece in the Padres rotation.
Eric Lauer: “I’d like to get up there as fast as possible. … My goal is to be up and helping the big-league club by next year, if I can.”
— Dennis Lin (@sdutdennislin) June 10, 2016
Above all else, Lauer may be the most ready of any college arm drafted on the first night of the draft. Of all the selections, Lauer has been discussed as the most likely player to reach the major leagues first from this year’s pitching draft class. With a need for some immediate draft results in San Diego, this pick makes sense for the Padres in the compensation round. With that profile, it’s not unrealistic to believe Lauer can reach the big leagues as soon as 2017.
48. Buddy Reed, OF, Florida
Next up at #48 for the San Diego Padres was outfielder Buddy Reed from the Florida Gators. Following the likes of AJ Puk, Logan Shore, and Dane Dunning, Reed was another in a long line of talented players to come out of Florida in this year’s draft. Not nearly as polished as those three pitchers, Reed is most known for great speed as well as a strong glove and range in the outfield. Although there are some shortcomings in his offensive game, there is at least some projection left there. There are real concerns that Reed may not be able to develop enough offensively to be an everyday player, but at the least he is a useful fourth outfielder with substantial speed and a strong glove.
71. Reggie Lawson, RHP, Victor Valley HS (CA)
With their final pick in the first night of the 2016 draft, the San Diego Padres selected RHP Reggie Lawson out of Victor Valley HS in California with the 71st overall pick. Of all the Padres picks, Lawson could end up being the most intriguing of all. At his best, Lawson could be one of the best pitchers in the entire draft class, at his worst he comes with some substantial question marks. Lawson has shown a plus fastball and curveball at times, but he has trouble maintaining consistency in both pitches. As a prep arm there is still a lot of room for Lawson to grow, so he could end up being a high risk, high reward type player, with a significant ceiling as well as a low floor. Due to it just being a lottery pick at the end of the second round, it is certainly worth the risk if Lawson can develop into the pitcher the Padres think he can be.
At this point, it’s really hard to measure this draft for the San Diego Padres. The real success of a team’s draft isn’t really known until three or four years down the road, but it is undeniable that the Padres took some significant risks, and potentially got some really good impact talent while doing so. Despite some questionable first round selections, the Padres could end up with three long-term rotation pieces, and two bats that could end up being everyday players if their full potential is reached. It’s clear that the Padres were looking for more immediately impactful type players, with the selections of Quantrill and Lauer, but also some high risk, high reward types in Sanchez, Reed, and Lawson. All in all for the Padres, it was a strong first day of the draft, leaving the team in a better position long-term than they were at the start of the day, with AJ Preller hopefully gaining back at least some fan confidence with a good showing. If they hit on even one or two of these five guys, this year will be remembered fondly in San Diego.
On to Day Two of the draft tomorrow, which will see rounds three through ten. Stay tuned to East Village Times for all your draft news as the draft continues at 1:00 PM Eastern on Friday afternoon.