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Story by Liz Alper
Photo: West Hills alum Trenton Toplikar was drafted 466th overall in the 16th round by the Giants. Photo via gohighlanders.com
June 6, 2018 (Secaucus, N.J.) - The third and final day of the MLB Draft is today. Yesterday, the Padres were all over the board, drafting position players, pitchers and even one Puerto Rican-born player. Click the cut and strap in, because rounds 11-40 are today and there’s a lot to do. And be on the lookout for any East County and SDSU kids.
Round 11, 321st overall
Nick Gatewood - C, Georgia State (hometown: Duluth, GA. High school: Peachtree Ridge. Photo right via georgiastatesports.com)
Gatewood has been Georgia State’s top hitter for the last two seasons after taking over catching duties midway through his breakout sophomore season. He has a career average of .306 with 18 homers and 75 RBI in three seasons. He’s big for a catcher, at 6’2”, 205 and has good arm strength. His footwork needs some work, but he’s a force at the plate.
Round 12, 351st overall
Sean Guilbe - IF, Muhlenberg HS (Reading, PA. Photo left via mlb.com screenshot)
Guilbe healed up in spring. He has a strong athletic body and bats strongly from the right-hand side. He favors strength over bat speed with a bit of an uphill swing, which he’ll need to change. He’s a slow runner. Despite his hands and lack of range, Guilbe is physically mature.
Round 13, 381st overall
Antoine Kelly - LHP - Maine East HS (Park Ridge, IL. Photo right via mlb.com video)
Kelly’s fastball maxes out at 95 and his breaking ball, changeup and slider are all quite slow. Tall and lanky at 6’5”, 174, he has room to grow. As Maine East’s starter, he struck out 13 in six innings. He works fast and the ball jumps out of his hand quickly. Verbally committed to Central Arizona JC.
Round 14, 411th overall
Erik Sabrowski - LHP - Cloud County CC (Concordia, KS. Hometown: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. High school: Prospects Baseball Academy. Photo left via Youtube screenshot)
Attending Cisco Junior College in Texas in 2016-17, he pitched decently, earning a 2.25 ERA in 12 innings, striking out 16. He can also hit, having spent some time as a designated hitter in Texas.
Round 15, 441st overall
Nick Thwaits - RHP, Fort Recovery HS (Fort Recovery, OH. Photo right via mlb.com screenshot)
Thwaits has an advanced changeup reaching 87. His curveball reaches the low 80s. He’s a growing boy; 6’1” and 210 and growing even more physically into his frame. He also shows advanced command of his fastball, reaching 94. In addition to those three pitches, he sports a sinker, which is his favorite pitch and can go up to 89. He needs to learn command of the breaking ball, but is calm on the mound and shows passion for the game. Committed to Kent State.
EAST COUNTY MENTION - TRENTON TOPLIKAR - P, UC RIVERSIDE (WEST HILLS HS) - DRAFTED 16TH ROUND, 466TH OVERALL BY THE SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
Toplikar still needs to show what he can do, having only pitched one inning of relief in 2017.
Round 16, 471st overall
Michael Curry - OF, Georgia (hometown: Gainesville, GA. High school, Gainesville. Photo left via Youtube screenshot)
Curry packs a punch; he hit 21 home runs last season and drove in 80 RBIs and bat .280. He’s short at 5’11”, but strong at 215. He’s quick and athletic defensively. He controls his swing very well and should have no problem finding his way to the big leagues soon.
Round 17, 501st overall
Hazahel Quijada - LHP, UC Riverside (hometown: Highland, CA. High school: San Gorgonio. Photo right via Youtube screenshot)
Sporting 35 Ks as a starter, Quijada struck out a career-high 10 batters in a career-high seven innings. He can bat too; in his senior year of high school, he led San Gorgonio with a .444 batting average 15 doubles, 32 RBIs and was second with 24 runs scored.
EAST COUNTY MENTION - ALEX VESIA - LHP, CAL STATE EAST BAY (STEELE CANYON HS) - DRAFTED 17TH ROUND, 507TH OVERALL BY THE MIAMI MARLINS (Photo left via Cal State East Bay)
Vesia could use some work, having finished 2017 with a 4.82 ERA and a 4-6 record, but he is a decent strikeout arm, striking out 64 in 65.1 innings.
Round 18, 531st overall
Dylan Smith - RHP, Stafford HS (Stafford, TX. Photo right via Perfect Game USA)
Smith has a high kick delivery which always proves helpful. Tall, thin and athletic, he has excellent arm speed. His fastball only tops out at 88, but there’s definitely room for that to speed up. He also has a good curveball and change. Committed to Alabama.
Round 19, 561st overall
Ian Villers - RHP, Northgate HS (Walnut Creek, CA. Photo left via Youtube screenshot)
Villers is a juggernaut; 6’5”, 225. He has a slow but controlled arm which shockingly, doesn’t affect his fastball, but definitely affects his breaking pitches. Has a good finish to his delivery and no problem with velocity, as the fastball gets to 91. His slider looks like his best pitch, so chances are he’ll be relying heavily on that. Committed to Cal.
SDSU MENTION - DEAN NEVAREZ - C, DRAFTED 19TH ROUND, 568TH OVERALL BY THE SEATTLE MARINERS (Eastlake HS, photo right courtesy goaztecs.com)
Round 20, 591st overall
Reiss Knehr - RHP, Fordham (hometown: Glen Head, NY. High school: St. Dominic. Photo left via fordhamsports.com)
Big for a pitcher, Knehr could lower his ERA (3.91 last year), but led the Rams with 86 strikeouts and held opponents to a .231 batting average. His fastball peaks at 97.
Round 21, 621st overall
Mason Fox - CF, Gardner-Webb University (Boiling Springs, NC. Hometown: Canton, NC. High school: Pisgah. Photo right via Youtube screenshot)
Average hitter, batting .235 last season. Sported a .367 slugging percentage and a .299 on-base percentage. So he can hit the ball and will only get better.
Round 22, 651st overall
Payton Smith - CF, Strom Thurmond HS (Johnston, SC. Photo left via strebels.org)
Smith has started for Strom Thurmond all four years and helped the Rebels advance to district championship games in the last three years. Last season, he led the Rebels with a .380 batting average, four home runs and 24 RBIs. He’s committed to Florence Darlington Tech.
EAST COUNTY MENTION - BLAKE WORKMAN - RHP, CAL STATE FULLERTON (RAMONA HS) DRAFTED 22ND ROUND 669TH OVERALL BY THE ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS (Photo right via Perfect Game USA)
As a Bulldog, Workman hit .316 with two homers and cruised by with a 1.37 ERA and 42 strikeouts in 41 innings As a senior, he was even better: 1.43 ERA with 73 strikeouts in 68 innings and bat .380.
SDSU/EAST COUNTY MENTION - JORDAN VERDON - 1B, SDSU (GRANITE HILLS HS) DRAFTED 23RD ROUND, 675TH OVERALL BY THE DETROIT TIGERS (Photo left courtesy goaztecs.com)
Round 23, 681st overall
Nelson Alvarez - P, Miami Dade CC South (hometown: Miami. High school: G. Holmes Braddock. Photo right via Miami Dade Athletics)
A 2016 27th round pick by the Indians, Alvarez hasn’t been able to play a lot, so will need to prove his skills.
Round 24, 711th overall
Pavin Parks - 3B, Kent State (hometown: Uniontown, OH. High school: Manchester. Photo left via kentstatesports.com)
Hasn’t been able to play a lot and doesn’t have a lot of power. Will need to be worked on. He can play either middle infield spot. He has soft hands and gets rid of the ball quickly. He’s a line-driver who shows promise.
Round 25, 741st overall
Lee Solomon - 2B, Lipscomb University (Nashville, TN. Hometown: Columbus, OH. Photo right via Youtube screenshot)
Solomon packs a punch. As a sophomore, he led the Bisons with a .370 average, 84 base hits and hit 11 doubles, three triples, four home runs, 50 RBI and 51 runs, 25 stolen bases...we could go on forever, but Solomon is a formidable force at the plate.
EAST COUNTY MENTION - JORDAN QSAR - CF, PEPPERDINE (VALHALLA HS) DRAFTED 25TH ROUND, 750TH OVERALL BY THE TAMPA BAY RAYS (Photo left via @PeppBaseball on Twitter)
Qsar left his mark on Valhalla’s East Lawn in El Cajon, slugging .342 with 116 hits, 63 RBI, 32 doubles, seven homers and 34 stolen bases. His stats have dwindled a bit at Pepperdine, but he still bat .269 last season and was second on the team with 24 runs and 26 RBIs and slugged .374.
SDSU MENTION - GARRETT HILL, RHP - DRAFTED 26TH ROUND, 765TH OVERALL BY THE DETROIT TIGERS (Photo right courtesy goaztecs.com)
Round 26, 771st overall
Tyler Mortensen - LHP, Davis Senior HS (Photo left via ncsasports)
Mortensen has the ability to shut out and strike out and could be a formidable arm for the Padres. He can also hit and drive in runs.
SDSU/EAST COUNTY MENTION - DAVID HENSLEY - SS (PATRICK HENRY HS) DRAFTED 26TH ROUND 792ND OVERALL TO THE HOUSTON ASTROS (Photo right courtesy goaztecs.com)
Round 27, 801st overall
Gabe Mosser - RHP, Shippensburg University (Shippensburg, PA. Hometown: Laurys Station, PA. High school: Parkland. Photo left via Youtube screenshot)
Not the best pick by A.J. Preller. Mosser’s ERA is either high or constantly dwindling, but does have 262 strikeouts over the course of his college career. He also only sports three pitches.
SDSU MENTION - CHASE CALABUIG - OF - DRAFTED 27TH ROUND, 803RD OVERALL TO THE OAKLAND ATHLETICS. Photo right courtesy goaztecs.com)
EAST COUNTY MENTION - PABLO O’CONNOR - 2B, AZUSA PACIFIC (MONTE VISTA HS) - DRAFTED 27TH ROUND, 821ST OVERALL BY THE WASHINGTON NATIONALS (Photo left via athletics.apu.edu)
A former Monarchs captain, he led Azusa Pacific with 80 hits, a .392 batting average, 62 runs scored and 15 doubles last season.
Round 28, 831st overall
Jake Plastiak - 3B, Victor J. Andrew HS (Tinley Park, IL. Photo right via Prep Baseball Report)
Plastiak has the perfect build for an infielder; 6’2”, 190, strong, athletic and a long build. He’s confident in the batters’ box, making him one of the top hitters in the state of Illinois. He has a quick, clean release and a strong arm. Committed to Wichita State.
Round 29, 861st overall
William Duncan - RHP, Richardson HS (Richardson, TX. Photo left via Perfect Game USA)
Another tall and lanky pitcher at 6’5”, 190. Lots of physical growth projected with a big arm hook. Duncan has consistent mechanics, but a fastball that has potential to speed up, only topping out at 90. Curveball isn’t impressive, but he will spin it to land in the strike zone.
Round 30, 891st overall
Cullen Dana - LHP, Seton Hall (hometown: Montgomery, NY. High school: Don Bosco Prep. Photo right via shupirates.com)
Dana spent 2018 recovering from an injury, but the year before, he pitched decently, finishing 2017 with a 3.40 ERA, 81 strikeouts and 32 walks in 79.1 innings. In Big East games, he managed to post a low 1.55 ERA.
Round 31, 921st overall
Jake Sims - RHP. St. Leo University (St. Leo, FL. Hometown: Guelph, Ontario, Canada. High school: Bishop Macdonnell Catholic. Photo left via stleolions.com)
Sims transferred from Roane State College in Tennessee, where he batted .252 with a team-high 30 RBI and 27 hits with six home runs and a .467 slugging percentage and a .414 on-base percentage during 2017. He can slug and should make his way up quickly.
Round 32, 951st overall
Cody Tyler - LHP, Wichita State (hometown: Terrell, TX. High school: Forney. Photo right via goshockers.com)
Another poor pitching choice. Tyler went 4-5 with a 6.24 ERA as a junior in 2017 with only 39 strikeouts but just 17 walks.
Round 33, 981st overall
Rainier Aguilar - C, University of Redlands (hometown: San Bernardino. High school: San Gorgonio. Photo left via Youtube screenshot)
Aguilar got a real chance to hit in 2017 and made the most of it. He slugged .561 and drove in 39 RBIs and 25 runs scored and batted .424. He’s patient at the plate, as evidenced by drawing 20 walks and a team-leading 59 hits.
Round 34, 1,011th overall
George Arias - RHP, Tucson High Magnet School (photo right via Youtube screenshot)
The son of former Padres third baseman George Arias. Arias sported an impressive 0.70 ERA in 2016. In 2017, it raised a little, but he still finished with a 2.17 ERA, striking out 70 in 48 innings. Committed to Arizona.
Round 35, 1,041st overall
Jake Pfennigs - RHP, Post Falls HS (Idaho. Photo left via Youtube screenshot)
Pfennigs’ fastball tops out at 91. He’s big at 6’7”. His arm is loose and he pitches in the upper 80s with a lot more to give. He has a high kick delivery. Committed to Oregon State.
Round 36, 1,071st overall
Will Freeman - RHP, Jones County Junior College (Ellisville, MS. Hometown: Semmes, AL. High school: Faith Academy. Photo right via jcjcathletics.com)
Freeman struck out a season-high 18 batters on April 24th. He’s great to go to distance and then bring a reliever in so he can get the win.
Round 37, 1,101st overall
Ben Abram - RHP, Georgetown District HS (Ontario, Canada. Photo left via Youtube screenshot)
Another big high schooler at 6’7” and 210. Abram looms on the mound and pounds the zone with his fastest pitch at 89. He controls his pitches extremely well for a high schooler. He’s committed to Oklahoma.
Round 38, 1,131st overall
Michael Suarez - 1B, Miami Sunset HS (photo right via miamidadehighschoolbaseball.com)
A little guy who puts up big numbers. Suarez hit 24 balls and scored 15 runs and drove in 13 RBIs this past spring with a .436 average and .522 on-base percentage. He’s powerful and his size makes him a perfect first baseman. Committed to Hillsborough Community College.
Round 39, 1,161st overall
Seth Mayberry - RHP, Dinwiddie County Senior HS (Dinwiddie, VA. Photo left via longwoodlancers.com)
Mayberry has a short but solid pitching frame that can grow. He controls both sides of the plate with his 92-mph fastball. He likes challenging hitters. His slider could reach the low 80s. Committed to Longwood.
Round 40, 1,191st overall
Michael Knorr - RHP, Carlsbad HS (photo right via mlb.com screenshot)
The Padres take a San Diego kid with their last pick and he’s another big one; 6’6”, 215 with an athletic build and long limbs. He has a compact arm stroke and can drive the ball downhill. He makes his delivery look effortless with an 88 mph fastball and can hit all four quadrants of the strike zone. He also has a curveball and a changeup in his repertoire. Committed to Cal State Fullerton.