what's brewing on the padres farm system

After starting our What’s Brewing On The Farm series, we thought we would put it all together by publishing our own top Padres prospects list. It’s important to note that while we’ve seen a few of these players in person, we aren’t scouts or experts. We follow the Padres farm and collect as much info as we can from a variety of real experts.

What follows is a list based on mixing those opinions, and our own preferences of the importance of a player’s qualities. It’s also a mixture of each contributor’s thoughts into one final result. So throw on your AJ Preller approved bucket hat, it’s about to get real prospecty in here.

  1. Manny Margot – Margot had what you might classify as a really good season. If you loved him as a prospect coming into the year, there’s no reason for a breakup. If you didn’t—well, what’s wrong with you?—maybe you still need further courting. Margot hit .304/.351/.426 at hitter-friendly El Paso, which doesn’t jump off the page. He also doesn’t turn 22 until the end of the month and he swiped 30 bags while playing a first-class center field. He’s just good, at worst, and very possibly something more. (Sac Bunt Dustin)
  2. Anderson Espinoza – Many around the game were shocked that the Padres were able to pry Espinoza away from the Red Sox, especially in exchange for Drew Pomeranz who had been good for all of one half of a season. The 19 year-old finished up the season with the Fort Wayne Tin Caps, and while his numbers haven’t looked good across Single-A ball (4.49 ERA, 1.38 WHIP), the fact that he is almost four years younger than the average age of the guys he’s playing against is impressive. He has a great fastball with movement, and his secondary pitches have been rated above average by scouts so there’s a lot to dream on for Espinoza. That includes a Pedro Martinez comp, if you are the kind of person who likes being disappointed. Regardless of whether or not he becomes a generational talent, look for the young Venezuelan to continue his progressions in Lake Elsinore next year. (Marcus)
  3. Hunter Renfroe – Power, arm, speed, and a terrible haircut, Renfroe has nearly all the skills to become an elite right fielder. It will all come down to his ability to get on base. If his plate discipline is even average, he’s a star. (Oscar)
  4. Cal Quantrill – The 1st round pick (8th overall) moved quickly through the low levels of the Padres farm system, finishing the season in Single-A Fort Wayne. Over his first 37 professional innings, he racked up 46 strikeouts while walking just 8. The Padres appear to be easing his workload, as he averaged only three innings per start, but look for him to move quickly up the organizational ladder in 2017 if he as recovered from Tommy John as he says he is. (Marcus)
  5. Luis Urias – Yet another prospect signed during the Josh Byrnes regime, Luis Urias is a teenager who confounded opposing pitchers on his way to winning both California League Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player honors. Ignoring the league-leading .330 batting average, with 40 walks to 36 strikeouts at Lake Elsinore (5 to 1 during his abbreviated stint with El Paso), this was also the third consecutive season he tallied more walks than strikeouts. Urias has an advanced approach of the plate and…well, he just hits, man. He’s also a decent defender who covers a lot of ground to boot – and he won’t embarrass you during a spot start at shortstop either. The Padres have been aggressive in promoting him, and he’s responded positively at every level. Oh, and next year? He’ll still be a teenager when he starts the season in San Antonio. Prepare your butts, folks. (Woe Doctor – Bryant)
  6. Adrian Morejon – Morejon has high end talent you can dream on and is advanced for his age. But he’s hard to evaluate having played so little ball in the US, even compared to guys like Cal Quantrill. Eric Longenhagen reports his velocity tops out 1mph higher than we’d heard previously. He’s an exciting player for whom Padres fans are eager for a chance to see pitch. (Sac Bunt Chris)
  7. Michael Gettys – Gettys has more tools than your local 7-Eleven. Wait, wrong store—either way, Gettys is the kind of player who gets scouts to perk up and take notice. He also showed signs of improvement on the field this season, cutting down his strikeout rate, stealing a career-best 33 bases (ignore the 16 CS, for now), and popping 12 home runs and 40 extra-base hits. Questions seems to persist about the hit tool long-term, but there’s still plenty to like here, especially when you gander over at Gettys’ date-of-birth. (Sac Bunt Dustin)
  8. Chris Paddack – If your reaction to the Colin Rea “trade back” with the Marlins was “Hey, can we trade Chris Paddack back since he ended up needing Tommy John surgery too?” you weren’t paying attention to what he did before he hit the DL. The 20 year-old posted a 0.85 ERA and 0.591 WHIP in 42.1 innings at Single-A this past year. He racked up 71 K’s in that time, coupled with just five walks. FIVE. The young Texan was an eighth round pick last year, and assuming that he returns healthy (wait, can Padres fans assume that?) he should be an interesting prospect to look at for the next few years. (Marcus)
  9. Eric Lauer – Lauer looks every bit like the consistent No. 3 starter the Padres desperately need. There’s nothing sexy or flashy about his scouting report, but if this year’s taught us anything, it’s that legit mid-rotation starters are more valuable than they’re given credit for. (Oscar)
  10. Dinelson Lamet – Tired of reading about all the Padres pitching prospects at least a few years away? Then Lamet is your guy. After starting the year in High-A Lake Elsinore (and being named to the Cal League Mid-Season All-Star team), Lamet pushed his way through San Antonio and up to Triple-A El Paso in time for their PCL Championship run. While he projects more as a back-end rotation piece or long reliever, he brings some mid-90’s heat and struck out about a batter an inning in 2016. With a top-level pitching shortage, look to see Lamet get a shot with the big club by the end of next year. (Marcus)
  11. Franchy Cordero – The teenager who set our hearts aflutter with his Spring Training laser shows in 2014 is dead. Long live the 22-year-old centerfielder whose offensive resurgence in San Antonio has taught us how to love again. Cordero was never going to stick at shortstop, and the in-game power we dreamed about hasn’t fully materialized. But his speed and athleticism has made a transition to centerfield look easy and his hero turn following a midseason promotion to San Antonio showed he could barrel the hell out of the baseball regularly. Ironically enough for the speedster, the one blemish on an otherwise spectacular bounce-back season can be found in that his 23 stolen bases came at a 62% success rate – the lowest of his career. Perhaps time and experience help iron out those baserunning blunders and, even if they don’t, health and consistency have turned Franchy into a more complete player with a much clearer path to the big leagues. (Woe Doctor – Bryant)
  12. Jacob Nix – Nix isn’t a fast mover and isn’t a top end talent, so he’ll likely never appear at the top of any post-rebuild Padres prospect lists. But as Oscar noted above, mid rotation starters are easy to forget about until you need them, and then if you don’t have any you’re boned. If all breaks well for Nix he’s a mid to backend pitcher, and finishing his season with a 3.01 FIP in a league he’s young for means he’s on his way to providing that for the Padres. (Sac Bunt Chris)
  13. Logan Allen – Allen missed a couple of months with mild elbow soreness then scuffled upon his return, walking eight and striking out six over his final three starts (10 innings). It sounds like maybe the missed time was more precautionary than anything, but anytime you pair “elbow” with “pitcher,” everyone starts penning the obituaries. Still, he’s 19 with solid stuff and performance and, for now, a healthy left arm, which makes him an enticing mid-tier prospect in a suddenly deep system. (Sac Bunt Dustin)
  14. Javier Guerra – When Craig Kimbrel was traded to Boston, I couldn’t really tell if Manny Margot or Javier Guerra was considered the big “get” of the trade. Of course, Margot was closer to the bigs than Guerra, but with the Trea Turner sized hole at shortstop, it seemed like Guerra was the guy who was to help the next great Padres team. It’s fortunate that the Padres are still quite a ways from greatness, because Guerra still needs some seasoning. In 105 games for Lake Elsinore, he slashed .202/.264/.325. Oof. Striking out has been part of his profile for a while, but his 141 K’s this year are worrisome, as his approach seems to have just disappeared. He hasn’t been hot with the glove either, struggling to make even routine defensive plays. He’s just 21, but he has lost a lot of his prospect shine in 2016. (Marcus)
  15. Carlos Asuaje – Cory Spangenberg is always injured. Ryan Schimpf is 28, going on 29, and is a terrible defender. Luis Urias is two years away, at least. I expect Asuaje to get 450+ at-bats next year, the majority coming at second base. (Oscar)
  16. Josh Naylor – The Padres got the Marlins number one prospect (and more) in exchange for Andrew Cashner. That’s good, right? Well, he’s a 19 year old first baseman that isn’t great defensively and is reportedly heavier than the 225 lbs on his 6’0” frame. Lauded as a “loud tool” guy who hits for power, it’ll be interesting to watch how he progresses next year. He slashed a pretty mediocre .252/.264/.353 in 33 Cal League games, a league known to be tough on pitchers. He’s still young and has plenty of time to improve his approach, but he’ll have to hit like fellow Canadian Joey Votto to be able to cover up the other weaknesses in his game. (Marcus)
  17. Andrew Lockett – The 2012 draft pick with two first names, Andrew Walker Lockett has toiled in relative obscurity due to a series of injuries and a lack of production. That wasn’t the case in 2016. Lockett had tossed 118 IP in the four seasons preceding this one – one above Low-A – and finished 2016 with 164 IP. While being promoted three times. The 6’5” righthander got off to a good start in the Midwest League before tearing through the California and Texas leagues, getting a taste with the Pacific Coast League champions in El Paso to end the season. Keeping the ball on the ground and runs off the board – as well as his impressive 5:1 K/BB ratio – is testament to a bit of deception and a heavy fastball, if not an astounding arsenal of pitches. Yet, Lockett kept producing and it will be interesting to see if he keeps the ball rolling in 2017. (Woe Doctor – Bryant)
  18. Ruddy Giron – Maybe it’s all the drinking, but we at Padres Public apparently get distracted easi–hey, is that Anderson Espinoza!? After a breakout year in 2015, Giron repeated low A at Fort Wayne and was unable to find the same success. Strangely, after a late season promotion to High A Lake Elsinore, Giron smacked stuff like a Prodigy track to the tune (see what I did there) of a 204 wRC+ in 50 plate appearances. So he’s not shiny and new, and there’s no question his 2016 year was disappointing as even the good 50 PAs included a 26% K rate, but you know what? He shows potential offensively and is one of the rare few who can claim to both capably play shortstop and do so for the Padres organization at the same time. He’s worth keeping an eye on. (Sac Bunt Chris)
  19. Jorge Ona – Ona’s a 19-year-old Cuban outfielder with a projectable body and a short, powerful swing. He’s currently in the Padres Instructional League, which highlights the idea that for players like Ona—and Morejon and Gettys and pretty much everybody—development is super important. The hope is that the Padres are better at player development than they used to be, and that players like Ona will fulfill their on-field potential rather than toil away in the lower rungs of the minors. (Sac Bunt Dustin)
  20. Nick Torres – Torres was named to the Texas League All-Star team, and hit even better afterward in 38 PAs in El Paso. Breaking into the majors as a corner outfielder without much defensive value is a brutal task, especially as the Padres have Hunter Renfroe and Alex Dickerson who appear to be better versions of Torres. Still, he’s hitting well, and as Billy noted in his original writeup it’s nice the Padres’ system is deep enough they don’t have to rely on best case scenarios from guys like Torres. You never know, it’s useful to have prospects like him around because something could click. (Sac Bunt Chris)

 

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  • Sac Bunt Chris

    The biggest difference between my list and the group list is I had Asuaje about 8 spots higher. I get that he profiles more as a utility guy, but his offensive tear this year bumps things up. And maybe it’s the older I get the more I put value on someone who is major league ready. A lot can go wrong between low A and the majors.

    • ballybunion

      Originally I thought Asuaje would give Spangenberg a battle for second base, then the utility tag stuck and I thought Asuaje would make Amarista and his $1.35 million salary expendable. Now I’m entertaining the thought of Asuaje battling Schimpf for second base, with the loser replacing Brett Wallace, and wondering what happens with Spangy.

      But that’s all near-term. The rundown is prospects with a future, so maybe Margot, Renfroe, and Asuaje shouldn’t be listed. My best guess is all three will be on next year’s Opening Day 25 man roster. That’s the downside of looking more at major league ready high minors players: somebody will have to renumber the list.

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