Jackson Merrill was the unanimous top prospect for MadFriars. (Photo: Jerry Espinoza)

While the San Diego Padres system is no longer in the top tier of the sport, the organization has accomplished what it set out to: leverage the system to improve the major league team.

Four of the players in the Top 20 we published last March were moved before the season, and eight more from our late May revise were traded before the end of the campaign.

So, what is left?

The system still has some potential star talent at the top, led by shortstop Jackson Merrill, who landed as the 21st overall prospect according to Baseball America. Additionally, San Diego drafted right-hander Dylan Lesko, who was widely considered the best prep pitcher, then added catcher Ethan Salas the top international signee in his class. Throw in outfielder Samuel Zavala, who posted an .863 OPS in the Cal League weeks after turning 18, and yeah, there is some talent.

Our Process: In the offseason, each of MadFriars’ five contributors published our individual Top 30 lists for subscribers.  While there is some differentiation at the bottom of the lists, it was fairly consistent at the top.

Graduated: Luis Campusano (4); Steven Wilson (15)

Traded:  CJ Abrams (1); Robert Hassell III (2); Mackenzie Gore (3); James Wood (5); Estuery Ruiz (7); Victor Acosta (11); Robert Gasser (12); Corey Rosier (16)

Fell off the List: Kevin Kopps (17); Efraín Contreras (20)

Top 20 for 2023 (All ages as of minor league opening day, March 31, 2023, when El Paso kicks off its season.)

1) Jackson Merrill
Position: SS
Height/Weight: 6-3/205
Age: 19
Bats/Throws: L/R
How Acquired: 2021 Draft (First round)

Jackson Merrill has shown he can handle shortstop defensively. (Photo: Jerry Espinoza)

Storm .325 .387 .482 219 42/19 64 18/5
ACL .433 .452 .700 31 2/1 13 5/1
AZFL .261 .316 .352 98 21/8 23 4/1

2022 Highlights: Merrill, who was a late riser to become the Padres’ first-round pick in 2021, vaulted himself into the upper echelon of the game’s prospects with a loud showing in 2022. After hitting .280/.339/.383 in his professional debut in 2021, he came into spring training with an added 10 to 15 pounds of muscle, translating into an uptick in in-game power. 

After he hit .393/.452/.518 in April, he was knocked out with a wrist injury, and then a hamstring pull kept him out of the California League until July 31. He eventually came back and picked up where he left off with a .317/.367/.515 line in August. During the Storm’s quick run to the championship, he posted a 1.566 OPS in four postseason games, then impressed as one of the youngest players in the Arizona Fall League.

While sidelined with his wrist injury, Merrill worked hard at building up his lateral movement and leg strength, further ensuring his ability to stick at shortstop.

Concerns: Injuries limited him to only 250 plate appearances on the year and just 219 in A-Ball. If he had been healthy, he probably would have been in Fort Wayne – or the Washington Nationals organization – by mid-season.

Outlook: Merrill will most likely start the year in the middle of the diamond at Parkview Field for the TinCaps, but could be pushed up to Double-A if the organization continues its recent history and goes aggressive. That decision would be easier to justify if he were to show more in-game pull power through the spring.

2) Dylan Lesko
Position: RHP
Height/Weight: 6-2/195
Age: 19
Bats/Throws: R/R
How Acquired: 2022 Draft (First round)

Dylan Lesko is working back from the Tommy John surgery that caused him to fall to the Padres. (Photo: Jerry Espinoza)

2022: DNP

2022 Highlights: Lesko was seen by many as the steal of the 2022 draft. Last spring, many considered him the best overall pitching prospect in the class. He showed a mid-90s fastball, one of the best prep changeups in years, and a chance to have a very good curve. Then in April, he went down with an elbow injury that led to Tommy John surgery. The Padres were able to select him with the 15th overall pick and agreed to a signing bonus of nearly $4 million to keep him from Vanderbilt. The Georgia native hasn’t pitched since last April, but he’s been rehabbing in the organization and should be ready to throw in the Arizona Complex League by summer.

Concerns: While the return from UCL injuries is generally manageable, there are no guarantees that the stuff will be fully back post-surgery.

Outlook: Lesko showed top-of-the-rotation stuff before his surgery and has enough athleticism that he was also a solid prospect as a prep shortstop. If he comes back with his pre-surgery stuff, this could turn out to be one of San Diego’s biggest draft payoffs in years.

Ethan Salas was the top international signee in 2022. (Photo: Jerry Espinoza)

3) Ethan Salas
Position: C
Height/Weight: 6-2/185
Age: 16
Bats/Throws: L/R
How Acquired: 2022 International Free Agent

2022: DNP

Scouting Report: Salas is a great example of how much of a long game the international market is. The Padres first took interest in him when pursuing his older brother Jose Salas, Jr., now a top prospect in the Minnesota Twins system. Spoiler alert, youngest brother Andrew might also be on the team’s radar.

The left-handed hitting Venezuelan was a consensus pick as the top player in the international class, showing an advanced feel at the plate and defensive and game management skills well beyond his age. His left-handed swing draws raves for current bat-to-ball abilities and long-term power projection.

Concerns: Controlling expectations. Salas has tremendous talent, but there are multiple minor league levels for a reason. Despite all his talent, becoming a major league catcher might be baseball’s most difficult development project.

Outlook: The Padres have given every indication that they plan to have him play in the Arizona Complex League. He’ll be among the most-watched players in the desert.

Samuel Zavala has established himself as a threat at the plate. (Photo: Jerry Espinoza)

4) Samuel Zavala
Position: OF
Height/Weight: 6-1/180
Age: 18
Bats/Throws: L/L
How Acquired: 2021 International Free Agent

Storm .254 .355 .508 141 37/19 31 15/7
ACL    .345 .412 .621 35 11/4 10 5/1

2022 Highlights: At 17, most American teens are figuring out prom dates or what they are going to do after high school. Zavala was already into his second professional season and posting a .863 OPS in the Cal League while being more than four years younger than the average player he was competing against. After a big year in the Dominican Summer League in 2021, the Venezuelan hit .297/.400/.487, his 2022 campaign was delayed by a hamstring issue. He finally got fully underway in late July; he blew through the ACL, and San Diego made the aggressive decision to promote him to the Cal League after only ten games. He held his own until going down with a hamate injury.  Defensively he played in both center and right but profiles more in the corner. His bat should play no matter where he winds up. In 411 career plate appearances, he owns a slash line of .286/.385/.506.

2022 Concerns: Injuries bookended his season, and the hamate injury cost him a chance to play in the Cal League playoffs and cut into his off-season workout program. Development time is far from a concern for a player who won’t turn 19 until July 15, but it wouldn’t be atypical for him to take some time to regain his power.

Outlook: Whether he is in Fort Wayne or Lake Elsinore to start the year, Zavala will be one of the league’s youngest and most talented players. Zavala is more mature than many players who are older than him.

Victor Lizarraga showed the ability to dominate as an 18-year-old in the Cal League. (Photo: Jerry Espinoza)

5) Victor Lizarraga
Position: RHP/Starting Pitcher
Height/Weight: 6-3/205
Age: 19
Bats/Throws: R/R
How Acquired:  2021 International Free Agent

Team W-L IP ERA GS K/BB Hits Runs/Earned Runs
Storm 8-3 94.1 3.43 19 95/34 87 48/36

2022 Highlights: Victor Lizarraga was among the best performers in the Cal League during what would have been his high school senior year. The former San Diego prep player, who grew up on both sides of the border, elected to go to Mexico during the pandemic to begin his professional career at 16 and spent what would have been his junior year in the ACL.  

In 2022, he showed arm-side command with his fastball to go along with a plus changeup and a developing breaking ball. His velocity can kick up to the 95 mph range but usually sits in the low 90s.

Concerns: Lizarraga’s change is his best offering, but at times he tended to fall in love with it a bit too much. He used both a curve and slider at various times during the year but will need at least one of them to take a step forward if he is going to continue to succeed at higher levels.

Outlook: Pitching at 19 all year, he’ll be the top pitcher on a Fort Wayne staff which should be the best in the system. The High-A level should be a manageable test for him if he’s able to rely on the breaking ball more consistently, especially if he can add a few ticks on his fastball as he adds strength.

Robby Snelling was a two-sport star in high school. (Photo: Jerry Espinoza)

6) Robby Snelling
Position: LHP/Starting Pitcher
Height/Weight: 6-2/210
Age: 19
Bats/Throws: R/L
How Acquired: 2022 Draft (Competitive Balance-A round)

2022: DNP

Scouting Report: Snelling might define the word athlete. He was heavily recruited in football and baseball from his Reno high school. Initially, he planned to play both sports at the University of Arizona before deciding before his senior year that he would pursue baseball only at LSU. He was one of the best players in the state as an outside linebacker who also shined at quarterback in the fall, then starred as a two-way player on the diamond in the spring.

As you might expect with that pedigree, he has an athletic delivery and was throwing in the low 90s with a very good feel for a curve heading into the draft. The organization appreciated his competitive demeanor and energy as a leader as well.

Concerns: After the Padres held him out of game competition last summer, there are no specific negatives until he gets some exposure in the professional game. Like any high school star, it will be worth watching how he handles the failures that will come and how his stuff actually translates to a professional workload.

Outlook: Depending on how many total innings the Padres try to get the 19-year-old hurler in his debut campaign, he could open the year in extended or jump right into the Lake Elsinore rotation.

Eguy Rosario had a big year in the PCL. (Photo: Jorge Salgado)

7) Eguy Rosario
Height/Weight: 5-9/205
Age: 23
Bats/Throws: R/R
How Acquired: 2015 International Free Agent

Chihuahuas .288 .368 .508 564 109/59 141 60/22
Padres .200 .333 .200 6 2/1 1 0

2022 Highlights: At 5-foot-9, 205 pounds, Eguy might have been a strong safety if he had grown up in the United States instead of the Dominican Republic. He posted his second straight year with an on-base percentage above .360 and took advantage of the PCL to hit a career-high 22 home runs. Rosario continued to show above-average speed but converted less than 75% of his 29 stolen base attempts.

Concerns: While he has logged time at shortstop, he profiles at second base. One warning flag in his 2022 season was the huge gap between his .336/.414/.594 line at home and .239/.322/.416 road performance.

Outlook: A broken ankle in winter ball will keep him out until midseason, which is unfortunate because with the World Baseball Classic, a bat with some pop, and the versatility to play multiple infield positions, he was looking at an outstanding opportunity to showcase his abilities for the Padres or another major league team. Now he’ll hope to be back in action by July.

Jay Groome got plenty of outs in the PCL. (Photo: Jorge Salgado)

8) Jay Groome
Position: LHP/Starting Pitcher
Height/Weight: 6-6/262
Age: 24
Bats/Throws: L/L
How Acquired: 2022 Trade with Boston Red Sox for Eric Hosmer, Max Ferguson, and Corey Rosier

Team W-L IP ERA GS K/BB Hits Runs/Earned Runs
Portland (AA) 3-4 76.2 3.52 14 81/38 58 33/30
Worcester (AAA) 1-1 16.0 3.94 3 15/7 17 7/7
El Paso 3-2 51.1 3.16 10 44/19 52 20/18

2022 Highlights: Groome was generally considered the top pitcher in the 2016 draft, but injuries and inconsistency plagued him through his early career. After finally getting things untracked in 2021, he seemed to have worn out his welcome with the Red Sox when he reported to camp around 290 pounds. Even after a strong start to the year in Double-A earned him a promotion, the club ultimately moved him to the Padres for a meager return. He’s no longer the same high-upside guy now that he was seven years ago, but what he is now certainly is not bad. In ten starts and 51.1 innings with El Paso, he delivered a 3.16 ERA with a low-sinking fastball, a plus slider, and a developing changeup.  

Concerns: He no longer pops 97 as he once did, and his curve never came back after Tommy John surgery either. His fastball now sits in the low-90’s and can occasionally pop up to 94 or 95.

Outlook: Groome had already dropped weight by the end of last year, but he showed up in Peoria in even better shape, and the organization was impressed with the continued development of his changeup. With a potential opening in the rotation while the club waits for Joe Musgrove to return, Groome has an opportunity to lay claim to a big league role.

Adam Mazur in action with the Hawkeyes. (Photo: Brian Ray/hawkeyesports.com)

9) Adam Mazur
Position: RHP/Starting Pitcher
Height/Weight: 6-2/180
Age: 21
Bats/Throws: R/R
How Acquired: 2022 Draft (Second round)

2022: DNP

2022 Highlights: After putting himself on the map with a strong showing in the Cape Cod League in 2021, Mazur delivered a strong junior year with the Iowa Hawkeyes. It was enough that he got some first-round buzz heading into the draft but ultimately landed with the Padres in the second round. After working in the mid-90s in the Big 10, Mazur reportedly dialed it up even more while working with San Diego’s development group in Peoria.

Concerns: A cold-weather product, Mazur emerged heading into his draft year after two uninspiring years at South Dakota State. The Padres have tried repeatedly to catch lightning with late risers but have had mixed results so far.

Outlook: Even though he hasn’t thrown an official professional pitch, Mazur will likely join a deep staff in Fort Wayne to get his career underway. If he can retain the progress from last year, he has more upside than the typical college draftee.

Noel Vela in action with the Missions. (Photo: Rey Holguin)

10) Noel Vela
Position: LHP
Height/Weight: 6-1/185
Age: 23
Bats/Throws: L/L
How Acquired: 2017 Draft (28th Round)

Team W-L IP ERA GS K/BB Hits Runs/Earned Runs
TinCaps 6-7 87.0 3.83 20 101/47 74 45/37
Missions 1-3 22.2 6.35 4 24/20 25 17/16

2022 Highlights: Originally drafted out of South Texas in 2017 as an undersized lefty with plenty of projection and an impressive curve, injuries, inconsistent performance, and the pandemic meant Vela didn’t reach full-season ball until 2021. He topped 100 innings for the first time in 2022, posting strong results in Fort Wayne before a rough end to the campaign with San Antonio. When he’s on, Vela works effectively in the top of the zone. He continued to strike out more than a quarter of the batters he faced and held opponents to a .226 average.

Concerns: Vela can lose his mechanics when he is off, causing him to spray his pitches even more than he typically does. Even when he’s going well, he tends to walk too many batters and struggles to go deep into games.

Outlook: This could be a make-or-break year for Vela’s chances to stay in the rotation. We still believe in the stuff and the aptitude to take another step forward with his command, but at 23 years old, he’ll need to show sustained improvement working out of the Missions’ rotation.

11) Henry Williams
Position: RHP/Starting Pitcher
Height/Weight: 6-5/200
Age: 21
Bats/Throws: R/R
How Acquired: 2022 Draft (Third round)

2022: DNP

Scouting Report: Williams threw a total of 37.2 innings in his college career – 37 of them in his sophomore year when he struck out 45 and walked 10 while posting a 3.65 ERA. But that campaign ended with arm injuries that led to Tommy John surgery during the offseason. Before he was shut down, Williams’ projectable frame and solid three-pitch offering had him on many watch lists for what he hoped would be a junior year that could propel him into the first round.

Outlook: The lack of a track record makes Williams even more of an unknown than others on this list, but there is a chance that he could develop into an intriguing arm for an organization that will need to develop pitching.  Williams continued his rehab program under the organization’s oversight last fall and over the winter and should be full go in minor league camp.

Garrett Hawkins was impressive with the Storm. (Photo: Jerry Espinoza).

12) Garrett Hawkins
Position: RHP/Starting Pitcher
Height/Weight: 6-5/232
Age: 23
Bats/Throws: R/R
How Acquired: 2021 Draft (Ninth round)

Team W-L IP ERA GS K/BB Hits Runs/Earned Runs
Storm 5-5 77.2 3.94 17 108/20 73 40/34
TinCaps 0-3 15.1 11.15 4 12/10 22 19/15

2022 Highlights: As the Storm’s opening night starter, Hawkins tossed four shutout innings and was touching 96 mph with his fastball. He kept that fast start going through April before struggling in May – attributable in part to some bad BABIP luck. When he was on, he used his fastball well up in the zone early in the count, and his changeup dropped off the table, helping him post a stellar 108:20 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 77.2 in Low-A. With his velocity lagging, he struggled in a late-season cameo in Fort Wayne, but overall, it was a successful campaign for the inexperienced starter. If Hawkins can improve his slider, he has a shot at developing into a big-league starter.

Concerns: Hawkins has a solid fastball and an effective changeup, but he will need to hone his breaking ball into a more reliable curve to pair with his fastball, which already plays well up in the zone. He could surge through the system quickly if he returns with that effective third pitch.

Outlook: Hawkins will open the year back in Fort Wayne, where he got roughed up in four late outings last season. He should be ready for Double-A before the draft if he can keep his mechanics tight and show a feel for the curve.

13) Jairo Iriarte
Position: RHP/Starting Pitcher
Height/Weight: 6-2/180
Age: 21
Bats/Throws: R/R
How Acquired: 2018 International Free Agent

Team W-L IP ERA GS K/BB Hits Runs/Earned Runs
Storm 4-7 91.1 5.12 18 109/42 83 56/53

2022 Highlights: Iriarte showed the most electric stuff in a solid Lake Elsinore rotation but also was the most unpolished with his mechanics and control. He has added several inches and significant muscle mass since signing for a modest five-figure bonus out of Venezuela in 2018. After the lost 2020 season and an injury-marred 2021 in which he logged only 30 innings, he still appeared to be figuring out how his body moves at the new size through the 2022 campaign. His upper-90s fastball and tight slider give him the highest upside of the arms who pitched in the Padres’ low minors last year, but his tendency to spray the ball also gives him the widest variance.

Concerns: Iriarte walked more than four batters per nine innings last year. He doesn’t need to show fine command, but he does need to keep the ball in the zone more often. If his consistency doesn’t improve, the organization may have to decide whether to move him to the bullpen to maximize his chances of contributing in the big leagues.

Outlook: Iriarte should be the fourth starter on what could be a very good High-A staff in Fort Wayne. If he can continue his progress, he will go down as one of the better success stories by the Padres development team.

Jackson Wolf had a late-season call-up to Double-A.  (Photo: Kimberly Bates, Springfield Cardinals)

14) Jackson Wolf
Position: LHP/Starting Pitcher
Height/Weight: 6-7/205
Age: 23
Bats/Throws: L/L
How Acquired: 2021 Draft (Fourth round)

Team W-L IP ERA GS K/BB Hits Runs/Earned Runs
TinCaps 7-8 119 4.01 23 134/44 91 56/53
Missions 0-2 10.2 8.44 2 8/6 12 12/10

2022 Highlights: The 6-foot-7 former West Virginia star was our top pitcher for the TinCaps last year and improved as the season progressed. He has a funky delivery where the ball can come at batters from various angles and show a wide assortment of action. That means his four-seam fastball, slider, curve, and changeup play up, despite below-average velocity. As the season progressed, his secondary pitches improved.

Concerns: Against more advanced hitters, he will need either an increase in velocity or much tighter breaking pitches.

Outlook: Wolf will start the season again in Double-A after an offseason of working with the coaching staff to get stronger. The hope is that a solid athlete, Wolf, may add a few more ticks to his low 90s fastball with a few mechanical tweaks.

Joshua Mears has some major power. (Photo: Rey Holguin)

15) Joshua Mears
Position: OF/CF
Height/Weight: 6-3/245
Age: 22
Bats/Throws: R/R
How Acquired: 2019 Draft (Second round)

ACL .268 .364 .571 66 26/8 15 10/3
.223 .304 .511 207 90/16 41 24/14
Missions .169 .266 .374 94 45/10 14 7/5

2022 Highlights: Mears was the most divisive player for us on our individual Top 30 lists, landing everywhere from number 10 overall to 22. Our different rankings notwithstanding, we all essentially came to the same conclusion: he has truly game-changing power, but his inability to get to it is a real problem. Maybe the best-case scenario for Joshua is what he did in the ACL, where he struck out in nearly forty percent of his plate appearances but still posted an OPS of .935.

Defensively there is a lot to like.  He has the ability to play three different outfield positions and, despite being 6-foot-3, 245 pounds, can cover more ground than you can imagine in center field.

Concerns: Can he make enough contact to get to his 80-grade power?

Outlook: Joshua should start back at Double-A San Antonio, where he will be one of the more interesting prospects in the Padres system.

Korry Howell playing one of his multiple positions. (Photo: Reynaldo Holguin).

16) Korry Howell
Position: OF/Util
Height/Weight: 6-3/200
Age: 24
Bats/Throws: R/R
How Acquired: 2022 Trade with Milwaukee Brewers for Victor Caratini

Missions .253 .390 .486 184 52/25 37 18/6

2022 Highlights: Howell was the key player who came over when the Padres traded Victor Caratini, joining the organization just before the minor league season. He had a tough opening month, hitting .173, then turning in a .291/.431/.491 line in May and .308/.386/.539 performance in June. A wrist injury in his final game landed him on the IL for the rest of the season, costing him the opportunity to continue to convert his impressive athleticism and feel at the plate into the sort of consistent production he’s struggled to find going back to his community college days.

Concerns: Howell posted an OPS north of .900 in 32 games across May and June, but even during that hot stretch, he continued to strike out enough to limit his likelihood of being a big league starter. If he can stay healthy enough to get the repetitions he needs in center to turn his tools into skills, he could emerge as a platoon option in the future.

Outlook: If fully healthy, he should be in one of the outfield spots – in all probability, center – in El Paso and could be a sleeper. He’s a solid athlete, but the key will be controlling the strike zone to get to his pop.

Brandon Valenzuela is a standout defensively. (Photo: Jeff Nycz)

17) Brandon Valenzuela
Position: C
Height/Weight: 6-2/225
Age: 22
Bats/Throws: B/R
How Acquired: 2017 International Free Agent

TinCaps .209 .334 /348 413 95/63 72 26/10

2022 Highlights: Valenzuela struggled at the plate, but his defense remained strong. He threw out 32% of runners attempting to steal, had a .994 fielding percentage, and is still a strong game manager.

Concerns: The Hermosillo, Mexico native’s walk and strikeout rates were not that far off from his previous years; what was down was his batting average on balls in play which went from .386 in Lake Elsinore and .379 in Fort Wayne in 2021 to .256 in 2022 as he didn’t make enough hard contact.

Outlook: The catching job in San Antonio is his for the taking. Will Valenzuela be able to step up to the opportunity?

Pedro Avila continued to rack up strikeouts in 2022. (Photo: Jorge Salgado)

18) Pedro Avila
Position: RHP/SP
Height/Weight: 5-11/217
Age: 26
Bats/Throws: R/R
How Acquired: 2016 Trade for Derek Norris

Team W-L IP ERA GS K/BB Hits Runs/Earned Runs
Chihuahuas 7-2 112 4.58 24 124/49 98 64/57
Padres 0-0 4 4.50 0 5/1 3 3/2

2022 Highlights: While Avila made his big league debut in April 2019, Tommy John surgery, the pandemic, and a slow return to form have all limited him to just 13.1 big-league innings. The big-bodied righty has put up solid strikeout rates since the Padres acquired him for Derek Norris after the 2016 season and can get swinging strikes with his fastball and both breaking balls. He incorporated a sinker more effectively in 2022, giving him a full repertoire of solid pitches. 

Concerns: Avila doesn’t have any true standout pitch. He will pound the zone and can pitch backward effectively. His ability to get outs, particularly at upper levels, is predicated on having all four of his pitches working.

Outlook: Avila made it back to San Diego for a pair of games and four innings in 2022, and he should be one of the leading options in Triple-A again for the Padres in case of injury. The club opted to add him back to the 40-player roster at the end of the season rather than lose him as a free agent.

Nerwilian Cedeño was a valuable contributor to the Storm offense. (Photo: Dylan Otto)

19) Nerwillian Cedeño
Position: 2B
Height/Weight: 5-11/190
Age: 21
Bats/Throws: B/R
How Acquired: 2018 International Free Agent

ACL .237 .318 .421 44 15/5 9 4/1
Storm .256 .362 .400 318 79/42 69 23/6

2022 Highlights:
Cedeño has more offensive upside after Merrill than any infielder who appeared in full-season ball last year for the Padres. A switch-hitter with the ability to impact the ball from both sides of the plate, the wiry-strong Venezuela native, who turns 21 this spring, posted a .144 isolated power rate over 71 games for Lake Elsinore, even coming off a wrist injury that delayed his season. He’s a patient hitter who can punish good pitches and has above-average speed. 

Concerns: He’s not a graceful defender, and his arm limits him to second base, but he could profile well as an offense-first player.

Outlook: Cedeño has battled injuries over the last two years, so seeing him healthy from day one would be nice. If he is, he should be the everyday second baseman for Fort Wayne to open the year.

Daniel Montesino could be a big contributor for the Storm in 2023. (Photo: Jerry Espinoza)

20) Daniel Montesino
Position: OF/1B
Height/Weight: 6-0/190
Age: 19
Bats/Throws: L/L
How Acquired: 2021 International Free Agent

2022: DNP

Scouting Report: In 2021, the left-hander became the first Padres player to post a .900 OPS in the DSL since the club opened its complex in the Dominican Republic. A year ago, the Venezuela native was expected to make noise in his stateside debut, but he injured his throwing elbow and needed Tommy John surgery that sidelined him until instructional league. Now 19 with zero stateside at-bats, the big-bodied prospect is seen by many observers as one of the organization’s higher-upside power bats, though he has swing-and-miss risk. He’s been a regular at the club’s offseason programs in preparation for a reboot on his U.S. debut this year, and his bat should be enough to carry him even as he likely winds up at first base defensively.

Outlook: If healthy and showing strong this spring, Montesino will likely be in the middle of the Storm lineup to open the year. He could put up some eye-popping numbers if he recognizes pitches and avoids selling out for power.

Posted by MadFriars


  1. […] edition of the Chihuahuas will feature quite a few new names. While both seasons begin with two of our top 20 prospects on the roster, the level of prospect is slightly different. Last year, two of our top three […]


  2. […] MadFriars Top 20 Prospects in Fort Wayne: #1 SS Jackson Merrill; #5 RHP Victor Lizarraga; #9 RHP Adam Mazur; #12 Garrett Hawkins; #13 Jairo Iriarte; #15 Joshua Mears; #17 Brandon Valenzuela; #19 Nerwilian Cedeño […]


  3. […] 2023 Fort Wayne TinC… on MadFriars Top 20 for 2023 […]


  4. […] the middle of things but the talented outfielder had a quiet week. The fourth-ranked player on our MadFriars Top-20 list was hitless in 12 plate appearances. He still found ways to contribute by drawing three walks […]


  5. […] sacrifice fly in the first inning, showing the intriguing blend of power and speed that landed him 16th among the system’s top prospects. The 24-year-old outfielder struck out in his next two at-bats before hitting into a double play in […]


  6. Steven j Gluck May 1, 2023 at 7:34 am

    who are the top prospects @ Lake Elsinore?


    1. John Conniff May 1, 2023 at 8:16 am

      There are quite a few good players, but based on our Top 20 rankings keep an eye on LHP Robby Snelling and OF Samuel Zavala. Also, the big signing from the international market this past year, C Ethan Salas could be in LE soon as well. john


  7. […] a favor and made it through five innings, throwing 106 pitches overall. Groome came into the year as one of our top prospects above the A-ball level, but has struggled mightily with his command. In 51.1 innings with El Paso last year, Groome had an […]


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