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Born in the Dominican Republic, Tatis nonetheless grew up around Major League Baseball. His father of the same name played 11 seasons as an MLB third baseman, and he often tagged along in clubhouses as a child. When it came time for Tatis Jr. to turn pro, he largely split evaluators because of a perceived weak physical frame and long swing. The White Sox were optimistic and signed him for $700,000. Tatis grew two inches and filled out after signing, and the Padres scouted him closely, ultimately trading James Shields to the White Sox in June 2016 and throwing in nearly $30 million to ensure they received Tatis. He has blossomed since. Playing at the same age as most high school seniors in 2017, Tatis became the first 18-year-old ever to hit 20 home runs and steal 20 bases in the low Class A Midwest League and was promoted to Double-A San Antonio in August. Early in 2017, Tatis would come to the plate without a plan and get caught swinging over breaking balls on the outer half, but he quickly adjusted and became a precocious mix of power and patience. He tracks pitches well and consistently drives hittable offerings with excellent extension and leverage through his swing. Balls jump off his bat from gap to gap, and he shows plus power with towering pull-side home runs. Tatis cut his strikeout rate each successive month at Fort Wayne, and at the time he was promoted, he led the Midwest League in walks. He enhances his offensive game with his basestealing ability. He is an average runner whose speed plays up on the bases with his instincts, reads and jumps. At shortstop, Tatis frequently makes highlight-reel plays and shows off a plus, accurate arm, but on a play-to-play basis, evaluators see fringy range and many project a move to third base if he grows bigger. Tatis will stay at shortstop for now and has the actions to stick there if he maintains his body. In addition to his physical talents, Tatis is a natural leader. He is nearly bilingual and an effective communicator with impressive self-awareness. Tatis has all the components of a middle-of-the-order shortstop, and even if he has to move to third base has more than enough bat to flourish. His mix of talent, personality and bilingualism sets him up to become the face of the Padres franchise.
Gore posted jaw-dropping numbers throughout his prep career, winning BA's High School Player of the Year award as a senior in 2017 after he went 11-0, 0.19 with 158 strikeouts and five walks in 74.1 innings for Whiteville (N.C.) High. Many clubs considered Gore the top prospect in the 2017 draft, even ahead of lauded righthander Hunter Greene, and the Padres took him with the No. 3 overall pick and signed him for $6.7 million to forgo a commitment to East Carolina. An elite athlete with a sky-high leg kick in his delivery, Gore blends his supreme athleticism with an advanced four-pitch arsenal and top-notch competitive makeup. His fastball operates 92-95 mph, but plays up thanks to plus command and gets on hitters quickly with good extension out of his delivery. His mid-70s curveball with tight 1-to-7 snap is another plus pitch, and his tumbling 82-85 mph swing-and-miss changeup was even better than expected after signing. His low-80s short slider gives him another potential plus offering. With four pitches, command and deception, many evaluators who saw Gore in his pro debut called him one of the best pitching prospects in 30-year history of the Rookie-level Arizona League. Gore shares physical similarities with Cole Hamels at the same age, with the potential stuff and control to match. He will head to low Class A Fort Wayne in 2018 as he tries to reach his top-of-the-rotation potential.
Teams scouted Baez as a teenager in Cuba but had limited interest because of his lack of control. He pitched in the island's national 18U league and in the major league, Serie Nacional, where he posted a 5.05 ERA with more walks (16) than strikeouts (14) pitching out of the bullpen in his lone season. Baez left for the Dominican Republic and the Padres had a front row seat to his development as he began working with the same trainer as Jorge Ona and Jordy Barley, both of whom the Padres signed for seven-figure bonuses early in the 2016 international signing period. They watched as Baez progressively added more fastball velocity and began demonstrating more control, and ultimately pulled the trigger and signed him for $3 million in December, beating out the Cardinals and Astros, among others. A trapezius injury held Baez back in extended spring training in 2017, but he made his low Class A Fort Wayne debut on July 4 and immediately became the talk of the low Class A Midwest League. He allowed only 19 hits and three runs in his first 36.2 innings, with 56 strikeouts and four walks. He eventually finished with a 2.04 ERA, 98 strikeouts and 10 walks in 70.2 innings including the MWL postseason. Baez's fastball is a head-turner out of his enormous 6-foot-8, 220-pound frame. He possesses a power arm and pounds the strike zone downhill out of his high three-quarters arm slot. He holds his fastball at 94-95 mph and frequently touches 98 to grade as a plus-plus pitch. His fastball comes out easy, teasing more velocity in the tank, and he hides the ball well behind his enormous frame to create deception. At times late in his outings Baez will get around his fastball and lose his downhill plane, but his velocity and deception are enough to get swings and misses up in the zone anyway. Baez's upper-80s slider flashes above-average and is his go-to secondary pitch, but isn't yet consistent. His mid-80s changeup flashes plus with fade away from lefthanders, and he flashes a hammer 11-to-5 curveball in the upper 70s with late action. Most importantly he repeats his delivery to throw frequent strikes, perhaps too many. He allowed as many home runs as walks (eight) in the MWL regular season. Baez needs to fine-tune his fastball command and achieve a bit more consistency with his secondaries. If he does, he's a front-of-the-rotation starter.
Quantrill, the son of former big league reliever Paul Quantrill, had Tommy John surgery three starts into his sophomore season at Stanford and missed all of his junior year, too. The Padres were impressed enough by his predraft bullpen sessions to draft him No. 7 overall in 2016 and sign him for just under $4 million. He delivered on that faith in 2017, cruising through the high Class A California League and reaching Double-A San Antonio. The Padres streamlined Quantrill's mechanics to help his velocity come easier, and it did in 2017. He now sits comfortably at 93-95 mph and can reach back for 97. He holds that velocity, pitches downhill and commands his fastball, making it a plus pitch. His 81-83 mph changeup is his out pitch and one of the best in the minors. He sells it with identical arm speed as his fastball, and the pitch slows suddenly just in front of the plate, drawing lunging, off-balance swings. His 81-84 mph slider flashes above-average but lacks consistency, and the Padres are focused on developing his mid-70s curveball, which is currently a below-average pitch. Quantrill throws all his pitches for strikes and has above-average command, which could get to plus as he moves further away from surgery. Quantrill's aggressiveness further helps his stuff play up, although he gets so competitive at times he lets his emotions get the best of him and he loses focus. Evaluators still see his competitive nature as a positive rather than a negative. Quantrill is a smart, self-aware individual who works hard and craves a challenge. His total package of stuff, command and mentality gives him a potential middle-to front-of-the-rotation future. Triple-A El Paso is next.
Morejon became a hot commodity after pitching Cuba to the gold medal at the 2015 15U World Cup in Mexico City, delivering a complete-game victory with 12 strikeouts against a United States lineup that included 2017 No. 1 overall pick Royce Lewis. The Padres signed Morejon for a franchise-record $11 million when he became eligible in July 2016, and he delivered a solid showing in his debut, finishing at low Class A Fort Wayne. Morejon draws praise for his intangibles and poise as much as his stuff. He has an advanced understanding of how to set up hitters, mix his pitches and exploit weaknesses. His stuff isn't too shabby either. Morejon's fastball sits 91-93 mph and touches 95 in his starts and works 94-96 in short bursts. He throws two changeups that flash plus, one a diving knuckle-change and the other a traditional change with sink and run. His curveball shows above-average spin and power, but he gets rotational and his arm drags at times when throwing it, peeling toward third base in his delivery and causing him to lose the strike zone. The same delivery flaw results in inconsistent fastball command. Morejon is advanced for his age but still has work to do with his delivery and overall durability. He has never pitched more than 63 innings in a season and showed signs of fatigue at the end of his pro debut. He'll head to high Class A Lake Elsinore in 2018.
The Padres purchased Urias' rights from the Mexican League's Mexico City franchise when he was 16 and got a better player than they even imagined. Urias hit .330 to win the high Class A California League batting title and MVP award in 2016 and parlayed that into a spot on Team Mexico in the 2017 World Baseball Classic as a 19-year-old. An ankle injury in late-July 2017 shelved him for three weeks and affected him when he returned, knocking him out of the Texas League batting title race, yet he still won the league's on-base percentage crown (.398) at age 20. Urias rarely expands his strike zone, forcing pitchers to come to him. When they do he uses his elite hand-eye coordination and quick swing to drive all types of pitches on a line into the outfield. Though he doesn't elevate for home runs, he makes consistent hard contact with exit velocities in line with Yoan Moncada, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and other top prospects. He rarely swings and misses, and projects as a true plus-plus hitter. Defensively, Urias is an athletic, plus second baseman with reliable hands, excellent footwork and an impressive vertical leap. He has an above-average arm. The Padres made Urias the starting shortstop at Double-A San Antonio the first half of the season and he progressively improved there, ultimately drawing a few plus grades from evaluators as a defender at short in the Arizona Fall League. His lateral range is better suited for second base. Even so, it is Urias' special bat that separates him. He has a chance to win batting titles down the road and is the Padres' long-term second baseman of the future with Fernando Tatis Jr. ticketed for shortstop. Triple-A El Paso awaits Urias in 2018.
The Padres acquired the touted Espinoza from the Red Sox for Drew Pomeranz at the 2016 all-star break, and the deal carried repercussions. Major League Baseball later ruled the Padres did not properly disclose Pomeranz's medical history and suspended general manager A.J. Preller 30 days over the deal. In a twist of fate, Espinoza missed all of 2017 due to injury and projects to miss all of 2018 too. He began the year on the disabled list with forearm soreness, aborted two rehab attempts, and ultimately had Tommy John surgery in August. When healthy, Espinoza is an undersized righthander with an electric arm who draws comparisons with the late Yordano Ventura. With an athletic delivery and a lightning-fast arm, Espinoza works 95-98 mph with his four-seam fastball with so much late tail it looks a two-seamer. He pitches to both sides of the plate and complements his heater with a dastardly mid-80s changeup. His upper-70s curveball had made strides and flashed plus with 11-to-5 movement. Durability is Espinoza's main concern after he visibly tired the second half of his 108-inning run in 2016, and he now will miss two full seasons with arm trouble. Espinoza has front-of-the-rotation stuff, but it remains to be seen if it will come back post-surgery. He is scheduled to begin his throwing program in January, and his return to the mound is targeted for 2018 instructional league.
The Red Sox drafted Allen in the eighth round in 2015, and the Padres acquired him six months later as one of four players exchanged for Craig Kimbrel. Elbow soreness limited Allen in his first year in the Padres system in 2016, but he excelled in 2017 as he reached high Class A Lake Elsinore. At his best, Allen sits 92-94 mph with his fastball and shows off a potential plus changeup and above-average curveball. At other times he's 89-91 mph with just average secondaries. He shows the poise and pitchability to succeed even when his stuff isn't at his best, however. Allen is aggressive with his fastball and establishes it early in games. He complements it with a “Vulcan” grip changeup he holds between his middle and ring finger that dives as it approaches the plate for a swing-and-miss offering. Allen still is trying to find a consistent release point on his hard, slurvy curveball, but he shows flashes of snapping it off. He throws all his pitches for strikes but can get wild in the zone. Allen looks like a mid-rotation starter at his best, but he has to improve his consistency of stuff and iron out his command in the strike zone. He'll head to Double-A San Antonio in 2018.
Lucchesi led all of Division I in strikeouts as a senior in 2016 at Southeast Missouri State and signed with the Padres for $100,000 as a fourth-round pick. The funky 6-foot-5 lefty dominated both high Class A and Double-A in his first full season, leading the organization in ERA (2.20) and finishing second in strikeouts (148). Lucchesi has a potent mix of deception and stuff. His unique windup features multiple stops and starts, unconventional hand positioning, a high leg kick and a slight turn to hide the ball. While hitters are simply trying to find the ball or time him up, he delivers the ball over the top and throws three above-average pitches for strikes. His fastball works 90-94 mph and is a swing-and-miss pitch with its location and downhill angle. His above-average 77-80 mph curveball features a hard, late drop and his 80-82 mph changeup looks like a breaking ball out of his hand before staying straight and drawing foolish swings. Lucchesi is athletic enough to repeat his complicated delivery, resulting in above-average command and control and a lot of called strikes. He is confident and self-assured on the mound. He also has one of the nastiest pickoff moves in the minors. Lucchesi's No. 4 starter projection is a safe one he may surpass. Triple-A El Paso awaits in 2018.
Arias trained at the same program that produced Franklin Barreto and Gleyber Torres in Venezuela and was a starring member of the country's youth international teams. The Padres signed Arias for $1.9 million in 2016 and he proved worthy of his high profile, reaching low Class A Fort Wayne at age 17 and hitting .364 in the playoffs. Arias is, first and foremost, a gifted defender who projects as a future plus shortstop. He is a lithe athlete with smooth actions and the range to make difficult plays look routine. His plus-plus, accurate arm can make throws from anywhere on the field. Arias' polished, reliable hands complement those skills to give him Gold Glove-potential in some evaluators' eyes. Offensively, Arias has developed faster than expected but still has a ways to go. He has plus bat speed and a short, controlled swing, but he gets pull-happy and is liable to chase pitches out of the zone. He shows average power in batting practice and is an average runner. Arias' defense will carry him, and his offensive development will determine if he reaches his above-average everyday potential. He'll return to Fort Wayne to begin 2018.
The Astros drafted Nix in the fifth round in 2014 but didn't sign him after they failed to agree with top overall pick Brady Aiken, costing them the bonus pool money needed to also sign Nix. The Padres redrafted Nix in the third round a year later out of post-grad IMG Academy. A groin strain shelved Nix for the first six weeks of the 2017 season, but he still rose through two levels and finished at Double-A San Antonio. Nix is strongly-built at 6-foot-4, 220 pounds and maintains some of the highest average fastball velocity in the system at 93-96 mph. His plus power curveball is a hammer with depth in the low 80s, and his changeup shows above-average potential. Nix repeats his delivery and throws all of his pitches for strikes, but frequently catches too much of the plate. He also lacks deception and fastball life. As a result, he has allowed more than 10 hits per nine innings at every level and has a career strikeout rate of 7.5 per nine. Nix has the pure stuff of a mid-rotation starter, but needs to improve his command and life to get there. He will try at Triple-A El Paso in 2018.
As Kent State junior, Lauer recorded an 0.68 ERA that was the lowest in Division I since 1979. The Padres drafted him that year with the last of their three first-round picks, No. 25 overall, and signed him for $2 million. Lauer battled through fatigue in his first full season, but still delivered 122.2 innings and finished strong at Double-A. Lauer is a classic pitchability lefty who relies on mixing and locating his pitches. His fastball ranges from 87-94 mph and he sits 89-91, slowing it down and speeding it up depending on the situation. His fastball has some sneakiness to it and he isn't afraid to pitch inside, making for uncomfortable at-bats even with below-average velocity. Lauer's main secondary is an above-average 84-85 mph changeup he sells with identical arm speed. His fringy 82-86 mph slider lacks bite, but he places it effectively on the back foot of righthanded hitters for a usable third pitch. His below-average 75-76 mph curveball is loopy and rolls into the strike zone. Lauer isn't flashy, but shows enough pitchability and control to potentially survive as a No. 5 starter. He'll head to Triple-A El Paso in 2018.
The Padres signed Cordero for $175,000 as a shortstop when he was 17, but moved him to center field after he made 126 errors in 165 games. The move unlocked increased confidence and a sharp uptick in production, as Cordero shot through three levels in 2016 and made his major league debut in 2017. Cordero is a lithe athlete with exceptional first-step quickness and long strides. He is a plus-plus runner underway, finishing behind only Billy Hamilton, Byron Buxton and Bradley Zimmer among major league center fielders in sprint speed, as measured by Statcast. Cordero uses that speed to chase down long flies as an above-average defender in center field and make an impact on the bases. He tied for the minor-league lead with 18 triples and delivered his second straight season with at least 20 doubles, 10 triples, 10 home runs and 15 steals at Triple-A El Paso. While he hits for impact and can fly, Cordero rarely walks and doesn't control the strike zone, limiting his overall offensive upside. He hits just enough, with his defense and speed, to be a second-division regular or oft-used extra outfielder. He'll get a shot at that role with the Padres in 2018.
The Marlins made Naylor the highest-drafted Canadian position player ever when they selected him 12th overall in 2015 and signed him for $2.2 million. One year later the Padres acquired him in the five-player trade that sent Andrew Cashner to Miami. Naylor started 2017 hot before a pickoff throw broke his right cheekbone and sapped his production after he returned, but he still made his second straight Futures Game and reached Double-A. Naylor is stocky with a protruding belly, closer to 260 pounds than his listed 225, and limited to first base. He shows enormous raw power in batting practice but doesn't get to it in games, largely because he struggles picking out pitches he can drive and collapses hard on his front side. He has the bat speed and hand-eye coordination to project as an average hitter with above-average power if he improves in those areas. Naylor is a surprisingly good athlete for his girth, flashing average run times and good short-area quickness and hands defensively at first base. Naylor needs to monitor his weight and make the adjustments to get to his power to reach his potential as a solid-average everyday first baseman. He'll start back at Double-A in 2018.
Ruiz signed with the Royals for $100,000 in 2015 and is quickly proving a bargain. After a brilliant start in the Rookie-level Arizona League in 2017, Ruiz joined the Padres along with lefthanders Travis Wood and Matt Strahm in a July 24 trade for Trevor Cahill, Ryan Buchter and Brandon Maurer. Ruiz performed as well after the trade as before it, and finished first in the AZL in hitting (.350), doubles (20) and triples (10) and was named MVP. Compared physically to a greyhound, Ruiz's wiry build belies his strong wrists, explosive hands and excellent bat speed. He produces frequent hard contact to all fields, and his long arms provide leverage to generate loft and in-game power. Ruiz will swing and miss and has some empty at-bats, but his overall package is enough to project a potential above-average hitter with above-average power as he gets stronger. Ruiz has average speed but is a prolific basestealer with his superb instincts and motor. He isn't particularly rangy and gets hard-handed at second base, leading some to believe a move to the outfield may be in store. Ruiz's potent bat should carry him, regardless. He'll head to low Class A Fort Wayne in 2018.
Ona jumped on scouts' radars when he hit .636 with four home runs in eight games playing for Cuba at the 2014 COPABE 18U Pan American Championships. The Padres kept tabs on Ona after he left to train in the Dominican Republic, and signed him for $7 million when he became eligible in July 2016. Ona is a hulking physical specimen chiseled like a body-builder. He combines that brute strength with impressive bat speed to produce plus raw power, including the opposite way to right-center. However, Ona hit only 11 home runs and slugged just .405 at low Class A Fort Wayne because he is a free swinger who gets long and struggles to make adjustments, resulting in big holes and a below-average hit profile overall. He struck out almost a quarter of his plate appearances and nearly half of his batted balls were grounders. Defensively Ona is a liability in the outfield as a bulky, fringe-average runner who rakes poor routes. He has the above-average arm needed for right field if he improves. Ona's ability to adjust to get to his plus power will determine if he reaches his everyday potential. He'll start at high Class A Lake Elsinore in 2018.
The Padres drafted Potts 24th overall in 2016 and signed him for a below-slot $1 million to pass up Texas A&M, saving the team money to go over-slot with later picks. Potts' first full season got off to a poor start when he hit just .226/.259/.360 in the first half at low Class A Fort Wayne, but he bounced back to hit .278/.325/.512 with 14 of his 20 home runs in the second half. Potts is young but physically well put together with wiry strength and a pro body. He has a balanced swing and a sound bat path that produces above-average power, his primary asset. Though Potts rarely walks, he takes competitive at-bats, recognizes pitches and doesn't often expand the zone. He swings and misses in the zone enough, however, that most evaluators see him as a fringe-average hitter. Defensively Potts is new to third base after playing shortstop and is inconsistent, sometimes appearing solid-average with a plus arm and at others below-average with limited arm strength. He makes the plays he gets to, committing only nine errors all year in 2017. Potts is a hard worker with exceptional makeup, giving him a foundation to adjust and improve as he did in his first full season. He'll begin at high Class A Lake Elsinore in 2018.
De los Santos signed with the Mariners for just $15,000 in 2014 and proved a bargain, jumping from 86-89 mph to reaching the mid-90s a year after signing. The Padres acquired him for Joaquin Benoit after the 2015 season. De los Santos has grown into one of the Padres' most reliable and intriguing arms, leading the organization in innings (150) while going 10-6, 3.78 at Double-A San Antonio in 2017 De los Santos has one of the better fastballs in the system, a 94-98 mph bullet he commands to both sides of the plate. His fastball has excellent carry through the zone, and his improved command has made it true weapon that draws swings-and-misses and weak ground-ball contact. De los Santos relies heavily on that fastball. His curveball flashes average but he lacks consistent feel for it, and he doesn't deploy his solid-average changeup at the right times. De los Santos has to improve those secondaries to reach his starter potential. Even if he doesn't, his stuff will play in late relief. He'll head to Triple-A in 2018.
The Padres signed Munoz from the Mexico City of the Mexican League for $700,000 in 2015, their top signing from that international period. The quick-armed righthander sat 88-92 mph when he signed, touched 95 the following spring and hasn't stopped adding velocity. Munoz has grown into one of the hardest throwers in the minors, sitting 97-99 mph and touching 101 as an 18-year-old at low Class A Fort Wayne in 2017. He was the youngest player sent to the Arizona Fall League and allowed only one run while striking out 11 in 8.2 innings of relief. Munoz's fastball is close to an 80-grade pitch with its velocity and tremendous carry, and he excels pitching upstairs. He struggled badly to control it during the regular season, issuing 6.2 walks-per-nine innings, but made strides staying on line to the plate and throwing it for strikes in the fall. Munoz also fine-tuned his 84-86 mph slider, which shows good shape and he turns at the right time to flash average. Evaluators love Munoz's stuff but not his arm action and are concerned with how much stress it puts on his shoulder. If Munoz can stay healthy and maintain his strides with his control, he has closer potential.
Campusano failed to make the USA Baseball 18U National Team after his junior year of high school and used it as motivation to get in better shape, trimming excess baby fat and growing significantly more muscular by the spring of his senior year. His power ticked up as a result and he became the top catcher selected in the 2017 draft when the Padres picked him 39th overall and signed him for $1.3 million to forgo a South Carolina commitment. The newly-chiseled Campusano shows plus raw power, sometimes a tick above, and takes a strong swing in games to get to it. His overly aggressive approach prevents him from accessing that power consistently and his swing will get long, but he shows enough hitterish qualities to project as a possible average bat with usable pull-side power. Defensively Campusano receives well, has an above-average arm and has worked himself to make himself a solid blocker. He takes instruction well and is mature for his age. Evaluators see a potential everyday catcher hitting .250 with 15-20 home runs and above-average defense in Campusano, but he is a ways from getting there. He has a chance to see full-season ball in 2018.
Paddack put up insane numbers to start his first full season in 2016, posting a 0.95 ERA with 48 strikeouts and two walks in 28.1 innings for the Marlins low Class A affiliate Greensboro. The Padres acquired him in a one-for-one trade for Fernando Rodney that June. Paddack was similarly dominant for three starts at low Class A Fort Wayne but succumbed to Tommy John surgery in July, ending his season and wiping out all of 2017 as well. When healthy, Paddack excelled with a darting 90-95 mph fastball, a plus-plus mid-80s changeup and elite control. His fastball-changeup combination was his bread-and-butter, but his mid-70s curveball gradually improved to a usable pitch with decent depth as he became more consistent with his release point. Paddack got bigger and stronger during his rehab and showed hints of a velocity bump during bullpen sessions in instructional league, but shut down early with elbow tenderness. Health is Paddack's biggest question mark. He missed six weeks with biceps tendinitis even before having Tommy John and has never thrown more than 45.1 innings in a season. He'll return to game action at the start of the 2018 season with a careful eye on his health and workload.
The Padres signed Rosario for $1.85 million during their 2016 international spending spree, intrigued by his athleticism and balanced skillset. Rosario delivered in his first pro campaign, outperforming many of his peers in the Rookie-level Arizona League with a .299 average, nearly as many walks (33) as strikeouts (36) and growing tools. Rosario is a top-tier athlete who can do standing backflips and runs a 6.5-second 60-yard dash, a plus-plus time. His speed plays more above-average to plus on the field. Rosario floats to balls in center field and projects to stay there with excellent closing speed, lateral quickness and an average arm. Offensively Rosario has some of the best plate discipline in the system and the bat-to-ball skills to project as an above-average hitter. His stroke is naturally geared to drive balls the opposite way into left-center, but he is adding strength and began showing the ability to turn on balls at the end of the year, including hitting five home runs during batting practice at Petco Park in the fall. Rosario still has some maturing to do. He gets frustrated and overwhelmed at times and it affects his effort level. He'll take his promising tools and athleticism to low Class A Fort Wayne in 2018.
A 36th-round pick by the Mariners out of high school, Wingenter progressively added velocity as he filled out his 6-foot-7 frame over the years and touched 100 mph for the first time in 2017. As the closer at Double-A San Antonio, he held opponents to a .193 average. Previously 88-92 mph in high school and 92-94 in college at Auburn, Wingenter moved to the bullpen full time in pro ball and added strength. He now sits 96-98 mph and touches triple digits, velocity that's compounded by a towering release point that produces steep downhill angle and makes his heater difficult to square up. As Wingenter's fastball has jumped, so has his slider. It now sits 84-86 mph with tilt and depth, giving him a viable above-average secondary. He excels in high-leverage spots and has no trouble entering with runners on. His long limbs cause some inconsistency with his control, but overall he limits his walks reasonably. Wingenter's intimidating height, premium velocity and lock-down moxie has him primed for late-inning relief. He'll start 2018 at Triple-A El Paso and should break into the Padres bullpen during the year.
Almanzar played one year of high school baseball at American Heritage in Plantation, Fla., before moving back to the Dominican Republic and becoming one of the top prospects in the 2016 international class. The Padres fended off heavy interest and signed him for $4 million. The Padres challenged Almanzar with an assignment to the short-season Northwest League as a 17-year-old in his 2017 pro debut and he was overmatched against largely college players, hitting .230 with 30 percent strikeout rate. Poor debut aside, Almanzar shows the ingredients of an above-average hitter with excellent bat speed, a direct path to the ball and a discerning eye. He still saw the ball well in his debut, but wasn't prepared for the quality of pitching he was facing. Some evaluators raised concerned with his open stride and note it opened the plate up for pitchers to attack him. Almanzar is trying to find a home defensively. Signed as a shortstop, Almanzar played nearly as much third base in his debut and projects better there long-term as an average runner with an above-average arm. Almanzar is mature and relatively polished for his age. He will get another crack at short-season ball in 2018, where he will be more age-appropriate to let his skills show.
Evaluators considered Thompson a potential first-round talent as a prep underclassman, but Tommy John surgery wiped out his junior year of high school and limited him to one inning as a senior. The Padres were impressed enough by his workouts to draft him in the third round and sign him for an over-slot $1.75 million. Injuries continued to plague Thompson in his first full season in 2017. He made just three starts at low Class A Fort Wayne before missing a month with biceps tendinitis, made four more appearances and then was shut down for good in July with shoulder inflammation. When healthy Thompson intrigues as a lanky, projectable righthander with a well-rounded arsenal and a feel to pitch. He'll sit 92-93 mph and touch 95 with his fastball, though his velocity drops off around the third inning, and he shows feel for an above-average 12-to-6 power curveball. His changeup is a potential plus pitch with fade and deception, and he commands his offerings down in the zone despite his 6-foot-7 frame and long levers. Evaluators see the ingredients for a potential midrotation to back-end starter in Thompson, but his injury record is increasingly concerning. Staying healthy will be his primary goal in 2018.
The Nationals signed Avila for $50,000 out of Venezuela in 2014 and traded him to the Padres for Derek Norris after the 2016 season. While Norris never played a game for the Nationals, Avila led the Padres system with 170 strikeouts in 2017, including an eight-inning, 17-strikeout night for low Class A Fort Wayne in August. Avila has an average fastball that sits 92 mph and touches 94, but his plus curveball is a separator. It's a swing-and-miss pitch in the 73-77 mph range that he manipulates at will, adding and subtracting velocity while keeping the shape consistent. He can go to his curveball whenever he wants, although sometimes he falls in love with it and gets in trouble throwing it out of sequence. He also has a 82-83 mph changeup with above-average potential at his disposal. Avila's command isn't great, which, combined with his average fastball, makes him a future swingman in evaluators' eyes. He's a good athlete with a clean delivery, so his command has the potential to jump forward and make him more of a rotation option. Avila will start at high Class A Lake Elsinore in 2018.
Big tools and limited hitting ability have defined Gettys since his prep days. After appearing to shed that reputation with a breakthrough 2016, he regressed badly in 2017 with a California League-leading 191 strikeouts and a 37 percent strikeout rate at high Class A Lake Elsinore. Gettys keeps evaluators intrigued with his athletic gifts. He is a plus defender who roams center field with ease as a plus runner and boasts a plus-plus arm that notched 24 assists the last two seasons. His plus speed plays on the basepaths and he can turn on the jets for extra bases when he drives balls into the gap. The problem with Gettys is he that doesn't make nearly enough contact. He lacks natural rhythm and timing in the box and is frequently caught lunging at pitches out front. He tried to increase his launch angle in 2017 and it only made things worse when opponents picked apart his uphill swing path. Lingering back stiffness didn't help. A poor hitter overall, Gettys produced against Cal League lefthanders in 2017 (.318/.383/.553), which gives him a path as a platoon outfielder with his speed and defense. He'll be tested at Double-A in 2018.
Lawson had first-round helium in the 2016 draft before a strained oblique limited him to six starts as a high school senior. The Padres grabbed him with the 71st overall pick and signed him for $1.9 million, more than double slot value. Lawson posted a 5.30 ERA in his first full season at low Class A Fort Wayne, showing flashes of promise but struggling to put together consistent outings. Lawson intrigues as a loose, lean, long-armed athlete with a smooth delivery. He sits 91-94 mph with his lively fastball but he tends to leave it up in the zone where it flattens out, making it a hittable pitch. His 74-77 mph curveball has tight rotation but lacks consistent bite, and he rarely uses his raw, unrefined changeup. Locating his offspeed is a challenge for Lawson and contributed to his 4.2 walks-per-nine rate in his first full campaign. When right, Lawson gets swings and misses on his fastball and shows a top-down, biting curveball, enough for evaluators to project a possible back-end starter. Fastball command, breaking ball consistency and third-pitch development will all be focal points in Lawson's development. He'll move to high Class A Lake Elsinore in 2018.
The Padres made Allen the top Division II position player drafted in 2015 when they picked him in the fourth round and signed him for $484,000. The country-strong 6-foot-4, 225-pound lefthanded hitter showed off his plus power in 2017, finishing third in the California League in slugging (.497) and fourth in home runs (22) at high Class A Lake Elsinore. Allen is an offensive catcher through-and-through. He uses his strength and leverage to launch balls deep to right-center, frequently clearing 400 feet. He pounds that gap for a large volume of doubles as well. His bat speed isn't ideal, but he makes up for it with good timing and a solid feel to hit for average. The same size and strength that helps Allen offensively hampers him defensively. He is a slow mover with limited range and flexibility, making him a liability in blocking. His hands in the strike zone are fine but he's an overall tick-below-average receiver. Allen has average arm strength but is sluggish out of the crouch and on his exchange, which led to 100 stolen bases in 126 attempts against him in 2017. Allen's bat is enough to play everyday only if he can catch. He'll try to make needed defensive strides at Double-A in 2018.
The Padres gave Barley $1 million during their 2016 international signing bonanza, a bonus well above industry consensus. He went out and showed himself to be arguably the top athlete in the entire Rookie-level Arizona League in 2017, flashing incredible quick-twitch, plus-plus speed and bouncy, freakish athleticism. That athleticism, however, has yet to translate into baseball skills. Barley is wildly erratic defensively at shortstop. He closes on balls incredibly fast but rushes everything, sometimes botching grounders and at other times throwing the ball erratically, taking away from his plus arm strength. The end result was 30 errors in 43 games and a sense he will have to move to center field unless he learns to calm himself and play under control. Barley shows intriguing above-average power potential but again rushes everything, lacking timing at the plate and getting overaggressive. He wore himself out by the end of the season, hitting .183 with no home runs in August. Barley's tools and athleticism shine, but he has a lot of growth ahead to make them play on the field. He may get a shot at low Class A Fort Wayne in 2018.