Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Snapshot on draftees

When they drafted him in the second the round, the Padres knew it would be difficult to sign catcher Austin Hedges, the Scott Boras-advised UCLA recruit. Some teams deemed Hedges unsignable, and today comes word to this blog that UCLA believes it will get Hedges. The deadline is Aug. 15. Things can change. Things often do change under the pressure of a deadline. For what it's worth, however, the update this morning was the strongest pro-UCLA report to reach this blog since draft day. Confidence is also growing that pitcher Joe Ross, drafted by the Padres in the first round, will join Hedges in Westwood. Other major league clubs considered Ross the more signable of the two. He'd be pitching to a defensive wizard in Hedges. Before the Padres drafted Hedges, they sent three former major league catchers to evaluate him -- Brad Ausmus, A.J. Hinch and Brent Mayne. It appears they liked what they saw.

These are interesting times for Jeff Moorad, the Padres co-owner, Vice-Chairman and CEO. He is a UCLA man trying to overcome the lure of Westwood. At times, the obstacle is Alcindor-sized, as the Yankees discovered. Pitcher Gerrit Cole, a West Coast Bias subject in May 2010, spurned the Yankees a few years ago as a first-round selection. Cole, three years after enrolling at UCLA, was drafted first overall by the Pirates in June. You don't suppose UCLA pointed that out to Ross, do you? The Padres would get unprotected compensatory picks in the 2012 draft for not signing Hedges and Ross.

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