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Early returns underwhelming for Padres prospect Tirso Ornelas

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The San Diego Padres prospect has driven a lot of discussion, but hasn’t impressed much on the field.

MLB: Milwaukee Brewers at San Diego Padres Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Believe it or not, there is no player in the Arizona Rookie League I have received more questions about than Tirso Ornelas in the San Diego Padres system. The Padres signed Ornelas out of Tijuana, Mexico on the July 2, 2016 signing period for $1.5M.

Now 17 year old and playing his first pro ball in the states, he does have a good skill set, but has been relatively unimpressive in performance. Going into Tuesday night he was hitting .269/.401/.397 with two home runs on the year.

He does show a good eye at the plate, and that is reflected in the .401 OBP, and he sprays the ball to all fields, but I am not sure that is completely intentional.

His hips tend to clear the zone well, but his bat lags behind, or his hips open early and his bat is on time, depending on the pitcher. Either way, the gap power seems to be more mistake driven than current ability. His 6’4” frame currently only carries 180 lbs., but there is some decent muscle tone and room to add strength. In the end, he may turn into a 45 hit tool and 50 power, but that will certainly take time.

Ornelas has been playing center field all season, a position there is practically no chance he will end up at. His speed is a 45 at best and he does not have the best first step in the outfield. His arm is not strong enough to play in right, so he looks to be a future LF only prospect.

Overall, expect Ornelas to be a single level promotion per year player that likely won’t find his way near the top of the Padres prospect list anytime soon. His future ceiling is likely the good side of a left field platoon that can find his way into some good power numbers and a decent OBP, but without hitting for much average or offering any real defensive value.