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San Diego Padres top 20 prospects for 2018: mid-season review

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Deep and wide. . .best farm system in the game at the moment

MLB: All Star Game-Futures Game
Fernando Tatis Jr
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Continuing with our mid-season organization reviews, we turn our attention to the San Diego Padres farm system.

This list was originally published January 9, 2018 and revised on March 14, 2018.

*****THIS IS NOT A NEW LIST******

THIS IS A REVIEW OF THE PRE-SEASON LIST

THESE ARE NOT NEW GRADES

1) Fernando Tatis, Jr, SS, Grade A: Age 19, signed by Chicago White Sox out of Dominican Republic in 2015, traded to Padres for James Shields before his first professional at-bat; hitting .286/.355/.507 with 16 homers, 16 steals, 33 walks, 109 strikeouts in 353 at-bats in Double-A until going down with thumb injury; particularly impressive slash line since he hit just .177 in April; power/speed combination looks special, strikeout rate high but forgivable considering the entire profile; error rate way down this year and he has the range for shortstop; a truly elite prospect.

2) Mackenzie Gore, LHP, Grade A-/A: Age 19, first round pick in 2017 from high school in North Carolina; has made two trips to the DL but has been impressive when healthy, 3.75 ERA in 48 innings in Low-A, 64/16 K/BB, an occasional bad game but dominant in several outings, stock holding in my opinion although a few people have lost some enthusiasm.

3) Michel Baez, RHP, Grade A-/B+: Age 22, signed out of Cuba in December 2016; 2.91 ERA in 87 innings in High-A, 92/33 K/BB, 73 hits; as with Gore some scouting reports have cooled a bit compared to pre-season reputation but his performance has been just fine, especially recently and given the context; stock holding for me.

4) Luis Urias, 2B-SS, Grade B+: Age 21, signed out of Mexico in 2013; hitting .273/.383/.415 with eight homers, 62 walks, 98 strikeouts in 388 at-bats in Triple-A; isolated power up a bit, though context helps and more sophisticated metrics aren’t as good as last year, though still above-average; defense very steady/solid; stock holding.

5) Adrian Morejon, LHP, Grade B+: Age 19, Cuban signed in 2016, 3.30 ERA in 63 innings in High-A, 70/24 K/BB, missed time with a hip injury and is now back on DL with “minor triceps injury;” fastball into mid-90s now and secondary pitches tightening up nicely, just a matter of building and proving durability.

6) Cal Quantrill, RHP, Grade B/B+: Age 23, first round pick in 2016 from Stanford University; 5.05 ERA with 101/38 K/BB in 117 innings between Double-A and Triple-A, 135 hits; four-pitch mix looks excellent on the right day and he usually throws strikes but stuff seems to vary from start to start and sometimes from inning to inning; stock down a bit due to consistency issues but still a good prospect overall.

7) Logan Allen, LHP, Grade B: Age 21, drafted by Red Sox in eighth round in 2015, traded to Padres in Craig Kimbrel deal; 2.75 ERA in 121 innings in Double-A, 125/38 K/BB, just 89 hits; the Joey Lucchesi of 2019.

8) Joey Lucchesi, LHP, Grade B: Age 25, fourth round pick in 2016 from Southeast Missouri State University; 3.70 ERA in 83 major league innings, 87/28 K/BB; this is his true level of ability, not a fluke.

9) Eric Lauer, LHP, Grade B: Age 23, first round pick in 2016 from Kent State University; pushed to majors a few months ahead of schedule; 5.30 ERA in 87 innings, 75/37 K/BB, 111 hits; has had some brilliant games and some terrible ones, currently on DL with strained forearm but expected back later this month; expect further improvement if arm is OK.

10) Anderson Espinosa, RHP, Grade B/B-: Age 20, acquired from Red Sox for Drew Pomeranz in 2016; missed all of 2017 with elbow issues that eventually required surgery, will miss all of 2018 as well.

11) Franchy Cordero, OF, Grade B-: Age 23, signed out of Dominican Republic in 2011; hit .237/.307/.439 in 139 major league at-bats before going down with elbow injury; my guess is slow, gradual improvement once he is healthy.

12) Jeisson Rosario, OF, Grade B-: Age 18, signed out of Dominican Republic in 2016 for $1,850,000; hitting .277/.379/.354 in 347 at-bats in Low-A, 16 steals, 55 walks, 77 strikeouts; slash line is better than it may look on the surface given his age and his context; high walk rate stands out, power still needs development but loads of potential here.

13) Gabriel Arias, SS, Grade B-: Age 18, signed out of Venezuela for $1,900,000 in 2016; .231/.294/.312 in Low-A, 32 walks, 122 strikeouts in 359 at-bats; defense is ahead of his hitting at this point; combo of high whiffs and low power is unattractive, but he’s only 18.

14) Josh Naylor, 1B, Grade B-: Age 21, first round pick by the Miami Marlins in 2015 out of Canada, traded to Padres in Andrew Cashner deal; hitting .306/.395/.465 with 15 homers, 59 walks, 59 strikeouts in 432 at-bats in Double-A; tapping into his power now while cutting strikeouts and boosting walks simultaneously; looks good.

15) Jacob Nix, RHP, Grade B-: Age 22, third round pick in 2015 from IMG Academy; late start to season due to spring training groin injury but has been sharp since returning, 1.84 ERA with 44/9 K/BB in 59 innings in Double-A/Triple-A, just 44 hits; expected to be promoted to major leagues shortly, not especially overpowering but command continues to improve.

16) Michael Gettys, OF, Grade C+/B-: Age 22, second round pick in 2014 from high school in Georgia; .242/.297/.417 with 12 homers, 14 steals, 26 walks, 127 strikeouts in 360 at-bats in Double-A; continues to tantalize with tools while struggling with the strike zone.

17) Austin Allen, C, Grade C+/B-: Age 24, fourth round pick in 2015 from Florida Tech, hitting .299/.360/.529 with 20 homers, 32 walks, 84 strikeouts in 378 at-bats in Double-A; has thrown out 35% of runners with strong reduction in error and passed ball rates, lending optimism to his defense; no problems at all adapting to Double-A, a bit old but stock is moving up.

18) Hudson Potts, INF, Grade C+/B-: Age 19, first round pick in 2016 draft from high school in Texas, hitting .281/.350/.498 with 17 homers, 37 walks, 112 strikeouts in 406 at-bats in High-A; fine defensive third baseman, showing good power this year and quite young for the California League; strike zone management has improved, stocking ticking up.

19) Esteury Ruiz, 2B, Grade C+/B-: Age 19, signed by Kansas City Royals out of Dominican Republic in 2015, traded to Padres last July; hitting .250/.318/.410 with 11 homers, 37 steals, 31 walks, 120 strikeouts in 368 at-bats in Low-A; Midwest League observers impressed with speed and wiry power combo; defense needs polish and approach can get hacktastic but has a high ceiling.

20) Mason House, OF, Grade C+: Age 19, third round pick in 2017 from high school in Texas, hitting .174/.306/.380 between Arizona and Northwest Leagues, 15 walks, 48 strikeouts in 92 at-bats; impressive raw power but contact problems are very severe at this point.

OTHER GRADE C+:

Luis Almanzar, INF; Just .176/.257/.429 in rookie ball right now.

Pedro Avila, RHP; 3.82 ERA in 111 innings in High-A, 109/46 K/BB, nice solid year.

Jordy Barley, SS; .201/.290/.343 in rookie ball; not living up to scouting reports yet

David Bednar, RHP; 3.02 in 57 innings, 71/23 K/BB in High-A; relief option going forward.

Ronald Bolanos, RHP; 4.68 ERA in 100 innings in High-A, 101/40 K/BB; has been excellent over the last two months.

Colten Brewer, RHP; 4.07 ERA in 42 innings in Triple-A, 55/13 K/BB; threw three innings in the majors, now on DL with strained oblique, another useful bullpen part.

Luis Campusano, C; .288/.345/.365 in Low-A, defense has sharpened up; on DL now with undisclosed injury.

Jose Castillo, LHP; 18 innings in the majors with 3.00 ERA, 23/6 K/BB, seems legit to me.

Blake Hunt, C; .241/.361/.298 in Northwest League; defense is quite raw as well, does show a good eye for the zone.

Brett Kennedy, RHP; 2.72 ERA in 89 innings in Triple-A, 80/23 K/BB, 77 hits, fine stats especially for PCL; promoted to majors and got hit hard in first start but should get more chances.

Reggie Lawson, RHP; 4.74 ERA in 99 innings in High-A, 95/42 K/BB, 109 hits; very effective at times but quite inconsistent overall.

Justin Lopez, INF; .224/.280/.358 in Low-A, contact issues apparent but very young for the level at age 18, youngest player in the Midwest League at the start of the season; on DL now with broken thumb.

Nick Margevicius, LHP; 3.78 ERA with 116/15 K/BB in 110 innings between Low-A and High-A; excellent control, nice sleeper prospect.

Kyle McGrath, LHP; 3.46 ERA in 42 innings in Triple-A, 35/15 K/BB; yet another decent bullpen arm.

Edward Olivares, OF; .276/.317/.425 with nine homers, 10 triples, 17 steals, 23 walks, 89 strikeouts in 449 at-bats in High-A; toolsy power/speed combo.

Jorge Ona, OF; .250/.315/.387 with six homers, 28 walks, 92 strikeouts in 328 at-bats in High-A; I thought he’d be better.

Tirso Ornelas, OF; .252/.341/.392 with eight homers, 40 walks, 68 strikeouts in 309 at-bats in Low-A; impressive for an 18-year-old in the Midwest League, now on DL.

Chris Paddack, RHP; Superb season, 1.91 ERA in 80 innings between High-A and Double-A, 110/7 K/BB, just 54 hits; fully recovered after missing 2017 to Tommy John; stock shooting back up quickly, into B+ range.

Luis Patino, RHP; 2.43 ERA with 77/18 K/BB in 67 innings in Low-A at age 18; can hit 98 MPH, stock moving up quickly also, B+ range as well.

Franmil Reyes, OF; Hitting .254/.303/.500 in the majors over 114 at-bats, eight walks, 44 strikeouts; no mysteries here, big power with contact concerns.

Hansel Rodriguez, RHP; On DL most of the season, just now getting back into action.

Eguy Rosario, INF; Has split season at High-A/Double-A, hitting .241/.314/.386 in 378 at-bats, which doesn’t sound so hot until you realize he is only 18 years old; glove quite reliable.

Mason Thompson, RHP 4.95 ERA in 76 innings in Low-A, 80/33 K/BB; currently on DL with triceps injury; just 20 years old, better prospect than ERA implies.

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San Diego’s reputation for excellent depth is certainly deserved. There have been some injuries but others have risen and the healthy guys have mostly lived up to or exceeded expectations.

This is the best farm system in baseball at the moment.