Padres pick college slugger in Round 1
Mississippi State's Renfroe goes 13th overall to San Diego
DENVER -- The first time Padres scout Andrew Salvo saw Hunter Renfroe play baseball, he did a little bit of everything.
Not just that, but Renfroe did everything really well.
"Before the game, he was crushing balls all over the place. Then he goes out and run and he runs well. And he's got a cannon for an arm in the outfield. Then he goes 93-94 [mph] out of the bullpen," Salvo said. "I was like something out of 'The Natural.'"
Salvo was elated on Thursday when the Padres used their first pick, No. 13 overall, on Renfroe, an outfielder for Mississippi State University.
"I think he's going to be like Nelson Cruz-type ... a .270 hitter, hit 25 bombs and can run," Salvo said.
|1||HOU||RHP Mark Appel|
|2||CHC||3B Kris Bryant|
|3||COL||RHP Jonathan Gray|
|4||MIN||RHP Kohl Stewart|
|5||CLE||OF Clint Frazier|
|6||MIA||3B Colin Moran|
|7||BOS||LHP Trey Ball|
|8||KC||SS Hunter Dozier|
|9||PIT||OF Austin Meadows|
|10||TOR||RHP Phillip Bickford|
|11||NYM||1B Dominic Smith|
|12||SEA||3B D.J. Peterson|
|13||SD||OF Hunter Renfroe|
|14||PIT||C Reese McGuire|
|15||ARI||RHP Braden Shipley|
|16||PHI||SS J.P. Crawford|
|17||CWS||SS Tim Anderson|
|18||LAD||RHP Chris Anderson|
|19||STL||LHP Marco Gonzales|
|20||DET||RHP Jonathon Crawford|
|21||TB||C Nick Ciuffo|
|22||BAL||RHP Hunter Harvey|
|23||TEX||RHP Alex Gonzalez|
|24||OAK||CF Billy McKinney|
|25||SF||SS Christian Arroyo|
|26||NYY||3B Eric Jagielo|
|27||CIN||CF Phillip Ervin|
|28||STL||LHP Rob Kaminsky|
|29||TB||RHP Ryne Stanek|
|30||TEX||SS Travis Demeritte|
|31||ATL||RHP Jason Hursh|
|32||NYY||CF Aaron Judge|
|33||NYY||LHP Ian Clarkin|
Renfroe might be something of a late bloomer, coming from a small high school (Copiah Academy in Crystal Springs, Miss.) to arguably the most competitive college baseball conference. He flourished this season, producing a .352/.440/.634 slash line with 15 home runs and 58 RBIs.
Renfroe's team is still playing. Mississippi State is getting ready to play in a Super Regional tournament starting on Saturday in Charlottesville, Va. A junior, Renfroe gave the impression on Thursday that he's ready to begin his professional career, one that would start with short-season Eugene once he signs.
Renfroe, who is stands 6-foot-2 and weighs 216 pounds, is something of a late bloomer, though Salvo saw him put in a show while playing for Bethesda Big Train in the summer of 2011 in the Cal Ripken League. He was at an All-Star game for the league when Salvo first saw him.
It took Renfroe a while to find his footing at Mississippi State. He hit .154 his first season and .252 as a sophomore before blossoming this season.
"I didn't see competitive pitching, not like we have in the SEC," Renfroe said of the competition he faced in high school. "The summer ball helped a lot. It was a transformation going from a small school to an SEC school. It did take me a little time to get acclimated.
"I do think my best days are ahead of me. Everything is getting better."
The Padres, who also had Day 1 picks at 50 and 69, were looking to go with a position player with their first pick, and it might well have been D.J. Peterson, a corner infielder from the University of New Mexico. But Peterson went one pick ahead of Renfroe, with the Mariners grabbing him at No. 12.
But if Peterson was 1A, Renfroe was probably 1B and might offer more upside in the long run for a club looking to infuse their pitching-rich system with some position players in this Draft.
"It all seems like it's starting to click for him now," Salvo said.
Salvo figures he saw Renfroe seven times this spring alone and probably saw 30 plate appearances.
"He just puts together consistently good at-bats," Salvo said. "Those swings and misses and those outs ... you're literally on the edge of your seat watching."
If the Padres can get a deal done quickly with Renfroe, he will likely report to the team's temporary training facility in Surprise, Ariz. He would then likely head to short-season Eugene of the Northwest League. The Emeralds begin their season on June 14.
The Padres have $6,808,900 to spend on their first 11 Draft picks. The pick value for Renfroe's slot is $2.678 million. Teams face substantial penalties if they exceed the bonus pool.
Day 2 of the Draft continues with Rounds 3-10, streamed live on MLB.com on Friday, beginning with a preview show at 12:30 p.m. And Rounds 11-40 will be streamed live on MLB.com on Saturday, starting at 1 p.m.
MLB.com's coverage includes Draft Central, the Top 100 Draft Prospects list and Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of Draft-eligible players. You can also keep up to date by following @MLBDraft on Twitter. And get into the Draft conversation by tagging your tweets with #mlbdraft.
Younger Peterson, Paroubeck fill out Friars' Day 1
DENVER -- The Padres didn't land corner infielder D.J. Peterson from the University of New Mexico in the first round of Thursday's First-Year Player Draft.
Instead, the Padres selected his younger brother, Dustin, a shortstop from Gilbert High in Arizona with the No. 50 overall pick in the Draft.
"We're excited for the older brother. We think it was a really good pick in front us. We were excited even more to get the little brother," said Padres general manager Josh Byrnes.
While D.J. Peterson went to the Mariners at No. 12 overall, the Padres selected Mississippi State right fielder Hunter Renfroe with the 13th overall selection, a player they're very excited about.
On the MLB Network, the Peterson family celebrated.
"I don't know if you got a chance to see the Draft on television, but a lot of family there, and the brothers hugging after we took the little brother and that's pretty neat," Byrnes said. "It happens a lot in baseball, we have the Ross brothers [Tyson, Joe], but obviously we've gotten to know the family well, and that was a pretty neat moment for the brothers and the family."
The Padres happen to like their Peterson a lot and think he could stick at shortstop. He's committed to play at Arizona State, but the Padres are hopeful he's ready to follow his brother into professional baseball.
Peterson, who was recommended by area scout Dave Lottsfeldt, hit .540 with 11 doubles, six triples, 10 home runs and 39 RBIs.
"He's an offensive shortstop who we think had one of the better high school swings in the Draft. We see him playing somewhere in the infield and hitting for power," said first-year scouting director, Billy Gasparino.
The Padres figured to pick a position player with their first selection. Last year, they drafted three high school pitchers -- Max Fried, Zach Elfin and Walker Weickel -- in the first 55 overall selections.
So, they went out and took three position players on Thursday.
"We picked the best players on the board. We liked these kids, we think they can hit, think they're good athletes and have defensive value. We just so happened to get three of them [hitters] on the first day," Byrnes said.
The Padres' final pick of the day, the No. 69 overall pick (competitive balance Round B) was outfielder Jordan Paroubeck, a switch-hitter out of Serra High in San Mateo, Calif. Paroubeck's hitting coach this past season was Barry Bonds, a Serra alum.
He hit .402 with a .540 on-base percentage with 22 extra-base hits in 34 games. The nickname of his high school? The Padres. He was recommended by area scout Sam Ray.
"He's an athletic center fielder with five tools, a switch-hitter. He's a little on the raw side, but there's an everyday ceiling there," Gasparino said of Paroubeck, who has committee to Fresno State.
The organization has several big arms in the Minor Leagues, but the system is thin in terms of position players who project as everyday Major Leaguers. The Padres hope players like Renfroe, Peterson and Paroubeck can infuse talent into the club's Minor League system.
"We really did pick the best player we felt could impact our organization. If it had been three arms, we would have done that. There were some position players we liked," said Chad MacDonald, the Padres assistant general manager of player personnel.
"These are three bats that we liked. They're all pretty dynamic athletes."
The shortstop position is one where the Padres have struggled to Draft and develop players who can play that position at the Major League level. Jace Peterson (no relation) at Class A Lake Elsinore is considered a good prospect, though some aren't sure if he can remain at the position.