With the Pacific Coast League post-season over, the San Diego Padres promoted outfielders Manuel Margot and Hunter Renfroe, infielder Carlos Asuaje, and catcher Austin Hedges to the majors today. Here's the current take on Margot.
First, basic background from the 2016 Baseball Prospect Book:
Manuel Margot, OF, San Diego Padres
Bats: R Throws: R HT: 5-11 WT: 180 DOB: September 28, 1994
2013: Grade C; 2014: Grade C+; 2015: Grade B
The Padres picked up Manuel Margot from the Red Sox in the Craig Kimbrel deal. If you’ve followed prospects for any length of time, you’re aware of Margot: he got a ton of press attention in the Boston system. Much of it is justified. He’s often the best athlete on the field in any given game. He has superior speed and uses it well, especially defensively. He makes contact readily and has gap power, and despite his size he should hit more home runs in time, given his bat speed and wiry strength. All that said, the "future star" hype he got from some sources seems a little overdone to me. For that to happen he’ll need to show considerably more home run power than he currently projects, plus a more patient approach; he’d need to step up in all of his skills along Mookie Betts lines. It isn’t impossible but overall he seems more like very solid prospect to me rather than future star. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Grade B.
The Padres sent Margot to Triple-A El Paso this year and he had a fine campaign, hitting .304/.351/.426 with 21 doubles, 12 triples, six homers, 30 steals, 36 walks and 64 strikeouts in 517 at-bats. He also played really well with the glove, showing impressive range and instincts in center field while cutting down 18 baserunners with his accurate arm. That's very much in line with pre-season expectations.
The main question for Margot remains long-term power production. El Paso is a great place to hit and he produced a .318/.363/.470 slash line at home. On the road he hit .286/.337/.372; five of his home runs came at home and just one on the road. His road numbers are very similar to his production in the relatively more neutral environments of the Red Sox farm system in 2015; the El Paso numbers are the outlier.
Margot is still just 21 years old. Although it is wise not to get overly excited about the El Paso power in isolation, I do expect that he'll produce more power in time and some of those doubles and triples will eventually become homers. Combine that with his defense, speed, and line drive hitting and you have a guy who could be an above-average regular.