Top 10 Padres Prospects to Watch Entering the Season
The learning curve for Padres prospects has become more scrutinized with the addition of prized free agent Manny Machado, but having one of the top farm systems in baseball should help that process.
MLB Pipeline released its preseason rankings of its Top 100 prospects and the Padres had 10 players crack the list. Some of these prospects may find their way to El Paso this season, while others might see San Diego at the start of the season.
Here are the top 10 prospects you should know about in the Padres system:
- Ryan Weathers | Rank: 93 | LHP | Fort Wayne (2018)
Ryan Weathers, the son of MLB pitcher David Weathers, was a highly touted pitching prospect that broke through at the high school ranks with an exceptional 10-0 record and a .09 ERA (148 strikeouts in 76 innings). San Diego selected him as the seventh pick in the 2018 MLB Draft, which makes back-to-back seasons that the Padres picked the Gatorade National Baseball High School Player of the Year (MacKenzie Gore, No. 3, 2017 MLB Draft). The 19 year old appeared in seven games in a brief stint in the Class A Midwest League last year, where he pitched 18.1 innings, allowing 19 hits and striking out 18 batters with a 3.44 ERA.
- Logan Allen | Rank: 74 | LHP | Chihuahuas (2018)
El Paso fans were able to see Logan Allen work the mound toward the end of last season, but his journey to Triple-A came with a lot of work behind it. Allen, who was aquired by the Padres organization in the Craig Kimbrel trade, was riddled with injuries before he started showing some strides with the club. After his healthiest season with the organization in 2017, he stormed through in 2018 and was promoted from Double-A to Triple-A, where he won four of his five starts with El Paso. He could either earn his way to San Diego before the season or be promoted early on and start off with El Paso. Nevertheless, he should be a full-time Padres pitcher by this season.
- Michael Baez | Rank: 72 | RHP | Amarillo Sod Poodles (AA)
The Cuban signee that is Michael Baez continues to climb up the ladder within the organization. He started 2018 in Class A and worked his way up to Double-A. At 6-foot-8, Baez towers at the mound with a unique upper-80s slider that he can throw. Staying consistent in Double-A this season could move him up to El Paso, but expect his debut in San Diego scheduled for 2020.
- Adrian Morejon | Rank: 49 | LHP | Lake Elsinore Storm (2018)
The highly-prized signee in Adrian Morejon has proved to be on track for solid success in his career. His stint with Lake Elsinore last season earned him All-Star honors in the California League, posting a 4-4 record in 13 appearances, where he struck out 70 batters and allowed 54 hits. Soreness and tricep discomfort resulted in an early end for Morejon's season last year, but 2018 could be a big year for the left hander.
- Luis Patino | Rank: 48 | RHP | AZL Padres 1 (2018)
Another top international product for the San Diego organization is Luis Patino, a 6-foot right handed pitcher out of Colombia that might be the best pitching prospect of the other international players. At just 18 years old in 2018, Patino dominated the Class A Midwest League, where he posted a 2.16 ERA in 16 outings and struck out 98 batters. His fastball clocked up to 98 mph and has a power slider in the upper 80s. He's young, but he has some strong potential behind him.
- Chris Paddack | Rank: 34 | RHP | (San Antonio 2018)
Asending from being just an eighth-round pick to the Marlins in 2015, Paddack showed his true worth by making three consecutive hitless starts and posted a sub-1.00 ERA at Class A Greensboro. From fall of 2017 to now, Paddack continues to rise among the ranks of pitchers and was promoted to Double-A last July. His 2.10 ERA last season led all Minor League pitchers with a .82 WHIP, .80 BB/9 and 15.00 K/BB. After the Padres added him to the 40-man roster, expect him to work his way to a mid-rotation starter in 2019 for San Diego.
- Francisco Mejia | Rank: 26 | C | (El Paso, San Diego 2018)
Mejia continues to build upon his resume season after season, and when the Padres organization acquired him last year, he didn't skip a beat. He hit .328/.364/.582 with seven home runs in 31 games for El Paso last season and made his Padres debut in September. The interesting storyline will be whether Padres catcher Austin Hedges can keep his spot as the team's catcher with Mejia as the backup, or if Mejia will outright beat Hedges for the starting spot by the time this season is over.
- Luis Urias | Rank: 23 | 2B | (El Paso, San Diego 2018)
As El Paso fans know, Urias is something special and can only get better. The Mexico native came to El Paso with MVP awards and All-Star showings from the California League and Double-A. With El Paso, he posted 133 hits and 45 RBIs and earned a Future Game selection in July. Urias was then called up to San Diego, where he hit .208 with two homers after a season-ending hamstring injury. He's ready for the big leagues and San Diego will be his home for the foreseeable future.
- MacKenzie Gore | Rank: 15 | LHP | (Fort Wayne 2018)
At the high school level, MacKenzie Gore was one of the most dominant players to come out of the 2017 draft. Through his junior and senior campaigns, Gore posted a .08 ERA and .19 ERA, respectively, which earned him the 2017 Gatorade National Player of the Year honor. Although his time in Class A Fort Wayne was cut short in 2018 due to repetitive blister issues, Gore still showed flashes of a starting rotation caliber pitcher. Don't expect him to move up to San Diego this year or even next, but El Paso or Amarillo are possible destinations for Gore this year.
- Fernando Tatis Jr. | Rank: 2 | SS | (San Antonio 2018)
What more can we tell you about baseball's next best shortstop in Fernando Tatis Jr.? When you evaluate both he and Vladimir Guerrero Jr., it's a consensus 1a and 1b when looking at the best prospect in baseball. He was the first 18-year-old player in Class A Midwest League history to have 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases in 2017. He was close to the same feat in 2018, where he had 16 homers and 16 steals, but underwent season-ending surgery for a fractured thumb. Following a strong offseason, including stints in the Dominican Winter League Championships, Tatis Jr. could be seeing El Paso to start the season and move up to San Diego as soon as they feel he's ready.