San Diego Padres Breakout MLB Prospects Entering 2024


Entering 2024, we’re examining multiple Padres prospects on the verge of a breakout season. To qualify as a breakout prospect for this exercise, a player must rank outside the Top 10 Prospects in his organization entering the year.

You can find all of our preseason prospect rankings here and a link to breakouts for all 30 teams here.

Padres Top Prospects In 2024

We rank the top players in San Diego’s system entering the season complete with new scouting reports, tools, grades & more.

Breakout Prospects

Homer Bush Jr., OF

Preseason rank: 15
BA Grade: 45. Risk: High.

TRACK RECORD: The son of former Padres prospect and longtime major leaguer Homer Bush, the younger Bush was limited by a hamstring injury in high school and the coronavirus pandemic in college at Grand Canyon. With scouts flocking to see GCU shortstop and eventual first-round pick Jacob Wilson, Bush hit .370/.478/.500 while showing the elite athleticism to become a top draft prospect himself. The Padres drafted him in the fourth round and signed him for $511,600. Bush moved quickly in his pro debut and finished the year on Double-A San Antonio’s postseason roster.

SCOUTING REPORT: Bush is an 80-grade runner whose game revolves around his legs. He puts balls in play with a quick, level swing and uses his legs to beat out grounders and stretch singles into doubles. The Padres have asked him to improve his bunting to give him another weapon. Bush has a good sense of the strike zone and walked nearly as often as he struck out after being drafted. He hit just four home runs in three years in college, but the Padres believe he could reach double-digit home runs as he learns to backspin balls. Bush’s defense in center field is raw, but his speed allows him to outrun his mistakes and gives him a chance to be an above-average center fielder. He has exceptional makeup that provides optimism he’ll get the most from his abilities.

THE FUTURE: Bush has the potential to challenge for an everyday job as the Padres center fielder. He’ll open 2024 back at Double-A.

Scouting Grades
Hitting: 50. Power: 40. Run: 80. Fielding: 55. Arm: 45.

Braden Nett, RHP

Preseason rank: 19
BA Grade: 50. Risk: Extreme.

TRACK RECORD: Post-pandemic, the Padres have prized themselves on adding to smaller draft classes with undrafted free agents. Nett is quickly becoming the best of the bunch. Nett did not pitch in college, recorded just two outs in the Appalachian League and posted a 6.48 ERA in the MLB Draft League, but the Padres saw enough raw stuff to sign him for $10,000 after the 2022 draft. Shoulder weakness limited Nett’s first pro summer and he was inconsistent in the complex league and Low-A Lake Elsinore in 2023, but his command took a leap forward in the Arizona Fall League. He emerged as one of the AFL’s breakout prospects, was selected for the Fall Stars Game and started the league’s championship game.

SCOUTING REPORT: Nett is a wiry, 6-foot-3 righthander with a fresh, emerging arm. His fastball sits between 94-96 mph and touches 98 with late explosion and carry at the top of the strike zone. It’s a borderline plus-plus pitch he can blow by hitters. Nett’s best secondary offering is sweepy breaking ball with tight spin and good shape that projects to be an above-average pitch, although it’s inconsistent. He also flashes a below-average, rarely used changeup that is a bit firm in the low 90s. Nett’s effectiveness comes down to control. He jumps forward in an effortful delivery and is prone to losing his hat. His stuff plays with even below-average control, but it is often worse than that. 

THE FUTURE: Nett projects to be a hard-throwing reliever if he can throw enough strikes. He’ll see High-A Fort Wayne in 2024.

Scouting Grades
Fastball: 65. Slider: 55. Changeup: 40. Control: 40.

Jagger Haynes, LHP

Preseason rank: 30
BA Grade: 45. Risk: Extreme.

TRACK RECORD: Haynes played just one game his senior year due to the coronavirus pandemic, but then-Padres minor leaguer Seth Frankoff worked out with Haynes during the shutdown and recommended him to the club. The Padres drafted Haynes in the fifth round in 2020 and signed him for an above-slot $300,000. Haynes has struggled to stay healthy since signing. He had Tommy John surgery that delayed his pro debut until 2023 and pitched only 25.1 innings at Low-A Lake Elsinore while being hampered by blisters. He was scheduled to pitch in the Arizona Fall League after the season but was shut down with a balky shoulder.

SCOUTING REPORT: A tall, lanky lefthander, Haynes got stronger during his Tommy John rehab and saw his fastball velocity jump. His fastball sits 92-95, up from 87-91 mph in high school, and projects to be an above-average pitch as he gets stronger. His slurvy, 83-86 mph curveball flashes average, and he effectively sells his average, mid-80s changeup with fade. Haynes is a good athlete with a repeatable delivery and projects to have fringe-average control.

THE FUTURE: Haynes is talented but has to stay healthy to fulfill his back-of-the-rotation potential. He’ll move to High-A Fort Wayne in 2024.

Scouting Grades
Fastball: 55. Curveball: 50. Changeup: 50. Control: 45.

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