With the 78th selection in the 2019 MLB draft, the Padres turned their focus away from high school fields by selecting a catcher from George Mason University.
— MLB Draft (@MLBDraft) June 4, 2019
A decorated college junior, Driscoll is known as an above-average defender with a solid bat. You can take my word for it, or you can read Baseball America’s scouting report:
A physical, 6-foot-1, 195-pound catcher, Driscoll has an above-average arm and solid receiving skills to go along with raw power that comes from a strong righthanded swing. At George-Mason Driscoll calls his own game and coaches are impressed with how he handles a staff, throws and blocks behind the plate. He has a solid track record of hitting in the Atlantic 10 and posted a .339/.462/.600 line with nine home runs and more walks than strikeouts this spring. However, he struggled with a wood bat in a 28-game stint in the Cape Cod League last summer, hitting just .204/.250/.235 with 19 strikeouts and four walks.
Two years ago, the Padres selected high school catchers Blake Hunt and Luis Campusano in back-to-back selections on the draft’s first day. While the organization is relatively well stocked with backstops, premium defenders up the middle are always welcome additions. The scouting report above notes struggles in the Cape Cod league and associates those struggles likely had other factors in play beyond the wooden bats, as his BB & K numbers changed dramatically as the league’s season proceeded, and his overall performance bore little resemblance to what he did during the college season. Being a college junior, Driscoll may be another under-slot candidate, so keep an eye on whether his bonus exceeds the $857,400 value attached to the 73rd selection.