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2018 San Diego Padres Top 10 Prospects



Padres Top 10 Prospects
1. Fernando Tatis Jr., SS
2. MacKenzie Gore, LHP
3. Michel Baez, RHP
4. Cal Quantrill, RHP
5. Adrian Morejon, LHP
6. Luis Urias, 2B/SS
7. Anderson Espinoza, RHP
8. Logan Allen, LHP
9. Joey Lucchesi, LHP
10. Gabriel Arias, SS
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For each organization, we identify the 10 prospects with the highest ceilings, with consideration given to the likelihood of reaching those ceilings.

To qualify as a prospect, a position player cannot exceed 130 big league at-bats, while a pitcher cannot exceed 50 innings or 30 relief appearances. These thresholds mirror major league rookie qualifications, albeit without regard for major league service time.

Notable Graduations: OF Manuel Margot (2), OF Hunter Renfroe (3) and RHP Dinelson Lamet (9).

Trending: 🔺The Padres have impact talent and depth.

 

SYSTEM OVERVIEW

Strengths: Pitching, pitching and more pitching. It’s hard to find another system with the sheer number of major league-caliber arms as the Padres have, especially considering their balance of lefties and righties, starters and relievers, and guys in the higher and lower levels. Even if the Padres’ very top pitching prospects get hurt or their development goes sideways, they have enough pitchers that would be top prospects in most other systems to make up for it.

Weaknesses: Power doesn’t come easy in Petco Park, and the Padres have a concerning lack of it in their system. Josh Naylor and Jorge Ona continue to struggle to get to their power in games, and the Padres have noticeable needs in the corners moving forward, most notably at third base and left field. Adding impact power bats that can move quickly would supplement the system nicely and complement the stable of arms.

 

BEST TOOLS

🔸Best Hitter for Average: Luis Urias. 🔸Best Power Hitter: Fernando Tatis Jr. 🔸Best Strike-Zone Discipline: Luis Urias. 🔸Fastest Baserunner: Robbie Podorsky. 🔸Best Athlete: Jeisson Rosario. 🔸Best Fastball: Michel Baez. 🔸Best Curveball: Pedro Avila. 🔸Best Slider: MacKenzie Gore. 🔸Best Changeup: Cal Quantrill. 🔸Best Control: MacKenzie Gore. 🔸Best Defensive Catcher: Luis Campusano. 🔸Best Defensive INF: Justin Lopez. 🔸Best INF Arm: Javier Guerra. 🔸Best Defensive OF: Michael Gettys. 🔸Best OF Arm: Michael Gettys.

 

PROJECTED 2021 LINEUP

(Listed with 2021 season age)

🔸C Austin Hedges (28) 🔸1B Wil Myers (30) 🔸2B Luis Urias (24) 🔸3B Yangervis Solarte (33) 🔸SS Fernando Tatis Jr. (22) 🔸LF Jose Pirela (31) 🔸CF Manuel Margot (26) 🔸RF Hunter Renfroe (29) 🔸SP MacKenzie Gore (22) 🔸SP Michel Baez (25) 🔸SP Cal Quantrill (26) 🔸SP Dinelson Lamet (28) 🔸SP Adrian Morejon (22) 🔸CL Anderson Espinoza (23)

 

TOP PROSPECTS OF THE DECADE

(Listed with 2017 organization)

🔸2008: 3B Chase Headley (Yankees) | WAR: 26.8 🔸2009: 1B Kyle Blanks (Mexican League) | WAR: 4.0 🔸2010: OF Donavan Tate (DNP) | WAR: N/A 🔸2011: RHP Casey Kelly (Giants) | WAR: N/A 🔸2012: 1B Anthony Rizzo (Cubs) | WAR: 26.1 🔸2013: RHP Casey Kelly (Giants) | WAR: N/A 🔸2014: C Austin Hedges (Padres) | WAR: 0.2 🔸2015: RHP Matt Wisler (Braves) | WAR: 0.2 🔸2016: SS Javier Guerra (Padres) | WAR: N/A 🔸2017: RHP Anderson Espinoza (Padres) | Top 10

 

TOP DRAFT PICKS OF THE DECADE

(Listed with 2017 organization)

🔸2008: 1B Allan Dykstra (DNP) | WAR: N/A 🔸2009: OF Donavan Tate (DNP) | WAR: N/A 🔸2010: RHP Karsten Whitson (DNS/DNP) | WAR: N/A 🔸2011: 2B Cory Spangenberg (Padres) | WAR: 2.6 🔸2012: LHP Max Fried (Braves) | WAR: N/A 🔸2013: OF Hunter Renfroe (Padres) | WAR: 1.2 🔸2014: SS Trea Turner (Nationals) | WAR: 6.4 🔸2015: RHP Austin Smith (Padres) | WAR: N/A 🔸2016: RHP Cal Quantrill (Padres) | Top 10 🔸2017: LHP MacKenzie Gore (Padres) | Top 10


1. Fernando Tatis Jr., SS 📹
Fernando Tatis Jr. Padres Top 10 Prospects
BORN: Jan. 2, 1999.
B-T: R-R | HT: 6-3| WT: 185
SIGNED: Dominican Republic, 2015.
SIGNED BY: Miguel Peguero (White Sox).
MINORS: .278/.379/.498 | 22 HR | 32 SB | 486 AB
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Track Record: Born in the Dominican Republic, Tatis nonetheless grew up around Major League Baseball. His father of the same name played 11 seasons as an MLB third baseman, and he often tagged along in clubhouses as a child. When it came time for Tatis Jr. to turn pro, he largely split evaluators because of a perceived weak physical frame and long swing. The White Sox were optimistic and signed him for $700,000. Tatis grew two inches and filled out after signing, and the Padres scouted him closely, ultimately trading James Shields to the White Sox in June 2016 and throwing in nearly $30 million to ensure they received Tatis. He has blossomed since. Playing at the same age as most high school seniors in 2017, Tatis became the first 18-year-old ever to hit 20 home runs and steal 20 bases in the low Class A Midwest League and was promoted to Double-A San Antonio in August, where he hit .350 in the Texas League playoffs.

Scouting Report: Early in 2017, Tatis would come to the plate without a plan and get caught swinging over breaking balls on the outer half, but he quickly adjusted and became a precocious mix of power and patience. He tracks pitches well and consistently drives hittable offerings with excellent extension and leverage through his swing. Balls jump off his bat from gap to gap, and he shows plus power with towering pull-side home runs. Tatis cut his strikeout rate each successive month at Fort Wayne, and at the time he was promoted, he led the Midwest League in walks. He enhances his offensive game with his basestealing ability. He is an average runner whose speed plays up on the bases with his instincts, reads and jumps. At shortstop, Tatis frequently makes highlight-reel plays and shows off a plus, accurate arm, but on a play-to-play basis, evaluators see fringy range and many project a move to third base if he grows bigger. Tatis will stay at shortstop for now and has the actions to stick there if he maintains his body. In addition to his physical talents, Tatis is a natural leader. He is nearly bilingual and an effective communicator with impressive self-awareness for his age.

🔸Projected Future Grades On 20-80 Scouting Scale Hitting: 60. Power: 60. Speed: 50. Defense: 55. Arm: 60.

The Future: Tatis has all the components of a middle-of-the-order shortstop, and even if he has to move to third base has more than enough bat to flourish. His mix of talent, personality and bilingualism sets him up to become the face of the Padres franchise.
2. MacKenzie Gore, LHP 📹
MacKenzie Gore Padres Top Prospects
BORN: Feb. 24, 1999.
B-T: L-R| HT: 6-3| WT: 180
DRAFTED: HS—Whiteville, N.C., 2017 (1st round).
SIGNED BY: Nick Brannon.
MINORS: 0-1, 1.27 ERA | 34 SO | 7 BB | 21 IP
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Track Record: Gore posted jaw-dropping numbers throughout his prep career, winning BA’s High School Player of the Year as a senior in 2017 after he went 11-0, 0.19 with 158 strikeouts and five walks in 74.1 innings. Many clubs considered Gore the top prospect in the 2017 draft, and the Padres took him with the No. 3 pick and signed him for $6.7 million.

Scouting Report: An elite athlete with a sky-high leg kick in his delivery, Gore blends his supreme athleticism with an advanced four-pitch arsenal and top-notch competitive makeup. His fastball operates 92-95 mph, plays up thanks to plus command and gets on hitters quickly with good extension out of his delivery. His mid-70s curveball with tight 1-to-7 snap is another plus pitch, and his tumbling 82-85 mph swing-and-miss changeup was even better than expected after signing. His low-80s short slider gives him another potential plus offering. Many evaluators who saw Gore in his pro debut called him one of the best pitching prospects in 30-year history of the Rookie-level Arizona League.

The Future: Gore shares physical similarities with Cole Hamels, with the potential stuff and control to match. He will head to low Class A Fort Wayne in 2018.


3. Michel Baez, RHP
Michael Baez Padres Top Prospects
BORN: Jan. 21, 1996.
B-T: R-R| HT: 6-8| WT: 220
SIGNED: Cuba, 2016
SIGNED BY: Trevor Schumm/Jake Koenig.
MINORS: 7-2, 2.54 ERA | 89 SO | 10 BB | 64 IP
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Track Record: The Padres signed Baez for $3 million in December 2016, encouraged by the strides the 6-foot-8 Cuban made while training in the Dominican Republic after he struggled to throw strikes as a teenager. A trapezius injury held Baez back in extended spring training, but he made his low Class A Fort Wayne debut on July 4 and recorded a 2.04 ERA with 98 strikeouts and 10 walks in 70.2 innings, including the Midwest League postseason.

Scouting Report: Baez possesses a power arm and pounds the the strike zone downhill out of his high three-quarters arm slot. He holds his fastball at 94-95 mph and frequently touches 98 to grade as a plus-plus pitch. His fastball comes out easy, and he hides the ball well behind his enormous frame. Baez’s upper-80s slider flashes plus but isn’t yet consistent. His mid-80s changeup flashes plus with fade away from lefthanders, and he flashes a hammer 11-to-5 curveball in the upper 70s. Most importantly he repeats his delivery to throw frequent strikes, perhaps too many. He allowed as many home runs as walks (eight) in the MWL regular season.

The Future: Baez needs to fine-tune his fastball command and achieve more consistency with his secondaries. If he does, he’s a front-of-the-rotation starter.


4. Cal Quantrill, RHP 📹
Cal Quantrill Padres Top Prospects
BORN: Feb. 10, 1995.
B-T: L-R | HT: 6-2| WT: 165
DRAFTED: Stanford, 2016 (1st round).
SIGNED BY: Sam Ray.
MINORS: 7-10, 3.80 ERA | 110 SO | 40 BB | 116 IP
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Track Record: Quantrill, the son of former big league reliever Paul, had Tommy John surgery three starts into his sophomore season at Stanford and missed all of his junior year, too. The Padres were impressed enough by his predraft bullpen sessions to draft him No. 7 overall in 2016 and sign him for just under $4 million. He delivered on that faith in 2017, cruising through the high Class A California League and reaching Double-A San Antonio.

Scouting Report: The Padres streamlined Quantrill’s mechanics to help his velocity come easier, and it did in 2017. He now sits comfortably at 93-95 mph and can reach back for 97. He holds that velocity, pitches downhill and commands his fastball, making it a plus pitch. His 81-83 mph changeup is his out pitch and one of the best in the minors. He sells it with identical arm speed as his fastball, and the pitch slows suddenly just in front of the plate. His 81-84 mph slider flashes above-average but lacks consistency, and the Padres are focused on developing his mid-70s curveball. Quantrill throws all his pitches for strikes and has above-average command.

The Future: Quantrill’s aggressiveness further helps his stuff play up and gives him a potential middle-to front-of-the-rotation future. Triple-A El Paso is next.


5. Adrian Morejon, LHP 📹
Adrian Morejon Padres Top Prospects
BORN: Feb. 27, 1999.
B-T: L-L | HT: 6-1 | WT: 195
SIGNED:Cuba, 2016.
SIGNED BY: David Post/Trevor Schumm/Felix Feliz.
MINORS:3-4, 3.86 ERA | 58 SO | 16 BB | 63 IP
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Track Record: Morejon became a hot commodity after pitching Cuba to the gold medal at the 2015 15U World Cup, delivering a complete-game victory against a U.S. lineup that included 2017 No. 1 overall pick Royce Lewis. The Padres signed Morejon for a franchise-record $11 million when he became eligible in July 2016, and he delivered a solid debut, finishing at low Class A Fort Wayne.

Scouting Report: Morejon draws praise for his intangibles and poise as much as his stuff. He has an advanced understanding of how to set up hitters, mix his pitches and exploit weaknesses. His stuff isn’t too shabby either. Morejon’s fastball sits 91-93 mph and touches 95 in his starts and works 94-96 in short bursts. He throws two changeups that flash plus, one a diving knuckle-change and the other a traditional change with sink and run. His curveball shows above-average spin and power, but he gets rotational and his arm drags on the pitch at times, causing him to lose the strike zone. The same delivery flaw results in inconsistent fastball command.

The Future:Morejon is advanced for his age but still has work to do with his delivery and overall durability. He’ll head to high Class A Lake Elsinore in 2018.


6. Luis Urias, 2B/SS 📹
Luis Urias Padres Top Prospects
BORN: June 3, 1997.
B-T: R-R | HT: 5-9| WT: 160
SIGNED:Mexico, 2013.
SIGNED BY:Chad MacDonald/Robert Rowley.
MINORS: .296/.398/.380 | 3 HR | 7 SB | 118 AB
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Track Record: The Padres purchased Urias’ rights from the Mexican League’s Mexico City franchise when he was 16 and got a better player than they even imagined. He hit .330 to win the high Class A California League batting title and MVP award in 2016. An ankle injury in late-July 2017 shelved him for three weeks, yet he still won the Double-A Texas League on-base percentage crown (.398) at age 20.

Scouting Report: Urias rarely expands his strike zone, forcing pitchers to come to him. When they do he uses his elite hand-eye coordination and quick swing to drive all types of pitches on a line to the outfield. Though he doesn’t elevate for home runs, he makes consistent hard contact with exit velocities in line with Yoan Moncada, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and other top prospects. He rarely swings and misses, and projects as a true plus-plus hitter. Defensively Urias is an athletic, above-average second baseman with reliable hands, excellent footwork and an impressive vertical leap. He has an above-average arm and is capable of filling in at shortstop.

The Future: Urias has a chance to win batting titles down the road and is the Padres’ second baseman of the future. Triple-A El Paso awaits in 2018.


7. Anderson Espinoza, RHP 📹
Anderson Espinoza Padres Top Prospects
BORN: March 9, 1998.
B-T: R-R| HT: 6-0| WT: 160
SIGNED: Venezuela, 2014.
SIGNED BY: Eddie Romero/Manny Padron (Red Sox).
MINORS:Did not play - injured
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Track Record: The Padres acquired the touted Espinoza from the Red Sox for Drew Pomeranz at the 2016 all-star break. Major League Baseball later ruled the Padres did not properly disclose Pomeranz’s medical history and suspended general manager A.J. Preller 30 days over the deal. In a twist of fate, Espinoza missed all of 2017 due to injury and projects to miss all of 2018 too after having Tommy John surgery in August.

Scouting Report: When healthy, Espinoza is an undersized righthander with an electric arm who draws comparisons with the late Yordano Ventura. With an athletic delivery and a lightning-fast arm, Espinoza works 95-98 mph with his four-seam fastball with so much late tail it looks a two-seamer. He pitches to both sides of the plate and complements his heater with a dastardly mid-80s changeup. His upper-70s curveball had made strides and flashed plus with 11-to-5 movement. Durability is Espinoza’s main concern after he visibly tired the second half of his 108-inning run in 2016.

The Future: Espinoza has front-of-the-rotation stuff, but it remains to be seen if it will come back post-surgery. He will begin his throwing program in January.


8. Logan Allen, LHP 📹
Logan Allen Padres Top Prospects
BORN: May 23, 1997.
B-T: L-L | HT: 6-3| WT: 200
DRAFTED: HS—Bradenton, Fla., 2015 (8th round).
SIGNED BY: Stephen Hargett (Red Sox).
MINORS: 7-9, 2.95 ERA | 142 SO | 44 BB | 125 IP
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Track Record: The Red Sox drafted Allen in the eighth round in 2015, and the Padres acquired him six months later as one of four players exchanged for Craig Kimbrel. Elbow soreness limited Allen in 2016, but he excelled in 2017 as he reached high Class A Lake Elsinore.

Scouting Report: At his best, Allen sits 92-94 mph with his fastball and shows off a potential plus changeup and above-average curveball. At other times he’s 89-91 mph with just average secondaries. He shows the poise to succeed even when his stuff isn’t at his best, however. Allen is aggressive with his fastball and establishes it early in games. He complements it with a “Vulcan” grip changeup he holds between his middle and ring finger that dives as it approaches the plate for a swing-and-miss offering. Allen still is trying to find a consistent release point on his hard, slurvy curveball, but he shows flashes of snapping it off. He throws all his pitches for strikes but can get wild in the zone.

The Future: Allen looks like a mid-rotation starter at his best but has to improve his consistency of stuff and iron out his command in the strike zone. He’ll head to Double-A San Antonio in 2018.


9. Joey Lucchesi, LHP 📹
Joey Lucchesi Padres Top Prospects
BORN: June 6, 1993.
B-T: L-L | HT: 6-5 | WT: 204
DRAFTED: Southeast Missouri State, 2016 (4th round).
SIGNED BY: Troy Hoerner.
MINORS: 11-7, 2.20 ERA | 148 SO | 33 BB | 139 IP
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Track Record: Lucchesi led Division I in strikeouts as a senior in 2016 at Southeast Missouri State and signed with the Padres for $100,000 as a fourth-round pick. The funky 6-foot-5 lefty dominated both high Class A and Double-A in his first full season, leading the organization in ERA (2.20) and finishing second in strikeouts (148).

Scouting Report: Lucchesi has a potent mix of deception and stuff. His unique windup features multiple stops and starts, unconventional hand positioning, a high leg kick and a slight turn to hide the ball. He delivers the ball over the top and throws three above-average pitches for strikes. His fastball works 90-94 mph and is a swing-and-miss pitch with its location and downhill angle. His above-average 77-80 mph curveball features a hard, late drop and his 80-82 mph changeup looks like a breaking ball out of his hand before staying straight and drawing foolish swings. Lucchesi is athletic enough to repeat his complicated delivery, resulting in above-average command and control and a lot of called strikes. He also has one of the nastiest pickoff moves in the minors.

The Future: Lucchesi’s No. 4 starter projection is a safe one he may surpass. Triple-A El Paso awaits in 2018.


10. Gabriel Arias, SS 📹
Gabriel Arias Padres Top Prospects
BORN: Feb. 27, 2000.
B-T: R-R| HT: 6-1 | WT: 185
SIGNED: Venezuela, 2016.
SIGNED BY: Luis Prieto/Yfrain Linares/Trevor Schumm.
MINORS: .265/.312/.326 | 0 HR | 5 SB | 215 AB
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Track Record: Arias trained at the same program that produced Franklin Barreto and Gleyber Torres in Venezuela and was a starring member of the country’s youth international teams. The Padres signed Arias for $1.9 million in 2016 and he proved worthy of his high profile, reaching low Class A Fort Wayne at age 17 and hitting .364 in the Midwest League playoffs.

Scouting Report: Arias is a gifted defender who projects as a plus shortstop. He is a lithe athlete with smooth actions and the range to make difficult plays look routine. His plus-plus, accurate arm can make throws from anywhere on the field. Arias’ polished, reliable hands complement those skills to give him Gold Glove-potential in some evaluators’ eyes. Offensively, Arias has developed faster than expected but still has a ways to go. He has plus bat speed and a short, controlled swing, but he gets pull-happy and is liable to chase pitches out of the zone. He shows average power in batting practice and is an average runner.

The Future: Arias’ defense will carry him, and his offensive development will determine if he reaches his above-average everyday potential. He’ll return to Fort Wayne to begin 2018.

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