The Padres Path To The No. 1 Farm System
The Padres’ path to the No. 1 farm system was laid with three consecutive top 10 draft picks, a series of veteran-for-prospect trades and $80 million spent on the international amateur market in 2016-17.
Getting talented players into the organization was only the first step. In order to become the No. 1 farm system, the Padres’ player development staff had to successfully mold that talent.
“I think for all of our 70-plus staff members on our development side, it’s a great privilege to be working with this group of players that might not come around again in our baseball careers,” Padres farm director Sam Geaney said. “It’s also a huge responsibility. We don’t want to screw things up.”
As much as the organization’s amateur scouting, the Padres’ development staff has amassed a strong record of successfully preparing players for each level of the minors in recent years.
Top prospect after top prospect has successfully jumped from the Class A levels to the upper minors. That stream of successful ascensions is as responsible as any other factor for making the Padres’ system the best in the game, as well as one of the deepest systems of the decade.
“I’d like to think we have played a small part in kind of uncovering some of those guys with some of the work we have done and some of the programs we have put in place to kind of allow for some of the guys who were at the time they signed a fringier talent to blossom,” Geaney said. “We’ve definitely seen it, but it’s a collaborative effort between the scouting groups and us.”
The most visible effects of the player development department’s influence can be seen in the strength and conditioning of the Padres prospects.
Fernando Tatis Jr., Tirso Ornelas and Hudson Potts joined the Padres as big-bodied teenagers who scouts worried would slow down as they got older. Instead, all three have gotten quicker while continuing to add strength.
In the case of those and other players in the system, their physical development could have gone sideways and slowed their rise. Instead Padres prospects have developed into phenoms.
By and large, the Padres’ player development staff has successfully moved many of the system’s top prospects either to the majors or right to the cusp. Very shortly, they’ll be handing them off to the major league side, the mark of a job well done in player development.