We continue with our third top-30 list you will see at MadFriars this off-season. The third list is from Kevin Charity.
The talent and depth in this system is insane!
That was my first thought as I started reading my notes from games I saw live, watching old games on MILB.tv and comparing numbers between dozens of prospects. This is the third top-30 list I have made for MadFriars and I will say that this was the most difficult one that I have done. I legitimately considered 45-50 names and whittled it down to a top-30.
I looked at a number of factors while compiling this list: What is the ceiling of the player? Which guys are more likely to end up as big leaguers, even if they aren’t stars? I tend to give more credence to players who have the tools that can lead to stardom, versus the solid guy without one standout ability.
Also, there has been a ton of turnover on this list. Manuel Margot was #1 on my list last year and he has graduated into a full-blown big leaguer, as has Dinelson Lamet among a few others. Here are the changes from a year ago:
Graduated: #1 OF Manuel Margot, #3 OF Hunter Renfroe, #10 RHP Dinelson Lamet, #16 INF Carlos Asuaje, #21 RHP Phil Maton.
No longer in the organization: #29 INF Josh VanMeter (traded to CIN).
Dropped out: #13 SS Javier Guerra, #19 OF Buddy Reed, #20 RHP Mason Thompson, #23 RHP Walker Lockett, #26 INF Ruddy Giron, #28 OF Nick Torres, #30 LHP Brad Wieck.
So without further ado, here are the top-30 prospects in the Padres’ organization, according to me.
1.) SS Fernando Tatis Jr.
How acquired: Traded to San Diego from Chicago White Sox on June 4, 2016.
2017 Stats (between Fort Wayne and San Antonio): .278/.379/.498, 27 2B, 7 3B, 22 HR, 75 RBI, 77 BB, 141 K, 32 SB.
Tatis Jr., still just 18, is arguably the best position-player prospect since Sean Burroughs nearly 20 years ago. Tatis’ possesses a special skill set, complete with power, speed, and good defensive at a premium position. While Tatis is six-foot-three and could feasibly grow an inch, most who saw him play in 2017 believe he can stay at shortstop for the foreseeable future.
What impresses me most about Tatis is the constant adjustments he made this season. He improved his walk rate each month while reducing his strikeouts. He talked to us in September about his ability to reduce his strikeouts as his greatest achievement in 2017. His late-season promotion to San Antonio, while surprising, was absolutely necessary because the Midwest League had become too easy for him.
The ball explodes off of his bat and at the Padres On-Deck game, Tatis hit a ball to the right-field wall without squaring up the pitch. He also smoked a single to left that might have been the hardest hit ball all game long. He appears to be the real deal.
2018: Tatis should open up next season as the shortstop in San Antonio. A midseason promotion to San Diego shouldn’t be ruled out either.
2.) LHP MacKenzie Gore
How acquired: Selected third overall in the 2017 MLB Draft.
2017 Stats (AZL Padres): 0-1, 1.27 ERA, 21.1 IP, 14 H, 7 BB, 34 K, .184 opposing batting average.
If you grouped Padres’ prospects, I’d say that Tatis and Gore seemed to be the most likely to anchor the next great Padres squad. Think of Gore and Tatis as the top-tier. While far from a finished product, Gore has the ceiling to develop into something special.
What is most impressive about Gore is his athleticism. John mentioned in his write-up that Gore could have gone in the third round as a centerfielder. That athleticism helps Gore maintain that high leg kick with consistency.
Gore dominated the AZL, reportedly topping out at 96 mph with his fastball — when he was drafted, most reports had him in the 90-93 mph range. He throws four pitches (fastball, curve, slider, change) — all of which have a chance to be above-average. He struck out 34 batters in 21.1 innings in the desert and allowed one earned run or less in every start. He was named Sports Illustrated’s High School Athlete of the Year — quite an amazing accomplishment for the North Carolina prep star. He could be special.
2018: I would not be surprised if Gore started the year in Lake Elsinore; however he will likely begin the year in Fort Wayne.
3.) RHP Cal Quantrill
How acquired: Selected eighth overall in the 2016 MLB Draft.
2017 stats (between Lake Elsinore and San Antonio): 7-10, 3.80 ERA, 116 IP, 130 H 40 BB, 110 K’s.
Quantrill, the eighth overall pick in the 2016 draft, had a solid but not necessarily spectacular 2017 season. He opened the season in Lake Elsinore and pitched well enough to earn a midseason promotion to San Antonio.
Quantrill features a mid 90’s fastball, an excellent changeup and a developing slider and curve, which Quantrill believes is turning into an above-average pitch. In a start I saw in May, the former Stanford righty struck out 12, several on what appeared to be curveballs. The consistency of his command will be the difference. In a write-up from May, Storm pitching coach Glendon Rusch praised Quantrill’s curveball, calling it a second out-pitch.
There are a few concerns with Quantrill — namely in that he allows some hard contact. He had a 23% line-drive rate in Elsinore and it ballooned to 28% in San Antonio. I think his command will continue to get better, which should mitigate that flaw to a degree.
2018: Quantrill should open the year back in San Antonio.
4.) RHP Michel Baez
How acquired: Signed as an international free agent on December 19, 2016.
2017 Stats (AZL Padres and Fort Wayne): 7-2, 2.54 ERA, 63.2 IP, 43 H, 10 BB, 89 K.
Michel Baez is a massive human being. That was the first thought I had when I saw him pitch in the Padres on Deck game in September. He stands at six-foot-eight and appears to be in tremendous shape, weighing in at a very trim-looking 240 lbs.
Baez was a seemingly anonymous pitcher when San Diego gave him $3 million last year but it is easy to see why the organization felt so comfortable paying seven figures for his rights, despite the fact that many publications did not have a lot of information on him.
His fastball is 94-97 mph with a changeup that was hitting 85 mph. His breaking ball seems behind the other pitches but it should get better with experience. He struck out 89 batters in 63 innings by simply overpowering Midwest League hitters with arguably the best heater in the league.
Baez gave up his fair share of homers (eight in 58 Midwest League innings) and had a very high flyball percentage last season. That could be problematic in the Cal League but Baez’s stuff might be the best in the system.
2018: Baez likely opens in Lake Elsinore but he could be promoted to San Antonio quickly.
5.) 2B/SS Luis Urias
How acquired: Signed as an international free agent on December 27, 2013.
2017 stats (San Antonio): .296/.398/.380118 G, 442 AB, 77 R, 131 H, 20 2B, 4 3B, 3 HR, 38 RBI.
Aside from Tatis Jr., Urias is the best position player in this system. All the 20-year-old does is hit and get on base, regardless of the level or how great the challenge.
2017 was no exception, as the 20-year-old led the Texas League in on-base percentage and was the catalyst of the best team in the Texas League. Urias also walked more than he struck out for the fourth consecutive season. Unbelievable.
Urias’ strength is his hit tool. Most scouts have him rated at 70 and last year Kyle Glaser stated that Urias might be one of a handful of players who could have an 80 hit tool at their peak. If everything clicks, Urias should be the first Padre since Tony Gwynn to win a batting title. Keep in mind, I am not comparing the two.
Urias is probably suited better at second but in all honesty, he can’t be any worse at short than some of the other players the Padres have trotted out the past few years. He also hasn’t shown much power but I believe he can hit 7-10 a year. At his peak, he’s a great two-hole hitter capable of hitting .320/.400/.450.
2018: Urias should be playing in El Paso, with a midseason promotion to San Diego a realistic possibility.
6.) LHP Joey Lucchesi
How acquired: Selected in the fourth round of the 2016 MLB Draft.
2017 stats (between Lake Elsinore and San Antonio): 11-7, 2.20 ERA, 24 G (23 starts) 139 IP, 102 H, 33 BB, 148 K.
Lucchesi, 24, is rather old compared to some of the guys on this list but he might be the most advanced pitcher in the system. He had a breakout campaign that led to him winning MadFriars Pitcher of the Year.
While much has been made about the “funk” of his delivery (and it is plenty funky), Lucchesi isn’t some type of soft-tosser. His fastball will touch 94 mph, although he typically sits in the low 90’s. His breaking ball had a pretty sharp in the zone and he generated plenty of strikeouts on it, in the looks that I saw. After toying with Cal League hitters, he was promoted to San Antonio … where he was even better.
Lucchesi’s strikeouts were down in Double-A but he allowed opposing hitters to bat just .208 and pitched well in the playoffs. While he doesn’t have as much upside as the arms ahead of him, Lucchesi is a reliever at worst and I believe he can be a solid mid-rotation starter.
2018: Lucchesi starts in El Paso but could be a dark-horse candidate to win a job in San Diego.
7.) RHP Anderson Espinoza
How acquired: Traded to Padres from Boston on July 14, 2016.
2017 Stats: DNP (Tommy John surgery).
I remember the 2016 Padres Future’s Game (as it was called then) quite fondly. The story of the night was Anderson Espinoza, the teenager who had a blazing fastball, a ridiculous curve and the confidence to establish himself as an ace. Then injuries happened.
Espinoza never threw a pitch in 2017 and probably won’t throw one in 2018 as he recovers from Tommy John surgery. While devastating, the righty will still only be 21 when the 2019 season begins. There’s still time.
Before the injury, Espinoza had the best stuff in the system and if he is healthy, he still might. A 98 mph fastball, a curve and a changeup that can all be above-average. However, I walked away convinced that Espinoza had the makeup to become an ace and I still do. We will just have to bide time until he is healthy. One interesting note: Espinoza will be eligible for the Rule V draft next winter, so the Padres will have to add him to the 40-man roster, despite a two-year layoff.
2018: Heal quickly, Anderson. See ya in 2019. Probably in Lake Elsinore.
8.) RHP Jacob Nix
How acquired: Drafted in the 3rd round of the 2015 MLB draft.
2017 Stats (between Lake Elsinore and San Antonio): 5-5, 4.67 ERA, 17 G (16 starts) 94.1 IP, 110 H, 19 BB, 73 K.
No, the overall numbers on Nix aren’t terribly impressive but I am a big believer in his stuff. His fastball touches 96 mph and his curve should be an above average pitch. His numbers in Elsinore are all a little skewed because of two poor outings in Lancaster — one of the most unforgiving pitching environments in all of minor league baseball. He has excellent command of all his pitches and has routinely thrown strikes throughout his pro career.
Nix missed the first part of the season with a minor injury and threw less than 100 innings. He reached Triple-A, pitching for El Paso in the playoffs. His upside, in my opinion, is just as good as the guys ahead of him on this list.
2018: It wouldn’t be a shock to see Nix in El Paso to start next season.
9.) LHP Adrian Morejon
How acquired: Signed as an international free agent on July 7, 2016.
2017 stats (between Tri-City and Fort Wayne): 3-4, 3.86 ERA, 13 G, 63 IP, 65 H, 16 BB, 58 K.
Morejon made his long-anticipated pro debut and at least in Tri-City, he was as advertised. He showed excellent command, walking just three batters in 35.1 innings. Things were a little tougher in Fort Wayne but there is still plenty to be optimistic about.
The 18-year-old looked excellent in the Padres On Deck game, hitting 95 mph with ease while dropping in a very good curve. He has excellent mechanics and looked really athletic on the mound.
Most publications will have Morejon in the top-100 and rightfully so. I just want to see another full year with more consistent command. He is definitely a reason to be optimistic for 2018.
2018: Morejon likely opens in Elsinore.
10.) OF Franchy Cordero
How acquired: Signed as an international free agent on November 1, 2011.
2017 stats (El Paso: .326/.369/.603, 93 G, 390 AB, 68 R, 127 H, 21 2B, 18 3B, 17 HR, 64 RBI, 23 BB, 118 K, 15 SB. Hit .228/.276/.424 in 30 big league games.
Cordero is the first player on my list with big league experience, as the 23-year-old filled in a little in San Diego this season. In Triple-A, Cordero was dynamic and posted an OPS of .972.
The left-handed swinging Cordero showed an intriguing blend of speed and power, hitting 17 home runs and he broke his own organizational-record with 18 triples for El Paso (he added three more in the big leagues). Cordero has quick wrists, good bat speed and the athleticism to play an above-average left field.
The biggest concern for Cordero is plate discipline — or lack thereof. He has posted subpar walk-rates (around 6%) the past two years while striking out in about 28% of plate appearances. That number ballooned to 44% in a brief big league cameo and Cordero’s ability to become a big league contributor seems to hinge on his ability to make contact. If everything clicks, Cordero has the talent to be a star.
2018: Cordero likely returns to El Paso, perhaps to work on refining his approach.
11) OF Jorge Oña
How acquired: Signed as an international free agent on July 20, 2017.
2017 Stats (Fort Wayne): .277/.351/.405, 107 G, 415 AB, 18 2B, 3B, 11 HR, 64 RBI, 40 BB, 115 K, 8 SB
Oña, 20, had a very solid pro debut for Fort Wayne in 2017. While his biggest skill set was said to be his power stroke, the burly outfielder only hit ten homers last season. He did show an ability to work the count and his bat was still above-average for the league.
Oña at this point doesn’t seem to have a lot of loft into his swing but has produced a good amount of line drives. He also seems to be more athletic than I believed, as he looked like a guy with above-average speed at the On Deck game.
Assuming Oña opens up in Lake Elsinore next season, it will be interesting to see if the home run totals go up significantly. If all goes well there, he could find his way to San Antonio by June.
2018: Oña should be in the Storm outfield next season.
12.) 3B Hudson Potts
How acquired: Drafted in the first round (24th overall) in the 2016 MLB Draft.
2017 Stats: .253/.293/.438, 125 G, 491 AB, 67 R, 23 3B, 4 3B, 20 HR, 69 RBI, 23 BB, 140 K.
When the Padres drafted Potts, he was said to be a bit of a reach — but signing him to an under-slot deal helped them agree to terms with Reggie Lawson and Mason Thompson. At the time, Potts was seen as someone who could hit for average but there were questions about his power. Then 2017 happened.
Potts hit 20 home runs as an 18-year-old in a league that doesn’t yield many homers. He hit 18 of those in the second half and added one more in the playoffs. His power was an unexpected surprise and it may make him a top-100 guy after 2018.
Potts is not without his flaws: He struck out a ton and only had a 5% walk rate in 2017. He will need to refine his approach as he moves up the chain. However, he has also been excellent defensively and might be considered the third baseman of the future.
2018: Potts will be manning the hot corner in Lake Elsinore to start 2018.
13.) LHP Logan Allen
How acquired: Acquired in a trade with Boston on November 13, 2015.
2017 Stats (Fort Wayne and Lake Elsinore) 7-9, 2.95 ERA, 24 G (23 starts) 125 IP, 109 H, 44 BB, 142 K.
As you have heard several times, Javier Guerra and Manuel Margot were the headliners of the Craig Kimbrel trade but Logan Allen might be the steal of the swap. Since coming to the San Diego organization, Allen has done nothing to sway that perception.
The 20-year-old southpaw dominated the Midwest League and upon being promoted to Lake Elsinore, he continued to pitch well. He was the best pitcher left in Lake Elsinore at the end of the season and he gives the Padres yet another talented option that should be ready by 2020.
He throws a fastball that tops at 94 mph to go with a decent curve and change up. He has also shown consistent command and generates plenty of ground balls. While he doesn’t have the upside of guys like Baez or Quantrill, I believe that Allen can develop into a solid mid-rotation guy.
2018: Allen could find himself in San Antonio to start next season.
14.) LHP Eric Lauer
How acquired: Drafted in the first round (25th overall) in the 2016 draft.
2017 Stats (Lake Elsinore and San Antonio). 6-8, 3.30 ERA, 22 G (21 starts), 122.2 IP, 117 H, 36 BB, 132 K’s.
Lauer, 22, was touted as a polished, nearly big league-ready left arm coming out of the draft. He lived up to the hype, advancing to Double-A and pitched quite well after a few poor outings. The promotion to San Antonio was necessary, as he breezed through the Cal League, and was among the league leaders at the time of his promotion.
The former Kent State star was hyped up as a four-pitch pitcher, albeit without one truly elite pitch. That seems true to form, as Lauer has a low 90’s fastball, a good curve, and a pretty decent changeup. He can throw all of them for strikes and the southpaw walked under three batters per nine innings for the year. Lauer seems like he can be a serviceable starter in the future but may not have ace potential.
2018: Lauer should return to San Antonio to start the season.
15.) 1B Josh Naylor
How Acquired: Traded to San Diego from Miami on July 29, 2016.
2017 Stats (Lake Elsinore and San Antonio): .280/.346/.415, 114 G, 439 AB, 59 R, 123 H, 25 2B, 2 3B, 10 HR, 64 RBI 43 BB, 84 K.
Naylor, 20, had a very solid season, eventually earning a promotion to San Antonio. In Elsinore, Naylor flashed a little power, showed a good eye at the plate and looked better than advertised in the field and on the base paths. While most scouts have Naylor as a 20 runner, I actually think he is quite a bit faster than that.
Naylor seems to have a good idea of what to do on the plate and is very good about not chasing a pitch out of the zone. He did seem more aggressive this year, which helped him put up better numbers. Naylor talked to us in July and talked about how the organization’s goal to refine his plate discipline and create a hitting zone in which he can flash his power.
For Naylor to climb up on this list, he has to show more game power. He has shown unbelievable pop in batting practice but it hasn’t necessarily translated to games. For him to become a capable big league player, he needs to be a 25 HR guy. 2018 will be a big year for his development.
2018: Naylor will be back in San Antonio to begin next season.
16) OF Jeisson Rosario
How Acquired: Signed as an international free agent on July 2, 2016.
2017 Stats (AZL Padres): .299/.404/.369, 52 G, 187 AB, 10 2B, HR, 24 RBI, 33 BB, 36 K, 8 SB.
Rosario, 18, had a very solid pro debut in the desert, showing a solid combination of speed, defense, and gap power. When you analyze the stats, Rosario had a robust walk rate of nearly 15% and only K’ed in 18% of his bats. It’s clear the youngster has an idea of what he is doing at the plate.
At the On Deck game, I walked away awfully impressed. He covered the gaps well in center, had a few solid at-bats and looked like a natural center fielder. The first thought that crossed my mind was that he reminded me of a left-handed swinging Manuel Margot.
Scouts have said that Rosario might be better suited for a corner and that might be true over time. Guys with power potential, the ability to play center and good bat-to-ball skills are going to get my attention. Keep an eye on him.
2018: He should be in the mix for a roster spot in Fort Wayne.
Austin Allen hit 22 home runs for the Storm in 2017.
17.) C Austin Allen
How acquired: Drafted in the fourth round of the 2015 MLB Draft.
2017 (Lake Elsinore): .283/.353/.497, 121 G, 463 AB, 31 2B, 3B, 22 HR, 81 RBI, 44 BB, 109 K.
Allen, 23, had a monster second-half for the Storm and finished third in the Cal League with 22 homers. Allen didn’t hit for average in 2017 like he did in 2016 but he did improve his walk rate while striking out a tad more. Allen’s calling card when drafted was his plus-power potential and he certainly tapped into it this season.
The left-handed swinging backstop has above-average power, primarily to the pull side. He makes hard contact and can work the count. Behind the plate, he is improving defensively but only threw out 21% of base stealers in the Cal League and still needs to improve on pitch-blocking. He talked to us in July about the various things he is working on defensively.
Allen’s bat will play at first base, though, should San Diego decide to change positions.
2018: Allen should be behind the dish for San Antonio next season.
18.) RHP Enyel De Los Santos
How Acquired: Traded to San Diego from Seattle on November 12, 2015.
2017 Stats (San Antonio): 10-6, 3.78 ERA, 26 G (24 starts), 150 IP, 131 H, 48 BB, 138 K.
De Los Santos, 21, has been overshadowed a bit by some of the names ahead of him on this list but he would probably crack the top-ten list in many farm systems.
He has three pitches — a fastball that touches 96 mph, a good changeup and a curve that is far behind his other two pitches. He struck out nearly a batter an inning while walking just 2.88 per nine innings. His ERA wasn’t amazing for San Antonio but he also got knocked around quite a bit by Midland (A’s) in the starts he made against the eventual Texas League champions.
In many ways, De Los Santos reminds me of Dinelson Lamet. Big fastball, good off-speed but really needs that third pitch to come along in order to be a big league starter. One thing I like a lot about De Los Santos: He has a large frame and looks like a mid-rotation innings eater. I’ll take that.
2018: De Los Santos should be in the El Paso rotation next season.
19.) RHP Chris Paddack
How Acquired: Traded to San Diego from Miami on June 30, 2016.
2017 Stats: DNP (Tommy John Surgery).
Paddack, 21, is somewhat of a mystery shrouded in a ton of hope and potential. The eighth-rounder in 2015 burst onto the scene with a good fastball and a ridiculous changeup that confounded Low-A hitters. Then, like many promising prospects, Paddack blew out his elbow and hasn’t thrown a professional pitch since July 18, 2016. But he’s back!
Paddack (pre-injury) had a decent fastball that could hit the mid-90’s, an average curve and a changeup that rated as high as a 70 from some scouts. Command is always the last thing to return to pitchers recovering from the elbow reconstruction, so who knows how sharp he will be next season.
Personally, Paddack’s changeup intrigues me to the point where I would put him in the bullpen and see how fast he can advance through the system. If that happens, a 2019 debut isn’t out of the question.
2018: Paddack should return to Fort Wayne to start the season.
20.) OF Michael Gettys
How Acquired: Drafted in the second round of the 2014 MLB Draft.
2017 Stats (Lake Elsinore): .254/.329/.431, 116 G, 457 AB, 116 H, 22 2B, 4 3B, 17 HR, 51 RBI, 46 BB, 191 K.
Gettys is still one of my favorite players in the system and I would be waging that I am the highest on him at MadFriars. 2017 was a strange year for Gettys, to say the least.
He returned to Elsinore and his strikeout percentage rose to 37%, although he did have a 9% walk rate; the best of his pro career. He hit a career-high 17 homers, including three in one game against San Jose. He looked as good as ever in center field and in my opinion, he is a top-5 athlete in the system. Now the troubles.
Gettys simply cannot strike out in 40% of his at-bats and expect to get out of AA. He has tremendous power but he is susceptible to breaking balls in the lower half and fastballs in and around the letters. The talent is there — he just needs to refine his approach. Unless Gettys can take a major leap in pitch recognition, it will be difficult for him to advance. That being said, I am still a believer in his raw talent.
2018: Gettys should be the centerfielder in San Antonio.
21.) 2B Esteury Ruiz
How Acquired: Acquired in a trade with Kansas City on July 24, 2017.
2017 Stats (AZL Padres and AZL Royals): .350/.395/.602, 52 G, 206 AB, 20 2B, 10 3B, 4 HR, 39 RBI, 13 BB, 54 K, 26 SB.
Ruiz, 18, was acquired in the Brandon Maurer (among others) trade and may have been the big piece that the Padres received. The teenage outfielder had a monster campaign in the AZL, winning the batting title while flashing a set of intriguing skills.
He showed impressive gap power, swatting 34 extra-base hits in just 52 games in the desert. When acquired, he wasn’t regarded as a burner but he swiped 26 bags and profiles to have at least average speed.
Ruiz probably can’t play anywhere but second base and his bat plays well there. He could be much higher on this list next year.
2018: Ruiz should be in the mix for a gig in Fort Wayne.
22.) SS Gabriel Arias
How Acquired: Signed as an international free agent on July 2, 2016.
2017 Stats (AZL Padres and Fort Wayne): .265/.312/.326, 53 G, 215 AB, 7 2B, 3 3B, 17 RBI, 12 BB, 67 K.
Arias, 17, didn’t have an impressive stat line in his pro debut by has drawn rave reviews from many in and out of the organization. The young infielder finished the year playing shortstop for Fort Wayne in the playoffs.
The teenager doesn’t profile to be a power bat but he has an average hit tool and projects to be above-average defensively at short. Arias is still incredibly young but he could end up being the best shortstop out of last year’s July 2 class. He is currently playing winter ball in Australia, perhaps as a means to speed up his assignment for 2018.
2018: It would not surprise me to see the shortstop start next season in Lake Elsinore.
23.) OF Franmil Reyes
How Acquired: Signed as an international free agent on November 1, 2011.
2017 Stats (San Antonio): .258/.322/.464, 135 G, 507 AB, 131 H, 27 2B, 3B, 25 HR, 102 RBI, 48 BB, 134 K.
Reyes had a monster year in San Antonio, although the organization ultimately decided not to add him to the 40-man roster. He led the Texas League in homers and RBI’s and was a source of power all season. Yeah, RBI’s aren’t a great stat to measure productivity but he knocked in Luis Urias all season long.
At six-foot-five, 262 lbs., Reyes is a behemoth on a baseball field. He has emerging power to all fields and generally has a good approach at the plate. While he struck out a career-high 134 times, his 23% K rate is more than passable. He isn’t great defensively and would probably benefit from a change to first base. At his peak, he could be a guy who hits .250-ish with 25-30 HR’s. He isn’t typically the type of player that goes in the Rule 5 Draft but some organization could feasibly take a chance on him.
2018: Reyes should open next season in El Paso.
24.) RHP Pedro Avila
How Acquired: Traded to San Diego from Washington on December 2, 2016.
2017 Stats (Fort Wayne and Lake Elsinore): 8-5, 3.70 ERA, 24 G, 129 IP, 124 H, 33 BB, 170 K.
Avila, 20, opened the year in Lake Elsinore and pitched to mediocre numbers but really shined upon his demotion to Fort Wayne. The righty is small (5’11, 170 lbs.) but has the stuff to become a useful starter.
He has four pitches: a mid-90’s fastball, a very good changeup, a curve, and a slider. He gets a lot of strikeouts with the curve and struck out 170 between both levels. He also posted a sub-2 FIP in Fort Wayne while striking out more than 12 batters per nine innings.
In Fort Wayne, Avila had a 17 strikeout game for the TinCaps in which he didn’t walk anyone. In total, he had four starts in which he amassed double-digit strikeouts. Avila is a guy with big stuff who could be the ace of the Elsinore staff next season.
2018: Avila should be back in Elsinore to start the season.
25.) C Luis Campusano
How Acquired: Drafted in the second round of the 2017 MLB Draft.
2017 Stats (AZL Stats): .269/.344/.388, 37 G, 134 AB, 4 2B, 4 HR, 25 RBI, 15 BB, 25 K.
Campusano, a catcher out of high school in Georgia, was the Padres’ second-round pick this spring. He had a strong showing in his pro debut, showing an above-average bat and a decent glove.
The 19-year-old showed a good eye at the plate and might develop into a guy who could sock 15-20 HR’s a year while drawing a .340 OBP. The work will need to be on the defensive end, where he has drawn lackluster reviews for his blocking and release time.
He looked fine defensively at the On Deck Game and let go a few good throws. I certainly don’t think he will be a liability and young catchers with pop are quite valuable.
2018: Campusano should be in the mix for a job in Fort Wayne.
26.) SS/3B Luis Almanzar
How Acquired: Signed as an international free agent on July 2, 2016.
2017 Stats (Tri-City): 67 G, 261 AB, 36 R, 10 2B, 3B, 2 HR, 21 RBI, 25 BB, 85 K.
Almanzar, 18, was one of the bigger splurges in the 2016 international signing period, as the organization invested $4 million in the Dominican teenager. At first sight, the numbers Almanzar produced in Tri-City were pretty ugly but hear me out.
Almanzar played the entire Northwest League season as a 17-year-old and Gesa Stadium is an unforgiving place for hitters. He flashed his potential at the plate several times but struggled to do find any real consistency. I believe he is a guy who will fill out a little more and hit for power. He was also given a very ambitious assignment and was overmatched for much of the campaign.
I doubt Almanzar sticks at short — I see his future at third base. But he is talented enough to become a star, the organization will just need to be patient,
2018: Almanzar should open the season in Fort Wayne.
27.) SS Jordy Barley
How Acquired: Signed as an international free agent on July 2, 2016.
2017 Stats (AZL Padres): .242/.292/.434 49 G, 182 AB, 11 2B, 6 3B, 4 HR, 28 RBI, 11 BB, 65 K.
Barley, who turns 18 in December had an impressive pro debut, showing excellent athleticism and power. He got off to a hot start, hitting three homers in July before going into a prolonged slump in August.
He is listed at six-feet, 175 lbs. and looks like he could add another 20-25 lbs. to his frame. While his approach is raw and undisciplined, the ability is there. He should stick at shortstop, although he made 30 errors in 49 games, most of them throwing miscues. The game may move a little too fast for him right now, something that should change with more experience.
2018: Barley probably opens with Tri-City but a big spring may get him to Fort Wayne.
28.) RHP Andres Muñoz
How Acquired: Signed as an international free agent on July 7, 2015.
2017 Stats (Tri-City and Fort Wayne): 3-0, 3.81 ERA, 24 G, SV, 26 IP, 17 H, 11 ER, 18 BB, 38 K.
Muñoz, 18, burst onto the scene this season, armed with a 102 mph fastball. He started the year in the Tri-City bullpen, showing promise but his lack of command with his heater showed that he is still raw.
He looked incredible the Arizona Fall League and flashed a slider that could be a good pitch. He didn’t throw one slider that I remember at the On Deck Game but pumped in 100 mph routinely. The Padres could have a lights-out reliever on their hands but I am curious about his ability to start. With the ability to pump the fastball, he should move quickly if he stays in the bullpen.
2018: Muñoz starts the year in Lake Elsinore.
29.) RHP Reggie Lawson
How Acquired: Drafted in Comp Round B in the 2016 MLB Draft.
2017 Stats (Fort Wayne): 4-6, 5.30 ERA, 17 G, 73 IP, 65 H, 35 BB, 89 K.
Lawson, 19, has some of the most electric stuff in the system. Armed with a mid-90’s fastball and a nasty spike curve, he is as talented as anyone in the system.
He was inconsistent in Fort Wayne, as he struggled with command at times, although he pitched much better than his stats indicate. He has the ability to miss bats and if his changeup develops, he could have a breakout season in 2018. I would like to see more consistency in 2018 but Lawson has the upside to become a star.
2018: Lawson should open up in Lake Elsinore.
30.) C Marcus Greene Jr.
How Acquired: Traded to San Diego from Texas on August 18, 2015.
2017 Stats (Fort Wayne): 84 G, 285 AB, 48 R, 21 2B, 11 HR, 45 RBI, 40 BB, 59 K.
Greene at 23, is one of the older players on the list but he is a guy who has been on my radar for a few years. He quietly had a very good campaign and outside of Fernando Tatis Jr., he was arguably Fort Wayne’s most consistent player.
He had the best strikeout rate on the club and a healthy 12% walk rate. He has plus power and has the potential to be an asset at the plate.
On the defensive end, he has a pretty good arm, despite the fact he underwent Tommy John surgery a few years ago. He threw out 32% of baserunners last season and has made improvements at blocking the ball. He is a guy you should pay attention to next season.
2018: Greene opens the year in Lake Elsinore.
Hey, let’s do five more!
We typically only do the top-30 but I figured I’d give a few names to watch for because they could be big leaguers someday. These aren’t necessarily guys that were the next five but no one expected guys like Rocky Gale or Kyle McGrath to crack the big leagues when they were drafted. The next five players could end up making the big leagues, due to one particular skill or the fact that they are just massively underrated.
C A.J. Kennedy: Yeah, I know that the former Cal State Fullerton backstop hit a putrid .109/.167/.180 between Fort Wayne and San Antonio last year. I also know that several pitchers in the system have singled him out for his ability to call a game and for his defensive work behind the plate. Call him Rocky Gale 2.0. If he can hit .220, he may find himself as a backup catcher for the 2021 Padres.
RHP Trey Wingenter: Wingenter, along with Tirso Ornelas, were the first two guys left off my top-30. The former Auburn hurler has a high 90’s fastball and a pretty good slider. He saved 20 games for San Antonio and allowed batters to hit just .194. He could be a dark horse candidate for the big league bullpen next season.
RHP David Bednar: The former 35th-rounder (!) in 2016 had a very good year between Fort Wayne and Lake Elsinore and pitched well in the Arizona Fall League. He reminds me a lot of former Padre Luke Gregerson but has a better fastball. He will probably be in San Antonio next season.
OF Robbie Podorsky: The 25th-rounder last spring hit .302 in Tri-City but has potential 80-grade speed. He could be the Padres’ answer to Terrance Gore — a speedy outfielder with little power but could be a pinch-runner/defensive replacement if/when the Padres become good again.
1B/3B Ty France: France has done nothing but hit since the Padres drafted him in the 34th-round in 2015. He has a good eye at the plate and showed some pop in San Antonio, although his walk rate plummeted. He is a scrappy overachiever who could develop into a bench bat.