Throughout his tenure with the Padres, General Manager A.J. Preller has emphasized that building a successful farm system involves much more than drafting well. It also takes a commitment in the international market, the ability to trade older assets for potential, and a development program that maximizes players’ talent.

Now going into his third season with San Diego, Preller has accomplished his first goal in his attempt to win the organization’s first ever championship; building a successful farm system. Baseball America, FanGraphs, MLB Pipeline and ESPN have all ranked the Padres as having one of the best systems in baseball.

Our Top 20 is nearly evenly divided between players who were acquired through the draft (6), trades (7) and internationally (7), and 17 have been brought into the organization by Preller.

2018 Top 20 at a Glance: 10 Pitchers and 10 Position Players

New for 2018: LHP MacKenzie Gore; RHP Michel Baez; OF Franchy Cordero; 3B Hudson Potts; 2B Esteury Ruiz; SS Gabriel Arias; RF Franmil Reyes and OF Edward Olivares.

Out from 2017: CF Michael Gettys (7); RHP Mason Thompson (15); RHP Reggie Lawson (20)

Graduated from 2017: CF Manuel Margot (1); RF Hunter Renfroe (3); 2B Carlos Asuaje (10); RHP Dinelson Lamet (12); RHRP Phil Maton (19)

Synopsis: While much of the depth of talent is still in the lower end of the system, the next wave is definitely progressing. Five of our top 10 will open the year at Double-A or higher. Only Franchy Cordero is likely to graduate from the list this year, and fans could begin to see a few others by late in the season.

Best Places to See the Prospects: While the pitching at every level below El Paso could be impressive, the staff at Double-A San Antonio could be particularly formidable with Cal Quantrill, Eric Lauer, and Jacob Nix working in front of shortstop Fernando Tatis, Jr.

The team at Low-A Fort Wayne could be historically young, but will feature a potentially spectacular starting staff with Adrian Morejon, Reggie Lawson, Mason Thompson and MacKenzie Gore early in the year. Additionally, keep an eye on infielders Gabriel Arias and Esteury Ruiz and a few sleepers in the outfield.

High-A Lake Elsinore will likely feature fast-rising star Michel Baez pitching alongside Pedro Avila and Logan Allen – at least at the start of the season. Meanwhile, lefty Joey Lucchesi will likely be the first from his class to make it to Triple-A El Paso.

The Padres will once again feature two AZL teams, and the short-season Tri-City club could be a powerhouse as many of the teenagers from last season could return.

All ages are listed for Opening Day 2018.

Photo: TinCaps

1.) Fernando Tatis, Jr.

Position: Shortstop/Third Base

Height/Weight: 6-3/200

Age:    19

Bats/Throws: R/R

How Acquired: Trade with Chicago White Sox for RHP James Shields in June, 2016.

Team  AVG  OBP  SLG  PA  K/BB  Hits  XBH/HR
TinCaps 0.281 0.390 0.520 506 124/75 121 54/21
Missions 0.255 0.281 0.327 58 17/2 142 2/1

2017 Highlights: There is no one in the system who combines performance and projection like Tatis. Before his promotion to Double-A San Antonio from Low-A Fort Wayne, he was leading the Midwest League in OPS, slugging, walks, extra-base hits (54) and games played at 117 at shortstop while he was 18.

Having spent a lifetime around the game, Tatis – who is bilingual and shows strong natural leadership skills on and off the field – was very fast to make adjustments that allowed his talent to translate in games. After starting slowly, he showed the rare combination of power and contact from a middle infielder that will give Padres’ fans a lot to dream on.

Negatives: As with most young players, he showed a tendency to chase pitches in April when he hit .230 with 29 strikeouts in 23 games, but he made adjustments that paid off in the summer. At 6-foot-3 he’s going to have to continue working on staying low to make all the routine plays.

Projection: Tatis broke the TinCaps franchise record for homers last year, but he still has more power coming, probably at the cost of some of his stolen bases. Last year we saw risk that he might eventually end up at third base, but he showed enough range and athleticism at shortstop for us to revise the assessment. If he’s eventually moved to third base, it might be to get one of the other young talented shortstops onto the field.

MadFriars’ Assessment: Once again Tatis will be among the youngest in his league. He destroyed Low-A before finishing his first full season with a .950 OPS in the Texas League playoffs. He will be the opening day shortstop in San Antonio and if his improvement continues at the same rate as it did last year, it’s not inconceivable he could be in San Diego in September.

2) MacKenzie Gore

Photo: Kim Contreras

     Position: LHP/Starting Pitcher

     Height/Weight: 6-3/190

     Age: 19

     Bats/Throws: L/L

     How Acquired: First Round 2017 MLB Draft

Team  W-L  IP  ERA  GS  K/BB  Hits  Runs/Earned Runs
AZL-1 0-1 21.1 1.27 7 34/7 14 5/3

2017 Highlights: Gore truly checked every box you want to see in a potential top-of-the-rotation starter: athleticism; room to grow; command; ability to spin a ball; repeatable mechanics; confidence to work off any pitch in his arsenal. Jim Callis reported Gore would have gone no lower than the third round if he elected to come out as a centerfielder.

He struck out more than 40% of the batters he faced in Peoria, didn’t allow a homer and put fewer than one runner per inning on base. And it’s easy to see the significant natural ability that contributed to such gaudy numbers.

Negatives: There is some minor concern that he could have to adjust his high leg raise at some point, but it’s both consistent and athletic enough to roll with it at this stage of his career.

Gore pitched only 21.1 innings after being drafted so any ranking of him is based on ceiling, not production.

Projection: He’s a potential top of the rotation starter. As Callis also noted in a post-draft interview with us, if Gore lives up to what the Padres think he can do, the 2017 draft will go down as one of the best in the team’s history.

MadFriars’ Assessment: The lefty will be 19 throughout his first full professional season and will get every opportunity to build on his dominant appearance in the AZL last summer. He’ll likely arrive in Fort Wayne somewhere between when Jake Nix and Logan Allen did in 2016 (opening day) and when Mason Thompson and Reggie Lawson got there last year (late May), and he should work around 110-115 innings total.

3)   Michel Baez

Photo: Jeff Nycz

Position: RHP/SP

Height/Weight: 6-8/225

Age: 22

Bats/Throws: R/R

How Acquired: 2016 International Free Agent Signee – Cuba

Team  W-L  IP  ERA  GS  K/BB  Hits  Runs/Earned Runs
TinCaps 6-2 58.2 2.45 10 82/8 41 16/16

2017 Highlights: The Cuban exploded this past season with some truly eye-popping statistics. One of the more interesting numbers Baez posted was that he gave up nine home runs, which accounted for 14 of the 16 earned runs he surrendered in 11 starts. Other than a few mistakes on secondary pitches, no one could touch him.

His fastball is 94-97 MPH with a changeup that was hitting 85.  He already has an effective slider, and was also working on a curve mid-year that is still behind the other pitches but should get better with experience. He struck out Midwest League hitters by simply overpowering them with arguably the best heater in the league.

Negatives: His secondary pitches need to be more consistent and he will need to maintain his athleticism as he grows into his body. His season was delayed by a few nagging injuries in Peoria, so seeing a full season of health in 2018 would be encouraging.

Projection: A 6-8 starter with a mid to high 90’s sinking fastball. We’ll let everyone else figure this out. Hint, it’s high.

MadFriars’ Assessment: Baez will begin the year at Lake Elsinore but if he performs anywhere close to the way he did with the TinCaps last season, expect to see him in San Antonio by mid-season.

Luis Urias (Photo: Grant Wickes)

4)         Luis Urias

Position: Second Base/Shortstop

Height/Weight: 5-9/165

Age: 20

Bats/Throws: R/R

How Acquired: 2014 International Free Agent Signee- Mexico

Team  AVG  OBP  SLG  PA  K/BB  Hits  XBH HR
Missions 0.296 0.398 0.38 510 65/68 131 27/3

2017 Highlights: The Padres embarked on an experiment to see if Urias could handle shortstop in 2017. While he showed he could fill in occasionally, no one came away with the belief he was an everyday answer on the big league level. At second, he has a shortstop’s arm and is much better moving laterally to his glove side than to his right. Clay Davenport’s minor league equivalencies graded Urias out as a well above-average defender in 55 games at second.

Regardless of his position, Urias’s calling card is elite bat-to-ball skills. He’s posted a .398 on-base percentage across 1,000 plate appearances over the last two years, and his strike-zone command and ability to pull velocity should help him continue to post those gaudy numbers at the highest level.

Negatives: Although he has put on muscle, there is significant doubt about how much power he can eventually develop. He also struggled following an ankle injury in the second half (.694 OPS) after posting an .841 in the first.

Projection: Urias has two skills which cause most evaluators to take notice; a unique ability to consistently put the barrel of the bat on the ball and an advanced understanding of the strike zone. Those skills will find a home somewhere in a major league lineup.

MadFriars’ Assessment: Urias will open the year in El Paso where he should post better power numbers in some of the fun zones in the PCL. We also expect to see him play a lot less shortstop and more second base, which might not cause him to wear down as much as he did last year.

5) Cal Quantrill

Photo: Grant Wickes

     Position: RHP/SP

     Height/Weight: 6-3/195

     Age: 23

     Bats/Throws: L/R

     How Acquired: First Round 2016 MLB Draft

Team  W-L IP  ERA  GS  K/BB  Hits  Runs/Earned Runs
Storm 6-5 73.2 3.67 14 76/24 78 35/30
Missions 1-5 42.1 4.04 8 34/16 52 24/19

2017 Highlights: While the 2016 first-rounder had more of a solid full season debut than a spectacular one, it shouldn’t be that unexpected given the distance from Tommy John Surgery. Perhaps it seems like a cliché excuse, but command takes some time to return, especially pitching against the toughest competition of one’s life.

The organization was justifiably cautious with the number of innings he threw but still was happy with his progress.

Negatives: Quantrill showed glimpses of the combination of stuff and approach that had him on watch lists from the time he was 16, but rarely looked dominant. His velocity doesn’t wow the way the guys above him can, and his pitch selection on the mound wasn’t always as advanced as one might expect given his background.

Projection: The consistency of his command will be the difference. He permitted a 23% line-drive rate in Elsinore that ballooned to 28% in San Antonio. Better sequencing will be important if he is to reduce that and become the pitcher the Padres hoped for in the draft.

MadFriars’ Assessment: He will begin the year again in San Antonio with the realization that command and the consistency of a third pitch will be the priority. Quantrill had a good 2017 season after getting very little game action in the previous two years. If he continues to be evaluated on his own timetable, he should be fine.

6) Adrian Morejon 

Photo: TinCaps

Position: LHP/SP

Height/Weight: 6-1/195

Age: 19

Bats/Throws: L/L

How Acquired: 2016 International Free Agent Signee – Cuba

Team  W-L W-L IP  ERA  GS  K/BB  Hits  Runs/Earned Runs
Dust Devils 2-2 35.1 3.57 7 35/3 37 14/14
TinCaps 1-2 27.2 4.23 6 23/13 28 14/13

2017 Highlights: Morejon, the impetus for the Padres going all out in the international market in 2016, put together a solid debut professional season. He showed three above-average pitches, great control, walking one over his first 25 professional innings, has an advanced feel for pitching and absolutely dominated at the prospect showcase at Petco at the end of the year.

When he was on, he was quite effective using his three-pitch mix with an approach that belies his age. But he had several outings when he got hit as right-handed hitters could lay off his pitches out of the zone.

Negatives: He can have trouble replicating his delivery, which causes him to lose control and location. This problem was particularly evident in Fort Wayne where right-handed hitters hit .322 off him with a 14:11 strikeout-to-walks ratio.

Projection: While the final numbers were more solid than stellar, his overall performance at such a young age, lively fastballs, knee-bending curve, and advanced approach continue to point toward Morejon emerging as a key rotation piece at the big league level.

MadFriars’ Assessment: Three days younger than Gore, Morejon is likely to welcome Gore when he arrives in the Summit City to form a daunting one-two punch for the TinCaps after logging only 70 innings last year in Low-A.

When he jumps to Lake Elsinore will depend on his production.

Photo: Jeff Nycz

7)  Anderson Espinoza

Position: RHP/SP

Height/Weight: 6-0/180

Age: 20

Bats/Throws: R/R

How Acquired: Trade with Boston Red Sox for LHP Drew Pomeranz in July, 2016

*Did Not Play in 2017.

2017 Highlights: While losing two entire seasons is extremely disappointing, if the explosive righty returns from his Tommy John surgery healthy, he still has the components to be a top-tier starter. While he’s short for a pitcher, he’s got incredible leg and core strength which helped him dial it up to the upper-90s in his full-season debut in 2016.

Negatives: Two years is a long time not to pitch. He’s now the definition of a high-risk, high-reward prospect.

Projection: 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.

MadFriars’ Assessment: Right now, it’s completely a waiting game for the Venezuelan, but he should be in Lake Elsinore as a 21-year-old in 2019.

8)  Joey Lucchesi

Photo: San Antonio Missions

     Position: LHP/SP

     Height/Weight: 6-5/210

     Age: 24

     Bats/Throws: L/L

     How Acquired: Fourth Round 2016 Draft

Team  W-L  IP  ERA  GS  K/BB  Hits  Runs/Earned Runs
Storm 6-4 78.2 2.52 14 95/19 56 26/22
Missions 5-3 60.1 1.79 9 53/14 46 17/12

2017 Highlights: While Lucchesi can’t match the pedigrees of others in the system, , his dominant performance in a year and a half has him on track to be the first from the 2016 draft class to make it to San Diego.

Lucchesi sports a 1.99 ERA in 181 innings minor league innings and was at his best this year in San Antonio even as his strikeout rate dipped for the first time professionally. He throws a pair of two-seam fastballs that break the opposite way, a very good changeup and his curve is gaining consistency. The velocity on his fastball sits in the low 90s, although he did touch 96.

Negatives: He doesn’t possess huge consistent velocity and some of have questioned the consistency of his curve. He’s been old for the league thus far, but has quickly caught up to his competition. While his deception certainly isn’t the only thing going for him, it remains to be seen how much his stuff will work against hitters at the highest levels.

Projection: Lucchesi’s strikeouts were down in Double-A, but the opposition also only hit.208 against him. He pitched well in the playoffs and his ceiling could be as a mid-rotation starter.

MadFriars’ Assessment: Lucchesi could be the rare example of a player who went undrafted until his senior year yet succeeds at the big league level. His production thus far has outpaced his higher-profile draft classmates, and there really is no reason he shouldn’t open the 2018 season in El Paso.

9)  Jacob Nix

Photo: San Antonio Missions

Position: RHP/SP

Height/Weight: 6-3/200

Age: 22

Bats/Throws: R/R

How Acquired: Third Round 2015 Draft

Team  W-L  IP  ERA  GS  K/BB  Hits  Runs/Earned Runs
Storm 4-3 66.2 4.32 10 51/10 78 26/22
Missions 1-2 27.1 5.53 6 22/9 32 21/17
Chihuahuas 1-0 6.2 1.35 1 6-2 7 1-1

2017 Highlights: It’s important to remember this list is about what could happen this season as opposed to last year. If Jacob Nix is healthy, he will have his mechanics working. If his mechanics are working, his four-seam fastball sits in the mid-90’s with command, and that plays. Throw in a good spike-curve and changeup and you will see what you saw at the end of the year when he was nearly unhittable in San Antonio and during his Triple-A debut; an elimination playoff game where he held the opposition to one run in 6.2 innings pitched.

Negatives: Right now, it’s mainly the ability to stay healthy. He had issues with his groin/hip flexor at the end of 2016 and start of 2017. While his stuff is among the best in the organization, he’s also been more hittable than you would expect. Through sequencing and better deception, he’ll need to keep hitters from getting as good a look at his stuff.

Projection: It’s easy for Nix to get in the lost in the shuffle given the bevy of talented arms in the system, especially since a groin injury kept him in extended spring training until late May; however, a healthy Nix could be a poised for a big season in 2018.

MadFriars’ Assessment: Nix will open the 2018 season as a 22-year-old in Double-A with the size, repertoire, and makeup to become a workhorse big league starter. But he’ll need the sum of the pieces to add up in a way they haven’t so far if he’s going to reach that potential.

10)  Franchy Cordero

Photo: Marcus Pond

Position: Centerfield/Corner OF

Height/Weight: 6-4/215

Age: 23

Bats/Throws: L/R

How Acquired: 2011 International Free Agent Signee- Dominican Republic

Team  AVG  OBP  SLG  PA  K/BB  Hits  XBH HR
Chihuahuas 0.326 0.369 0.603 413 118/23 127 56/17
Padres 0.228 0.276 0.424 98 44/6 21 9/3

2017 Highlights: Franchy Cordero personifies the refrain that player development is not a linear process. A gifted athlete, Cordero dominated the AZL in 2013 and then fell flat on his face for two years in Fort Wayne. But things started to come together for him in 2016, and after an aggressive assignment at Triple-A to open the year, the then-22-year-old got an even more aggressive promotion to the big leagues for a month.

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).

Negatives: His overly-aggressive approach at the plate was exposed in the Majors, where he whiffed at an astounding 44% clip, but he consolidated his progress impressively when he returned to El Paso, posting an OPS north of 1.000 in the season’s second half.

Projection: Cordero has quick wrists, good bat speed and the athleticism to play an above-average left field and fill in occasionally in center.

MadFriars’ Assessment: His free-swinging ways and inability to hit lefties may keep him from locking down an every-day role at the big league level, but with his power/speed combo and ability to provide coverage at all three outfield spots, he would be quite valuable as the heavy part of a platoon split. If he can get his K rate down to the 25% rate where it hovered in 2016, he could be even more than that. Whether he opens the year in the big leagues or El Paso is probably more dependent on others in the mix for the Padres’ roster than his own production.

Photo: TinCaps

11)  Hudson Potts

Position: Third Base

Height/Weight: 6-3/200        

Age:    19

Bats/Throws: R/R

How Acquired: First round 2016 draft.

Team  AVG  OBP  SLG  PA  K/BB  Hits  XBH/HR
TinCaps 0.253 0.293 0.438 514 140/23 124 47/20

2017 Highlights: Positive trends that correspond with identifiable adjustments often point to players to watch. After scuffling through the first four months of the season, Potts posted a ridiculous slash line of .346/.398/.664 with eight home runs in August, and a strikeout rate that plummeted. Defensively he had the best fielding percentage of anyone in the Midwest League, though scouting reports and Clay Davenport’s numbers are more lukewarm on his performance at the hot corner.

Negatives: He struck out a ton and only had a 5% walk rate in 2017, a number that didn’t edge up when everything else did. He will need to refine his approach as he moves up the chain.

Projection: The right-handed hitter should continue to add strength and could outpace the 50 future power numbers that were thrown around when he was drafted. If he can keep the strikeout rates down in the low 20s, where they were through the late summer, he could be an offensive force at third base. Remember that he’s only two months older than Tatis as you think about future growth.

MadFriars’ Assessment: He is just starting to fill out and his even-keel approach bodes well for someone who has to ride the wave of ups and downs in a season. He hit 20 home runs last year, the third most in Fort Wayne franchise history, and could put up even better numbers in the more hitter-friendly Cal League.

12)  Logan Allen

Photo: TinCaps

Position: LHP/SP

Height/Weight: 6-3/200

Age: 20

Bats/Throws: R/L

How Acquired: Trade with Boston Red Sox for RHP Craig Kimbrel in November, 2015

Team  W-L  IP  ERA  GS  K/BB  Hits  Runs/Earned Runs
TinCaps 5-4 68.1 2.11 13 85/26 49 16/16
Storm 2-5 56.2 3.97 10 57/18 60 29/25

2017 Highlights: After missing much of 2016 with an arm injury, Logan Allen found his changeup in 2017 to go along with a good fastball, 12-6 curve, and slider and put up numbers. His velocity sits in the low 90s, but as with many lefties, he generates a lot of movement on his fastball.

Because of his mound presence, physicality, and young age when the Red Sox drafted him in 2015, it’s easy to forget that Allen will have logged 20 Cal League starts before he turns 21 in late May. But the lefty’s youth hasn’t kept him from overmatching opposing hitters. Allen has racked up well over a strikeout per inning, and only a brutal final outing of the year pushed his ERA for the Storm over 3.00.

Negatives: Usually either one of his breaking balls is working or his changeup. To go where he wants to, he needs to have both of his secondary pitches on.

Projection: While he doesn’t have quite the upside of the lefties above him, Allen could develop into a solid mid-rotation starter on the major league level.

MadFriars’ Assessment: Allen probably begins the year at Lake Elsinore, but likely will finish the season with the Missions. He’s a very polished pitcher and with some luck on the health front and better secondary pitches, he could wind up in the top five of the prospect rankings next year.

13)  Eric Lauer

Photo: Lake Elsinore

Position: LHP/SP

Height/Weight: 6-3/190

Age: 22

Bats/Throws: L/L

How Acquired: First Round 2016 Draft

Team  W-L  IP  ERA  GS  K/BB  Hits  Runs/Earned Runs
Storm 2-5 67.2 2.79 12 84/19 65 25/21
Missions 4-3 55 3.93 9 48/17 52 25/24

2017 Highlights: After a solid initial full season in which he reached, but was challenged at, Double-A, we know the exact same things we thought we knew about Lauer 12 months ago. A pitchability lefty, his fastball is not on par with the guys above, but he’s not Wade LeBlanc either.

His four-pitch mix was more than enough to baffle Cal League hitters, but he struggled to get the ball past Double-A batters as frequently, and they did significant damage when they made contact against him.

Negatives: The former Kent State star was hyped up as a four-pitch pitcher, albeit without one truly elite pitch. Additionally, his biggest challenge now is learning the proper mix of pitches to be effective, which may mean throwing his four-seam fastball out of the zone for a chase pitch.

Projection: This season will go a long way in determining whether he ends up in the back of a rotation or in the middle of it at the next level.

MadFriars’ Assessment: Lauer will be working with one the best and longest tenured pitching coaches in the system at San Antonio with Jimmy Jones. When he’s on, his game is about precision command rather than velocity. What he needs to determine now is the proper mixture of pitches to achieve the same success he had initially.

14)  Josh Naylor

Photo: Marcus Pond

     Position: First Base

     Height/Weight: 6-0/245 lbs.

     Age: 20

     Bats/Throws: L/L

     How Acquired: Trade with Florida Marlins for RHP Andrew Cashner in July, 2016

Team  AVG  OBP  SLG  PA  K/BB  Hits  XBH/HR
Storm 0.297 0.361 0.452 310 48/27 84 26/8
Missions 0.25 0.32 0.346 172 36/16 39 11/2

2017 Highlights: Naylor was one of the youngest players in the Cal League at 19 and responded to the organization’s high placement with an OPS of .812 in 72 games. He battled some minor injuries which sapped his power in San Antonio but put together a big season in the Arizona Fall League with a .296/.324/.493 slash line.

Negatives: The organization has pushed Naylor very fast despite only moderate levels of success at any level so far, but you’d have to think they’ll want to see concrete and sustained improvement from a guy who posted an isolated power mark almost 50 points lower than Jose Rondon’s in San Antonio last year. As with Cordero, development is non-linear, and it’s certainly possible he’ll take a big stride forward

Projection: Naylor has big raw power, but isn’t able to get to it in games very often because he’s content to go after pitchers’ pitches. If he changes his approach, he can profile as a prototypical power-first first baseman.

MadFriars’ Assessment: The organization hopes what they saw in the Arizona Fall League is what they will find in San Antonio this summer. His conditioning when he shows up for Spring Training will be telling.

Photo: Jeff Nycz

15)  Chris Paddack

Position: RHP/SP

Height/Weight: 6-4/200

Age: 22

Bats/Throws: R/R

How Acquired: Trade with Florida Marlins for RHP Fernando Rodney in June, 2016

*Did Not Play

2017 Highlights: Paddack made a push to get back from his Tommy John surgery prior to the end of the 2017 season, but the organization ultimately decided to err on the side of caution. As a result, he’ll open the 2018 season as a 22-year-old with all of 42 full-season innings on his résumé. But all his results – including absurd 46% strikeout and 3% walk rates – compare favorably to Baez’s production at the same level. While fastball/change-up guys tend to fair better in the low minors than against more advanced hitters, that’s some impressive company to keep.

Negatives: Paddack truly has a great changeup, but his four-seam fastball was sitting in the low 90’s and he very rarely threw his curve. He’s going to need to add a two-seamer or cutter and use his breaking pitch more than he has in the past.

Projection: So much of his potential placement depends on his recovery from Tommy John surgery and the development of a consistent breaking ball.

MadFriars’ Assessment: Assuming the big Texan is at full strength from the outset of spring training, we’ll get our first in-person looks at him as he works toward a spot in a Single-A rotation. He’s going to be one of the most interesting storylines to watch in 2018. If he can work in a breaking ball to complement his two outstanding pitches, he could be special.

16)       Esteury Ruiz

Position: Second Base

Height/Weight: 6-0/150 lbs.

Age: 19

Bats/Throws: R/R

How Acquired: Trade with Kansas City Royals for RHP Trevor Cahill, RHP Brandon Mauer & LHP Ryan Buchter in July, 2017

Team  AVG  OBP  SLG  PA  K/BB  Hits  XBH/HR
AZL-Royals 0.419 0.444 0.779 90 20/4 36 19/3
AZL-Padres 0.300 0.364 0.475 129 34/9 36 15/1

2017 Highlights: The teenage infielder 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 stole 26 bags in 32 attempts and profiles to have at least average speed.

Negatives: He doesn’t have the arm for the left side of the infield, the size for a corner outfield spot or the speed for center. So, if he’s going to make it, it will be at second base.

Projection: He probably can’t play anywhere but second, but if his bat is anything like it was last year, that is more than enough.

MadFriars’ Assessment: The organization will send him to Fort Wayne where he will learn as most of the organization’s young Dominicans to develop an intense hatred for the cold weather. Last season the Padres sent a both Tatis and Potts to the Midwest League at 18 and it turned out well. Ruiz will be one of the teenagers to watch this year.

17)  Gabriel Arias

Photo: TinCaps

Position: Shortstop

Height/Weight: 6-2/180

Age: 18

Bats/Throws: R/R

How Acquired: 2016 International Free Agent Signee – Venezuela

Team  AVG  OBP  SLG  PA  K/BB  Hits  XBH/HR
AZL Padres 0.275 0.329 0.353 163 51/10 42 9/0
TinCaps 0.242 0.266 0.258 64 16/2 15 1/0

2017 Highlights: When Tatis got promoted to San Antonio, the organization chose Arias to come in to replace him at shortstop for the playoff run. He showed flashes, especially defensively, of why the Padres gave him nearly $2 million dollars out of Venezuela in 2016.

Negatives: Right now, his glove is ahead of his bat. The strikeout rate and low walk numbers, to go along with minimal in-game power are all reasons the organization might not want to push him to High-A Lake Elsinore instead of returning him to Fort Wayne despite a plethora of shortstops below.

Projection: He’s a rangy 6-foot-2 and may still be growing. His offensive upside isn’t quite the same as Luis Almanzar’s, and he’s not quite the athlete Jordy Barley is, but Arias may be the most complete package. While some early reports on the J2 class had Almanzar as the biggest lock at shortstop, Arias has clearly emerged as a true up-the-middle defender.

MadFriars’ Assessment: Arias will be the everyday shortstop at either Fort Wayne or Lake Elsinore to open the season. The organization aggressively sent to Australia for the winter, so his readiness in Spring Training will go a long way to help them make this decision.

18)  Jorge Oña

Photo: TinCaps

     Position: Corner Outfield

     Height/Weight: 6-2/220

     Age: 21

     Bats/Throws: R/R

     How Acquired: 2016 Free Agent Signee – Cuba

Team  AVG  OBP  SLG  PA  K/BB  Hits  XBH/HR
TinCaps 0.277 0.351 0.405 455 115/40 115 30/11

2017 Highlights: After almost two full years away from competitive games, Oña put up some decent numbers in 107 games, but also was bothered by quite a few nagging hand injuries, especially to his thumb, which might have caused his power to come in below expectations.

Negatives: While he’s produced a decent number of line drives, Oña doesn’t seem to have a lot of loft in his swing. Currently, he presses at the plate more aggressively than he should, enabling opposing pitchers to entice him to whiff on breaking balls down and away, so he’ll need to show better patience and pitch recognition as he matures.

Projection: Physically he is a beast, but is going to have to work more at becoming an average defender on the corners.

MadFriars’ Assessment: Oña should have a much better year in Lake Elsinore away from the cold and the nagging injuries that dogged his year in Fort Wayne. Defensively, with the build of a middle linebacker, he’s going to have to work on covering more ground.

19.)  Franmil Reyes 

Photo: Grant Wickes

Position: Corner Outfield

Height/Weight: 6-5/262

Age: 22

Bats/Throws: R/R

How Acquired: 2012 Free Agent Signee – Dominican Republic

Team  AVG  OBP  SLG  PA  K/ BB  Hits  XBH/HR
Missions 0.258 0.322 0.464 555 134/48 131 53/25

2017 Highlights: If you like corner outfielders with the potential to hit 40 bombs on the big league level – and really who doesn’t – Franmil is the man for you. He led the system in home runs and RBI (102) while playing in one of the better pitchers’ parks in baseball.

Negatives: At 22, Reyes is every bit of his listed 262 pounds and conditioning will remain an ongoing concern. along with cutting down on his strikeouts.

Projection: If Reyes can overcome the broken hamate bone that took him off Rule 5 watch lists this winter, he could put up some ridiculous numbers in the PCL in 2018 and try to carve out a pathway in the big leagues.

MadFriars’ Assessment: Despite being in the organization since 2012, and putting together two solid back-to-back seasons, he is a bit of wild card. If Reyes is healthy, it’s hard to imagine him not put up big numbers in El Paso, which could force some interesting choices for the big club.

Photo: Tyler Marcotte, Lansing Lugnuts

20)  Edward Olivares

Position: Center field

Height/Weight: 6-2/190

Age: 22

Bats/Throws: R/R

How Acquired: Trade with Toronto Blue Jays for Yangervis Solarte in January, 2018

Team  AVG  OBP  SLG  PA  K/BB  Hits  XBH/HR
Lo-A Lansing 0.277 0.33 0.5 448 82/22 118 52/17
Hi-A Dunedin 0.221 0.312 0.265 76 17/8 15 2/0

2017 Highlights: Since none of us have seen Olivares, we called in a pinch-hitter and chatted with MLB Pipeline’s Jim Callis.

“I didn’t know much about him before the trade but it seems like a really nice pickup by the Padres for someone they were trying to move in Solarte. He had 54 extra-base hits and 20 stolen bases and from all accounts he’s a good outfielder.”

“The numbers he put up in Lansing aren’t bad, the Midwest League is not an easy place to hit.”

Negatives: “From what scouts have told me, it’s not so much that he swings and misses a lot, he just needs to be more selective about what he swings at. Also, I don’t think anyone is sold yet that he will stay in center field.”

Projection: “If you want to dream on him, he’s a centerfielder who has the potential to become a 20/20 guy; but I want to emphasize the word ‘dream.’”

MadFriars’ Assessment: Olivares should open the season in Lake Elsinore in right field where he should get the occasional rep in center field when Buddy Reed needs a day off or is at DH. So far in his career he’s split time between right and center.


Posted by MadFriars


  1. […] — Josh Naylor, 21, began the year as the fourth youngest player in the Texas League and the 14th overall prospect in the Padres system. He finished the season with a slash line of .297/.383/.447 and 40 extra-base hits, 17 of which […]


  2. […] 19 different pitchers start a game during the 2018 season, including five of the MadFriars’ top pitching prospects entering the season.  However, it was right-hander Brett Kennedy who outshined them […]


  3. […] Espinoza, who hasn’t thrown a competitive pitch since 2016, was the highest rated player from our preseason top-20 list to be added to the […]


  4. […] 2018, we wrote that the Padres had talent in the minor leagues but fans would need to wait a few years before seeing it at the big league […]


  5. […] innings of work.The debut announced Gore as one of the top prospects in the game, and he landed at number two in our Top 20 prospects list that […]


Leave a Reply