If there is one organization that suffers the most from the lack of a minor league season, it may well be the San Diego Padres. Already boasting one of the top farm systems as it was, many of those young prospects are just a season or two of development before they are ready to contribute. Guys like CJ Abrams and MacKenzie Gore will be fine, but it is disheartening to let a year go by for some guys of the lower-level guys. With that being established, here are 10 names you need to know for the San Diego Padres.
Hudson Head, OF – If you have read some of my other articles on the site, it will come as no surprise that Hudson Head is first on this list. He is also the guy that I am the most disappointed about the lack of a minor league season. He did manage to make the 60 player pool so he will get some nice exposure to the major league atmosphere. His 2019 debut also answered some questions about if he would be overwhelmed by higher competition.
Head offers some exceptional bat speed, with above-average wheels. I envision him to be a fantasy stalwart when he gets into his prime as a 20/20 machine, with the potential for even more. If he had a great 2020 his name would be on a lot of top-100 lists. For now, you can still get on the bandwagon and hope he bulks up for 2021.
Hudson Head swing vs Mid 90’s FB pic.twitter.com/p5IYs5guxK
— PadresFarm® (@Padres_Farm) December 30, 2019
Joey Cantillo, LHP – The big lefty is also getting some much-needed development on the 60 player pool. I still believe that if he can add a few ticks to his fastball, Cantillo is going to be a solid major league starter. He has the frame, would be pitching in a nice home ballpark, and is left-handed. I am hoping that he can pick up a few tips from the major league guys and continue to build arm strength as he heads into 2021.
Armed with great command and control already, Cantillo has been very successful with his 90-91 fastball. Scouts have always thought there was more in the tank and even Cantillo himself admitted that he needs to focus on adding velocity. If he does add some speed he will be a huge riser for me and the rest of the industry.
One more for today some Joey Cantillo. On the hill in today’s intrasquad game vs Ryan Weathers Pretty good backfield outing for him #PadresST #FriarFaithful #PadresTwitter @FriarLounge pic.twitter.com/CsYjB8jjid
— FriarLounge (@FriarLounge) March 8, 2020
Jake Cronenworth, IF/RHP – Cronenworth makes the list because he is probably one of the few guys that will truly benefit from a shortened season. He was already close to the big leagues as it was, but now his two-way ability will be a godsend for the Padres. He would be another arm for the staff while also being able to play the infield and bring his above-average hit tool to the lineup. The right-hander throws some gas too, but there is more than just heat. His cutter is what can be very effective and I would imagine we see a lot more of Cronenworth that we otherwise would have in 2020.
I will be watching the young two-player closely in hopes that he continues to pave the way for future players to follow suit and potentially change the game. While he may not be as well known as Ohtani or McKay, he still may be on the pioneers to know.
— Ryan (@FriarKings) July 16, 2020
Robert Hassell III, OF – If Hudson Head was the darling of the 2019 Draft then Hassell III is the current darling for the 2020 Draft. Yes, he was a first-rounder, but I don’t think people are understanding the ceiling that this guy could have. He was universally cited as having the best hit-tool of any of the prep bats and he should have add power as he matures as well. He also will get some nice development on the 60 player pool as well. The swing is sweet and he knows exactly what he wants to do at the plate. He strikes me as a player that will make adjustments when he struggles and he really isn’t hurt by a shortened season.
Hassell needs to add power to be sure, so hopefully he bulks up during his time away from the ballpark. He is going to take some time, but he should be a top 10 pick in first-year player drafts for dynasty. Look for a 2021 debut at full speed ahead.
Robert Hassell III has a BEAUTIFUL swing pic.twitter.com/tyC9GvPWkF
— The Dore Report (@dore_report) April 6, 2020
Joshua Mears, OF – Mears was drafted last year, so there is still a lot to learn from the 19-year-old. One thing is for certain — the kid is built. He also slugged 7 home runs last year in his debut and has some serious thunder in his bat. He also stole 9 bags in that debut meaning this is a guy to look out for in the future. I don’t love how his swing looks currently as it has a pretty noticeable hitch. However, he is making hard contact already and his ceiling is as high as anyone’s.
While he won’t have the development for 2020, his tools should allow him to perform well in A ball when the time comes; and you’ll want to know about him by then.
Overly aggressive at the plate tonight but it’s easy to see potential. pic.twitter.com/A9NEQzbhPC
— William Boor (@wboor) June 29, 2019
Grant Little, OF – I am going to give you one name that is on no one’s radar – Grant Little. He looked great in college and was the 74th overall pick in 2018, so he isn’t a nobody. However, he hasn’t hit a home run as professional despite knocking 17 long balls for Texas Tech. I think he has a nice stick and his swing looks like it could really develop. I’m thinking that a year off will leave him rejuvenated and ready to mash in 2021. I’m not saying he is a slam dunk, but someone that might come out of nowhere in 2021.
VIDEO: How about this glovework in left by @TinCaps outfielder & former @TTU_Baseball star Grant Little (@GLitty04)? Not too shabby for the 74th overall pick by @Padres last summer. @MidwestLeagueBB @PadresProspects @PadresCentral @EVT_News @madfriars pic.twitter.com/mGf5acyEIz
— Glenn Marini (@GlennMariniWANE) April 6, 2019
Cole Wilcox, RHP – A first-round talent that the Padres floated to the third round, I could watch highlights of Wilcox all day long. His stuff moves, it’s high octane, and his delivery is easy to dream on. His slider is crisp and comes in around 88-90 mph and also has a heavy 97+ mph fastball that blows away hitters at times. The Padres love him and basically had their drafted centered around getting him late which means he is going to be given a ton of chances. As a college arm, he should quickly ascend to the big leagues in no time.
Due to his 3rd-round selection, I think some people will overlook the former Bulldog. Don’t be one of those people. He is a top 10 arm in the draft and should be monitored very closely.
— Rapsodo Baseball (@rapsodo) June 11, 2020
Jorge Mateo, 2B/SS – Bet you didn’t think that Mateo would be on this Padres list but here he is. After not being able to carve out a spot on the Athletic’s roster, Mateo found himself with a decent shot of making the Opening Day roster for the Friars, but with a positive test for COVID-19, that didn’t happen.
Mateo has seen his stock fall the last few seasons, but he still has the 80-grade speed that fantasy owners dream of. Add to that the fact he swatted 19 home runs last season and he is probably worth keeping a close eye in case he can carve out a role. If he ever lands a full-time position, he would probably steal 40+ bags a year and would probably be very cheap to acquire right now.
I know most of you miss baseball, so here’s some footage of Jorge Mateo PIMPINg a HR in the Dominican Winter League Finals this year…..
— Juan C. Rodriguez (@jcrod22) April 1, 2020
Edward Olivares, OF – Olivares made the Opening Day roster, and it looks like he may starting some games against left-handed pitchers acting as a platoon with Trent Grisham. The power/speed combo is enticing, but I fear that he won’t gain consistent playing time due to his defense and team depth. However, he might come out of the gates hot and force the issue and if that happens he will be a nice pickup. Watch how he does the first few games and don’t be afraid to jump on him if he gets out to a hot start.
— Mickey Koke (@mickeykoke) February 26, 2020
Tucupita Marcano, IF – If Marcano could add some power, he would be a very popular prospect. As it stands now, there is still a lot to like, especially when it comes to pitch-recognition and contact skills. The man doesn’t strikeout. He also has a little speed that would be very much needed when it comes to fantasy. Think Luis Arraez.
The reason he makes this list, however, is the dream that he can add some strength to his frame and develop at least average power. If he were to do that, we might have a perennial .300 hitter, with 20-25 stolen bases, and 15-20 home runs. I like to look at Altuve when it comes to these high contact/great vision type of guys and hope that they somehow follow suit. So, if you are reading this and would be so kind — please send the man some creatine and peanut butter!
— Lance Brozdowski (@LanceBroz) March 14, 2019