BA Newsletter: Get Analysis, Rankings Delivered To Your Inbox!

San Diego Padres

Prospects Overview

Top 30 Prospects

Click prospect for player report

Prospect Lists

Best Tools

Top Prospects of the Decade
(Listed with 2022 organization)

Top Draft Picks of the Decade
(Listed with 2022 organization)

Player Reports

  1. 1. CJ Abrams | SS
    CJ Abrams
    Born: Oct 3, 2000
    Bats: L Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'2" Wt.: 185
    Drafted/Signed: HS--Roswell, Ga., 2019 (1st round).
    Signed By: Tyler Stubblefield.
    Minors: .314/.364/.507 | 7 HR | 10 SB | 140 AB

    BA Grade: 65/High

    Track Record: Abrams long stood out as one of the best and most athletic players for his age in high school and made a big impression when he took over center field for USA Baseball's 18U National Team and made the position look easy despite never playing it before. He followed with a sensational senior spring, and the Padres were thrilled when he fell to them at the sixth overall pick in 2019. They lured him away from an Alabama commitment with a $5.2 million signing bonus, and by the end of that first pro summer, Abrams had won the Rookie-level Arizona League's MVP award after batting .401 and earned a promotion to Low-A Fort Wayne. That assignment, however, was halted after just two games due to a shoulder injury. Abrams spent 2020 at the Padres' alternate training site and made his full-season debut at Double-A San Antonio in 2021, where he got off to a hot start before fracturing his left tibia and spraining his left MCL in a collision with second baseman Eguy Rosario in late June, ending his season. Abrams recovered in time to get back on the field in instructional league but bruised his left shoulder while sliding into a base, an injury that prevented him from participating in the Arizona Fall League.

    Scouting Report: When he is on the field, Abrams stands out for all the right reasons. He has a flat, fluid swing and elite hand-eye coordination—thanks in large part to the various contraptions his dad devised during his youth—that allow him to hit any type of pitch no matter where it's located. He expanded the strike zone a bit much in his first stint at San Antonio, which is not all that surprising given that he was essentially jumping from rookie ball all the way to Double-A. At his best, he has a keen eye for the zone and takes borderline pitches like a seasoned veteran. Abrams' frame is long and lean, but he's no slap hitter. He makes loud contact off the barrel and can drive the ball out to all fields. It's not out of the question for him to develop 20-home run power as he matures. Abrams' 80-grade speed allows him to regularly beat out infield singles and will make him an elite base-stealing threat once he learns pitchers' tendencies. Defensively, Abrams has plus range at shortstop. He doesn't always show off his above-average arm, but he has a plus internal clock and tends to save his bullets for when they're needed. He has gotten more reliable at making the routine plays and will make the occasional highlight-reel play. While it's easy to compare Abrams to the last shortstop to rise quickly through the Padres' system, the similarities are few. Where Fernando Tatis Jr. seems to play with his hair on fire, Abrams is a low-motor player whose actions often appear effortless. Tatis' presence means Abrams is likely destined for a position change. He has the athleticism and aptitude to make the transition to second base or center field when the time comes.

    The Future: For all his talent, Abrams has just 348 plate appearances in three seasons and needs at-bats. If he can stay healthy, he should become a dynamic table-setter in front of Tatis and Manny Machado in the Padres' lineup.

    Scouting Grades: Hit: 70. Power: 50. Run: 80. Fielding: 60. Arm: 55.

  2. 2. Robert Hassell | OF
    Robert Hassell
    Born: Aug 15, 2001
    Bats: L Throws: L
    Ht.: 6'2" Wt.: 195
    Drafted/Signed: HS--Thompson's Sta., Tenn., 2020 (1).
    Signed By: Tyler Stubblefield.
    Minors: .304/.376/.466 | 8 HR | 19 SB | 247 AB

    BA Grade: 60/High

    Track Record: Hassell starred in the Little League World Series and led USA Baseball's 18U national team to a silver medal at the 2019 World Cup with a .514 batting average. The Padres drafted him eighth overall in 2020 and signed him away from a Vanderbilt commitment for $4.3 million. Hassell reported to the alternate training site after signing and got at-bats in big league spring training games in 2021 before making his official pro debut. He lived up to his reputation as a premium hitter by batting .323/.415/.482 at Low-A Lake Elsinore and received a late promotion to High-A Fort Wayne.

    Scouting Report: Hassell's loose, all-fields swing is already perfectly geared for contact. He's a consensus plus hitter who controls the strike zone, covers the entire plate and hangs in well against lefties in a way that is rare for a young lefthanded hitter. With a thin, 6-foot-2, 182-pound frame, Hassell has endured questions about his power potential for years, but he is learning to backspin the ball and pull the appropriate pitches. Until his average power manifests in games more consistently, the Padres are content to hit him atop the order, where he's an on-base machine and a stolen base threat with his above-average speed. Hassell is a natural center fielder who is light on his feet and has the above-average arm strength to play any outfield position. He plays with a chip on his shoulder and isn't afraid to voice it.

    The Future: Hassell is on the fast track and could reach Double-A as a 20-year-old in 2022. He's an all-star in the making if he unlocks his 15-20 homer potential.

    Scouting Grades: Hit: 60. Power: 45. Speed: 55. Fielding: 55. Arm: 55.

  3. 3. MacKenzie Gore | LHP
    MacKenzie Gore
    Born: Feb 24, 1999
    Bats: L Throws: L
    Ht.: 6'4" Wt.: 197
    Drafted/Signed: HS--Whiteville, N.C., 2017 (1st round).
    Signed By: Nick Brannon.
    Minors: 0-0 | 0.00 ERA | 7 SO | 0 BB | 5 IP

    BA Grade: 55/Extreme

    Track Record: The top pitching prospect in the game heading into 2020, Gore has seen his stock fall as far as anyone's since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. His mechanics fell out of sync at the alternate training site in 2020 and he looked like a shell of himself in 2021 at Triple-A El Paso, where he posted a 5.85 ERA in six starts before being demoted to extended spring training. Gore spent two months at the Padres' complex in Peoria, Ariz. addressing his mechanical deficiencies and finished the season on an upswing, but he was still hit and miss in the Arizona Fall League with a 6.35 ERA in three starts.

    Scouting Report: A plus fastball has always allowed Gore's secondaries to play up. Without that pitch in prime shape, his game fell apart. His arm was late, his elbow was dipping below his shoulder upon release, his velocity was down and his secondaries—a mid-80s slider, a 1-to-7 curveball and a sinking changeup, all of which have flashed plus—backed up. Gore resurfaced in mid August with the athleticism and quickness back in his signature leg kick and quieted some of the upper body movement in his windup. The result was his fastball again sitting in the mid 90s and touching 98, which in turn helped his secondaries. Gore's command remains inconsistent and he still battles his mechanics at times, but his misses off the plate were much smaller after he returned.

    The Future: The Padres still believe Gore is a potential front-of-the-rotation starter, but he'll have to improve his command to approach that ceiling. He was added to the 40-man roster in November and is in position to make his big league debut in 2022.

    Scouting Grades: Fastball: 60. Slider: 60. Curveball: 55. Changeup: 55. Control: 45.

  4. 4. Luis Campusano | C
    Luis Campusano
    Born: Sep 29, 1998
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 5'11" Wt.: 232
    Drafted/Signed: HS--Augusta, Ga., 2017 (2nd round).
    Signed By: Tyler Stubblefield.
    Minors: .333/.399/.500 | 5 HR | 0 SB | 174 AB

    BA Grade: 55/Medium

    Track Record: The first catcher selected in the 2017 draft, Campusano overcame a pair of early concussions to win co-MVP honors in the High-A California League in 2019. A year later, Campusano hit his way from the alternate training site to the majors and homered in his debut, but a wrist injury quickly ended that stint. Austin Nola's broken finger pushed Campusano onto the Opening Day roster in 2021, but struggles at the became a drain on his playing time and ultimately pushed him back to Triple-A El Paso. He had 15 homers and a .906 OPS in 81 games for the Chihuahuas before an oblique injury ended his season.

    Scouting Report: Campusano's bat remains his calling card. He is an immensely strong hitter who makes loud contact from foul pole to foul pole and projects as a middle-of-the-order threat who hits for both average and power. He has demonstrated excellent strike-zone control at his best, although he's been too aggressive during his time in the majors. Defensively, Campusano is an athletic backstop who's improved his blocking significantly since joining the system. Improving his framing has long been a point of emphasis, but Padres officials were pleased with the strides he made last year. He has above-average arm strength, although accuracy remains inconsistent. Something of an introvert, Campusano has to work to assert himself in game-planning alongside fellow pitchers. Maturity questions also persist following a 2020 arrest for felony marijuana possession, although prosecutors ultimately dropped the charges.

    The Future: With Nola under team control through 2025, Campusano has time on his side to develop into the Padres' long-term answer at catcher. He'll try to force his way into the team's plans in 2022.

    Scouting Grades: Hit: 50. Power: 55. Speed: 30. Fielding: 50. Arm: 55.

  5. 5. James Wood | OF
    James Wood
    Born: Sep 17, 2002
    Bats: L Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'7" Wt.: 240
    Signed By: John Martin.
    Minors: .302/.420/.527 | 6 HR | 11 SB | 129 AB

    BA Grade: 55/Extreme

    Track Record: Wood grew up in Maryland before moving to Florida to hone his baseball skills at IMG Academy. Elevated strikeout totals as a senior sank his draft stock, but the Padres still viewed him as one of the biggest upside plays in the draft. They selected him in the second round, No. 62 overall, and gave him a $2.6 million signing bonus—nearly double the recommended slot amount— to lure him away from a Mississippi State commitment. Wood rewarded their faith with a standout showing in the Rookie-level Arizona Complex League in his pro debut, batting .372/.465/.535 and showing a dynamic combination of power and athleticism.

    Scouting Report: The son of former college basketball standout Kenny Wood, Wood is a uniquely gifted and coordinated athlete for a 6-foot-7 teenager. He generates easy plus-plus raw power from a swing that isn't as long as you'd expect from a big man. He is still prone to striking out, but after the Padres widened his stance and asked him to stand more upright in the box, his bat path flattened out and his swings and misses went down substantially. He has a chance to be an average hitter who gets to his power in games as long as he maintains his adjustments. Wood is a surprisingly smooth runner in center field. He'll remain there as long as he proves he can handle the position, but he'll likely end up in right field, where he projects to be an average defender with an average arm.

    The Future: Wood will head to Low-A Lake Elsinore in 2022. He has 30-35 home run potential and has a chance to be a prototypical middle-of-the-order threat.

    Scouting Grades: Hit: 45. Power: 65. Speed: 55. Fielding: 50. Arm: 50.

  6. 6. Jackson Merrill | SS
    Jackson Merrill
    Born: Apr 19, 2003
    Bats: L Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'3" Wt.: 195
    Signed By: Danny Sader.
    Minors: .455/.500/.667 | 2 HR | 6 SB | 66 AB

    BA Grade: 55/Extreme

    Track Record: Merrill didn't attend many of the top showcase events during the summer of 2020 and was subsequently viewed as a popup prospect when he emerged last spring. The Padres, however, were on Merrill well before he tied a school record with 13 homers and were happy to select him 27th overall. Merrill signed for a below-slot $1.8 million to forgo a Kentucky commitment and held his own during his pro debut in the Rookie-level Arizona Complex League until a minor hip flexor injury ended his season. He returned healthy in time to participate in instructional league.

    Scouting Report: Merrill had a huge growth spurt and added nearly 30 pounds in the months leading up to the draft. The added strength gave him plus raw power, which is now his main selling point. Merrill's solid bat speed and feel for hitting intrigued the Padres over multiple workouts, where they tested him against the type of high-velocity pitching he did not see regularly in Maryland's prep circuit. He is still rather raw against spin and will need to learn to turn on pitches to unlock his power potential, but he has the raw ingredients to hit for both average and power. Merrill could very well outgrow shortstop, but he has the average speed, soft hands and above-average arm strength to at least start his career at the position.

    The Future: Merrill will make his full-season debut at Low-A Elsinore in 2022. At worst, the Padres see him developing into a multi-positional, lefthanded hitter in the mold of D-backs utilityman Josh Rojas.

    Scouting Grades: Hit: 55. Power: 55. Speed: 50. Fielding: 45. Arm: 55.

  7. 7. Adrian Morejon | LHP
    Adrian Morejon
    Born: Feb 27, 1999
    Bats: L Throws: L
    Ht.: 5'11" Wt.: 224
    Drafted/Signed: Cuba, 2016.
    Signed By: Chris Kemp/Trevor Schumm/Felix Feliz.
    Minors: 0-1 | 3.48 ERA | 15 SO | 2 BB | 11 IP

    BA Grade: 55/Extreme

    Track Record: The Padres' biggest prize from their 2016-17 international spending spree, Morejon became a prospect to watch on Cuba's junior national team and signed with the Padres for a franchise-record $11 million. Various injuries have since limited him to 196.1 innings over five years as a pro, including an elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery last April after he opened the year in the Padres' starting rotation.

    Scouting Report: Morejon has premium stuff from the left side that includes a 94-96 mph fastball that can touch 99 with ease, albeit with scattershot command. Morejon pairs that offering with a sweeping, 79-82 mph curveball, two variations of a changeup—a traditional one with sink and run and a diving knuckle-change that gets swings and misses—an emerging slider and a sinker he began throwing in 2021. Morejon has spent most of his big league time in the Padres bullpen, which might be his ultimate landing spot if he can't shake the durability concerns that have dogged him since he signed. He has now spent time on the injured list with injuries to his forearm, triceps, elbow and shoulder at various points and has yet to pitch more than 65 innings in a season.

    The Future: Morejon will be slow-played as he returns from surgery and is tentatively slated to return to the mound in the second half of the 2022 season. The Padres continue to dream of developing him as a starter, but that goal is a long way off.

    Scouting Grades: Fastball: 60. Slider: 45. Curveball: 60. Changeup: 55. Control: 40.

  8. 8. Robert Gasser | LHP
    Robert Gasser
    Born: May 31, 1999
    Bats: L Throws: L
    Ht.: 6'1" Wt.: 190
    Signed By: Kevin Ham.
    Minors: 4-8 | 3.82 ERA | 94 SO | 24 BB | 76 IP

    BA Grade: 45/High

    Track Record: A lefty with an 88-91 mph fastball in Houston's bullpen in 2020, Gasser hit the weights hard during the coronavirus shutdown and returned in 2021 throwing harder to emerge as the Cougars' staff ace. He logged a 2.63 ERA with 105 strikeouts in 85.2 innings to transform himself from a draft afterthought into a fast-riser, and the Padres drafted him 71st overall and signed him for $884,200. Gasser quickly moved to Low-A Lake Elsinore after signing and hit the ground running with a 1.20 ERA in 15 innings pitched.

    Scouting Report: Gasser's weight room gains improved his entire arsenal. His fastball now sits 90-93 mph with late run and can bump up to 95 when needed. His newly-sharpened slider is now an above-average pitch he can bury for swings and misses and he spots his average changeup well to give him a third quality offering. He is also developing a curveball, but it's more of a show-me pitch at this point. Gasser's best attribute is his plus control. He's able to spot his four-seam fastball up in the zone and can put his secondary pitches where he needs to get swings and misses. His stuff further plays up with a pause in his delivery he devised to throw off hitters' timing.

    The Future: Without overwhelming velocity or an imposing stature, Gasser could be a No. 4 or No. 5 starter. Because he's a polished lefty with pitchability, he's also a fair bet to reach that ceiling. He is set to open the 2022 season at High-A Fort Wayne and could pitch his way to Double-A San Antonio.

    Scouting Grades: Fastball: 50. Slider: 55. Curveball: 30. Changeup: 50. Control: 60.

  9. 9. Victor Acosta | SS
    Victor Acosta
    Born: Jun 10, 2004
    Bats: S Throws: R
    Ht.: 5'0" Wt.: 170
    Minors: .212/.311/.308 | 1 HR | 1 SB | 52 AB

    BA Grade: 50/Extreme

    Track Record: Acosta ranked as one of the top shortstops in the 2020-21 international signing class and signed with the Padres for $1.8 million, the highest bonus the club awarded that year. Acosta made his pro debut in the Dominican Summer League and made a strong first impression, finishing in the top 10 in the league in runs (45), triples (5), stolen bases (26) and on-base percentage (.431).

    Scouting Report: Acosta has a loud mix of tools and athleticism to dream on. Though he's 5-foot-11, he has plenty of twitch and strength in his compact build. The switch-hitter has fastball bat speed and natural loft in his lefthanded swing that produces surprising power for a player his size. His slashing, righthanded slashing swing is beginning to catch up to his lefthanded swing, giving him the potential to be an above-average hitter with above-average power. Acosta is a plus runner and plays with energy. He has a nose for the ball and is both quick and graceful at shortstop. His plus arm plays anywhere on the infield.

    The Future: Acosta is a projectable offensive talent who the Padres believe can stay at shortstop. He will make his stateside debut in the Arizona Complex League in 2022.

    Scouting Grades: Hitting: 55. Power: 55. Speed: 60. Fielding: 45. Arm: 60.

  10. 10. Samuel Zavala | OF
    Samuel Zavala
    Born: Jul 15, 2004
    Bats: L Throws: L
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 175
    Minors: .200/.200/.400 | 0 HR | 0 SB | 5 AB

    BA Grade: 50/Extreme

    Track Record: Zavala was regarded as one of the best pure hitters in the 2020-21 international signing class and signed with the Padres out of Venezuela for $1.2 million. Zavala made his pro debut in the Dominican Summer League after signing and did not disappoint, hitting for both average (.287) and power (25 extra-base hits in 55 games) while showing remarkable plate discipline for his age with nearly as many walks (32) as strikeouts (36).

    Scouting Report: Zavala has long possessed a knack for finding the barrel with a smooth, whip-like swing. He doesn't have the brute strength of some other teenagers, but he has added more power and loft to his swing as he's matured physically and could wind up with average power to go with his above-average hitting ability tools. Zavala is bilingual and a heady player, leading the Padres to believe he will adjust quickly as he faces more advanced pitching. Zavala is only an average runner, but his advanced instincts help compensate for his speed and the Padres view him as a true center fielder. His above-average arm strength allows him to play all three outfield positions.

    The Future: Zavala will make his U.S. debut in the Arizona Complex League in 2022. He and Victor Acosta give the Padres two, low-level prospects who could blossom into everyday regulars, if not more.

    Scouting Grades: Hitting: 55. Power: 50. Speed: 50. Fielding: 55. Arm: 55.

  11. 11. Steven Wilson | RHP
    Steven Wilson
    Born: Aug 24, 1994
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'3" Wt.: 185
    Signed By: Tim Reynolds.

    BA Grade: 40/Medium

    Track Record: A 35th-round pick of the Phillies out of high school, Wilson missed his freshman year at Santa Clara with a shoulder injury and his senior year after having Tommy John surgery. Granted a sixth-year of eligibility, he emerged as the Broncos' best starter and signed with the Padres for $5,000 as an eighth-round pick in 2018. Wilson moved to the bullpen as a professional and raced to Triple-A in his first full season, but he's since been sidetracked by injuries, including a right oblique strain and a sprained right foot in 2021. He was lights-out in 10 scoreless appearances for Escogido in the Dominican League after the season and was added to the 40-man roster.

    Scouting Report: Wilson dominates on the mound when he's healthy. His fastball sits 93-96 mph with late movement and carry at the top of the strike zone. He pairs it with an average mid-80s slider that he commands well. Both pitches get swings and misses and he relies on them heavily, but he will also flash an average changeup that neutralizes lefties. An intelligent pitcher who was working toward a masters degree in business analytics when he signed, Wilson's ability to out-think a hitter is also a strength.

    The Future: Wilson is a low-cost replacement option to fill one of multiple openings in the Padres bullpen in 2022. That's provided he remains healthy.

  12. 12. Robert Suarez | RHP
    Robert Suarez
    Born: Mar 1, 1991
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'2" Wt.: 210
    Signed By: A.J. Preller.

    BA Grade: 40/Medium

    Track Record: Suarez posted 1.71 ERA in 47.1 innings in the Mexican League in 2015 but had never been part of an MLB organization when he signed with Softbank in Japan after the season. He missed all of 2017 after having Tommy John surgery and moved on to Hanshin, where he had a 1.16 ERA and 45 saves in 2021 and did not allow a home run in 62.1 innings. Suarez exercised his option to become a free agent and signed a two-year, $11 million contract with the Padres right before the lockout began in December.

    Scouting Report: Suarez has an imposing presence on the mound and aggressively goes after hitters with his plus-plus fastball. His fastball lives at 96-97 mph and touches 101 with late explosion and ride, and he throws it in all quadrants of the strike zone. Suarez developed an 88-92 mph split-changeup in Japan that flashes plus and has become his go-to secondary offering. He relied on a short, tilting slider early in his career, but it's now mostly a chase pitch. Suarez attacks the strike zone with plus control and posted a career-low walk rate of 1.2 per nine innings in 2021.

    The Future: Suarez will step right into the Padres' bullpen in 2022. He has a chance to emerge as a high-leverage option quickly.

  13. 13. Esteury Ruiz | OF
    Esteury Ruiz
    Born: Feb 15, 1999
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 169
    Drafted/Signed: Dominican Republic, 2015.
    Signed By: Edys De Oleo (Royals).
    Minors: .346/.477/.588 | 13 HR | 56 SB | 272 AB

    BA Grade: 45/High

    Track Record: Ruiz signed with the Royals for $100,000 and broke out when he won the 2017 Arizona League MVP award. The Padres acquired him in the middle of that season in the trade that sent Trevor Cahill and Brandon Maurer to Kansas City. Ruiz struggled with strikeouts and moved from second base to the outfield over three difficult seasons following the trade, but he re-emerged as a prospect at Double-A San Antonio in 2022.

    Scouting Report: Ruiz is a sleek, athletic player with plenty of tools. He has surprising plus raw power for his frame and possesses elite instincts that make him a prolific basestealer despite average speed. Ruiz's power-speed combination is enticing, but he long struggled to make contact with a long, uphill swing and poor strike-zone discipline. He overhauled his approach in 2022 and improved his pitch selection, cut down his chases and increased the number of pitches he was seeing, resulting in a rebound campaign. Ruiz is still learning to play center field after his hard hands made him unplayable in the infield. His reads and jumps are only fair but could improve with more experience. His arm is below-average.

    The Future: Ruiz's improved approach has made him an unexpected callup option. If his improvements hold, he may hit enough to play every day.

  14. 14. Kevin Kopps | RHP
    Kevin Kopps
    Born: Mar 2, 1997
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 200
    Signed By: Steve Moritz.
    Minors: 1-1 | 5.47 ERA | 25 SO | 21 BB | 25 IP

    BA Grade: 45/High

    Track Record: Kopps missed all of 2018 at Arkansas after having Tommy John surgery and struggled during the shortened 2020 season, but he rebounded with a historic season for the Razorbacks in 2021. He went 12-1 with 11 saves, 131 strikeouts and an NCAA-best 0.90 ERA in 89.2 innings as a super reliever and won the Golden Spikes Award. As a sixth-year senior who was already 24 years old, Kopps fell to the Padres in the third round of the draft. He signed for a below-slot $300,000 and finished the year in Double-A San Antonio's bullpen.

    Scouting Report: Kopps relies overwhelmingly on one pitch: a gyro-like cutter/slider in the mid-80s with downward break. He throws nearly 75% of the time and batters still struggle to hit it even when they know it is coming. Kopps locates the pitch extremely well and batters have trouble identifying it with the way it tunnels off of his 88-82 mph fastball. Kopps occasionally mixes in a below-average curveball that sits in the mid-70s and has toyed with a fringe-average changeup, but his slider is what determines his success.

    The Future: Kopps will turn 25 before Opening Day and doesn't have much development left. He'll likely start the year in the upper levels and could crack the Padres bullpen by the end of the season.

  15. 15. Jarlin Susana | RHP
    Jarlin Susana
    Born: Mar 23, 2004
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'6" Wt.: 235
    Minors: 0-0 | 1.84 ERA | 19 SO | 5 BB | 15 IP

    BA Grade: 50/Extreme

    Track Record: Once the pandemic hit, Major League Baseball shut down international scouting until Sept. 2020. When that happened, Susana emerged showing electric stuff for a 16-year-old, running his fastball up to 96 mph. Susana would have been eligible to sign on Jan. 15, 2021, but with teams having committed most of their bonus pool money for that signing period already, Susana opted to wait another year to sign with the Padres on Jan. 15, 2022.

    Scouting Report: Once a long, lean pitcher, Susana has bulked up to 6-foot-6, 235 pounds and added more velocity, with a chance to reach triple digits. He now sits around 93-96 mph, touching 98 mph. Susana throws two breaking balls, the best of which is a power slider around 86-88 mph with sharp bite and is a potential plus pitch. His slider and curveball shape can blend together at times, but he shows feel for his curveball and rounds out his repertoire with an 86-89 mph changeup that has sink and fade.

    The Future: Susana is still years away from the big leagues with plenty of risk, but has the raw stuff that stacks up well among the top 18-year-old high school seniors eligible for the 2022 draft. He should make his pro debut in 2022 in the Rookie-level Arizona Complex League.

  16. 16. Jairo Iriarte | RHP
    Jairo Iriarte
    Born: Dec 15, 2001
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'2" Wt.: 160
    Signed By: Luis Prieto/Chris Kemp.
    Minors: 2-4 | 4.89 ERA | 63 SO | 29 BB | 50 IP

    BA Grade: 50/Extreme

    Track Record: Iriarte stood 6-foot-2 and weighed 160 pounds when he signed with the Padres for $75,000 in 2018 out of Venezuela. He had a growth spurt and packed on muscle after signing and now stands an imposing 6-foot-5, 200 pounds. Iriarte showed well in the Dominican Summer League after he signed and was pitching in the Arizona Complex League in 2021 when the Padres pushed him to Low-A Lake Elsinore after the Storm lost multiple players to Covid-19 protocols. Iriarte wasn't ready for the assignment and got hit hard, but still showed enough to emerge as a sleeper.

    Scouting Report: Iriarte's fastball sat 85-87 mph when he signed but now sits 95-97 after his explosive growth spurt. His fastball plays up with carry through the top of the strike zone and his 86-87 mph changeup with late fade has the makings of a future plus pitch. Iriarte's 83-85 mph slider could become above-average and gives him the three-pitch mix to be a starter. Iriarte's stuff is mostly potential at this point and he is still very raw as a pitcher. He got shelled for 25 hits and 27 earned runs in nine innings at Lake Elsinore and has a long way to go. His control is fringy and needs work.

    The Future: The Padres see Iriarte as a starting pitching prospect who just needs reps. His stuff could make him a hard-throwing reliever if his control doesn't come.

  17. 17. Victor Lizarraga | RHP
    Victor Lizarraga
    Born: Nov 30, 2003
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'4" Wt.: 180
    Drafted/Signed: Mexico, 2021
    Minors: 3-1 | 3.76 ERA | 51 SO | 25 BB | 53 IP

    BA Grade: 50/Extreme

    Track Record: Lizarraga ranked as Mexico's best pitching prospect in the 2020-21 international class and signed with the Padres for $1 million. His advanced feel for pitching led the Padres to challenge him with an assignment to the Arizona Complex League where, at age 17, he was the second-youngest player in the circuit. Lizarraga finished the season on an impressive run—11.1 innings, one run, six walks, 18 strikeouts—after a three-week reset following two deaths in his family just days apart.

    Scouting Report: Long, lean and athletic, Lizarraga is a projectable teenage righthander who is a good bet to add strength and velocity as he fills out. His fastball presently sits 90-94 mph and he pairs it with an upper-70s curveball that has average potential. He rounds out his arsenal with a fading changeup he throws with conviction and confidence to give it above-average potential. Lizarraga walked more batters than expected in his pro debut, but the Padres expect his control to improve to average in pro ball.

    The Future: Lizarraga was essentially a high school junior when the Padres jumped him over the Dominican Summer League to start his career in the U.S. His career can break a lot of different ways, but his three-pitch mix gives him the foundation to stick in a starting rotation.

  18. 18. Jose Azocar | OF
    Jose Azocar
    Born: May 11, 1996
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 185
    Signed By: Pedro Chavez.

    BA Grade: 40/Medium

    Track Record: Azocar signed with the Tigers for $110,000 as a raw 16-year-old out of Venezuela in 2012. He played seven seasons in the Tigers system, topping out at Double-A, and signed with the Padres as a minor league free agent. Azocar blossomed in his first year in the Padres system in 2021, leading the minors with 14 triples and stealing 32 bases between Double-A and Triple-A. He made the Padres 2022 Opening Day roster and singled in his first at-bat on April 9.

    Scouting Report: Azocar is an aggressive hitter who hunts fastballs early in counts. He has some natural feel for contact, but his below-average power and propensity for chasing pitches limit him to a below-average hitter. Azocar primarily shines on defense. He has plus speed and range in all directions and has a plus-plus, accurate arm that has yielded in 49 assists in his eight seasons. He is a plus defender in right field and a playable defender in center. Azocar's speed plays on the basepaths, allowing him to leg out triples and be a stolen-base threat.

    The Future: Azocar broke camp with the Padres as a reserve outfielder. That projects to be his role moving forward.

  19. 19. Eguy Rosario | 2B
    Eguy Rosario
    Born: Aug 25, 1999
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 5'9" Wt.: 150
    Drafted/Signed: Dominican Republic, 2015.
    Signed By: Felix Feliz/Trevor Schumm/Chris Kemp.
    Minors: .268/.359/.484 | 13 HR | 13 SB | 287 AB

    BA Grade: 45/High

    Track Record: Rosario signed with the Padres for $300,000 on his 16th birthday and has generally been among the youngest players in his league every year. As such, he was overmatched in his early years, but he showed signs of life in the High-A California League in 2019 and had a breakout year at Double-A San Antonio in 2021. He led Double-A Central in doubles (31), tied for second in hits (118) and finished fifth in stolen bases (30), leading the Padres to add him to the 40-man roster after the season.

    Scouting Report: Rosario is surprisingly twitchy and athletic despite his round, stocky build. He has a short, quick righthanded swing and is best when his approach is aimed at shooting balls from gap to gap. He showed off his strength gains with the first double-digit homer campaign in 2021, but he is susceptible to pulling off balls when he tries to generate power. Rosario is an above-average runner who has improved his ability to put that speed to good use on the bases. He is playable at shortstop, but his range and actions fit better at second base or even third, where he can show off his nearly plus-plus arm.

    The Future: Rosario best profiles as a utility infielder. He'll start 2022 at Triple-A El Paso.

  20. 20. Michel Baez | RHP
    Michel Baez
    Born: Jan 21, 1996
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'7" Wt.: 237
    Drafted/Signed: Cuba, 2016.
    Signed By: Trevor Schumm/Jake Koenig.
    Minors: 4-1 | 2.05 ERA | 33 SO | 5 BB | 27 IP

    BA Grade: 40/Medium

    Track Record: Baez briefly pitched in Serie Nacional, Cuba's major league, as a teenager and signed with the Padres for $3 million in 2016 after he left the island. He reached the majors in 2019 and became a part of the Padres bullpen, but he regressed in 2020 and had Tommy John surgery during 2021 spring training. He returned to the mound in April with rehab appearances at Low-A Lake Elsinore and Double-A San Antonio.

    Scouting Report: Baez is physically huge at 6-foot-8, 220 pounds and possesses the high-octane stuff expected from a pitcher his size. His fastball sits 95-96 and touches 99 mph, although his inconsistent mechanics cause his velocity to fluctaute. His mid-80s changeup is an above-average pitch that plays well off his fastball. Baez's slider and curveball are both well below-average pitches and he struggles to keep his long limbs in sync, resulting in fringe-average control. He is also injury-prone and has missed time every season due to shoulder, back or elbow injuries.

    The Future: Baez will fit in the Padres bullpen with his fastball and changeup. He could be back there during the 2022 season.

  21. 21. Noel Vela | LHP
    Noel Vela
    Born: Dec 21, 1998
    Bats: L Throws: L
    Ht.: 6'1" Wt.: 165
    Signed By: Kevin Ham.
    Minors: 4-5 | 3.63 ERA | 72 SO | 35 BB | 57 IP

    BA Grade: 50/Extreme

    Track Record: Vela drew little attention in high school and was committed to Texas-Rio Grande Valley, but the Padres took a chance on him in the 28th round in 2017. The late-blooming Vela spent his first two professional seasons in the Rookie levels and came back from the coronavirus shutdown in tip-top shape. Finally sent out to full-season ball in 2021, Vela posted a 3.90 ERA and averaged 11 strikeouts per nine innings as he climbed from Low-A to High-A.

    Scouting Report: Vela's fastball has ticked up from the added strength gains to become an above-average weapon. His four-seamer now sits 91-95 mph and plays up with carry at the top of the strike zone. His fastball command is still raw, but he gets swings and misses when he locates it. Vela's curveball with 1-to-7 break flashes plus and is among the best curves in the system, while others prefer his deceptive, side-spinning changeup that shows above-average potential. Even with below-average control, Vela's arsenal plays against hitters on both sides of the plate. He limited lefties to a .135 batting average and righties to a .216 average in his full-season debut.

    The Future: Vela is likely to settle into a middle relief role, but the Padres are in no hurry to pigeonhole him. He'll see Double-A San Antonio in 2022.

  22. 22. Reiss Knehr | RHP
    Reiss Knehr
    Born: Nov 3, 1996
    Bats: L Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'2" Wt.: 205
    Drafted/Signed: Fordham, 2018 (20th round).
    Signed By: Jake Koenig.
    Minors: 4-4 | 7.89 ERA | 57 SO | 39 BB | 57 IP

    BA Grade: 40/Medium

    Track Record: A two-way player at Fordham, Knehr intrigued the Padres as a pitcher and signed for $80,000 after they selected him in the 20th round in 2018. While inconsistent in his full-season, Knehr was the darling of the Padres' 2020 instructional league and pitched his way to the majors in 2021. He appeared both in the rotation and out of the bullpen for the Padres' injury-ravaged staff and logged a 4.97 ERA in 29 innings.

    Scouting Report: Knehr packs a dangerous 1-2 punch with a high-spin, 93-95 mph fastball and an upper-80s changeup with horizontal break that has improved to become a plus pitch. He is still figuring out his mound presence and pitch usage, however. Lauded in the minors for an aggressive, bulldog mentality, Knehr spent much of his big-league time nibbling around the strike zone and was too reliant on his upper-80s cutter, the worst pitch in his arsenal. His changeup gets hit when he overcooks it, so he is working to choke off a bit more velocity. Knehr has tinkered with a curveball to add a bit more differential in his pitch speeds. His control has long been fringy.

    The Future: Knehr will likely open 2022 in Triple-A El Paso's rotation. He projects to be a long reliever or spot starter and will again be in the callup mix in 2022.

  23. 23. Raymond Kerr | LHP
    Raymond Kerr
    Born: Sep 10, 1994
    Bats: L Throws: L
    Ht.: 6'3" Wt.: 185
    Signed By: Jordan Bley (Mariners)
    Minors: 2-0 | 4.50 ERA | 24 SO | 12 BB | 16 IP

    BA Grade: 40/Medium

    Track Record: Kerr pitched Lassen (Calif.) JC to the verge of a conference title in 2017 and followed with a star turn in the Alaska Baseball League. He led the summer league with a 1.13 ERA and finished third with 48 strikeouts while touching 93 mph from the left side, leading the Mariners to sign him as an undrafted free agent for $5,000. Kerr initially worked as a starter, but he moved to the bullpen full-time in 2021 and vaulted to Triple-A. The Padres acquired him after the season as one of two prospects for Adam Frazier.

    Scouting Report: Kerr's stuff ticked up in relief to make him one of the minors' hardest-throwing lefthanders. His fastball averages 97 mph and touches 101 mph out a low arm slot that makes for a tough angle on hitters. The ball gets on batters quicker than they expect out of his low-effort delivery, resulting in late swings and misses. Kerr's sweeping 80-84 mph slider flashes average with late downward bite and is effective against lefties, while his changeup is a well below-average pitch he rarely uses. Kerr is an excellent athlete who throws down vicious dunks on a basketball court, but his control is just fringy.

    The Future: Kerr is on track to be a hard-throwing, lefthanded middle reliever. He should make his major league debut in 2022.

  24. 24. Joshua Mears | OF
    Joshua Mears
    Born: Feb 21, 2001
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'3" Wt.: 230
    Drafted/Signed: HS--Federal Way, Wash., 2019 (2nd round).
    Signed By: Justin Baughman.
    Minors: .201/.306/.487 | 10 HR | 3 SB | 154 AB

    BA Grade: 50/Very High

    Track Record: A relative unknown until a breakout senior year of high school, Mears went viral during 2021 spring training with a 117 mph home run off Rockies reliever Carlos Estevez in a Cactus League game. While he was overmatched for much of his stay in big league camp, Mears' power continued to play at Low-A Lake Elsinore for his first full professional season, at least when he was in the lineup. Mears missed time with a shoulder injury, a concussion and also spent time on the Covid-19 injured list. Even his push to make up for lost time at instructional league was halted when he fouled a bunt attempt off his face and broke his nose.

    Scouting Report: Checking in at a chiseled 6-foot-3, 242 pounds, Mears has 80-grade raw power and hits titanic home runs with remarkably little effort. The question is whether he will make enough contact to get to his power. Mears struck out in 39% of his plate appearances at Lake Elsinore with a lot of swings and misses in the strike zone, although he doesn't chase much and draws enough walks to be valuable even as a low-average hitter. Mears has surprising speed for a big man, prompting the Padres to give him exploratory looks in center field last year. His long-term landing spot is likely right field, where he projects to be an average defender with an average arm.

    The Future: Mears has the build, bat speed and plus-plus raw power that are easy to dream on. He'll head to High-A Fort Wayne in 2022 to see if he can stay healthy and get to his power in games against better pitching.

    Scouting Grades: Hit: 30. Power: 70. Speed: 45. Fielding: 45. Arm: 50.

  25. 25. Brandon Valenzuela | C
    Brandon Valenzuela
    Born: Oct 2, 2000
    Bats: B Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'3" Wt.: 230
    Drafted/Signed: Mexico, 2017.
    Signed By: Bill McLaughlin/Trevor Schumm/Chris Kemp.
    Minors: .214/.333/.343 | 5 HR | 0 SB | 210 AB

    BA Grade: 40/High

    Track Record: Valenzuela enjoyed a growth spurt after the Padres purchased his rights from the Mexican's League's Mexico City franchise for $100,000 and rose up the organizational depth chart after the Padres traded away most of their catching depth. Long thought of as a defense-first backstop, Valenzuela showed he could swing the bat too in his full-season debut in 2021. He hit .307/.389/.444 while showing increased power at Low-A Lake Elsinore and earned a late promotion to High-A Fort Wayne.

    Scouting Report: As a catcher, Valenzuela is heads and shoulders above his peer group in his ability to call a game, learn hitters' tendencies and manage a pitching staff. He has an innate ability to know who needs a pep talk and who needs a kick in the pants. He's an elite receiver and blocker with an above-average arm. Valenzuela's feet are not particularly quick, however, and there are questions about his conditioning. Getting in better shape could improve what he lacks in quick-twitch and help him at the plate, too. He has a strong eye for the strike zone and sprays the ball to all fields with a short, sound swing, but his bat speed is below-average and his power potential is fringy.

    The Future: Valenzuela profiles nicely as a backup catcher. He'll need to increase his bat speed to hit enough to start.

  26. 26. Efrain Contreras | RHP
    Efrain Contreras
    Born: Jan 2, 2000
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 5'10" Wt.: 185
    Drafted/Signed: Mexico, 2017.
    Signed By: Emmanuel Rangel/Bill McLaughlin.
    Minors: 0-3 | 5.14 ERA | 31 SO | 15 BB | 28 IP

    BA Grade: 45/Extreme

    Track Record: The Padres purchased Contreras' rights from the Mexican League's Veracruz franchise for $50,000 in 2017 and quickly realized they had a steal. Contreras finished eighth in the Low-A Midwest League in strikeouts in his pro debut in 2019 and drew high praise from general manager A.J. Preller at instructional league in 2020, but he walked off the mound at the end of instructs with an elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery. Despite not pitching in an official game in two years, Contreras was added to the 40-man roster in November.

    Scouting Report: A stout, stocky righthander with an advanced feel for pitching, Contreras was trending toward becoming a back of the rotation starter before his elbow injury. He locates three pitches for strikes in his 92-95 mph fastball, average downer curveball and fading, above-average changeup in the mid 80s. While none of his pitches are plus, they all play up with how he mixes and commands them. His fastball gets carry up in the zone and his curveball breaks sharply downward, giving him the north-south profile teams covet.

    The Future: Contreras was progressing through his throwing program over the winter in hopes of returning to games in 2022. He'll be just 22 on Opening Day and has time to recapture his momentum.

  27. 27. Corey Rosier | OF
    Corey Rosier
    Born: Sep 7, 1999
    Bats: L Throws: R
    Ht.: 5'10" Wt.: 184
    Signed By: Ty Holub (Mariners).
    Minors: .230/.365/.345 | 4 HR | 24 SB | 235 AB

    BA Grade: 40/High

    Track Record: Rosier led the Southern Conference in hits and triples and tied for the conference lead in runs and RBIs as a third-year sophomore in 2021. He also enjoyed a power surge with 12 home runs after hitting just three in his first 166 collegiate plate appearances. The Mariners drafted Rosier in the 12th round and signed him for $125,000, and he quickly hit his way to Low-A Modesto in a loud pro debut. The Padres were among the teams to take notice and acquired Rosier as one of two prospects for Adam Frazier after the season.

    Scouting Report: Rosier is a contact-oriented hitter with a simple approach and setup and a fluid lefthanded swing. He shows solid control of the strike zone and had nearly as many walks (18) nearly as strikeouts (22) with Modesto. Rosier's home runs were mostly to the pull-side in college and he could develop more pop, but he's a contact hitter first. Rosier's plus-plus speed is his best tool. He uses it efficiently to steal bases and covers ample ground in center field. He is an above-average defender in center and has plus arm strength that keeps runners from taking extra bases.

    The Future: Rosier is a solid bet to become at least an extra outfielder. He'll make his organizational debut at High-A Fort Wayne in 2022.

  28. 28. Nerwilian Cedeno | 3B/2B
    Nerwilian Cedeno
    Born: Mar 16, 2002
    Bats: B Throws: R
    Ht.: 5'11" Wt.: 175
    Signed By: Trevor Schumm/Luis Prieto.
    Minors: .282/.353/.410 | 1 HR | 8 SB | 117 AB

    BA Grade: 45/Extreme

    Track Record: Cedeño signed with the Padres for $300,000 out of Venezuela in 2018 and quickly emerged as a favored low-level sleeper candidate. Many believed Cedeño was primed for a breakout season in 2021, but he suffered a meniscus tear before spring training and didn't get on the field until late August. He hit .241/.354/.537 with 11 extra-base hits in 19 games in the Arizona Complex League after he returned and was a full participant in instructional league.

    Scouting Report: Cedeño boasts a line-drive approach and solid bat-to-ball skills as a young switch-hitter. He's a better hitter from the left side and does a solid job of not chasing out of the strike zone, although he swings and misses in the zone a bit much. Cedeño's strong forearms have the Padres believing he'll develop more power as he matures. He is an average runner with an average arm and has the potential to be an average defender across the infield. He primarily plays shortstop now but figures to settle in as a third baseman or an offensive-minded second baseman

    The Future: Cedeño will still be young for the league when he makes his way to Low-A in 2022.

  29. 29. Daniel Montesino | OF
    Daniel Montesino
    Born: Feb 12, 2004
    Bats: L Throws: L
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 180

    BA Grade: 45/Extreme

    Track Record: Montesino signed with the Padres for $1 million out of Venezuela when the 2020-21 international signing period opened, one of four players the Padres gave a seven-figure bonus. He made his pro debut in the Dominican Summer League after signing and was the Padres' most productive hitter on the team.

    Scouting Report: A left-handed hitter with a hanging leg kick, Montesino has a loose swing with good bat control and an all-fields approach. He has advanced pitch recognition for his age, giving him the early foundation to be a potentially above-average hitter. Montesino's broad shoulders stoke belief that he will develop plus power as he matures, although that requires a lot of physical projection. Montesino is firmly a bat-first prospect. He's a below-average runner and is likely headed to first base if he can't improve his reads and jumps in the outfield corners. He's less athletic than most of his peers.

    The Future: The Padres see Montesino as a middle-of-the-order threat, but he will have to take care not to lose his athleticism and bat speed as he matures. He'll make his stateside debut in 2022.

  30. 30. Matt Waldron | RHP
    Matt Waldron
    Born: Sep 26, 1996
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'2" Wt.: 185
    Signed By: Kyle Bamberger (Cleveland).
    Minors: 2-2 | 3.51 ERA | 39 SO | 11 BB | 49 IP

    BA Grade: 40/High

    Track Record: Cleveland drafted Waldron in the 18th round in 2019 and signed him for $5,000 before trading him to the Padres in the 2020 deal that sent Mike Clevinger to San Diego. Waldron started toying with a knuckleball during 2021 spring training and the low-spin floater intrigued the Padres, who convinced him to feature the weapon. Waldron rode the knuckler to a solid early showing at High-A Fort Wayne and a promotion to Double-A San Antonio before shoulder soreness sidelined him in August. He returned in the Arizona Fall League.

    Scouting Report: Previously, Waldron's repertoire was rather nondescript for a minor league righthander: a 92-94 mph fastball with a fringy slider and a fringy changeup. The introduction of his knuckleball, however, gives Waldron a chance to stand out. He throws two varieties of the floater, a low-80s one and a low-70s version. He moved to throwing his knuckleball 80% of the time as the season progressed. His control of his knuckleball is fringy, and the pitch tends to get hit as it flattens out late in games.

    The Future: Waldron should return to Double-A to start 2022.

View Players 11-30

Are you a member?

In order to access this exclusive content you must have a Baseball America Account. 

Login or sign up  


Additionally, you can subscribe to Baseball America's newsletter and receive all of our rankings, analysis, prospect insight & more delivered to your inbox every day. Click here to get started. 

of Free Stories Remaining