Sign Up! Join our newsletters, get a FREE e-Edition
TRACK RECORD: Fernando Tatis had a quality decade-long major league career, but his son Fernando Jr. projects to be even better. The younger Tatis was lightly regarded as an international amateur in the Dominican Republic and wasn’t even invited to MLB’s international showcase when he was 16. The White Sox went against the consensus and signed him for $700,000. Shortly after signing, Tatis grew two inches and filled out, developing newfound leverage and power. The Padres scouted Tatis heavily and, before he ever played a pro game, acquired him and righthander Erik Johnson from the White Sox for James Shields in June 2016. He quickly blossomed into one of baseball’s top prospects. A unique blend of power, speed and athleticism, Tatis was on pace for his second-straight 20-20 season in 2018 at Double-A, but he suffered a broken left thumb on a head-first slide in late July and had season-ending surgery.
SCOUTING REPORT: Strong and lithe in his long, athletic physique, Tatis has a chance to be the rare everyday shortstop who is a true power-speed threat. He has a loose, rhythmic swing with a lot of moving parts that sometimes get out of whack, but when everything is in sync he is an offensive force. Tatis tracks pitches deep and powers his barrel through the zone, driving the ball with excellent extension and leverage. Balls explode off his bat from gap-to-gap, and he shows off his plus-plus raw power with towering pull-side home runs. Tatis has bouts of over-aggressiveness that lead to elevated strikeout totals, but he generally self-corrects. An above-average hitter with plus power and possibly more, Tatis enhances his offensive game with his speed. While he previously stole bags with average speed and advanced instincts, he improved his body composition and is now a plus runner who reaches plus-plus underway. That improved fitness also led to quicker reactions and more range at shortstop, quieting concerns about him moving off the position. With plus-plus arm strength, reliable hands and now wide lateral range, Tatis could be an above-average or plus defender at shortstop.
THE FUTURE: Tatis has the talent to be a perennial all-star shortstop and the personality to be the face of the Padres franchise. He’ll begin 2019 at Triple-A El Paso and has a chance to make his major league debut at age 20.
TRACK RECORD: Gore allowed just 16 earned runs in four years at Whiteville (N.C.) High and won BA’s High School Player of the Year award in 2017. The Padres drafted him third overall and signed him for a franchise-record $6.7 million. Gore received rave reviews in his first spring training, but blister issues sent him to the disabled list twice at low Class A Fort Wayne and led to an underwhelming 2018 season. After Gore’s blisters returned a third time, the Padres shut him down in late August.
SCOUTING REPORT: When healthy, Gore checks every box as a lean, premium athlete with a loose arm, sky-high leg kick and four pitches that flash plus. His fastball sits 93-94 mph, touches 96 and gets on hitters quickly with his long extension. Gore’s blisters sapped the command of his heater but most seriously affected his feel for his breaking balls. His curveball sits 77-80 mph with sharp 1-to-7 snap and his slider works 84-86 mph with tight, late break, but his inability to grip them resulted in both playing down to average with inconsistent velocity and location. His upper-80s changeup is his fourth pitch but still shows plus with sink at the bottom of the zone.
THE FUTURE: Gore’s recurring blisters are troubling and prevented him from pitching his best. He’ll try to show he’s past them in 2019. If healthy, he has top-of-the-rotation potential.
TRACK RECORD: The Padres purchased Urias’ rights from Mexico City for $100,000 when he was 16 in a deal facilitated by club owner Alfredo Harp Helu, a minority stakeholder in the Padres. Urias wasted no time validating the deal. He won the California League MVP award in 2016 and led the Texas League in on-base percentage in 2017. In 2018, Urias hit a team-best .298 at Triple-A El Paso and made his major league debut at age 21.
SCOUTING REPORT: Urias has the gifts of a potential .300 hitter. Short but mighty, the 5-foot-9 Urias takes advantage of his compact strike zone with a quick, level swing that produces hard line drives to all fields. He has an elite eye and rarely chases, forcing pitchers to come to him and punishing hittable pitches. Urias’ build and swing aren’t conducive to home runs, but with his quick bat he can square up a fastball and drive it out. Defensively, Urias is an above-average second baseman with sure hands, clean footwork and an impressive vertical leap to go with an above-average arm. He can fill in as an average shortstop, although his range there is stretched.
THE FUTURE: Urias’ pure stroke and elite eye give him a chance to contend for batting titles at his peak. He’ll be the Padres’ everyday second baseman in 2019.
TRACK RECORD: Signed by the Indians for $350,000, Mejia rose to prominence in 2016 when he engineered a 50-game hit streak at the Class A levels, the longest in the modern era of the minor leagues. In desperate need of bullpen help, the Indians traded Mejia to the Padres for Brad Hand and Adam Cimber at the 2018 trade deadline. Mejia made his first Padres start Sept. 6 at Cincinnati and made a loud first impression, homering in his first two at-bats.
SCOUTING REPORT: The switch-hitting Mejia possesses elite-hand eye coordination that allows him to project as a plus hitter. He squares balls up in all parts of the strike zone and sometimes even outside of it, producing hard contact gap-to-gap. Mejia gets to his double-digit home run power more righthanded than left, but his premium bat speed makes him a threat from both sides. Mejia’s issue is he swings at absolutely everything. His ultra aggressiveness led to an 29 strikeout rate and weak contact against pitcher’s pitches, an unsustainable approach he’ll need to corral. Mejia has a bazaooka for a right arm and the athleticism to be a solid-average catcher, but he often lacks focus, resulting in numerous passed balls. In part because of his lack of reliability, the Indians experimented with Mejia at third base and left field.
THE FUTURE: Mejia will start in a timeshare with Austin Hedges behind the plate. Whether he eventually supplants Hedges will depend on how much his plate discipline and defensive focus improve.
TRACK RECORD: Morejon pitched Cuba to the gold medal at the 2014 15U World Cup, winning MVP honors with a complete-game victory over the U.S. Two years later, the Padres signed him for $11 million the day after Major League Baseball declared him a free agent. Morejon embarked on his first full season in 2018 with high Class A Lake Elsinore and earned plaudits as the California League’s top pitching prospect, but flexor soreness followed by triceps discomfort limited him to just two starts after the all-star break.
SCOUTING REPORT: As expected when he signed, Morejon has grown into his frame and added significant velocity. Now a sturdy 6-foot-1, 210 pounds, Morejon sits 93-96 mph with his fastball and touches 98 with impressive ease. At one point Morejon had trouble commanding his high-spin curveball, but in mid-May he found the right arm stroke and release point and began breaking it off as a second plus pitch, drawing chases below the zone. His traditional changeup with fade flashes plus and is better than his knuckle-change, but both are weapons. Morejon’s control is his weak point. He leaves his fastball up and loses his curveball feel on occasion.
THE FUTURE: Morejon draws comparisons to Carlos Rodon as a big-bodied lefty with potent stuff. Like Rodon, Morejon has struggled to stay healthy. He’ll try to reach 70 innings for the first time in 2019.
TRACK RECORD: The Padres’ 2016 summer sell-off kicked into high gear when they traded Fernando Rodney to the Marlins for Paddack in June. Paddack had Tommy John surgery just three starts into his Padres career and missed the next 22 months, but he returned with a vengeance in 2018. He delivered a 2.10 ERA between high Class A Lake Elsinore and Double-A San Antonio, with a jaw-dropping 120 strikeouts and eight walks in 90 innings.
SCOUTING REPORT: Paddack earned the nickname “The Executioner” at Lake Elsinore for his ruthless precision in eliminating opponents. He sits 91-94 mph and reaches 97 on his lively fastball with carry, dialing it up and down with pristine command in all four quadrants of the strike zone. He pairs his plus fastball with an 82-84 mph changeup that is one of the best in the minors. He sells it with identical arm speed before it falls off the table with late depth at the bottom of the strike zone, getting both swings and misses and called strikes on both sides of the plate. Paddack’s fastball, changeup and control are all plus or better, but his loopy 72-76 mph curveball is firmly below-average. He uses it less than 10 percent of the time, knowing it’s extremely hittable the few times it lands in the strike zone.
THE FUTURE: The list of successful big league righthanders without a breaking ball is short. Paddack will debut in 2019 and try to show he’s an exception.
TRACK RECORD: Patino weighed 150 pounds and sat 84-87 mph during a bullpen session at a Colombian showcase in 2016, but Padres international director Chris Kemp liked the converted shortstop’s loose arm and athleticism and signed him for $130,000. Patino filled out and made rapid velocity gains even faster than imagined. Up to 192 pounds and throwing in the mid-90s, Patino made his full-season debut in 2018 at low Class A Fort Wayne and became the talk of the Midwest League. He posted a 2.16 ERA in 17 starts, touching 99 mph as an 18-year-old.
SCOUTING REPORT: Patino is slightly undersized, but his stuff is huge. He sits 94-95 mph and on his explosive fastball and reaches 98-99. His 84-87 mph hard slider is the best in the organization, giving him two plus power pitches he deploys aggressively. Patino is a plus athlete who repeats his delivery and alters his leg kick to further disrupt hitters’ timing, all while keeping above-average control of his power stuff. He is still finding feel for his softer offerings. His 78-80 mph curveball flashes plus but is inconsistent, and the unreliability of his mid-80s changeup led lefties to torch him for a .345/.421/.457 line.
THE FUTURE: Patino’s arm and athleticism excite, but there’s a long way to go. He was shut down after 83.1 innings and needs to prove his durability, and he still has to find a pitch for lefties.
TRACK RECORD: The Padres targeted Allen in the 2015 draft and got him in a trade five months later, acquiring him from the Red Sox as one of four prospects for Craig Kimbrel. After a slow burn his first two seasons with the Padres, Allen catapulted in 2018. He logged a 2.54 ERA between Double-A and Triple-A as a 21-year-old, winning the Texas League pitcher of the year award and leading the system in wins (14) and strikeouts (154).
SCOUTING REPORT: Though not flashy, the steady Allen is more accomplished than any pitcher in the Padres’ system. All four of his pitches are competitive major league offerings, and he possesses a warrior mentality with an advanced feel for attacking hitters. Allen comes right at opponents with a 90-93 mph fastball, commanding it to both sides of the plate. His changeup is a plus pitch that dives late for swings and misses over the top. Allen’s third pitch is an average slider that has some cut action, and when it’s not working he can flip in an effective curveball. Allen throws everything for strikes and became more durable as he improved his pitch efficiency, completing six innings in 16 of 19 starts in 2018.
THE FUTURE: Allen’s four-pitch mix and durability have him set to log innings at the back of a rotation at the very least. His major league debut should come in 2019.
TRACK RECORD: The Marlins drafted Naylor 12th overall in 2015, then traded him to the Padres one year later in the deal for Andrew Cashner. After teasing with uncanny hand-eye coordination and huge raw power, Naylor turned his tools into production in 2018. He set career highs in batting average (.297), home runs (17) and OPS (.830) at Double-A San Antonio, overcoming challenging hitting conditions.
SCOUTING REPORT: Naylor has a heavyset frame at 5-foot-11, 250 pounds with a protruding belly, but he crushes baseballs. He uses his powerful legs and thick trunk to generate huge torque and bat speed, turning around elite velocity with thunderous collisions on contact. While Naylor always had strong strike-zone discipline, he began picking out better pitches to drive in 2018 and saw career-highs in every power category while maintaining nearly as many walks (63) as strikeouts (69). Evaluators see a potential plus hitter with plus power, but no one is sure where Naylor will play. He’s decent at his natural first base, but with Eric Hosmer there, the Padres began playing Naylor in left field in 2018. While Naylor is sneaky athletic with short-area quickness and surprising speed, he’s still a below-average defender learning to play under control.
THE FUTURE: Naylor spent the offseason doing intense beach workouts in California. Like Kyle Schwarber, Naylor will have to slim down to make left field work.
TRACK RECORD: Quantrill starred on Canada’s junior national teams and looked like a future No. 1 overall pick his freshman year at Stanford, but he had Tommy John surgery three starts into his sophomore year and missed all of his junior year, too. The Padres still took him eighth overall in 2016 and gave him a full slot bonus of just under $4 million. Quantrill built back up over three pro seasons and logged 148 innings in 2018, overcoming a rocky stint at Double-A to finish strong at Triple-A.
SCOUTING REPORT: Quantrill, the son of former All-Star reliever Paul Quantrill, flashes plus stuff but has yet to find consistency post-surgery. At his best he sits 93-95 mph with downhill angle on his fastball, a plus changeup and a slider that has improved to average and become a swing-and-miss pitch. Other times he’ll work in the low 90s with decreased changeup feel and poor command, surrendering hits en masse. Quantrill is fiercely competitive and sometimes gets frustrated with himself, affecting his ability to execute. One main issue has been locating inside, with lefties in particular punishing him for a .305/.376/.468 line in 2018.
THE FUTURE: Quantrill still flashes mid-rotation potential with three quality pitches. Improving his command, composure and consistency will be key before his major league debut in 2019.
-- Reports written by Kyle Glaser
In order to access this exclusive content you must have a Baseball America Account.
Login or sign up