San Diego Padres Top 50 Prospects (2022)

Padres Top 50 graphic design by @artbyMikeP on Twitter

Well, that 2021 season didn’t quite go as planned for the big league club. Now what? The team traded nearly all their top prospects to go for it all, and there isn’t much success to show for it as of now. However, down on the farm, the Padres have done a remarkable job retooling their system to make it respectable once again. Of course, any system that is headlined by CJ Abrams and Robert Hassell is going to be solid, as they have a legitimate claim as the best 1-2 punch in the league. The key here is taking a gamble on the extremely young Dominican Summer League players as well as the toolsy draft picks the Padres selected in the last few years. If anything, the system lacks the pitching depth that most elite systems enjoy, but MacKenzie Gore is still around and there are young arms developing to hopefully change that moving forward.

Overall, this system is once again on the rise and the potential is there. Now, let’s see if they choose to keep these players or ship them all off in trades once more.

Padres MiLB affiliates:
El Paso Chihuahuas (@epchihuahuas) – AAA
San Antonio Missions (@missionsmilb) – AA
Fort Wayne TinCaps (@TinCaps) – High-A
Lake Elsinore Storm (@Storm_Baseball) – Low-A
Arizona Complex League Padres – Rookie
Dominican Summer League Padres – Rookie

Here is the Prospects1500 tier system explained.

Prospects1500 Tiers:
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 a high likelihood of making the majors but providing minimal impact
Tier 5: Players of interest, worth keeping an eye on, who have an outside chance of making their team’s 40-man roster

Levels listed for each player are the highest levels player reached in 2021

Tier 1

1. CJ Abrams, SS/2B, 21, AA
He’s good to go after the leg injury, and if anyone is marking him down because of it, they are crazy. It was a fracture, not a tear, and early reports are that he is back to pre-injury speed. Everything is here besides the power. It might never show up, but I am still betting there is enough to make a difference. Imagine Jacoby Ellsbury, but at a middle infield spot. The timeline may be pushed back a little bit, as I would guess we see him possibly in 2023 now, but there isn’t a prospect that has such a high floor and ceiling in the minors (Ok, maybe Witt Jr.)

2. Robert Hassell III, OF, 20, High-A
Sometimes a prospect gets drafted and does exactly what you thought he would do. RH3 is doing just that. He hit right away at a challenging level for his age, and then he started showing in-game power towards the end of the year. He stole 34 bases for good measure too. His baseball IQ is high and I think he can contribute in all categories for a long, long time. I really tried to find an area to pump the brakes, but I failed. He is going to be a stud.

Tier 2

3. MacKenzie Gore, LHP, 22, All levels
I am not going to lie to you. I started this list with Gore at #6. I wanted to shock people and tell them to forget about this former can’t-miss prospect. But I can’t do it. He wasn’t that bad in 2021, but I just wish I knew what in the world was actually happening with him. Here’s the bottom line; pitching prospects are not linear. They will have their ups and downs. What’s important to remember is that Gore is still only 22 and it might just be taking him longer than we expected. Also, I think that the Padres don’t want to send him up and down when he finally does get the call, so when he is up he is up for good. Take a shot at him if you can get a discount, but we can’t just forget the last two years of data either.

4. Victor Acosta, SS/2B, 17, Rookie (DSL)
Giddy-up. Now is the time to acquire Acosta as there is a legitimate chance he explodes in 2022. He hit 5 home runs in 56 games in the Dominican Summer League and stole an absurd 26 bases. Of course, these numbers are often inflated, but as a 17-year-old switch-hitting middle infielder, it’s alright to be extremely excited. His upside is worth taking a gamble on because he has elite potential. Just go for it.

5. James Wood, OF, 19, Rookie (ACL)
Whoa! Settle down, James! What a debut for this athletic specimen. A 1.000 OPS as an 18-year-old in Rookie ball is eye-opening. I was already fairly high on him as the tools are just mouth-watering, but he gets a bump because now he is ahead of schedule. At 6’7” he looks like Aaron Judge, but his wheels are enticing too, as he managed to steal 10 bases as well in his debut. Look, he is going to strike out and we have seen flashes in the pan before, but much like Acosta, this is a guy worth gambling on early.

6. Luis Campusano, C, 23, MLB
Campusano is starting to frustrate me, or rather more specifically, the Padres are. They clearly weren’t ready to hand over a starting spot to him, and when he did make his debut, it sure wasn’t pretty. However, the profile really hasn’t changed that much. The above-average bat behind the dish still is there and the tools to be a good defensive catcher remain. What worries me now is that maybe he isn’t an MLB-caliber defensive catcher and the Padres mess with him. My hope is he stays behind the dish and makes an impact. Of course, for fantasy, he is still a catcher and if you know me, you know I also tend to fade them a little bit.

7. Joshua Mears, OF, 20, Low-A
Mears is a monster and has some of the best tools in the entire system. 24 home runs in 2021 as a 20-year-old will get anyone excited. Add in 19 steals with a decent walk rate and it’s hard not to get interested. The strikeouts are to be expected, and his hit tool will always be an issue but they just don’t make many baseball players like Mears.

Tier 3

8. Robert Gasser, LHP, 22, Low-A
Gasser is a 2nd-rounder who is more advanced than advertised. The lefty’s stuff is still improving and reaching the mid 90’s now. There are plenty of paths to becoming a starter with solid walk rates and decent strikeout numbers. Plus, the 80-grade name for a pitcher.

9. Ethan Elliott, LHP, 24, AA
Elliott is a funky lefty who achieved some impressive strikeout numbers in 2021. He’s older for his levels, but still seems to have a nice floor and may even get to the bigs in 2022. Elliott is a safe, innings-eater with potential for a little more.

10. Samuel Zavala, OF, 17, Rookie (DSL)
He did what Acosta did; except a little less. And he isn’t a switch-hitter. And he did in the outfield, not at SS. Still, the debut speaks volumes about the potential and is worth picking up now.

11. Euribiel Angeles, IF, 19, High-A
You have to love this guy for the hit tool, but fantasy-wise it might not be as great. Still, he may develop and if he can get to some power there is something really special here. Just don’t bank on that for now.

12. Jackson Merrill, SS, 18, Rookie (ACL)
Apparently, the Padres are working to revamp his swing to add loft, but the game results haven’t followed. Still, a solid all-around player as a 1st round pick is plenty for now. Very much a candidate for a breakout.

13. Justin Lange, RHP, 20, Rookie (ACL)
Phenomenal stuff, but I’m thinking he gets moved to the bullpen now. Still, would be valuable there and there many different paths he may take moving forward. Some of the best stuff in the system.

14. Daniel Montesino, OF, 17, Rookie (DSL)
Acosta, Zavala and now…Montesino. What a trio of 17-year-olds to have. Montesino had a better debut than Zavala and has the most power potential of the three, but his defense may limit him to 1B/DH. But, man this guy can mash as a teenager already.

15. Eguy Rosario, IF, 22, AA
Perhaps a little prospect fatigue as he didn’t really do anything to warrant a drop but just hasn’t had the big breakout everyone was waiting for. Still, a very fantasy-friendly profile that can probably be had on the cheap now.

16. Reggie Lawson, RHP, 24, AA
If we could turn injuries off he would be top 5. But, alas, we can’t. If he can ever maintain his health he will be highly sought after.

17. Brayan Medina, RHP, 19, Rookie (ACL)
His stuff is electric for a teenager and there are encouraging peripherals here as well. Potential to be a top of the rotation arm, but obviously is very far off.

Tier 4

18. Eddy Beltre, OF, 17, Rookie (DSL)
19. Brandon Valenzuela, C, 21, High-A
20. Kevin Kopps, RHP, 24, AA
21. Jagger Haynes, LHP, 19, N/A
22. Corey Rosier, OF, 22, Low-A
23. Esteury Ruiz, 2B, 22, AA
24. Max Ferguson, 2B, 22, Low-A
25. Victor Lizarraga, RHP, 18, Rookie (ACL)
26. Tirso Ornelas, OF, 21, High-A
27. Jorge Oña, OF, 23, DNP (Injured, MLB in 2020) 
28. Efrain Contreras, RHP, 22, Injured
29. Agustin Ruiz, OF, 22, AA
30. Steven Wilson, RHP, 27, AAA
31. Adrian Martinez, RHP, 25, AAA
32. Dwanya Williams-Sutton, OF, 24, AA
33. Michel Baez, RHP, 25, Injured
34. Ray Kerr, LHP, 27, AAA
35. Jackson Wolf, LHP, 22, Low-A
36. Reiss Knehr, RHP, 25, MLB
37. Angel Solarte, IF, 26, MLB
38. Pedro Avila, RHP, 24, MLB

Beltre is trying to join the 17-year-old club that had sensational debuts…It’s not the craziest thing to think that Valenzuela might end up being better than Campusano….Kopps is so good, but they seem keen on rushing him to the bigs as a reliever…Haynes still hasn’t made his debut, but I’ll just assume he is beefing up to show out in 2022…Rosier joins the organization from Seattle and has hit everywhere he has been…Ruiz and his fantasy-friendly profile keep him from falling too far… Ferguson is getting some hype, but still really hasn’t done much in games yet…Lizarraga is the pitching version of Acosta and Zavala and the other teenagers….Ornelas might make it to the bigs, but he just doesn’t have an appealing fantasy profile…Ona, Contreras, and Baez all missed the entire 2021 season due to injuries…Wilson projects as a high-leverage RP who strikes out everyone…Williams-Sutton needs to start putting it together to match his toolset…Kerr came over from Seattle and throws gas from the left side as an RP…Knehr, Solarte, and Avila have all made their debuts, so I couldn’t put them lower but there don’t project to be much use on fantasy rosters.

Tier 5

39. Jose Cordero, OF, 18, Rookie (DSL)
40. Moises Lugo, RHP, 22, AA
41. Matthew Acosta, OF, 23, Low-A
42. Matt Waldron, RHP, 25, AA
43. Gabe Morales, LHP, 22, High-A
44. Jarryd Dale, IF, 21, Low-A
45. Noel Vela, LHP, 23, High-A
46. Garrett Hawkins, RHP, 21, Rookie (ACL)
47. Ryan Bergert, RHP, 21, Rookie (ACL)
48. River Ryan, IF, 23, Rookie (ACL)
49. Cole Cummings, 3B, 23, Low-A
50. Chase Walter, RHP, 23, High-A

Cordero didn’t have the outrageous debut others had, but tools are there…Lugo is making steady progress and is getting close to a debut…Acosta was solid at USC so worth keeping an eye on…Waldron has the makings on a mid-rotational pitcher but is already 25…Morales is a K-machine but will be an RP…Dale, from Downunder, is a speedster and speed always has a place on my lists…Vela needs to continue to lower his walk rate to become interesting…Hawkins, Bergert, and Ryan are all a bit old for the ACL, but they could move fast…Cummings is my UCSB Gaucho boy who is a solid all-around player…Walter is a strikeout machine, but he is an RP-only already.

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!


  1. Great report! Hey Alex, yet, once again I want to personally thank you arraging to get the Padre ST practice fields open for us the public to be able to do watch up close as these players develop into major league players. 🙂

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