Padres Draft Day 2: Rounds 2-15

After four picks on Day One of the 2012 Major League Baseball Draft, the Padres continued their busy draft schedule with two picks in the first ten of Tuesday’s second round (68, 70). If pitchers (three of four picks) were the focus yesterday, San Diego snagged some offense with its first opportunities Tuesday, selecting junior outfielder Jeremy Baltz of St. John’s University with the 68th pick, and using the 70th pick, compensation pick from the loss of reliever Heath Bell, to snag Oklahoma City University catcher Dane Phillips.

Baltz, a 6’3″, 205-pounder, boasts a right-handed power bat that earned him consensus All-American honors as a freshman for the Red Storm in 2010. A first-team All-Big East selection in 2011, Baltz was named MVP of this weekend’s Chapel Hill, N.C. NCAA Baseball Tournament Regional after hitting .400 (4-10) with a home run, two doubles,eight runs, and a .900 slugging percentage in three games. The projected corner outfielder has shown his ability to perform on the big stage before, as he was also named MVP of the Charlottesville Regional as a freshman.

His All-State high school career at Vestal High School in Vestal, N.Y. earned Baltz a pick in the 45th round by the New York Yankees  of the 2009 Draft before he headed to St. John’s to post one of the most decorated seasons in school history as a freshman. The 21 year-old showed he can hit with the wood, as well, hitting .329 and being named an All-Star with the Falmouth Commodores of the Cape Cod League last summer.

Phillips is a left-handed hitting catcher out of Oklahoma City University, and was a first-team NAIA All-American for the Stars following his stellar 2012 campaign. The Oklahoma State transfer was the leading hitter for OCU this year, posting a .410 average to go along with 14 home runs and a .762 slugging percentage.

After a strong freshman season in Stillwater that saw him post a .337 average and three home runs in 54 games, predominantly as a designated hitter, Phillips continued to impress with the bat as a sophomore, posting a similar .339, four-home run season in 2011. But Phillips, frustrated with his lack of time behind the plate, transferred to Arkansas, where he was expected to compete for the starting spot. Unfortunately (or fortunately for OCU), the NCAA denied his request to transfer, and Phillips found his way to the NAIA’s Oklahoma City, where he has found offensive success while honing skills behind the plate.

The 6’1″, 195-pounder out of Nacogdoches, Texas, boasts a college baseball pedigree, as his father, David, played baseball and football at Texas A&M, while his brother, Dan, played baseball at Mississippi. Phillips, 21, was drafted in the 49th round of the 2009 draft by Seattle before heading to Oklahoma State.

With their third-round pick, 102nd overall, the Padres select SS Fernando Perez out of Central Arizona College. Perez skipped his senior season at Otay Ranch High School in Chula Vista, Calif., earning his diploma in November to head to the junior college scene in time for the 2012 season. He impressed as a freshman, hitting .341 with an impressive 11 triples, 20 doubles, and four homers. Listed as a shortstop, but probably better suited to third in the majors, Perez garnered interest for his offensive prowess from the left-side, more than his defense up the middle.

The Padres went back to pitching with their first pick of the fourth round, selecting high-schooler Andrew Lockett 135th overall. At 6’5″, 225, the right-hander is in keeping with the kind of big-time (literally) pitchers the Padres seem to be looking at early on. Lockett, known better as “Walker,” is committed to the University of South Florida, and was also a strong offensive contributor at first for the Providence School in Jacksonville, Florida.

Speed in the outfield emerges as another trend in the Padres draft so far, as San Diego spends its fifth-round pick on JUCO Centerfielder Mallex Smith, a 5’9″, high-speed dynamo out of Santa Fe Junior College in Florida. Smith swiped 31 bases in 37 attempts this season, while posting a .387 average. Smith was selected in the 4th round of the 2011 draft by Milwaukee after an impressive prep career at Rickards High School in Tallahassee, Florida, and is a left-handed hitter whose speed aids his potential defensively.

More speed for the Padres in the sixth-round comes in the form of Alabama high school shortstop Jalen Goree. A 5’10”, 175-pounder from Bibb County High School in Centreville, Alabama, Goree will most likely be a second baseman at the next level. The right-handed bat has made moves in the JUCO direction, signing with Northwest Florida State College in January, and joins comp pick Travis Jankowski and 5th-round pick Mallex Smith as top speed players joining the Padres system in this draft.

Padres return to pitching – and to the southeast – grabbing Central Florida pitcher Jose (Roman) Madrid with their seventh-round pick, 225th overall. Madrid is a right-handed reliever who posted a 1.00 ERA in 45 innings of work in 2012…45 innings in which he struck out 46.

Another athletic outfielder is headed to the Padres system, as San Diego takes Kentucky outfielder Brian Adams with the 225th pick. Adams is a scholarship wide receiver for the Wildcats’ football team, but make no mistake: Adams is a baseball guy all the way, having announced recently that he will forego his final two seasons on the gridiron to focus on the diamond. That’s probably a good decision: Adams took over as the starter in centerfield as early as his freshman season, and hitting .288 in his first full season at that position as a sophomore. He hit .250 in limited action (27 games) in 2012, but with a full-time focus on baseball and the athleticism that got him a Division I chance in football, Adams joins guys like Jankowski and Smith as stellar athletes in the Padres’ system’s outfielding corps.

The Padres used their ninth-round pick on infielder River Stevens, who posted an off-the-charts .449 batting average at Allen Hancock College in 2012. Stevens has committed to Cal State Fullerton after one year with the Bulldogs, a team managed by his uncle Chris Stevens. A prep standout at San Diego’s Mission Hills high, Stevens transferred to Allen Hancock after one injury-shortened season at Palomar College in San Marcos.

Stephen Carmon, a shortstop from the University of South Carolina-Aiken, is the Padres tenth-round selection, 285th overall. A .348 hitter in 2012, he is yet another player to fit the ultra-speedy mold that is coming to characterize Padres position-player selections in this draft. The small, quick lefty (he’s listed at 5’7″, but so is Alexi Amarista…) was 45-47 on stolen base attempts as a senior.

You mean you didn’t expect to see two SUNY Stony Brook guys in the Padres system by the end of the day…? San Diego grabbed its second Sea Wolf of the day in Maxx Tissenbaum, a 5’11”, 191-pound infielder who earned First Team All-America East honors for his performance as a junior in 2012. A third-team All-American selection, Tissenbaum hit .390 with 48 RBIs – two more than his teammate, Padres day one pick OF Travis Jankowski – this season. The story on Tissenbaum is his propensity for contact: the Ontario native struck out an astonishing SIX times in 223 at-bats in 2012, making him one of the most difficult players to strike out in NCAA history.

After four straight position players, the Padres went back to the rubber in the twelfth-round with lanky 6’5″, 185-pound lefty Drew Harrelson, Georgia’s 1-AA HS pitcher of the year in 2011 for a season in which he struck out 97 in 61 1/3 innings pitched. Harrelson is currently planning to head to junior college, having committed to Middle Georgia College.

Back-to-back infielders and now back-to-back pitchers snagged by the Padres as the thirteenth round sees Puerto Rican Baseball Academy product Malcom Diaz join the Friar fold. At 6’2″, 185 pounds he, like his fellow 18 year-old Harrelson (see above), have some filling out to do…but all that means is more strength is coming to what many seem to think is very solid raw arm strength. Diaz has signed with Alabama State, and it remains to be seen just how strong his commitment to the Hornets is. (Side note: regardless of what comes from these prospects in the future, you now know the mascots of Alabama State, SUNY-Stony Brook, Oklahoma City University, and Allen Hitchcock College. Knowledge you didn’t know you couldn’t live without…and now don’t have to.)

And now for something completely different, (at least geographically) a Missoula, Montana native, high school standout Andrew Sopko, is the Padres 14th-round selection, 435th overall. While he certainly is the only new Padre so far from Big Sky Country, Sopko is in keeping with San Diego’s recent (and by recent I mean…the past two rounds) emphasis on long, lanky arms. At 6’2″, 185, Sopko can also still fill out, and the righty is currently signed to do so at Gonzaga.

UPDATE: Day Two at the draft is officially complete for the Padres. San Diego rounded out their Tuesday with another pitcher, six-foot right-hander Cory Bostjancic of Marin Community College in California. Bostjancic was named to the All-Bay Valley second team as an outfielder after hitting over .300 in 2012, but can hit 90 mph with his fastball, which will earn the 19 year-old a chance on the rubber in the Padres system.

Day Two Draft Blog by Chelsea Janes, Associate Reporter, San Diego Padres 

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