A lot has changed in Padres world since before the season. Here’s the link to my Preseason 2017 Padres Top 50 Prospects. Not so much in terms of transactions, but a ton in terms of prospects graduating from prospect status. We’ve seen the expected graduates like Manny Margot (#2) and Hunter Renfroe (#3) but also Dinelson Lamet (#9), Allen Cordoba (#18), Carlos Asuaje (#19), Luis Torrens (#20), Miguel Diaz (#22), Jose Torres (#30), and Phil Maton (#41). The Rule 5 guys were somewhat expected. It was either that or lose them to their previous teams, and none of the guys were huge surprises. But to see all of them get this much big league time is a surprise.
Another guy who won’t be on this list but didn’t graduate is Logan Bawcom. Due to his age and the fact he has yet to see big league time he’s not generally seen as a prospect, but with his 2.70 ERA in Triple-A El Paso it seems likely that he could make a fantasy impact as a middle reliever if a team will give him a chance soon. El Paso released him this week and it is looking like they released him at his request, enabling him to catch on with a team that will give him a chance at the big league level.
Alright, enough about that. Let’s get into the list. Remember near-term fantasy production is a factor in this list. There are some low ceiling guys who are higher here than they would be on other lists because of that. Also some high-ceiling guys who are in rookie ball or Single-A might be a bit lower here.
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 (e.g. middle reliever, low-ceiling UT guys)
Tier 5: Players who are worth keeping an eye on, but likely to never make a team’s 40-man roster
1. Cal Quantrill, RHP
Age: 22 (DOB: 02/10/1995)
Quantrill has the #Padres Twittersphere buzzing. His changeup is his best pitch which isn’t something you often hear about a 22 year old with a fastball that reaches 96 MPH. Quantrill also has a good slider and he has command of all of his pitches. So far through 2017 he has struck out almost three times as many batters as he’s walked and that’s while striking out nine per nine.
2. MacKenzie Gore, RHP
Age: 18 (DOB: 02/24/1999)
2017 Gatorade Athlete of the Year, number 3 overall pick in the 2017 MLB Draft and July 17th Sports Illustrated cover athlete, MacKenzie Gore was a huge acquisition for the Padres. As a draftee out of high school Gore is still a few years from the big leagues, still growing into his frame and presumably still adding velocity. He is off to an excellent start though. Three appearances into his professional career Gore has yet to give up a run and he’s only walked one while striking out 13. The sky’s the limit with Gore.
3. Luis Urias, 2B/3B/SS
Age: 20 (DOB 06/03/1997)
At 20 he is one of the youngest players in Double-A and he’s hitting .318 there. The middle infield for San Diego is not exceptionally strong, though Carlos Asuaje is exceeding expectations right now. This weakness combined with the fact that there are not any middle infielders in El Paso blocking his advance mean that he should be promoted as soon as the Padres decide he has developed enough. Given their current approach they have no reason to rush him, but he may force their hand.
4. Adrian Morejon, LHP
Age: 18 (DOB 02/27/1999)
Morejon is still looking like a top-of-the-rotation guy. He’s having a successful season, first with Tri-City and now with Fort Wayne. All of his pitches are above average and he has two different change-ups which helps him keep hitters off-balance.
5. Fernando Tatis Jr., 3B/SS
Age: 18 (DOB 1/2/1999)
Still 18, Fernando Tatis Jr. has been turning heads like crazy in Fort Wayne. He’s 3rd in the league in home runs with 17, behind guys who are 21 and 22 years old. He was a mid-season Midwest League All-Star and he’s been a two time player of the week.
6. Michel Baez, RHP
Age: 21 (DOB 1/21/1996)
Win/Loss records aren’t a very telling statistic, especially in the minor leagues, but after six starts Baez is 5-0. He has yet to lose a game in his professional career. Less than 35 innings it’s too early to be overly impressed by his ERA (1.30) but it’s not too early to be impressed by his stuff. He’s 6’8 with a mid to high 90s fastball, which he complements with an above average slider and a change-up that is coming around. He use that repertoire to strikeout 14 in his last start.
7. Joey Lucchesi, LHP
Age: 24 (DOB 06/6/1993)
2016 4th round pick, Joey Lucchesi has been successful, if not dominant, at every level he’s played at. Another mid-season All-Star, his WHIP for the season is 1.02 and he’s 9.8 SO/9. Expect to see him in Triple-A before the end of the season.
8. Eric Lauer, LHP
Age: 21 (DOB 06/03/1995)
Bringing a respectable 3.75 ERA into August, Lauer was also a mid-season All-Star. His promotion to Double-A has coincided with a downturn in performance, but given his four pitch arsenal, his athleticism, and his poise it’s likely that he’ll get back on track.
9. Anderson Espinoza, RHP
Age: 19 (DOB 03/09/1998)
He hasn’t pitched at all this season and now he’s just had Tommy John Surgery. TJ is something pitchers come back from regularly but it’s hard not to sour on his potential a little at this point. Still, once he recovers everything should be back on track and he should climb prospect lists and the Padres system quickly.
10. Franchy Cordero, OF/1B
Age: 22 (DOB 09/02/1994)
He strikes out to much and his batting average at the big league level this year is .228. Those are the bad things about him. The good thing I’m still high on him because he’s only 22 and he’s showing a lot of pop. Also, in El Paso he’s been coming up with a lot of timely hits. He’s hitting .313 there with an OPS of .947. Plus, he just looks like a good baseball player.
11. Logan Allen, LHP
Age: 20 (DOB 05/23/1997)
Allen is putting together a very solid season between Fort Wayne and Lake Elsinore. He’s becoming something of a workhorse and has no signs of slowing down. Very impressive for a 20 year old in his third season of professional baseball.
12. Jeisson Rosario, OF
Age: 17 (DOB 10/22/1999)
Still 17 so he’s got a long way to go but Rosario is looking great in the AZL. All his scouting grades are above average with the exception of power and fielding. Even though scouting grades are based on future tools and not just the current ability, but if there are any projections that could head north for a 17 year old it’d be power and fielding.
13. Enyel De Los Santos, RHP
Age: 21 (DOB 12/25/1995)
At 21 Enyel is younger than most of his peers in Double-A. His stats aren’t blowing away anyone just yet, but his stuff plays. It plays in Double-A and it’s expected to play in the bigs with expected development. Projected to be a back of the rotation starter.
14. Jacob Nix, RHP
Age: 21 (DOB 01/09/1996)
Nix’s numbers and effectiveness have taken a downturn in 2017, but the 6’4 righty still has good stuff with an above average fastball and curveball and good control to go with it.
15. Jorge Ona, OF
Age: 20 (DOB 12/31/1996)
Ona is a big guy, which could wear on him over time. That being said, he’s stolen 6 bases, hit 8 home runs and is almost hitting .300. He’s yet another mid-season All-Star.
16. Josh Naylor, 1B
Age: 21 (DOB 06/22/1997)
He’s higher elsewhere but when I see a 21 year old player who is already limited to first base due to his size and lack of speed I find it hard to imagine he’ll go onto have a long, productive career. He seems like a better fit in the AL, but even there you don’t often see guys go straight into the DH spot and find long term success. But he hits for good power while hitting for average and that is harder and hard to come by these days.
17. Austin Allen, C
Age: 23 (DOB 01/16/1994)
18 home runs, a .296 batting average (.316 in his last ten games). Allen is experiencing a huge power surge and he’s showing no signs of slowing down.
18. Luis Campusano, C
Age: 18 (DOB 09/29/1999
Campusano is hitting well in the AZL even though he’s graded just below average. He’s projected to remain behind the plate but with Austin Hedges and Austin Allen, he may have trouble advancing or he may take someone’s job one day.
19. Jose Rondon, SS
Age: 22 (DOB 03/03/1994)
Rondon is currently on the DL which possibly cost him a shot at promotion when the Padres called-up Dusty Coleman to fill a glaring hole at SS. It’s most likely he’ll be called up in September and could provide a fantasy impact for deep leagues.
20. Luis Almanzar, SS
Age: 17 (DOB 11/01/1999)
Almanzar is not hitting very well right now, but he’s a 17 year old who the organization assigned to Single-A short season instead of the AZL.
21. Esteury Ruiz, 2B
Age: 18 (DOB 02/15/1999)
Ruiz is one rookie ball guy that I didn’t really penalize for the fact that it will be a long time before he makes a fantasy impact. He was recently brought over in a trade from the Royals while he was hitting over .400 in rookie ball.
22. Chris Paddack, RHP
Age: 21 (DOB 01/08/1996)
As expected, Paddack is still rehabbing from Tommy John surgery and the hard-throwing righty has not appeared this season. Paddack is throwing bullpen sessions though.
23. Mason Thompson, RHP
Age: 19 (DOB 02/20/1998)
Currently on the DL for shoulder inflammation, Thompson has seen a downturn in effectiveness since being promoted. But he’s still 6’7 and throwing well in the 90s.
24. Blake Hunt, C
Age: 19 (DOB 02/20/1998)
Hunt has a better pop time than Campusano or Allen but his hitting lags behind and he’s not very fast. The Padres still paid him nearly doubly slot value after drafting him this year.
25. Kyle McGrath, RHP
Age: 25 (DOB 06/31/1992)
Already in the big leagues McGrath is ready to make a fantasy impact right now. His career WHIP in the minors is 0.84.
26. Brad Wieck, LHP
Age 24: (DOB 10/14/1991)
Wieck stumbled after a recent promotion to Triple-A and is back in Double-A. It should be a temporary setback. I had a chance to talk to him shortly after his promotion. With his 2.83 Double-A ERA he is still competitive for a September call-up.
27. Michael Gettys, OF
Age: 21 (DOB 10/22/1995)
With the crowded outfield, combined with an offensive step back Gettys isn’t looking like a great fantasy option anytime soon. With Jabari Blash emerging as a somewhat successful big leaguer and still getting demoted and Nick Buss leading the PCL in batting average with a .373 and not getting a big league look, it’s hard to imagine the Padres going out of their way to give Gettys a shot any time soon.
28. Javier Guerra, SS
Age: 21 (DOB 09/25/1995)
Guerra’s bat is getting hotter. .267 in Double-A this year after only hitting .226 in A Ball last year, and he’s hitting .333 in his last ten games.
29. Jerry Keel, LHP
Age: 23 (DOB 09/26/1993)
1.19 WHIP after 87+ innings so far this season. Throws a fastball, slider, curveball, and change-up.
30. Mason House
Age: 18 (DOB 09/10/1998)
Athletic outfielder drafted out of high school is doing fairly well in his first pro-season. His batting average (.258) isn’t fantastic but he didn’t face elite competition in high school so his adjustment might be steeper than some.
*Editor note: House went 4-5 on August 4th, just after Eric submitted this article, raising his average to .299.
31. Sam Keating, RHP
Age: 18 (DOB 08/31/1998)
Has only thrown a few games so far this season in the Arizona Rookie League. Too early to assess based on limited innings.
32. Reggie Lawson, RHP
Age: 19 (DOB 08/02/1997)
ERA is 6.00 after 50+ innings, but he has a lot of upside due to his build and the way his stuff has been coming around.
33. Eguy Rosario, 2B/3B
Age: 17 (DOB 08/25/1999)
Started the season in Single-A where he was the youngest player in the league. He wasn’t hitting well there, but they dropped him to rookie ball and he’s hitting .327 there.
35. Jordy Barley, SS
Age: 17 (DOB 12/03/1999)
Speedy shortstop. Undeveloped but fairly high ceiling.
36. Kyle Lloyd, RHP
Age: 26 (DOB 10/16/1990)
Made his big league debut this season and will likely get more exposure in September.
37. Jose Galindo, RHP
Age: 22 (DOB 05/16/1995)
He’s only allowed one earned run in his first 26 professional innings. If I had to take a flyer on one guy who’s off the radar it’d be the El Paso native.
38. Lake Bachar, RHP
Age: 22 (DOB 06/3/1995)
Currently playing for the Fort Wayne Tin Caps, he has performed very well in the minimal action he’s seen in 2017.
39. Pedro Avila, RHP
Age: 20 (DOB 01/14/1997)
Solid 7-1 season at A ball Fort Wayne. Has seen action at Fort Wayne and Advanced-A Lake Elsinore Storm this year.
40. Gabriel Arias, SS
Age: 17 (DOB 02/27/2000)
Born in the year 2000, Arias hits well but he lacks power and his glove needs work. He has 9 errors in 194 innings at shortstop. He’s also seen time in the outfield.
41. Tirso Ornelas, OF
Age: 22 (DOB 03/11/2000)
Ornelas is hitting decently well and only has two errors so far this season.
42. Buddy Reed, OF
Age: 22 (DOB 04/27/1995)
I probably had him too high in the pre-season. Images of Billy Hamilton were dancing in my head. He’s in that mold, but not as good.
43. Ruddy Giron, SS
Age: 20 (DOB 01/04/1997)
Giron seems to be stalling. Currently hitting in the .220s.
44. Hansel Rodriguez, RHP
Age: 20 (DOB 02/27/1997)
Rodriguez has given up 0 runs in his last 12 innings bringing his ERA down from 5.05 to 4.36. In more good news he’s reached 99 MPH with his fastball.
45. Brad Zunica, 1B
Age: 21 (DOB 10/21/1995)
6’6. Hits home runs. Strikes out. All of that is still true. 16 home runs so far this season. .240 average and 98 strikeouts in 254 ABs.
46. Walker Lockett, RHP
Age: 22 (DOB 5/3/1994)
Lockett has spent the whole season in Triple-A as was hoped for but injuries have limited him to just 10 games so far.
47. Adam Cimber, RHP
Age: 26 (DOB 08/15/1990)
With a WHIP of 0.98 and an ERA of 3.25 on the season with most of his time spent in Triple-A it’d be great to see Cimber get a chance in the big leagues this season. Sidearmer with a funky delivery keeps hitter off-balance with a fastball, sinker and slider.
48. Ty France, 3B
Age: 23 (DOB 7/13/1994)
6’0 first baseman with some power, but his power hasn’t really emerged so much this season. He his hitting around .280 though.
49. Michael Kelly, RHP
Age: 24 (DOB 09/6/1992)
Some recent bad outings have blown up his ERA, but Kelly started off pitching well this season. If he turns it around he’d could be looked at in September, but I’m wondering if he’s entirely healthy.
50. Henry Henry, RHP
Age: 18 (DOB 12/17/1998)
18 years old and sporting a 1.01 WHIP through 33+ innings of Short Season A-ball.
Eric Killian is an Army Officer who covers the San Diego Padres for Prospects1500. He is a longtime baseball fan and collector whose collecting inspired him to learn all he can about up-and-coming players. He recently relocated from Sierra Vista, AZ., to El Paso, TX. Follow him on Twitter @USKillian