So you like prospects? We do too, so we decided to carve out a place at the corner of the bar where we’ll talk them. . . non-stop, like that annoying dude discusses his car collection. Each week (hopefully) we’ll grab a select number of Padres minor leaguers we’re interested in and write about them, discussing everything from advanced statistics to prospect rankings to developmental strategy to first-hand scouting reports. (The format, you’ll note, is inspired by Baseball Prospectus’ Monday Morning Ten Pack.)

Austin Allen, C, Single-A Fort Wayne
As I noted in BP2016, Allen’s Twitter bio ends with the phrase “Somewhere Hitting Baseballs Hard.” It’s no lie. The first time I saw him in spring training, his sweet left-handed swing caught my attention. I made a point of watching his batting practice most days, and it was always the same: easy swings, loud contact. As FanGraphs’ David Laurila observed in May, “he’s looking for balls up in the zone and thinking middle of the field,” which isn’t a bad idea.

Allen brought that approach with him into his first full professional season at Fort Wayne, where he earned Midwest League Player of the Month honors in April with a ridiculous .460/.539/.603 line that included ten multi-hit games and only four zero-hit games. The 6’4” 225 lb Allen has cooled considerably since then (.267/.304/.379 from May 1 to July 25, including an 11-game hitting streak that remains intact as of this writing), but his overall numbers are solid. The 2015 fourth-round pick out of Florida Tech has performed especially well against southpaws, hitting .359/.391/.495 against them.

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The Padres had only one pick in the major league draft on Monday, and they used it to take a high school right hander named Austin Smith with the 51st overall selection. (We babbled, albeit briefly, about Smith yesterday.) San Diego had eight more picks on Tuesday in rounds three through 10, and what follows are some notes on the newest members of the Padres’ organization.

Jacob Nix — Round 3, 86th overall, RHP, HS

In last year’s draft Nix, through no fault of his own, got caught up in the Astros-Brady Aiken snafu — you know, the one where the Astros significantly lowered their signing bonus offer to Aiken after a physical revealed he was pitching with an abnormally small UCL. The two parties — the Astros and Aiken — failed to reach an agreement and the Astros lost the nearly $8 million signing bonus slot money that accompanied the no. 1 overall pick. Nix, who was expected to sign an over-slot deal with the ‘Stros after they inked Aiken under-slot, was left out in the cold after verbally agreeing to a $1.5 million deal with Houston.

Nix eventually filed a grievance against the Astros and ended up getting the $1.5 million anyway, then he enrolled at IMG Academy in Florida, had a fine season, and was taken 86th overall by the Padres this year. He sits in the low-to-mid 90s with the fastball and improved the secondary offerings this spring, jumping him up to 37th on Baseball America’s top 500. The 86th pick carries a bonus slot near $700,000, so Nix should add another decent chunk of change to the bankroll. Not a bad ending to a situation that could’ve gotten uglier.

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