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The Padres went over slot to sign Wisler out of Bryan (Ohio) High in the 2011 draft, signing the seventh-rounder for $500,000. They would have paid much more than that had they waited for him to complete three years at Ohio State, because his performance in pro ball suggests he would have been a first-round pick in 2014. In fact, the area scout who identified Wisler's potential and signability, Mark Conner, now serves as Padres scouting director after being promoted to the position in November. He spent 2014 as Northeast regional supervisor for the club. Wisler breezed through Class A competition and dominated in 26 career starts at Double-A San Antonio in 2013 and 2014, going 9-5, 2.80 with a strikeout rate of 9.2 batters per nine innings, before meeting his first challenge in pro ball at Triple-A El Paso in 2014. Promoted to the Pacific Coast League in early May, Wisler pitched all season at age 21, and he's actually a few weeks younger than Noah Syndergaard (Mets) and Taijuan Walker (Mariners), two fellow precocious PCL righthanders with bright futures. Triple-A batters rocked Wisler for a 6.18 ERA and 11 homers in 55 innings through his first 11 starts in the hitter-friendly league, but he rebounded in the second half, going 5-1, 3.96 with 54 strikeouts and 15 walks in 61 innings over 11 starts. Wisler tops out at 96 mph and sits 92-94 with above-average sink on his two-seamer, riding life on his four-seamer and at least average present control of his entire repertoire. His plus, low-80s slider features tight break, both lateral and vertical, and projects as a true strikeout weapon when he spots it to both sides of the plate. He must locate his breaking ball more precisely and improve his arm action on a fringe-average, fading changeup to better combat lefthanders, who hit .291 and slugged .517 against him in the PCL in 2014. He also throws a slow curveball in the low 70s for a different look. A thoughtful, analytical pitcher, Wisler can be too much of a perfectionist at times, trying to hone all his pitches in-game, rather than going with what works best that particular start. Once Wisler learns to repeat his mechanics and arm slot, scouts expect that his overall control will play as plus, and he has walked just 2.4 batters per nine innings for his career. He logged 147 innings in 2014, even with the early struggles at Triple-A, and never has missed a start as a pro. Wisler's plus fastball and slider combo give him an absolute ceiling of No. 2 starter--if his changeup and command come up to average. Most scouts, however, feel more comfortable projecting him as a durable No. 3 on a pennant contender. Wisler could make the Padres rotation with a strong spring, but he probably faces at least a month at Triple-A in 2015.
Turner's decorated college career at North Carolina State validated his decision to turn down a $500,000 bonus offer as the Pirates' 20th-round pick in 2011. He led NCAA Division I with 55 stolen bases in 2012, then helped lead the Wolfpack to the College World Series in 2013, then blasted a career-high eight homers as a junior in 2014, prompting the Padres to select the shortstop with the 13th pick in the draft and sign him for $2.9 million. Turner showed off his feel to hit and running speed during his pro debut in 2014, batting .323/.406/.448 in 279 at-bats and stealing 23 bases in 27 tries, spending most of his time at low Class A Fort Wayne. He also showcased sure-handedness by committing just four errors in 50 games. Not the rangiest shortstop around, Turner has enough lateral quickness and arm strength to grade as at least a solid-average defender. He adjusted his swing each year at N.C. State to become more direct to the ball, but even with the constant tinkering and often long swing, his bat speed and double-plus foot speed enabled him to hit .342 in college and .323 so far as a pro. He has sneaky power to his pull side, but his pro approach will center more on wearing out the gaps and reaching base via hits and walks. If he continues to hit, Turner profiles as a top-of-the-order hitter and dependable shortstop for a contending club. If he doesn't, he could bat eighth and still provide positional value and contribute with his speed. He's ready for high Class A Lake Elsinore in 2015.
Renfroe tied for the Southeastern Conference lead with 16 home runs as a Mississippi State junior in 2013 while driving the Bulldogs to the College World Series finals. Sufficiently intrigued by Renfroe's incredible raw power, the Padres selected him 13th overall in that year's draft and signed him for $2.678 million. He led the high Class A California League with 16 home runs in the first half of 2014 before San Diego promoted him to Double-A San Antonio, where he struggled to access his power with the same frequency. Not many prospects have as much extra-base potential as Renfroe, whose uppercut swing, bat speed and double-plus power produced 21 homers and 33 doubles in 2014. Scouts expect him to continue mashing at higher levels once he learns to swing through the ball and hit it straightaway, rather than trying to loft everything to his pull side. His high strikeout rate is tenable because of his correspondingly high power production and walk rate, though his big leg kick and busy swing will cap his batting-average ceiling at about .250. An average runner, Renfroe plays plus defense in right field with good closing speed and a plus, accurate arm he used to rack up 16 assists in 2014. Renfroe fits the profile for an everyday right fielder with plus power production, plus arm strength and good range. He could move quickly once he puts Double-A behind him and could be a regular in San Diego by 2016.
The Padres tabbed Ross with the 25th overall pick in the 2011 draft, but not until 2014 did they know exactly what they got for their $2.75 million investment. A shoulder injury in 2012 cut his season in half, then he struck out just 5.8 batters per nine innings at low Class A Fort Wayne in 2013, a rate at odds with his pitch quality. Everything clicked into place in 2014 for Ross, the younger brother of Padres starter Tyson Ross, and he finished the season at Double-A San Antonio. Ross throws 91-93 mph fastballs from a loose, slightly crossfire delivery, and he muscles up to 96 when he needs it. He sinks the ball and runs it to his arm side well enough to record a 1.59 groundout/airout ratio in 2014 that ranked just outside the top 50 for qualified minor league starters. Ross throws two promising secondary weapons, including a plus slider in the low to mid-80s that he uses to back-foot lefties and expand the zone against righties. He throws a low-80s changeup with increasingly good arm speed and separation, and some scouts project the pitch to above-average. Ross began to show a killer instinct in the second half of 2014, going after batters with his best stuff rather than pitching to contact, and the strategy paid off with the best SO/BB ratio (3.7) of his career. Ross finished the 2014 season on the disabled list with what the Padres deemed illness and fatigue, but the progress he made indicates he has a ceiling as a No. 3 starter who might be a year away from contributing. Look for him to return to the Double-A level in 2015.
Signed for $3 million as a second-round pick out of high school in 2011, Hedges zoomed to Double-A San Antonio to finish the 2013 season, then headed back there for 2014. While his elite defensive skills distinguish him from other catchers his age, his bat needs to find another gear to allow him to contribute to a big league lineup. Hedges hit .250/.300/.400 in 220 at-bats during the first half of 2014 as a 21-year-old catcher at Double-A, and he looked for all the world like a future impact player. His production trailed off drastically in the second half, however, as he collapsed his back side and began swinging uphill, possibly as he wore down in the Texas heat under the strain of catching 106 games. When he's going well, Hedges employs a straightaway, line-drive hitting approach without an excessive number of strikeouts, and he could one day hit .260 with solid power production. Evaluators rave about Hedges' catch-and-throw skills, quick release and agility behind the plate. He's a plus receiver who blocks balls in the dirt adeptly with strong hands, and his plus arm and smooth footwork helped him gun down 38 percent of basestealers in 2014. Hedges will advance to Triple-A El Paso in 2015, and if he benefits from the confidence boost that hitting in the Pacific Coast League can bestow, he could be in line for a second-half callup to San Diego.
Fried and Harvard-Westlake High teammate Lucas Giolito become the seventh pair of prep teammates to be selected in the first round of the same draft in 2012. Now he and the Nationals' No. 1 prospect are linked for another reason after Fried had Tommy John surgery in late August 2014, almost exactly two years after Giolito had the same procedure. Fried came down with forearm soreness in spring training 2014 and didn't make his first appearance until July 3, when he began a rehab assignment. Five abbreviated, ineffective starts later and he was done for the year, with scouts seeing little trace of the same pitcher who showed promise at low Class A Fort Wayne in 2013. Fried has room to grow into his 6-foot-4 frame and possibly add to his 90-92 mph fastball that has topped out at 95 in pro ball. He shows uncommon feel for a power curveball with plus, 12-to-6 action and serious strikeout potential. Even when healthy in 2013, Fried had not mastered a changeup or thrown enough strikes (4.3 walks per nine innings) to maximize his stuff. The Padres commend Fried for fully committing to his Tommy John rehab regimen and expect him to be ready to pitch in games late in the 2015 season. With two potential plus pitches and an average third, he has a ceiling of No. 2 starter, though his spotty pro performance record and elbow surgery enhance his risk significantly.
Spangenberg missed large swaths of the 2012 and 2014 seasons while suffering from concussions and their aftereffects, but he returned to Double-A San Antonio in fine form in the second half of 2014, hitting .343 in 54 games to earn a September callup to San Diego. Drafted 10th overall in 2011 on the basis of his feel to hit (.296 career minor league average) and blazing speed, he added versatility to his game by starting at four positions in 2014. Spangenberg's bat still profiles best at second base, but his rigid infield actions and fringe-average arm make him an imperfect fit. His glove has come a long way in the past two seasons, however, to the point where scouts think he's now playable at the keystone, but he also started games in center field, left field and at third base in 2014. Spangenberg hits from a wide stance, and when he keeps his hips back, he excels at lining the ball to both gaps, while occasionally dropping down a drag bunt. His double-plus speed down the line ensures that he will hit for average so long as he makes enough contact and keeps the ball out of the air. His swing isn't geared for power, so more than a handful of home runs per year would be a surprise. Spangerberg has tools that will play in the big leagues, though he has just enough shortcomings that he might be best suited to a multi-positional role on a contender. For example, he could serve as a lefthanded-hitting complement to second baseman Jedd Gyorko in 2015.
Best power hitter. Best outfield arm. Most exciting player. Liriano has worn many crowns in the Padres system since signing for $300,000 in 2007, but until mid-August 2014 he had never played a game in the big leagues. He missed the entire 2013 season after having Tommy John surgery during spring training, but he showed no ill effects in 2014, producing his best season since Rookie ball by hitting .291/.362/.473 in 115 games, mostly at Double-A San Antonio. Built like a linebacker, Liriano has intriguing raw tools and an increasingly good idea how to put them to use, particularly his power, speed and arm strength. Between the minors and majors, he set career highs in 2014 with 15 home runs and 16 outfield assists, while stealing at least 20 bases for the fourth straight season. Liriano has the bat speed to drive any fastball out to any field, but his inability to resist offspeed pitches keeps his strikeout rate high and impedes his ability to hit for average, which should be a below-average tool for him. While not a blazer out of the batter's box, he has plus speed underway, a trait that gives him at least average range in right field. His plus arm plays up because of its accuracy. Liriano will spend most of 2015 gaining experience at Triple-A El Paso, which will give San Diego a better idea whether he profiles best as a complementary player or a run-producing corner bat.
Eflin pitches to his strengths like few pitchers his age. While many of his contemporaries have better raw stuff, the 2012 prep supplemental firstrounder has ranked among his league's leaders in ERA and walk rate in each of his two full seasons. After winning the low Class A Midwest League ERA title in 2013 (2.73), he ranked third in the California League in ERA (3.80) and fifth in walk rate (2.2 per nine innings) at high Class A Lake Elsinore in 2014. Eflin generates good downhill plane from a mature, 6-foot-4 frame, and he typically sits 90-92 mph with riding, sinking life to his arm side, while bumping 95 when he elevates his four-seamer. He keeps the ball on the ground by locating his pitches down in the zone, changing speeds and throwing a plus, low-80s changeup to any batter in any count. If Eflin had a reliable third pitch, he probably would have a higher strikeout rate, but his fringe-average cutter/slider hybrid doesn't typically fool batters with its minimal vertical break. Scouts see Eflin filling a big league role, with a ceiling of a durable No. 4 starter, because he commands the strike zone and works efficiently. Those same attributes make him less risky than other starters in his peer group, and he's ready for Double-A in 2015.
Until abruptly breaking the pattern in 2014, the Padres had moved Peterson methodically through the system, giving the former McNeese State shortstop/defensive back time to adjust to each new level. When San Diego needed a replacement for injured third baseman Chase Headley in April 2014, however, it called up Peterson from Double-A San Antonio, even though he had played exclusively shortstop in pro ball. While Peterson failed to hit during four stints with the Padres in 2014, going 6-for-53 (.113), he turned in a fine season at Triple-A El Paso, showing his trademark strike-zone discipline, barrel control and straightaway hitting approach. His simple, quick, lefthanded stroke and on-base ability will allow his hit tool to play near average, though his power will play only to the gaps. He sees the ball well against lefthanders and should not require a platoon partner. Peterson played plenty of second and third base at Triple-A and in the Arizona Fall League, and his average range, speed and arm strength would play better at those positions than at shortstop. Peterson has no carrying tool, but neither does he have a glaring weakness, and he profiles as a starting second baseman in the majors, possibly as soon as 2015.
An Angels third-round pick in 2012, Alvarez has had no trouble adjusting to pro ball, logging 13.4 strikeouts per nine innings, giving up two home runs and allowing a .197 opponent average through 98 minor league appearances. He didn't allow a run at Double-A Arkansas during the first half of 2014, though he also missed a month with a sore elbow. Not long after his return in late June, Alvarez joined the Padres--along with Taylor Lindsey, Elliot Morris and Jose Rondon--in the trade that sent Huston Street to the Angels. Alvarez works with two plus pitches that played against big league batters during a September callup in 2014. He averages 95 mph on his fastball and backs it with a two-plane, mid-80s slider that consistently stymies righthanders, who hit .117 against him in 2014 and .140 the year before. He throws a changeup infrequently, though like his control it grades as below-average because of a maxeffort delivery that finishes with limbs flying in seemingly every direction. Alvarez profiles as a quality big league setup man, though he could close if he can lower his walk rate. He's big league ready.
Perez injured his thumb during 2013 spring training and endured a lost year at short-season Eugene when he returned, but he's still right where he needs to be. He graduated high school a year early and attended Central Arizona JC in 2012, hitting .338 as an 18-year-old in a wood-bat conference. The Padres pounced on Perez in the third round of the 2012 draft, and two years later he's making them look smart. He tracks the ball well out of the pitcher's hand and has a knack for barreling the ball, with a picturesque lefthanded swing that delivers power to all fields. He ranked fourth in the low Class A Midwest League with 18 home runs and led the circuit with 95 RBIs in 2014. Scouts project Perez to be a plus hitter with at least average power production. He doesn't run well, and he lacks the lateral quickness to profile at second base, where he spent the most time in 2014, but his average arm will play at third base and his bat could possibly profile at first base. Look for Perez to move to high Class A Lake Elsinore in 2015.
Gettys entered the 2014 season with first-round helium, but a poor showing at the National High School Invitational left such an impression on scouting directors that he fell to the Padres at No. 51 overall in the second round. San Diego signed him for $1.3 million, then watched the athletic center fielder lead the Rookie-level Arizona League with 66 hits and rank second with 93 total bases. Gettys tempers excitement about his hitting potential with a high strikeout rate--28 percent in 2014--but few players generate the same kind of exit velocity off the bat. Hitting for above-average power should only be a matter of adding loft and backspin to his swing, which many believe will come with maturity. Gettys records double-plus run times in the 60-yeard dash, and he has a cannon of an arm that will play at any position. His speed, first-step quickness and nose for the ball serve him well as a plus defender in center field. A power/speed threat who might be the best athlete from his draft class, Gettys has tantalizing upside, which he will unlock if he enhances his pitch recognition and contact skills at low Class A Fort Wayne in 2015.
The Angels jumped Rondon from the Rookie-level Pioneer League in 2013 to high Class A Inland Empire in 2014, and the 20-year-old shortstop didn't miss a beat, hitting .319/.365/.409 to rank fourth in the California League batting race. He joined the Padres--along with R.J. Alvarez, Taylor Lindsey and Elliot Morris--in a mid-July deal that sent Huston Street to the Angels. Though not flashy, Rondon has at least average range to both sides, with the sure hands and the average, accurate arm to play shortstop passably in the majors. Outside of bat control, he has no outstanding offensive skill, with well belowaverage power and a contact-oriented, line-drive approach that could make him an average hitter. He's also a fringe-average runner who could lose a half step. Rondon probably would be stretched as a regular shortstop on a contender, though his attributes would seem to make him a fine utility candidate if he can learn to play second and third base. Double-A San Antonio will be the next step in 2015.
Hailing from the same Marina High program as Daric Barton, Bauers draws natural comparison with the long-time Athletics first baseman for his patient approach, lefthanded bat, fine defensive play and below-average power. A seventh-round pick in 2013, Bauers began 2014 in extended spring training before joining low Class A Fort Wayne in late April. He proceeded to hit .362 through the first half, but he regressed badly in the second. Bauers has power to his pull side, but his swing doesn't produce the loft or backspin for true power to all fields. Plus, his thick lower half and maxed-out frame leave little room to project physical gains. Bauers exercises advanced plate discipline, and he hits various pitch types with a direct-to-the-ball bat path, so he should continue to hit for average. He's also a smooth defender with an average arm. While he comes up short in some areas, Bauers possesses the all-important feel to hit, and he looks like a future second-division regular who will move up to high Class A in 2015.
Another half-season at low Class A Fort Wayne was just what speedster Smith needed in 2014 to establish himself as a potential leadoff man of the future. A 5-foot-9 lefthanded hitter with at least double-plus speed, he boosted his average by 30 points year over year in the Midwest League to earn a second-half bump to high Class A Lake Elsinore in 2014. Smith put his incredible speed to good use with a minor league-leading 88 stolen bases and a focus on bunting for hits. He also led the field by being caught stealing 26 times, and his 77 percent success rate ranked middle of the road for players with at least 20 steals in 2014. With bottom-of-the-scale power, Smith must continue to make more contact, but at age 21 he already controls the strike zone fairly well, for his 69 walks ranked 11th in the minors in 2014. Most scouts see him as an average center fielder, despite his speed, and his arm plays as below-average. Smith's physique and tools earn him comparisons with the Royals' Jarrod Dyson, and that's a reasonable ceiling for him to aim for as he tastes Double-A for the first time in 2015.
Kelly still showed the pitch quality in 2014 that has made him a six-time Top 10 Prospect. The trouble for him is that his pitch quantity has been lacking since he made 27 starts at Double-A San Antonio in 2011. He rocketed to the majors in 2012, the year he first encountered elbow soreness, but then he missed all of 2013 after having Tommy John surgery in spring training. More elbow trouble limited him to just four starts in 2014, and he has totaled 87 innings in the past three seasons. However, Kelly still tantalizes scouts with three above-average pitches that all play up to plus at various times. He generates big sink and running action on a 92-93 mph fastball that batters struggle to lift, and he backs up his heater with a sharp, down-breaking curveball and a changeup that plays well off his sinker. Kelly needs only to regain the same health he showed early in his career to reach his ceiling as a No. 3 starter. The Padres aren't counting on him in 2015, but he's still talented, and he's still on the 40-man roster.
Morris lost his sophomore year at Pierce (Wash.) JC to Tommy John surgery, but he returned in strong fashion in 2013 to become the Angels' fourth-round pick that year. Los Angeles traded him to the Padres a year later in the six-player trade that sent Huston Street to the Angels. A big-bodied, 6-foot-4 righthander with arm strength, Morris throws three average to a tick above pitches and keeps the ball off the barrel, allowing opponents to hit just .216 in 2014. He pitches with a solid-average, 91-93 mph fastball and the ability to work both sides of the plate, and he can reach 95 when he needs it. His slider and changeup could play to solid-average with continued refinement, and he generated his fair share of swings and misses with both pitches in 2014. Improved control would move Morris up the list, but as is, he's a potential No. 4 starter who will tackle Double-A competition at San Antonio in 2015.
Cordero's batting potential electrified scouts in 2013, when he led the Rookie-level Arizona League in slugging (.511). Much of that goodwill evaporated in 2014 when acute throwing problems led to 51 errors in 55 games at shortstop. Cordero hit just .188 in 24 games at low Class A Fort Wayne in 2014 before being reassigned to extended spring training in late April. He regrouped at short-season Eugene in the second half, showing above-average power--his nine homers tied for third in the Northwest League--but also a long swing that contributed to a strikeout rate of 29 percent. His present strength and frequent hard contact give him a chance to hit at least .250 with solid-average power if he reaches his ceiling. He runs well for his size, but despite a strong arm, his poor footwork, hard hands and scatter arm could move him to third base or, just as likely, right field. Cordero will try the Midwest League again in 2015.
The Angels, headed by scouting director Eddie Bane, evaluated Lindsey higher than the field when they selected him with the 37th overall pick in 2010. Los Angeles' new front office didn't value Lindsey to the same degree, so they didn't hesitate to trade the organization's preseason No. 1 prospect to the Padres in the July 2014 trade that brought them Huston Street. Lindsey makes frequent contact from an upright, lefthanded stance, driving the ball only to his pull side. A below-average runner, he projects to have an average feel to hit and below-average power production. He doesn't excite scouts with his defensive potential at second base, showing only enough range for the routine play and a below-average arm. He could play every day for a second-division team, but only if he hits in his second try at Triple-A in 2015.
Peterson, the younger brother of Mariners prospect D.J., led all low Class A Midwest League third basemen with 38 errors in 2014, while at the plate his production fell off a cliff after a hot start. He whips the bat through the zone with quick hands and regularly imparts backspin on the ball, which gives him above-average raw power. However, Peterson's over-aggressive approach leads to a lot of weak contact, and he hit just .199 in 61 second-half games in 2014. Scouts don't like his tentative actions or scattershot arm at third base and view him as a corner outfielder. He's a below-average runner, so Peterson's future value depends on how often he gets to his power. He would benefit from another run at low Class A in 2015.
The Pirates traded Dickerson to the Padres following the 2013 season--for Jaff Decker and Miles Mikolas--but his Padres career got off on the wrong foot when he severely sprained his ankle during 2014 spring training, then an MRI revealed that a cyst on his left heel could jeopardize his career if left untreated. Surgery and rehab kept him out until mid-July, but Dickerson hit well enough at Double-A San Antonio when he returned to earn a spot on the 40-man roster. He stays on the ball with a balanced lefthanded swing and makes enough hard contact to project as an average hitter with fringe-average power. He's a fringe-average defender in right field with an average arm and below-average speed, making first base his best position. Dickerson has the type of bat that could be useful in a part-time role.
The Padres rushed Smith to the big leagues after just six starts at Double-A San Antonio in 2013, but his development stalled in 2014 when he made two April starts, then missed the rest of the year with a forearm injury. He lacked the same zip on his pitches he had shown in 2013, when he regularly sat in the mid-90s. Smith still sits at 92 mph and can reach 95 with armside life, though now his below-average curveball looks even loopier, and he focuses more on throwing a sinker and changeup to complement his heat. Smith's physical 6-foot-4 frame and history of throwing strikes will keep him in the rotation--likely at Triple-A--for now, but his stuff probably would play up in a relief role.
Butler pitched sparingly at Marshall in 2011 and not at all for Northwest Florida State JC in 2012 before having Tommy John surgery and missing 2013. He returned to make 13 starts for Charlotte in 2014, showing velocity up to 97 mph, and he signed with the Padres for $186,900 as a seventh-round pick. San Diego shifted him to the bullpen, and he breezed to low Class A Fort Wayne in July on the strength of a heavy fastball that peaked at 101 mph and sat at 97-98. Butler throws a fringe-average changeup to lefthanders, but he's working to tighten a below-average slider to keep hitters honest.
Campos signed at age 23 then had Tommy John surgery after making his first pro appearance in 2011. He returned in fine form in 2013, reaching Double-A San Antonio and striking out 106 batters in 67 relief innings. Intrigued by his athletic delivery, plus fastball and feel for two secondary pitches, the Padres tried Campos as a starter 14 times at San Antonio in 2014, though he produced a 6.61 ERA. He saws off righthanders with a riding mid-90s fastball that can touch 98 mph out of the pen, while throwing a mid- 80s slider that regularly flashes plus and operates as a chase pitch. That he throws a mid-80s changeup that flashes average is a testament to his athleticism and delivery. Campos worked as a reliever at Triple-A El Paso and during a September callup, so that's the role he will reprise in 2015.
Lemond moved into the Rice rotation in time for conference play as a junior in 2014, but he made just five starts before suffering from elbow inflammation. The Padres selected him in the third round that June and signed him for $600,000, and he worked mostly as a starter during his pro debut at short-season Eugene. Lemond pitches with a plus 93-94 mph fastball he locates to both sides, and he's capable of reaching back for 96. He toned down use of his above-average spike-curveball in pro ball while working on a fringe-average changeup, though a long arm action might inhibit his feel for commanding his entire repertoire. His post-draft MRI came back clean, though, so the Padres intend to keep Lemond in the rotation as he advances to high Class A Lake Elsinore in 2015.
The 6-foot-7 Guerrero had sported a walk rate of 7.3 batters per nine innings in his career until 2014, when he provided a glimpse of his future potential in the first half at low Class A Fort Wayne. He struck out 42 in 36 innings while allowing opponents to hit .169 to earn a spot in the Futures Game. Guerrero tops out near 99 mph in each outing and pitches in the mid-90s with no apparent effort, though his fastball is true and his command the very definition of imprecise. Guerrero's low-80s slider flashes plus and is tough for batters on either side of the plate to handle when it nears the plate on a fastball plane with late action. His control must improve dramatically as he repeats high Class A Lake Elsinore in 2015.
On the one hand, Sampson throws three quality pitch types and still tops out near 97 mph. On the other, his performance track record at Triple-A is dreadful, thanks to poor control. The Padres shifted him to the bullpen after he ran up a 6.71 ERA through 12 starts at El Paso in 2014. His strikeout rate spiked in relief, but he didn't shake his location problems. Scouts blame a long arm swing, wrist wrap and hard-to-repeat mechanics for Sampson's poor control, but they remain interested thanks to a 93-95 mph fastball, big-breaking 12-to-6 curveball and fading mid-80s changeup. His secondary offerings play as solid- average at times, and he might thrive in the bullpen now that he no longer has to worry about pacing.
A supplemental first-round pick in 2012, Jankowski logged just 29 games at Double-A San Antonio in 2014 when a broken wrist in late April knocked him out for nearly three months. His ticket to the big leagues will be his incredible raw speed, intelligent baserunning and plus defense in center field. He can drop down a bunt at will, doesn't strike out excessively and takes a healthy number of walks, so he's always a threat to steal when he reaches first base. He is no kind of power threat, but under the right circumstances, Jankowski would fit as a fourth or fifth outfielder on a club that values speed and defense in that role, though his below-average arm would not play in right field.
A sixth-round pick out of high school, Barbato received the highest bonus ($1.4 million) of any Padres draft pick in 2010 after first-rounder Karsten Whitson did not sign. He has worked exclusively as a reliever since he entered full-season ball in 2012, and he though he has moved slowly despite the less-demanding role. Barbato might have moved more quickly in 2014 but for an elbow injury that knocked him out of action at Double-A San Antonio in mid-June. He pitches with mid-90s velocity and verve, attacking hitters with a live fastball that sinks and runs as it nears the plate. He throws a true curveball in the high 70s that features extreme break through the zone, and he locates and mixes his two pitches well enough to boast a career strikeout rate of 9.2 per nine innings. Assuming he recovers his health, Barbato has the raw stuff to zoom to San Diego in 2015 and gradually work his way up to a setup role.
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