San Diego Padres 2019 Top 30 MLB Prospects Midseason Update
UPDATE: The Padres Top 30 now includes all moves made through the July 31 trade deadline.
The Padres entered this season with the goal of taking a step toward contention. They’ve done that, although issues remain.
The rise of rookies Fernando Tatis Jr. and Chris Paddack has helped keep the Padres around .500 for most of the season, and the progression of Hunter Renfroe, Franmil Reyes, Joey Lucchesi and Eric Lauer have been among the year’s most promising developments.
At the same time, even with Manny Machado and Eric Hosmer hitting, the Padres rank in the bottom third of the majors in runs scored, batting average and on-base percentage. Those offensive shortcomings, plus a leaky bullpen, have the Padres sitting below .500 with two weeks until the trade deadline.
With another wave of young talent on the way in the second half and more to come next year, the Padres don’t figure to be aggressive buyers at the deadline, but also not extreme sellers, either. They can afford to be patient and wait for an offer that blows them away. If they don’t get it, they can stay the course and build around the promising core they already have.
1. MacKenzie Gore, LHP
Free of last year’s blister issues, Gore has flashed four plus pitches—though not always at the same time—plus control, plus athleticism and extraordinary poise in dominating the high Class A California League and earning a promotion to Double-A Amarillo. Even conservative evaluators consider him a potential future No. 1 starter.
2. Luis Urias, 2B/SS
Urias continues to show the pitch recognition and hand-eye coordination of a premium hitter, but he is still seeking consistency in the shape, size and timing of his leg kick to get his foot down early enough to hit better velocity.
3. Luis Patino, RHP
Patino has electrified the high Class A California League with his 95-99 mph fastball and now just has to shore up the consistency of his promising slider and rapidly improving changeup.
4. Taylor Trammell, OF
Trammell has adjusted nicely to the upper levels, continuing to get on-base while making considerable strides defensively. He’s not showing much in-game power yet, but the potential is there. The Padres acquired Trammell in the three-team Trevor Bauer, Yasiel Puig deal.
5. Adrian Morejon, LHP
Morejon’s easy 94-98 mph fastball and swing-and-miss curveball from the left side continue to make him a top prospect in the eyes of evaluators, even with spotty command and increasing durability concerns.
6. CJ Abrams, SS
The sixth overall pick was arguably the best athlete in the 2019 draft and has a chance to hit for average and power as he fine-tunes his approach over time.
7. Josh Naylor, OF
Naylor’s made quick work of Triple-A with his patient approach and impact power to earn his first major league callup in late May. His outfield defense is improving but remains below-average.
8. Ryan Weathers, LHP
Weathers showed increased velocity and an improved slider before going on the injured list for two weeks with arm fatigue in early May. Since his return, his velocity has fluctuated widely and his workload has been limited.
9. Luis Campusano, C
Campusano has emerged as one of the top catching prospects in baseball with a breakout year, showing the rare potential to be a catcher who is both an above-average hitter and an above-average defender.
10. Michel Baez, RHP
Baez missed the start of the season with an in injury for the third straight year (shoulder inflammation) but returned in mid-May and excelled pitching in relief for Double-A Amarillo. The Padres called him up for his debut at the end of July and have kept him in the bullpen, where his upper 90s fastball and effective changeup play best.
11. Xavier Edwards, SS
12. Andres Munoz, RHP
13. Austin Allen, C
14. Owen Miller, SS/2B
15. Hudson Potts, 3B
16. Reggie Lawson, RHP
17. Ronald Bolanos, RHP
18. Gabriel Arias, SS
19. Joey Cantillo, LHP
20. Jacob Nix, RHP
21. Tucupita Marcano, SS/3B
22. Pedro Avila, RHP
23. Ty France, 3B
24. Esteury Ruiz, 2B
25. Edward Olivares, OF
26. Jeisson Rosario, OF
27. Tirso Ornelas, OF
28. Steven Wilson, RHP
29. Buddy Reed, OF
30. Joshua Mears, OF
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C Luis Campusano altered his setup and swing to get to more power this year, and the result has been loud, impact contact nearly every time he connects. The 20-year-old leads the California League in batting average and has already tripled his home run total from last year.
2B/SS Xavier Edwards led the Midwest League with a .336 batting average on the strength of his premium contact skills to earn a promotion to high Class A Lake Elsinore, and his game-changing speed helps make up for a lack of present or projectable power.
SS/2B Owen Miller leads the Double-A Texas League in hits and continues to earn plaudits as one of the organization’s top pure hitters.
LHP Joey Cantillo leads the Midwest League in ERA and strikeouts. His 88-91 mph fastball velocity should increase as he adds strength to his projectable frame, and his plus changeup gives him an out-pitch that will play at higher levels.
RHPs Steven Wilson and Evan Miller have both enjoyed impressive seasons, as Wilson’s 94-97 mph fastball and Miller’s 93-95 mph heavy sinker helped them dominate lower-level hitters and earn midseason promotions to the upper levels. The Padres are considering both for late-season callups to help their struggling bullpen.
OF Tirso Ornelas lost bat speed and got steeper in his swing path from previous years, yielding a swing frequently characterized by evaluators as "long and slow”. He hit .203 with one home run in 71 games at high Class A Lake Elsinore before being demoted to Rookie-level Arizona League on July 6.
RHP Anderson Espinoza had a second Tommy John surgery in early April. By the time of his scheduled return in 2020, it will be four years since he last pitched in a game.
OF Grant Little has hit .256 with zero home runs as a college draftee at low Class A Fort Wayne, showing an alarming lack of physicality or tools for evaluators to project on.
RHP Dylan Coleman’s fastball velocity dropped from 94-99 mph last year to 89-91 early this year, resulting in a demotion from high Class A Lake Elsinore to extended spring training.
3B Hudson Potts (strained oblique) missed most of June but returned to Double-A Amarillo on July 1.
RHP Reggie Lawson (elbow strain) had a platelet-rich plasma injection in mid-May and was shut down from throwing for six weeks. He is scheduled to begin building back up this month.
RHP Anderson Espinoza (torn UCL) had his second Tommy John surgery in late April. He will be out until mid-2020 at the earliest.
RHP Jacob Nix (torn UCL) chose not to have Tommy John surgery and is attempting to rehab his elbow through a platelet-rich plasma injection.
RHP Pedro Avila (elbow strain) has been on the injured list since April 20 but has begun a throwing program.
OF Jorge Ona (shoulder) had season-ending surgery on his right shoulder in early June. He will return in 2020.
LHP Osvaldo Hernandez (shoulder inflammation) missed the first 10 weeks of the season but made his first rehab appearance in late June and went out to high Class A Lake Elsinore on July 1.
RHP Mason Thompson (elbow soreness) has been on the injured list since May 2. He has now missed time with arm injuries in all three full seasons of his professional career.
OF Robbie Podorsky (right shoulder subluxation) got hurt on a collision at home plate on May 31. He is tentatively scheduled to return in late July or early August.
SS Fernando Tatis jumped straight from Double-A to the Padres’ Opening Day roster. He has hit .326 with 14 home runs, 33 RBIs and 14 stolen bases while electrifying on the basepaths and in the field to emerge as a National League Rookie of the Year contender.
RHP Chris Paddack also made the jump from Double-A to the Opening Day roster. He is 6-4 with a team-best 2.70 ERA and is in the thick of the NL Rookie of the Year race.
C Francisco Mejia made the Opening Day roster and joined the Padres for good in mid-June. He has started 15 of the last 23 games behind the plate, ahead of Austin Hedges.
RHP Trey Wingenter has emerged as the club’s primary seventh-inning setup option and ranks second on the team with 12.4 strikeouts-per-nine innings.
LHP Nick Margevicius made the jump from high Class A straight to the Padres’ rotation to start the season. After posting a 3.47 ERA in his first seven starts, he logged a 12.71 ERA in his next five starts and has been in the minors since June 16.
LHP Brad Wieck recovered from offseason testicular cancer surgery and has spent most of the year in the Padres’ bullpen as a lefthanded relief option.