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06/05/08 10:15 PM ET
Padres add power with first-round pick
Wake Forest first baseman Dykstra went to Rancho Bernardo
By Corey Brock / MLB.com
SAN DIEGO -- Grady Fuson says there are a lot of things to like about the Padres' first-round pick in the First-Year Player Draft, Wake Forest first baseman Allan Dykstra. There is, of course, Dykstra's size, 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds. Given their wont to picking offensive players with a patient approach, Fuson raved about Dykstra's ability to take a walk. In fact, he had 62 of them in 56 games. But, to be clear, what has the Padres so excited about Dykstra is something they feel they don't have nearly enough on their current 25-man roster and in their organization -- raw power. "This is a guy who has PETCO power," said Fuson, the Padres' vice president of scouting and player development. "We've got a monster here on our hands, I hope." Dykstra, selected 23rd overall, hit .323 with 16 home runs and 50 RBIs for the Demon Deacons, who went 25-31 and didn't qualify for the postseason. He's a player the Padres have watched since he was playing at nearby Rancho Bernardo High, a school that has produced seven first-round picks. The Padres went heavy on offensive players on the first day of the Draft, selecting eight position players, seven from the college ranks. "Obviously it was a very offensive Draft day for us," Fuson said. "We went after talent." Dykstra said, by conference call from Winston-Salem, N.C., that he "jumped off the couch" when the Padres called. That wasn't only because he was picked in the first round, but because it was the Padres who selected him. "Being drafted by a team I grew up watching ... they were a big part of my baseball life when I was growing up. We had season tickets," Dykstra said. "It's pretty much the perfect situation for me." Dykstra was a teammate at Wake Forest with second baseman Matt Antonelli, who was the Padres' first-round pick (17th overall) in 2006. "We've noticed this guy for a while. When you walk in the park, you noticed him," said Padres scout Ash Lawson, who scouts the mid-Atlantic and parts of the Southeast for the team. "He's been a target of ours for a while." Once he signs, Dykstra would likely start his professional career at short-season Eugene of the Northwest League. Fuson was asked about what this means for the Padres' current first baseman, 26-year-old Adrian Gonzalez, who has 17 home runs and leads the league in RBIs with 55.
"We love Adrian, he's our best player," Fuson said. "But we're out there trying to find the best available player." Which is how they ended up with Dykstra, though they might have just as easily picked South Carolina shortstop Reese Havens if the Mets hadn't selected him at No. 22 -- one pick before San Diego. The Padres said the nine players they selected -- they had three supplemental picks this Draft for losing free agents -- were among the top 60 players on their Draft board. One player they are especially excited about is the lone prep player they selected, Jaff Decker from Sunrise Mountain High in Peoria, Ariz. "To a man, we felt like it was the best high school bat we saw," said Bill Gayton, the Padres' director of scouting. "The bat was too good for us to resist." More on the Padres' picks: Round 1A: Jaff Decker, CF, Sunrise Mountain, Peoria, Ariz.: Decker is also a pitcher with a fastball that runs in the low 90s, though the Padres think of him as a left-handed outfielder with potential power and plate discipline. Decker has committed to Arizona State University. Decker hit 17 home runs this spring and was the Gatorade Player of the Year in Arizona. Round 1A: Logan Forsythe, 3B, Arkansas-Fayetteville: Forsythe, an All-SEC pick for the Razorbacks, hit .352 this spring and .371 in the tough SEC. A right-handed hitter with gap power, Forsythe can run a little as well. He played for Team USA last summer on a broken foot. Round 2: James Darnell, 3B, South Carolina: Selected after heralded teammates Justin Smoak and Reese Havens (both first-round picks), Darnell was no slouch for the Gamecocks, hitting 37 home runs over the past two seasons. He drove in 81 runs in the spring for South Carolina and showed well last summer in the Cape Cod League. Round 3: Blake Tekotte, CF, University of Miami: Tekotte is hitting .371 for the Hurricanes, who are in the NCAA Super Regionals this weekend. He has 25 stolen bases as the leadoff hitter for the Hurricanes with a .480 on-base percentage. Round 3C: Sawyer Carroll, RF, Kentucky: Carroll led the SEC with a .416 batting average and had 19 home runs, 12 stolen bases and a school-record 83 RBIs. Carroll has good size (6-foot-4), reportedly added 20 pounds of muscle and showed more power this season than he had previously. Round 4: Jason Kipnis, CF, Arizona State: Kipnis, a transfer from Kentucky, was recently named the Pac-10 newcomer of the year. He led the Pac-10 in steals (22) and can play all three outfield spots. He is hitting .363 with 14 home runs and 69 RBIs. Round 5: Anthony Bass, RHP, Wayne State University: It took awhile but the Padres finally got around to drafting a pitcher. Bass led the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in victories (10), strikeouts (100) and ERA (2.10). The Padres like his command of three pitches: fastball, breaking ball and changeup. Round 6: Cole Figueroa, SS, Florida: Figueroa is a draft-eligible sophomore for the Gators who hit .350 this season with nine home runs and 57 RBIs. He also had a .424 on-base percentage.
Padres' top five selections
|23.||1B||Allan Dykstra||Wake Forest U|
|42.||CF||Jaff Decker||Sunrise Mountain HS (Ariz.)|
|46.||3B||Logan Forsythe||U Arkansas Fayetteville|
|69.||3B||James Darnell||U of S.C. Columbia|
|101.||CF||Blake Tekotte||U of Miami|
|Complete Padres Draft results >|
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.