Just a few days until the El Paso Chihuahuas debut their 2018 season, and fans have a lot to be hopeful for the PCL title contending team.

Currently, the Padres organization is ranked in the top-three best farm systems in Major League Baseball, and this year they look to pride themselves on breeding exceptional pitchers through their farm teams.

This means that some of these players El Paso will see could make a significant impact for the Padres down the line.

Below are the top 10 prospects of 2018 to keep in mind from the Padres organization:

  1. Franchy Cordero - OF

At 23 years old, Franchy Cordero is a big time slugger and uses his speed to his maximum advantage. Through 390 at-bats in Triple-A, Cordero hit .326 with 17 homers, 15 steals and 23 walks. He got his first MLB shot last season with a promising .228 batting average.

Cordero is exciting when he’s hot, but 44 strikeouts still adds doubt to his slugging. If he improves his on-base percentage (.276), this guy could do some damage in the majors.

  1. Javy Guerra - SS

Standing at 5-foot-11 and weighing in just 155-pounds, shortstop Javy Guerra has a lot to prove. Especially since he’s bounced around four different clubs before joining the Padres organization mid-season last year. With the San Antonio Missions last year, the Double-A affiliate of the Padres, Guerra had a sub-par year, batting .212 for 28 hits and 15 RBIs.

However, its fielding that makes Guerra an interesting look at shortstop with the Chihuahuas. Each of his six years in the minors, Guerra has posted .900 or more fielding percentage. He’s a definite sleeper, but don’t be surprised if 2018 is his breakout year.

  1. Anderson Espinoza - RHP

Even though right handed pitcher Anderson Espinoza will be out pretty much all of 2018 with an elbow injury, he has a lot of potential at only 19. San Diego might not see the likes of him until 2020-21, but the former Red Sox pitcher could do wonders for this program.

Espinoza has a fastball up to 98 mph and also throws a good curveball and changeup. Biggest challenge for Espinosa will be bouncing back from the elbow surgery and getting back to his full potential.

  1. Joey Lucchesi - LHP

Pitcher Joey Lucchesi continues to grow in terms of talent and progression. He was a fourth round pick in 2016 from Southeast Missouri State and at 24 years old, he still has room to grow.

Shuffling between Double-A and High A, Lucchesi holds a 2.20 ERA with 148 strikeouts, and allowed just 102 hits. He can throw up to 94 mph and has a nice curveball. Don’t be surprised if Lucchesi is called late 2018 to the majors and could even work his way into the starting rotation within a couple years.  

  1. Logan Allen - LHP

Pitcher Logan Allen was just 18 when he was picked by the Red Sox in the eighth round of the 2015 MLB draft, and was traded to the Padres in the Craig Kimbrel deal.

Between High-A and Low-A, Allen pitched a 2.95 ERA in 125 innings and struck out 142 batters. Allen throws up to 94 mph, tosses a good change-up and continues to improve on his breaking ball. He could reach the majors as soon as 2019, and with proper development could fight his way into the starting rotation for San Diego at some point.

  1. Cal Quantrill - RHP

A former first round pick in 2016 from Stanford, pitcher Cal Quantrill looks to take 2018 by storm. He’s following in the footsteps of his father, Paul, who pitched 14 seasons in the MLB and most notably his tenure with the Toronto Blue Jays (1996-2001).

He doesn’t completely captivate critics based off his stats, but he has a lot of potential to grow. Between Double-A and High-A, Quantrill put up a 3.80 ERA with 110 strikeouts and 130 hits allowed. He has a heater that can go up to 97 mph, featuring a great change-up. Expect Quantrill to be called up to the Padres at the end of 2018 or start of 2019.

  1. Michel Baez - RHP

Coming straight out of Cuba, pitcher Michael Baez has been exciting to watch through his young career and has all the makings of being a top pitcher in the league. He posted a 2.45 ERA in 59 innings through Low-A, with 82 strikeouts and just 41 hits allowed. Baez has been reaching upwards to a 98 mph fastball and includes a sweet slider in his game.

At just 21, Baez has a lot of room to continue to improve He stands at a whopping 6-foot-8 and has the potential to be a top of the rotation pitcher that could join the Padres late next season.

  1. Luis Urias - 2B/SS

The Mexican native in Luis Urias is looking to have a powerful 2018 season. In Double-A, Urias hit .296/.398/.380, including three home runs, 20 doubles and 65 strikeouts in 442 at-bats.

As a batter, the best thing about Urias is his ability to judge pitches in the strike zone. He mirrors the batting ability of Carlos Asuaje—not really able to hit home runs, but can knock some line drives out of the infield. As a fielder, Urias’ strength is at second base. Expect him to climb up the roster and hit El Paso by the end of this season.

  1. Mackenzie Gore - LHP

At just 18, Mackenzie Gore is truly the cream of the crop for Padres prospects. He was a first round pick in the 2017 draft out of a high school in North Carolina and has a promising future in baseball.

In his rookie season, Gore had a 1.27 ERA through just 21 innings, including 34 strikeouts. His 95 mph fastball can only get better, and his curveball, change-up and slider pitches makes him more versatile. It will be interesting to see how he can handle his workload during his sophomore season, but expect him landing with the Padres come 2020.

  1. Fernando Tatis Jr. - SS

It’s a no-brainer for this top prospect of the Padres. Shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. was traded to the Padres from the Chicago White Sox in 2015 as a 17-year-old highly regarded Dominican Republic prospect.

Tatis Jr. had a phenomenal 2017 season between the Double-A and Low-A levels. He hit .278/.379/.498 in 486 at-bats, including 22 homers, 32 steals and 141 strikeouts. His power and speed combination makes him a threat for pitchers, who can find himself as a number one shortstop someday. If he can maintain range as he gets older, the 19-year-old will be a great player for the club.

Honorable mentions for Chihuahuas prospects to look out for:

Eric Lauer - LHP starter

Jacob Nix - RHP starter

Trey Wingenter - RHP reliever

Brett Kennedy - RHP starter

Walker Lockett - RHP starter

Colten Brewer - RHP reliever

Eric Yardley - RHP reliever

Rudy Giron - 3B

Franmil Reyes - OF

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