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2012 MLB draft and the Padres 

2012 mlb draft logoThis year the MLB draft will be operating under a completely different set of rules than in the past. Due to the new contract between the league and the players union, the draft will now have strict guidelines for bonuses through the first ten rounds. That amount is determined by how many picks each team has in those ten rounds and the preset bonus money that MLB is allowing for the #1 pick (7.2 mil this year).

The San Diego Padres have 14 picks in the first 10 rounds and have $9,903,100 slotted to them. They may spend that money any way they choose but if they go way over the top with any particular player that leaves them less to sign the rest.

The 7th pick of the 1st round will be the Padres first pick and they are budgeted at $3 million for that spot. Their next pick is at #33 and that spot is slotted at $1.525 mil (compensatory for Heath Bell).

After that they pick #44 (compensation for Aaron Harang) and #55 (compensation for their failure to sign Catcher Brett Austin last year). That gives them four picks in the first round and the compensatory round for the 2012 draft. Their total slotted budget for those four picks is $6,615,800 which shows how heavily weighted the first round and compensation round is set up.

Any violations of these guidelines will be met with stiff penalties from MLB which will prohibit small market teams from going over slot. The general consensus from draft experts is that this draft will be volatile and unpredictable with no clear cut #1 and a lot of movement expected during the top 20 picks. It is also considered the weakest college draft in recent memory, mostly due to high talent players being taken as high school picks.

Jim Callis of Baseball America and Jonathon Mayo of both project Mark Appel RHP from Stanford as the #1 pick to the Astros but that seems to be the only consensus. From the top of the draft it should be a mad scramble as the draft followers adjust their boards as each team selects from the mix of high ranked high schoolers and the handful of college players projected to go early.

This presents a real challenge for all the amateurs among us who enjoy projecting the draft and are very interested in guessing who the Padres will pick to further stock their highly regarded farm system. If you look at system need, my feeling is that the organization would be well served to continue to concentrate on bringing in middle infielders along with some power hitters.

The long stated philosophy of the organization is to take the best player available when it is their turn to pick. There is a lot of merit to that philosophy as it has been proven that trading for need is just as effective, if not more so, than drafting and developing a position of need. No player is a major leaguer on draft day. All prospects must prove their talent and ability and the injury bug can often derail the most promising of careers (Padres fans are most painfully aware of that variable).

That being said, there is no reason not to go along with both Mayo and Callis who both believe the Padres will select Puerto Rican Baseball Academy shortstop Carlos Correa with their first pick, if he is still on the board. Not yet 18 years old, Correa has a high ceiling and is an exciting player. Other possible choices that might still be available when the Padres pick are Albert Amora, a high school outfielder who is considered to have 5 tool potential, Max Fried a high school LHP with advanced skills, Michael Wacha a RHP from Texas A&M who is considered almost a sure bet to be successful at the major league level.

There are other possibilities due to the volatile nature of this years draft and players slipping down to #7 that are projected to go higher will not surprise anyone. Determining what each team will do with their pick is a job for the strong of mind as almost every team plays their cards very close to the vest, not wanting to tip off the competition before their time has come.

The Padres will be represented at the draft this year by Brad Ausmus, special assistant to Josh Byrnes and mentor to Padres catchers. Ausmus will be joined by Adam Bourassa, a scout in the Padres system. They will man the phones and make the calls to Bud Selig to notify the commissioner of the Padres choices.

The first round of the draft will take place on June 4 beginning at 4pm and will be covered on MLB Network and Rounds 2-40 will take place on June 5th and 6th.

We will spend the next week or so profiling some of the players expected to go high in the draft, including everyone mentioned as a possible first round choice for the Padres. The players profiled will represent our best guesses as to who might be available, the choices will be based on our knowledge of the Padres system and the readily available musings of many draft sites.

Feel free to play along and enjoy the draft!