MLB

MLB Draft Day 2: Padres Grab Lots of College Pitchers

Friars load up on arms while several San Diego natives are selected

Rounds 2-10 of the MLB Draft went down on Monday so the Padres got to flex their scouting muscles again.

After taking high school shortstop Jackson Merrill in Round 1 on Sunday, they went back to the high school ranks to get outfielder James Wood from IMG Academy in Florida. He’s a large man, at 6’7” and 240 pounds. Scouts think he has 30-home run power potential and the athleticism to play right field in the big leagues.

After that the Friars went with lots of collegians, starting with Houston lefty Robert Gasser. He rose up draft boards this year after changing his workout routine to add 20 pounds and seeing his fastball velocity jump to 96 MPH (fitting for his last name).

Arkansas right-hander Kevin Kopps was next off the board. As a relief pitcher in 2021 he was dominant, throwing 89.2 innings with 131 strikeouts and just 18 walks. He might not be too far from ready to help at the Major League level.

West Virginia lefty Jackson Wolf was taken in the 4th round. He’s a 6’7” lefty with a deceptive delivery who they’ll likely try out as a starter but a move to the bullpen is possible.

In the 5th round the Friars nabbed Max Ferguson, an infielder from Tennessee who was right around a 2nd-round pick when the season started. Then he got off to a terrible start and kind of fell off a lot of draft boards. He got hot again in the second half, helping the Volunteers reach the College World Series.

San Diego grabbed another Mountaineer in UWV righty Ryan Bergert. He didn’t pitch in 2021 due to an injury and only made four appearances during the COVID-shortened 2020 season but as a freshman in 2019 he was dominant with a 1.85 ERA in 34.0 innings.

The 7th round brought in Ryan Och from Southern Mississippi. He’s a lefty reliever with a high-octane fastball that’s touched 97 MPH. The Padres like big strikeout numbers and he has them with 59 punchouts in 35.1 innings.

In the 8th inning the Friars grabbed Louisville second baseman Lucas Dunn. He played for USA Baseball as a youngster and didn’t have eye-popping stats in college but has the reputation of being a reliable, heady ballplayer.

In the 9th round the Padres went north of the border to find Garrett Hawkins from the University of British Columbia. The Canadian is another big body, 6‘6” and 230 pounds with a good splitter. Scouts hope his frame can help him put a little more velocity on his 93 MPH heater.

Finally, in the 10th round the Padres went to Quinnipiac University for catcher Colton Bender. He’s a defense-first backstop that scouts say has tremendous makeup and the all-important “intangibles” that make for a good clubhouse guy.

Of course, there are always going to be San Diegans mentioned in the Draft and a whole lot more locals flew off the board on Monday.

In the 6th round the Pirates grabbed San Diego State shortstop Mike Jarvis. Three picks later the Red Sox went back to the South Bay (after taking Eastlake HS alum Marcelo Mayer 4th overall) to take Bonita Vista High School’s Daniel McIlveny, who can play the infield or the outfield.

With the 188th overall pick the A’s grabbed Cal right-handed starter Grant Holman, another Eastlake High alum whose name you might recognize. Holman threw a no-hitter in the 2013 Little League World Series.

At the start of Round 7 Pittsburgh grabbed another Aztec, taking SDSU catcher Wyatt Hendrie. In the 9th round University of San Diego catcher Shane McGuire was snatched up by Oakland. In the 10th round the Cardinals selected Azusa Pacific 3rd baseman Osvaldo Tovalin, a graduate of Otay Ranch High School.

The Draft will finish with Rounds 11-20 on Tuesday.

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