Padres go back to hill with Watrous in eighth round

Padres go back to hill with Watrous in eighth round

The Padres selected their first player from the Pac-12 Conference on Friday when they used their eighth-round pick on University of Utah right-handed pitcher Mitch Watrous.

Watrous, the 237th overall selection in the First-Year Player Draft, recently completed his junior season for the Utes, posting a 3.91 ERA. He was eighth in the conference in strikeouts (76). He had a big sophomore season, posting a 2.81 ERA.

Watrous becomes the third pitcher taken in the first eight rounds by the Padres. Zech Lemond (Rice) was a third-round pick and Ryan Butler (UNC-Charlotte) went in the seventh round.

"He's strong. He's got a great arm," Utah head coach Bill Kinneberg told the Salt Lake City Tribune. "Arm strength is one of the, if not the No. 1 asset that professional scouts are looking for. And he knows how to pitch now. He's got three quality pitches."

"Mitch is a kid with a plus fastball and solid change, with a slider that has a chance to be solid-average," said scout Dave Lottsfeldt, who recommended Watrous. "He's the guy that has an extra plus tool with the 'grit' factor. He competes extremely well and is a leader."

The Draft concludes on Saturday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on MLB.com at 10 a.m. PT.

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.