SAN DIEGO -- Three of the Padres top 2012 Draft picks made an appearance at Petco Park on Monday, as Zach Eflin, Max Fried and Walker Weickel, all pitchers, got a glance at what they hope is their future ballpark.
That's the hope shared by Padres assistant general manager of player personnel Chad MacDonald, who wouldn't mind seeing these three in a San Diego uniform before too long, especially after each got his first taste of professional baseball this summer.
"The sooner you start your journey to the big leagues, the sooner you can get there," MacDonald said. "Each one of the guys made it a positive."
Fried, a left-hander, was the seventh overall pick in the Draft. Eflin (33rd overall) and Weickel (55th), who are both right-handed, signed contracts early enough after their high school seasons to get a jump on their professional careers.
"Any time that you can get professional experience, get into a routine, get a head start, ahead of a lot of other guys, it's good. It was important to get that under our belt," Fried said.
All three players pitched for the Padres' entry in the Arizona League. Fried was 0-1 with a 3.57 ERA in 17 2/3 innings. Eflin threw seven innings and was 0-1 with a 7.71 ERA. Weickel was also 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA in 14 innings.
"I thought it was a positive experience," said Eflin, who was sent home early after a bout of mononucleosis. "Any time you can wake up and play baseball, it's a good day."
MacDonald said all three players will participate in the team's instructional league next month at the Spring Training facility in Arizona. MacDonald even sounded hopeful that all three could break camp next spring and head to the team's Class A affiliate, Fort Wayne, in the Midwest League.
That would suit Eflin, Fried and Weickel just fine. The three formed a fast friendship this summer in Arizona and wouldn't mind climbing the ranks together on their march to the big leagues.
"I think that if myself, Zach and Max and stay together, we can be a powerful component to the Padres' pitching staff," Weickel said.