San Diego Padres 2021 Midseason Top 50 Prospects

Padres Top 50 design by @designsbypack on Twitter

The Padres system took a huge hit heading into 2021 and it is slowly but surely coming back to life. It’s still a far cry from what the organization enjoyed for years, but of course, the returns have been excellent at the major league level. The 2021 MLB Draft added 6 players to the top 50, although the system towards the bottom remains very weak relative to other teams. Even their top prospects are now a little more questionable with CJ Abrams going down with a season-ending leg injury and MacKenzie Gore struggling to find his ace potential. Still, Robert Hassell III is making his ascension quickly and the recent international signees are making waves down at Rookie ball. The system is fascinating and worth monitoring so you can get a jump on some of the studs in the making before your league mates can.

Graduations: Ha-Seong Kim, Ryan Weathers

**After a flurry of trades before the deadline, I also decided to include the prospects that were dealt to show where they would have ranked in my top 50. Check at the bottom of the list for those names.


As we get into the rankings, here’s a quick breakdown of how the “Tier” system works here at Prospects1500:

Tier 1: Players with high expectations of both making the majors and playing at an All-Star level for a number of years
Tier 2: Players with an above-average expectation of making the majors and being a solid contributor
Tier 3: Players with an average expectation of making the majors and being a solid contributor
Tier 4: Players who have the potential of making the majors, or have high likelihood of making the majors but providing minimal impact
Tier 5: Players who are worth keeping an eye on, but likely to never make a team’s 40-man roster.

*Clicking on the player’s name allows you to view their Baseball-Reference page*

Tier 1

1. CJ Abrams, 2B/SS (January rank #1)
Age: 20
Current level: AA
Yea, the season-ending injury sucks, but he was way ahead of schedule and is still completely a stud.

2. Robert Hassell III, OF (January rank #3)
Age: 19
Current level: Low-A
Off to a fantastic debut and looks polished beyond his years, this guy is going to do everything well for your dynasty team.

Tier 2

3. MacKenzie Gore, LHP (January rank #2)
Age: 22
Current level: AAA
I can’t quit him because of his upside, but there are serious question marks moving forward.

4. Luis Campusano, C (January rank #4)
Age: 22
Current level: AAA
Wish the bat would come along a little quicker, but about as solid of a catching prospect as you’ll find in the minors still.

Tier 3

5. Joshua Mears, OF (January rank #13)
Age: 20
Current level: Low-A
If he is blasting this many home runs (13) at 20 years old, how many is he going to hit when he fully matures?

6. James Wood, OF (January rank N/A)
Age: 18
Current level: Drafted Round 2, Pick 62
A physical specimen, not unlike Joshua Mears, who could provide fantasy value all over the place if he makes it.

7. Eguy Rosario, 2B (January rank #43)
Age: 21
Current level: AA
Was worried about his upside, but 18 steals and 8 home runs in Double-A will certainly play, along with a healthy walk rate.

8. Justin Lange, RHP (January rank #10)
Age: 19
Current level: Rookie
Ways away, but the upside bumps him up for now and he is striking out everyone (14.7 K/9) despite some shaky early results.

9. Jackson Merrill, SS (January rank N/A)
Age: 18
Current level: Drafted 1st Round, Pick 27
Technically a 1st rounder, but more of a solid, all-around player without a standout tool that will probably be better in real life than in fantasy.

10. Victor Acosta, SS (January rank #30)
Age: 17
Current level: Rookie
Simply by already making his stateside debut, I am bumping him up, especially with the potential ceiling he has to go along with his incredible swag.

11. Reggie Lawson, RHP (January rank #9)
Age: 23
Current level: AA
Still figuring out how to maintain his health, but the stuff is still incredible, although he will need some time.

12. Samuel Zavala, OF (January – unranked)
Age: 17
Current level: Rookie
Like Acosta, simply impressed he is already making his debut, but slightly lower due to lack of speed or premium position.

13. Brayan Medina, RHP (January rank #12)
Age: 18
Current level: Rookie
Some of the best pure stuff in the entire system, but he is years from making a fantasy impact.

14. Robert Gasser, LHP (January rank N/A)
Age: 22
Current level: Drafted Comp. Round B, Pick 71
A big riser in college that was viewed as one of the best left-handed college pitchers in the draft and has some quality stuff.

15. Euribiel Angeles, 2B (January rank #47)
Age: 19
Current level: Low-A
This dude can flat hit (.351 BA) and adds some speed as well as he becomes one of the biggest risers on this list for the update.

16. Michel Baez, RHP (January rank #7)
Age: 25
Current level: AAA (Injured)
Will continue to miss all of 2021, but if he can come back healthy his stuff is still quite enticing, plus he has major league experience already. Still only 34.1 MLB IP.

17. Victor Lizarraga, RHP (January – unranked)
Age: 17
Current level: Rookie
Major future projectability here and off to an impressive stateside debut, so take a chance on the young right-hander.

18. Jorge Ona, OF (January rank #11)
Age: 24
Current level: AAA (Injured)
All injuries suck, but this one to Ona really pushes him down since his window is closing with other prospects passing him up.

19. Tirso Ornelas, OF (January rank #14)
Age: 21
Current level: High-A
Not doing enough right now to predict future fantasy success, but still hanging around for now.

20. Kevin Kopps, RHP (January rank N/A)
Age: 24
Current level: Drafted 3rd Round, Pick 99
Wasn’t viewed as a top draft prospect despite winning the trophy for best college player in 2021, he might be big-league ready now.

Tier 4

21. Esteury Ruiz, 2B (January rank #16)
Age: 22
Current level: AA
Stealing a ton of bases still, but seems a bit overmatched right now which is disappointing considering his age.

22. Daniel Montesino, OF (January – unranked)
Age: 17
Current level: Rookie
Dude could be a monster with huge pop, but I still need to see some more of him.

23. Reiss Knehr, RHP (January – unranked)
Age: 24
Current level: AAA
Recently made a spot start for his debut, but not a lot here to get overly excited about with limited upside.

24. Jagger Hayes, LHP (January rank #20)
Age: 18
Current level: Rookie
I’m still high on this guy until he proves otherwise, but years away and high risk with a lot of unknowns for the moment.

25. Efrain Contreras, RHP (January – unranked)
Age: 21
Current level: AA
Previously overlooked by me to some degree, he is more advanced than I thought, but injury has set him back in 2021.

26. Ethan Elliott, LHP (January – unranked)
Age: 24
Current level: AA
He is flying up the organization in 2021 and striking out a ton of hitters along the way.

27. Ivan Castillo, SS (January rank #40)
Age: 26
Current level: AAA
Managed to make his MLB debut and recorded a hit, but his age and lack of power scream utility guy with limited upside.

Tier 5

28. Luis Gutierrez, LHP (January rank #18)
Age: 17
Current level: Rookie
I lowered him a little bit because I just haven’t seen enough of him, but on paper, this guy checks a lot of boxes for a 17-year-old.

29. Justin Lopez, SS (January rank #19)
Age: 21
Current level: High-A
Slowly coming along and his glove might carry him to the majors so he has to rank somewhat high on this list.

30. Pedro Avila, RHP (January rank #21)
Age: 24
Current level: AAA
Seemingly the forgotten man in the system, he still is close enough to the big leagues to monitor.

31. Max Ferguson, 2B (January rank N/A)
Age: 21
Current level: Drafted 5th Round, Pick 160
Had a down 2021 after being highly ranked coming into the season thanks to selling out for power despite having great speed.

32. Brandon Valenzuela, C (January – unranked)
Age: 20
Current level: Low-A
Defensive-first catcher showing some nice OBP skills in 2021, bumps up his ceiling.

33. Jose Cordero, OF (January rank #24)
Age: 18
Current level: Rookie
He has one of the highest ceilings in the system and is off to a nice debut in Rookie ball in 2021.

34. Jackson Wolf, LHP (January rank N/A)
Age: 22
Current level: Drafted 4th Round, Pick 129
A huge, college lefty with underwhelming stuff, but an interesting dart throw if he can tick up his arsenal.

35. Mason Fox, RHP (January rank #42)
Age: 24
Current level: AA
If he can somehow get the walks under control he will have a future with his pure stuff.

36. Carlos Guarate, RHP (January rank #37)
Age: 20
Current level: High-A
Holding his own for such an aggressive assignment, I’m encouraged to see what he can do when he is against competition closer in age to him.

37. Cristian Heredia, OF (January rank #23)
Age: 20
Current level: Rookie
OBP is healthy, so I’m encouraged that his power will start to show soon.

38. Levi Thomas, RHP (January rank #29)
Age: 23
Current level: Low-A
As a polished college pitcher I hoped for a nice debut, but the strikeouts are still there and you know he will die on the hill for his team.

39. Dwanya Williams-Sutton, OF (January rank #31)
Age: 24
Current level: AA
I was ready for the 2021 breakout, but it doesn’t seem to be happening despite the tantalizing tools.

40. Sean Guilbe, 2B (January rank #32)
Age: 21
Current level: Low-A
Ugh, when is the power going to show up?

41. Charlis Aquino, SS (January rank #39)
Age: 19
Current level: Rookie
Glove might get him to the big leagues, and he is doing fine with the bat for now.

42 Osvaldo Hernandez, LHP (January rank #38)
Age: 23
Current level: AA
Knows how to pitch despite not having overpowering stuff, and is quite advanced but I just don’t know how high the ceiling is.

43. Grant Little, OF (January rank #26)
Age: 24
Current level: High-A
Still has yet to hit a home run as a professional, but I saw the power in college and I’m still holding out hope for it.

44. Frank Lopez, RHP (January rank #25)
Age: 20
Current level: Rookie
I saw potential, but this year has been a disaster, and barely holding on to this list.

45. Angel Solarte, OF (January rank #41)
Age: 20
Current level: Low-A
The defense is solid and has been putting together good at-bats, so the perfect guy to end the list with here.

46. Nerwilian Cedeno, 2b (January – unranked)
Age: 19
Current level: Low-A
Currently injured, but a solid all-around infielder with no plus tools, but young enough to be interesting.

47. Ruben Zayed Salinas, SP/OF (January rank #41)
Age: 18
Current level: Rookie
The Padres are attempting to re-create Ohtani in a lab from the ground up with this teenager.

48. Miguel Rondon, SP (January – unranked)
Age: 20
Current level: Rookie
Got rocked in Low-A and sent down to Rookie ball, but the strikeout potential is still there.

49. Jose Azocar, OF (January – unranked)
Age: 25
Current level: Double-A
Great defensively and has some speed, so he has some tools, but his age bumps him down the list.

50. Mason Feole, LHP (January – unranked)
Age: 22
Current level: High-A
Excellent changeup, but he is a reliever already and needs more velocity to continue his ascent.

 

**Players I had on my list that were recently traded

5. Tucupita Marcano, 2B (January rank #8) – Traded to Pirates
Age: 21
Current level: Triple-A
His debut didn’t go great, but the fact that he made the opening day roster shows how the organization views him

18. Jack Suwinski, OF (January rank #46) – Traded to Pirates
Age: 23
Current level: Double-A
One of the few power prospects in the system, he is getting really close after a nice start to 2021.

21. Anderson Espinoza, RHP (January rank #15) – Traded to Cubs
Age: 23
Current level: High-A
Hey, he’s finally healthy, but was ejected for using sticky stuff and hasn’t been good at all, but we can still dream can’t we?

25. Jordy Barley, SS (January rank #23) – Traded to Nationals
Age: 21
Current level: Low-A
So much fun to watch and has a system-leading 32 stolen bases so there is a lot here to like.

24. Mason Thompson (January rank #17) – Traded to Nationals
Age: 23
Current level: AAA
Recently made his debut, but can’t see him leaving the pen anytime soon, which limits his upside.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




About Alex Sanchez 18 Articles
My goal is to provide an unique perspective when it comes to baseball so that readers can have the information and insight, as well as a bold and progressive analysis. I trust the analytics, but I also trust my eyes when I see the player perform on the field. I don’t want to regurgitate the same, old information but rather I want to give my opinion that is based on research and well-developed thought. Baseball is a game on intricacies and delicate balances and I want to explore every facet that I can. Here on Prospects1500 I will give you the inside scoop on the prospects so that you get to know who they are before everyone else. I won’t always be right, but I can promise my logic and dedication will be sound. Feel free to reach out to discuss and debate and let’s get to prospecting!

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