STATE OF THE SYSTEM
The Padres have one of baseball’s deepest farm systems even after graduating six of their top 10 prospects from a year ago, including Fernando Tatis Jr. and Chris Paddack. LHP MacKenzie Gore and RHP Luis Patino give the Padres two premium pitching prospects who should debut shortly, but most of their best position player prospects are far away.
1. MacKenzie Gore, LHP
The top pitching prospect in baseball was more solid than dominant during summer camp. He still shows vast potential with flashes of four plus pitches and plus command, and now has to show he can get all his pitches working at the same time.
2. Luis Patino, RHP
The electrifying righthander struggled with his command early in summer camp before reining it in later outings. His pure stuff is major league ready, and he’ll make his debut once he improves the consistency of his command and secondary pitches.
3. CJ Abrams, SS
Abrams was the talk of Padres summer camp after he held his own against big league pitchers, showed the ability to lay off close pitches and played markedly improved defense at shortstop, with range and hands one front office official termed “insane.” If he gets stronger and continues to shrink the strike zone, the Padres are considering jumping him straight to Double-A to start next season.
4. Taylor Trammell, OF
Trammell carried his hot finish from last year into spring training and drew high praise from Padres’ coaches during summer camp. Changes to his load and posture have loosened up his swing and helped him start driving the ball harder to all fields, particularly up the middle. His arm, previously his weakest tool, has also gotten noticeably stronger in the outfield.
5. Luis Campusano, C
Campusano had some of the best at-bats and made some of the hardest contact of any player in Padres’ summer camp. He dropped 10 pounds and has gotten more flexible behind the plate, helping both his receiving and throwing improve from last year.
6. Robert Hassell, OF
The Padres felt Hassell was the best high school player in the draft and were thrilled to get him with the eighth overall pick. They signed him for $4.3 million and immediately assigned him to their summer camp, where he was initially sidelined by a quad injury but showed the ability to hit upper-90s velocity from major leaguers when he returned.
7. Adrian Morejon, LHP
The Padres re-integrated Morejon’s knuckle-changeup to his arsenal this summer and saw it pair well with a fastball that has been up to 98 mph. Morejon hasn’t improved his command, however, and is still prone to leaving pitches over the plate, so the Padres plan to use him in the bullpen in 2020 rather than as a starter.
8. Michel Baez, RHP
Baez impressed as a reliever in his major league debut last year and the Padres have hope he can still start, but his breaking balls have not come along as hoped. He is unlikely to break camp with the team and will be used as either starter or reliever depth as needed.
9. Gabriel Arias, SS
The Padres challenged Arias to improve his plate discipline in the offseason and rewarded him with an invitation to big league spring training after he passed a series of pitch selection drills. He remains a jaw-dropping defender at shortstop with immense hitting potential and will continue working on his plate discipline at the alternate training site.
10. Ryan Weathers, LHP
Weathers’ fastball jumped from 90-93 mph last year to 94-97 during summer camp, while his slider ticked up to become a swing-and-miss pitch as well. He excelled against Padres big leaguers during an intrasquad game and has the organization buzzing with how much he has improved.
11. Joey Cantillo, LHP
12. Cole Wilcox, RHP
13. Andres Munoz, RHP
14. Edward Olivares, OF
15. Owen Miller, 2B
16. Jake Cronenworth, SS
17. Hudson Potts, 3B
18. Tucupita Marcano, SS
19. Hudson Head, OF
20. Blake Hunt, C
21. Jorge Mateo, SS
22. Reggie Lawson, RHP
23. Reggie Preciado, SS
24. Justin Lange, RHP
25. Owen Caissie, OF
26. Joshua Mears, OF
27. Javy Guerra, RHP
28. Jeisson Rosario, OF
29. Tirso Ornelas, OF
30. Jorge Ona, OF
The Padres’ collection of lefthanded pitching prospects is the best in baseball with Gore, Morejon, Weathers, Cantillo and sleeper Omar Cruz. Tatis in the majors and Abrams and Arias in the minors give them an enviable shortstop crop, as well.
For a team that perennially struggles to score runs and is trying to win now, the Padres don’t have many impactful hitters in their system who can help soon. Trammell’s offensive contributions will depend on if his swing changes hold, while none of Abrams, Campusano, Hassell or Arias have played above the Class A levels. Upper-level position players Edward Olivares, Owen Miller, Jake Cronenworth and Jorge Mateo project as contributors more than everyday players, although Olivares is trending up and Miller has a track record of exceeding expectations.
PLAYER POOL TIDBITS
The Padres included 13 of their top 15 prospects entering the season in their player pool as well as 2020 draftees Hassell and Wilcox. The only two they omitted, righthanders Andres Munoz and Reggie Lawson, had Tommy John surgery in the spring. OF Hudson Head and INF Tucupita Marcano were also included despite having yet to play above the Class A levels and showed exciting flashes against big leaguers in summer camp
RHPs Andres Munoz and Reggie Lawson had Tommy John surgery in the spring and will be out until 2021.
RHP Anderson Espinoza is throwing bullpen sessions in Arizona and has been up to 94-96 mph. He improved his conditioning following his second Tommy John surgery and has gotten noticeably stronger.