San Diego Padres 2019 Top 50 Prospects

Photo credit - Marshall Dunlap on Flickr

The Padres system has everything. Pitchers who can be frontline starters for years to come and others who will be very productive relievers, infielders with a chance at superstardom, and a host of outfielders who could contribute at the big league level. Their minor league teams compete for playoff spots at every level, which is further evidence of their depth.

It is still, in my opinion, the best farm system in baseball, but that’s likely to change over the next couple of seasons as prospects graduate and others are dealt for players who can help the team contend immediately. 2019 appears to be a season where players like Tatis and Urias will have serious MLB playing time and be allowed to make mistakes and adjustments to the big leagues. 2020 is when I would expect to see the Padres really contend. That doesn’t mean that they will wait until next offseason to begin dealing prospects. I would be surprised if everyone on this list is still in the Padres organization after the trade deadline.

On another note, someone had this to say about Top 50 lists: “Nobody can get the top 5 right. Top 50 is just blog filler.” Here’s the thing about this list. It’s not “right.” It could never be right. There’s not a lot of rhyme or reason to why one guy is #42 and another guy is #46. There’s a feel thing that goes into it, but I would never care enough to get into an argument over it. What this list is, is a list of 50 Padres minor leaguers to keep an eye on. It’s also a chance to read a blurb about a guy named Tucupita Marcano? Who the heck is Tucupita Marcano? Exactly. Google him. You still don’t find much. These guys deserve to have their names printed somewhere and someone needs to be talking about them. We do that here at Prospects1500.

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 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


Tier 1:

1. Fernando Tatis Jr., 3B/SS
Age: 20
2018 Highest Level: AA, Futures Game
2018 Mid-Season #1
Happy birthday Fernando Tatis Jr.! (January 2nd) It is looking more and more like 2019 will be the season that we get a Tatis/Urias middle infield in San Diego. Tatis has recovered well from his season ending injury last season and will get a chance to compete for a starting role out of Spring Training. The most likely outcome is that he begins the season in Triple-A and arrives in San Diego a bit later, due to service time manipulation.

2. MacKenzie Gore, LHP
Age: 19
2018 Highest Level: A
2018 Mid-Season #2
Gore continued striking out hitters at an exceptionally high rate in 2018 with 11 Ks per 9 innings, but A-ball hitters were able to find success against him leading to an uninspiring 4.45 ERA. This could have been related to blister issues Gore suffered through early in the season leading to two DL stints. Following the second stint he was much more effective and finished the season strong. There was some speculation prior to the 2018 season that Gore would fast track his way and be in Double-A before the end of the season. That clearly did not happen and frankly I don’t see a reason to throw him right into Double-A to start 2019. That being said, the kid is good. Mike Axisa from CBS Sports even speculates he’ll be the 17th best baseball player by WAR over the next 5 years. Obviously that’s a hugely speculative list, but it’s evidence of how good he is expected to be.


Tier 2:
3. Luis Urias, 2B/SS
Age: 21
2018 Highest Level: MLB
2018 Mid-Season #4

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Photo credit – Eric Killian (@USKillian)

My main issue with Urias around the middle of 2018 was that he hadn’t mastered Triple-A. Then he went on a tear, hitting .398 in August with a 1.107 OPS. His September call-up was not especially impressive, but that should not scare anyone away. Athletic and graceful, it’s fun watching Urias play second base.

4. Francisco Mejia, C
Age: 22
2018 Highest Level: MLB
2018 Mid-Season #3

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Photo credit – Eric Killian (@USKillian)

Mejia brought a lot of excitement to El Paso during his brief stay in Triple-A after the Adam Cimber trade. Austin Hedges may be the better defender and game manager, but it is not looking like he is the answer for a Padres team bent on contending. Mejia could be that answer. Three years younger than Hedges and with a better bat, Mejia will continue to develop both behind the plate and at the plate.

5. Chris Paddack, RHP
Age: 22
2018 Highest Level: AA
2018 Mid-Season #7
Paddack was incredibly dominant in 2018 and was rewarded with a MiLBY award as the Top Starting Pitcher in Minor League Baseball (Staff Choice). He also named to the inaugural Toolshed All-MiLB Team as the team’s right-handed starter. Remarkably Paddack only walked 8 hitters last season, while striking out 120 in 90 innings. Look for him to start the season in Triple-A and make his debut sometime in 2019.

6. Michel Baez,  RHP
Age: 22
2018 Highest Level: AA
2018 Mid-Season #5
Baez was named the MiLB Cal League Pitcher of the Week on June 10th last season, which was just part of an 86+ inning, sub-3 ERA start to the season for Baez. Then he went to Double-A. His stats show 18.1 innings and a 7.36 ERA, but he also pitched two playoff games, running his Double-A totals to 29 innings and a slightly more respectable 6.52 ERA. Small samples are the bane of using stats for analysis in the minor leagues, so let’s remember who Baez is. He’s a 6’8 Cuban pitcher who throws hard, reaching up to 99 MPH, while making it look easy and his ability to repeat his mechanics is only improving.

7. Adrian Morejon, LHP
Age: 19
2018 Highest Level: A+
2018 Mid-Season #8
Another Cuban, Morejon had a solid season at Lake Elsinore before being shut down a little early with a minor triceps injury. Following a 12-strikeout game pitching coach Pete Zamora noted that Morejon’s improved maturity has improved his ability to work out of jams and prevent big innings. “He’s learning quickly on how to be efficient and stay in the game, keeping the damage under control.” Follow that link for a more in-depth discussion.

8. Luis Patino, RHP
Age: 19
2018 Highest Level: A
2018 Mid-Season #11
Emily Waldon wrote a fantastic story on Luis Patino. It’s on The Athletic, and paywalled, but that one story was worth my subscription. It details how he was scouted and signed and his development since then. He had an excellent 2018 season as an 18-year-old in Single-A. His wide-array pitches includes two-seam and four-seam fastball, slider, changeup and curve.

9. Cal Quantrill, RHP
Age: 23
2018 Highest Level: AAA
2018 Mid-Season #6
Quantrill earned a promotion to Triple-A El Paso where he was effective, posting a 3.48 ERA and striking out 22 hitters in 31 innings. For the most part his fall in prospect lists is more about fellow Padre prospects rising around him. He’s still a viable candidate to make an impact in the Padres rotation soon, and 2019 will have him one more season removed from Tommy John surgery.

10. Xavier Edwards, SS
Age: 19
2018 Highest Level: A-
2018 Mid-Season #22
Wow, can this kid hit! Professional baseball has yet to prove challenging for Edwards, though that’s sure to change at some point. With the Padres pretty well set at SS it’s hard to see where he’s going, but he’s so young that that’s getting ahead of ourselves.

11. Logan Allen, LHP
Age: 21
2018 Highest Level: AAA
2018 Mid-Season #11
Allen was superb in 27.2 Triple-A innings towards the end of the 2018 posting a 1.63 ERA over 5 games. His walks during that stretch were up (13) but his 2.8 BB/9 over his first 121 innings of the season tells us that the Triple-A number was a fluke.

12. Ryan Weathers, LHP
Age: 18
2018 Highest Level: A
2018 Mid-Season #10
Weathers competed well in his first season of professional baseball, putting up a 3.44 ERA and 1.255 WHIP in uhhh 18.1 innings. As usual, too small to get a real read on it, but it’s clear that suddenly facing professional competition as an 18-year-old was something he was prepared for.

13. Josh Naylor, 1B
Age: 21
2018 Highest Level: AA
2018 Pre-Season #16
I can’t imagine that he won’t start the season in Triple-A. If Naylor succeeds in Triple-A, which seems likely, his biggest issue is the fact that first base is very much taken by Eric Hosmer, and the Padres have enough outfield depth that transition him to an outfielder does not provide a clear path to the big leagues.

14. Esteury Ruiz, 2B/3B
Age: 19
2018 Highest Level: A
2018 Pre-Season #19
10 months ago, Sammy Benhow of East Village Times wrote an article asking if Esteury Ruiz was the next big thing. Like Benhow projected, Ruiz did start the season at Fort Wayne, but he saw some regression and had a somewhat flat season, hitting .254. The good side is, his power numbers increased and he’s still the incredibly talented teenager that he was following the 2017 season. Tons of upside for this kid.

15. Buddy Reed, OF
Age: 23
2018 Highest Level: AA, Arizona Fall League
2018 Mid-Season #15
Reed had an incredible first half and then fell off following his promotion to Double-A, hitting only .179 in 179 at bats. Weird. His time in the Arizona Fall League showed us that first half Buddy Reed as he started hitting again (.333) and against fairly advanced pitching.

Photo credit – Gail Verderico (@1baseballchick)

16. Hudson Potts, 3B
Age: 20
2018 Highest Level: A+, Arizona Fall League
2018 Mid-Season #17
Another Arizona Fall League alum, Potts was similar to Reed with a strong show in A+ ball and then a poor performance at Double-A. Potts did not make up for it with a strong fall, but the talented third baseman still has a ton of upside at 20-years-old.

Potts with Braves’ Kyle Muller, photo credit – Gail Verderico (@1baseballchick)

17. Anderson Espinoza, RHP
Age: 20
2018 Highest Level: Did Not Play / A Ball in 2016
2018 Mid-Season #13
Where in the world is Anderson Espinoza? What will become of him? The Padres protected him from the Rule 5 Draft and he’s expected to be throwing to live hitters by Spring Training. If things go well he could soar.

18. Andres Munoz, RHP
Age: 19
2018 Highest Level: AA
2018 Mid-Season #14
103 MPH 5 times in a single inning. That’ll play. In 24.2 innings his ERA was 0.73. He’s 19 for a few more days.

 

Tier 3:
19. Jacob Nix, RHP
Age: 22
2018 Highest Level: MLB
2017 Mid-Season #18
If you started a game on the mound for the El Paso Chihuahuas in 2018 then you probably started one for the San Diego Padres in 2018, and it probably didn’t go very well. Don’t check my work on that, but it feels right. Nix has ascended through the minors rapidly with hardly a blemish. Expect him to get a solid chance to start for San Diego next season.

20. Jeisson Rosario, OF
Age: 19
201 Highest Level: A
2018 Mid-Season #21
These next three are almost interchangeable as far as I can tell. Rosario is the same age and position, and about the same build as Tirso Ornelas who is next up on my list. He has simply outhit Ornelas while stealing a lot more bases.

21. Tirso Ornelas, OF
Age: 18
2018 Highest Level: A
2018 Pre-Season #44
Will Ornelas be the guy I swing and miss on? I think some lists will have him higher than I do, but he seems cut from the same cloth as Rosario and Olivares below. All of them are very promising. It’s just difficult to distinguish who will rise above the rest.

22. Edward Olivares, OF
Age: 21
2018 Highest Level: A+
2018 Pre-Season #26
Olivares is killing it in the Venezuelan Winter League, hitting .340 in his first 39 games. That’s after a solid A+ season where he hit .277 with 12 homers. He’s a lot like Rosario and Ornelas, just a little bit older and playing a little bit ahead of them.

23. Luis Campusano, C
Age: 19
2018 Highest Level: A
2018 Mid-Season #23
Campusano is one of those rare catching prospects who is expected to stay behind the plate. In 2018 he hit .288 as a 19-year-old in Single-A which looks really promising.

24. Jose Castillo, LHP
Age: 22
2018 Highest Level: MLB
2018 Pre-Season #38
Castillo was up and down between the big leagues and Double-A last year, then finished up in Triple-A on a rehab assignment. He didn’t pitch after July 25th but Castillo figures to be a factor in the Padres bullpen for a while, as early as 2019.

25. Trey Wingenter, RHP
Age: 24
2018 Highest Level: MLB
2018 Mid-Season #27
Another reliever who got big league time last year, Wingenter throws upwards of 100 MPH and was effective in limited appearances. He also can help a fantasy team with depth.

26. Austin Allen, C
Age: 23
2018 Highest Level: AA, Arizona Fall League
2018 Mid-Season #28
Allen had a solid season in San Antonio last season and will likely start 2019 in Triple-A. According to analysis done by MLB Pipeline to determine which minor leaguers drove the ball best in 2018 Allen came out #2 in all of MiLB.

27. Owen Miller, SS
Age: 21
2018 Highest Level: A
2018 Mid-Season #39
Miller raked and was incredibly consistent across two levels in his debut professional season. He hit .335 in A- and .336 in A. Double-A seems likely for 2019 and if he has success there a promotion to Triple-A does not seem out of the question. Also, Miller played 13 games at 3B last season and that it the one infield position where the Padres need help quickly.

28. Grant Little, OF
Age: 21
2018 Highest Level: A-
2018 Mid-Season #35
As hoped, Little played most of his games in centerfield where he didn’t make an error in 198 innings. His hitting was pretty decent but he didn’t display in power in 2018. As he matures and advances the power should come.

29. Gabriel Arias, SS
Age: 18
2018 Highest Level: A
2018 Mid-Season #26
Arias is one of those guys who I really need to see in person. After the 2017 season scouts and evaluators loved him. Following 2018 I am not seeing much written about him no matter where I look. Still 18 for a couple months, it’s clear that Arias has the athleticism and talent to bloom into someone special.

30. Pedro Avila, P
Age: 21
2018 Highest Level: A+
2018 Mid-Season #31
Avila was recently brought on to the Padres 40-man roster in order to protect him from the Rule 5 draft. Avila is being developed as a reliever and with any success at all should rise quickly through the system. He’s off to a fantastic start in the Venezuelan Winter League, showcasing his abilities with 25 strikeouts in his first 20.1 innings while issuing just 3 walks. He’s turned in a 0.89 ERA and 0.885 WHIP in that time.

31. Dylan Coleman, RHP
Age: 22
2018 Highest Level: A
2018 Mid-Season #38
Coleman started his professional career fresh off a successful Junior season with Missouri State in which Coleman led his team to their second straight Missouri Valley Conference regular-season championship. Coleman’s arsenal includes a fastball, changeup, slider and curveball. He’s run his fastball up to 98 MPH, but is usually in the low 90s.

 

Tier 4:
32. Robert Stock, RHP
Age: 29
2018 Highest Level: MLB
2018 Mid-Season #36
The power pitching Stock was extremely effective in 32 big league games in 2018. The only thing dimming his prospect shine is that he’s 29. Eager to fulfill any role San Diego needs, Stock claimed the crown as the Padres Twitter king immediately after the departure of Phil Hughes.

33. Mason Thompson, RHP
Age: 20
2017 Highest Level: A
2017 Mid-Season #23
Thompson has been plagued by control issues since he was drafted as reflected by 3.7 BB/9 through his first 132 professional innings. The 6’7 pitcher repeated A-ball in 2018, but did not do any better than he did in 2017.

34. Reggie Lawson, RHP
Age: 20
2017 Highest Level: A+
2018 Pre-Season #35
Another young pitcher with control problems, Lawson walks hitters at an even higher rate than Thompson. I don’t see any reason to think he’ll be promoted to Double-A to start 2019.

35. David Bednar, RHP
Age: 23
2018 Highest Level: A+
2018 Pre-Season #50
Bednar will be entering his age 24 season and has yet to play in Double-A. He was plagued by a high walk rate in 2018, which hadn’t been an issue in previous seasons.


Tier 5:
36. Luis Almanzar, SS
Age: 19
2018 Highest Level: A
2018 Pre-Season #20
Almanzar finished the season with a dismal .183 batting average over two levels. He has things to figure out.

37. Jorge Ona, OF
Age: 21
2018 Highest Level: A+
2018 Pre-Season #15
Ona spent 2018 in A+ Lake Elsinore, slashing only .239/.312/.380/.693. These numbers were a significant drop down from his 2017 performance in A-ball Fort Wayne. Not sure if this Cuban prospect is on a path to Double-A this year or not.

38. Kyle McGrath, LHP
Age: 25
2018 Highest Level: MLB
2018 Mid-Season #25
Funky. I had to get that word out of the way because you can’t talk about McGrath without it. For whatever reason McGrath took a step back in 2018 when compared to his 2017 season. That translated to fewer MLB opportunities and continued eligibility for a prospect list. I expect to see more of him in 2019, but with so many guys who can contribute from the bullpen for the Padres he might be the odd man out.

39. Nick Margevicius, LHP
Age: 22
2018 Highest Level: A+
2018 Mid-Season #42
The second half of the 2018 was slightly worse than the first half, but Margevicius was quite effective and earned a Double-A promotion that you won’t find in his statline, pitching 7 innings in one playoff game while allowing only one earned run.

40. Blake Hunt, C
Age: 20
2018 Highest Level: A-
2018 Mid-Season #40
Hunt’s bat really came along as the season progressed enabling him to finish the season with a .277 average. He has yet to show much pop.

40. Travis Radke, LHP
Age: 25
2018 Highest Level: AAA
2018 Mid-Season: Unranked
Radke is older, but had an eye-opening 2018 pitching to a 1.94 ERA across four levels while maintain a 0.88 WHIP.

41. Ruddy Giron, SS
Age: 20
2018 Highest Level: AA
2018 Mid-Season #46
Giron did not hit very well when given a shot at Double-A last season. He had a decent season beyond that, but nothing that screams promotion.

42. Michael Gettys, OF
Age: 22
2018 Highest Level: AA
2018 Mid-Season #41
Gettys had his second lackluster season in a row, making for his 3 straight lackluster statlines when you include the 2016 Arizona Fall League. After hitting .230 in Double-A last season it looks like the only way he starts the season at Triple-A is if the Padres organization see some sort of improvement in his approach or mechanics between now and when the season starts. His 2018 body of work is not going to do it. However, he’s hitting .313 in his first 83 at-bats in Australia, so he might be on to something. Auston Bousfield and Forrestt Allday are solid outfielders for the Chihuahuas, but the Padres would likely give one of their roster spots to Gettys in a heartbeat if he shows he can handle Triple-A.

43. Ty France, 3B/1B
Age: 24
2018 Highest Level: AAA
2018 Mid-Season #48
France hit 17 HRs in Double-A and earned a late season promotion to El Paso. Unless the Padres find an answer at third base in the next few weeks, France could find himself in the big leagues in 2019.

44. Brett Kennedy, P
Age: 23
2018 Highest Level: MLB
2018 Mid-Season #29
In a small sample size, Kennedy did not fare well in the big leagues. The concerning thing is that he is a finesse pitcher and what he was doing worked very well at Triple-A before he was shelled in the big leagues. Time will tell if that’s because his stuff doesn’t play at that level, but that’s the fear now.

45. Olivier Basabe, SS/2B/OF
Age: 21
2018 Highest Level: A
2018 Mid-Season #49
The versatile Basabe can help a team from all over the diamond and he hit .296 between A- and A this past season.

46. Tucupita Marcano, 2B
Age: 19
2018 Highest Level: A-
2018 Mid-Season #Unranked
Marcano came out of nowhere, hitting .366 in 194 ABs across two levels. He could rapidly ascend prospect lists if he keeps up anything close to that.

47. Robbie Podorsky, 1B
Age: 23
2018 Highest Level: A+
2018 Mid-Season #50
Podorsky hit .353 in 224 AB, but that’s as a 5’7, 23-year-old in A and A+. Still very impressive, but those two things work against him.

48. Joe Galindo, RHP
Age: 23
2018 Highest Level: A
2018 Mid-Season: 44
Galindo’s ERA was a solid 2.73 but his BB/9 was a staggering 6.2 and it’s been high throughout his professional career. He’s already 23 and has yet to reach Double-A, but there is a lot of potential in him and he’s a very real strikeout pitcher. Limiting walks will be key.

49. Sam Keating, RHP
Age: 19
2018 Highest Level: A-
2018 Mid-Season: 34
Despite uninspiring numbers so far, Keating has the make-up to be an impact player in the big leagues in the coming years.

50. Juan Fernandez, C
Age: 19
2018 Highest Level: A
2018 Mid-Season Unranked
Fernandez has consistently demonstrated an ability to hit, ever since he started his career hitting .353 as a 17-year-old in the Dominican Summer League.

 

Just for fun, these are the guys who barely missed the cut. It’s not hard to imagine Keel making his big league debut soon, nor is it hard to imagine Henry or House making huge strides and climbing this list in the future.
51. Henry Henry, RHP
Age: 20
2018 Highest Level: A+
2018 Mid-Season #47

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Photo credit – Eric Killian (@USKillian)

52. Jerry Keel, LHP
Age: 24
2018 Highest Level: AAA
2018 Mid-Season #43

53. Mason House, OF
Age: 19
2017 Highest Level: A-
2018 Pre-Season #31

About Eric 18 Articles
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

9 Comments

  1. agree with your rebuttal about lists.
    they are valuable for DEEP dynasty leagues.
    of course they ll be different and opinions will differ and that’s good.
    and most importantly, they are FUN.
    appreciate the site and the write ups!

  2. Regarding Jose Castillo – unless there’s another 22-year-old lefty reliever by that name in the system, the one I’m familiar with made 13 MLB appearances between June 2 and July 4 after being called up from AAA, did a DL/rehab stint and then finished with another 24 games for the Padres between July 28 and Sept. 30.

    • Yes that’s him. Prospects1500 prospects lists are skewed for fantasy purposes. Many dynasty leagues still consider Castillo prospect-eligible because he’s only thrown 38.1 IP in the majors. You are still prospect-eligible if you’re at 50 IP or less, so for the purposes of Eric’s Padres list, we consider Castillo still a prospect. We are not using MLB service time which is taken into consideration for real-life rookie eligibility. We use the same criteria for our Overall Top 185 list and you’ll notice that Tyler O’Neill shows up there, even though MLB doesn’t call him a rookie anymore. He’s at exactly 130 AB going into 2019 but again, the service time is the other issue. Hope that helps clarify things. Thanks for the comment!

  3. I’m very high on Esteban Quiroz. He has done nothing to suggest that he can’t be a stud. That said, I respect the inclusion of Podorsky. I think he could be a sneaky good major leaguer (a la Jarrod Dyson esque)

    • This is Scott Greene. I love Quiroz. He was in my Red Sox Top 50 before he was traded to San Diego. Would like to hear Eric’s take on him.

    • McGrath is a lefty. That’s been updated. I’m sure Eric will chime in and give you his thoughts on Cantillo. Thanks for reaching out!

  4. Good review.

    I disagree with the age bias against Stock. He put up big league numbers, albeit in limited appearances, so he should rate higher over the 80% of prospects who may never see even a cup of coffee in the bigs.

    I also wonder why Owen Miller. Successful through three levels his FIRST major league professional season – heck, he was still in college last May. He darn well did “rake” was well (I’ve seen him play), he’s just 22 years old, and he has plus range and defensive metrics in a premium position. Yet, only ranked #27? Heck, this guy ought to be in the top 10 list of prospects with any of 30 MLB teams. What’s wrong with him, in your mind?

  5. Great list! The Padres are in a great position. If they wanted to, they have the prospects to move for “win-now” major league players but if they wanted to take the long-view, they’ve got a treasure trove of talent to develop and bring up to their major league team for years to come.

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