Padres face 1st virtual draft

Padres

SAN DIEGO — The 2020 Major League Baseball Draft begins Wednesday and the Padres have two picks on day one: number eight and number 34.

This marks the sixth draft for Padres general manager A.J. Preller, who believes his team feels as prepared as possible under the circumstances.

The Padres scouting staff was pulled off the road in mid-March amidst the pandemic, forcing general manager A.J. Preller and his team to adjust.

“(We have) kind of gone from the concierge lounges to the Zoom chat dens and we’ve tried to find different ways to get to know players and people,” Preller said.

With no live games at any level of baseball, the draft pool became much smaller. The Padres will have to use player information already in hand, a tough task considering the 2020 Draft will only feature five rounds compared to the normal 40. Preller says his focus remains on adding to the team’s strengths.

“It’s a pretty balanced system like position player wise and pitching prospects and also positionally on the field,” said Preller. “So I think from that standpoint I don’t see us looking at any particular area of need in the system where we go hey we really need to beef up here or there. I think we feel like we’re pretty strong throughout.”

In anticipation of drafting virtually, Preller says he’s spoken with a handful of NFL general manager’s about the process and experience including location.

“I tried to get to (Kliff) Kingsbury’s house or whatever,” said Preller jokingly, referring to the Arizona Cardinals head coach. “That’s where I wanted to take it from but I don’t think we ever lined that up so I’ll be at Petco because the internet at the home is a little hit or miss.”

As for the future of baseball, both at the major and minor league level, uncertainty and safety concerns continue to loom.

“All I know is that we’re not going to bring players back unless we feel like we have a good system, a good protocol set in place to try and do everything we can to make sure the guys are in a good spot from a health standpoint,” Preller said.

“But to get into speculation about, ‘What are the percentage of the odds we’re playing X number of games?’ — I think from our standpoint, that’s not been my focus, and kind of leave it to the people that that’s their job. Hopefully we’re playing baseball here at some point.”

The Padres own six picks in the 2020 MLB Draft, which runs June 10-11.

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