11- Javier Guerra (20) SS Lake Elsinore Storm/ Single-A High
Guerra dropped like a rock on this list due to his continually high K rate and his defensive problems. Guerra was acquired in the Kimbrel trade, and word was he was a great defender with power that was developing. Well, he has shown some power, but his defense has been horrendous for the Storm. Not only has he committed numerous errors on the field, but he has struck out (on average) every third at bat this season. He will not make it to the next level this season and is in jeopardy of repeating the A-Ball level next season. He needs to make adjustments at the plate if he wants to progress. Guerra has great skill with the bat, but his inconsistent approach at the plate is going to kill him in the long run. He needs coaching help and the Padres need to find someone to mentor this young man. A 2019 debut seems likely, but he would need to get better overall if he ever plans on playing at Petco Park.
12- Michael Gettys (20) OF Lake Elsinore Storm/Single-A High
The progression that Gettys has shown this year is very exciting for the franchise. His plate discipline is still an issue, but he has squared up more balls this season and even cut down on his strikeout totals. His speed and arm are well above-average and should help carry this young man to the next level. He is an outstanding defender in center and gets a great jump on the ball. Gettys has exceptional bat speed, but fails to recognize pitches and make the proper adjustments. His skill is there and it appears he is now growing as a player. Gettys is learning to make adjustments and will certainly have growing pains. At the age of 20, his upside is high. If he continues to progress with his plate discipline, Gettys could be patrolling the outfield at Petco Park in 2018 or early 2019.
13- Logan Allen (19) LHP Fort Wayne TinCaps/Single-A
The third prospect obtained from the Red Sox for Kimbrel, he has a great ceiling and is just beginning to know himself as a pitcher. Logan Allen has three excellent off speed pitches and he commands them all pretty well for his age. With more refinement, he could easily be a viable member of the Padres rotation. His fastball velocity has been climbing and he currently tops out at around 94 MPH. At 19, it’s not inconceivable that he gains even more velocity, and if that happens… look out. Allen has a bit of a tender elbow at the moment and the Padres have wisely backed off on him pitching. He is scheduled to return very soon, and if he continues to develop, he could reach San Diego by late 2018. He projects as one of the first to reach the majors out of the younger pitchers in the Padres system simply because of his poise and his arsenal.
14- Buddy Reed (21) OF Tri-City Dust Devils/Single-A Short Season
The switch hitting center fielder from the University of Florida was drafted by the Padres and wasted no time reporting to Tri-City. This, after his Gator team went deep into the College World Series. To me that bodes well for his future. This man is eager to work and to learn, and failed to hesitate. Reed plays excellent defense and has unreal speed. In fact, there are reports he could already play center field in the major leagues. That may be so, but his bat is still a work in progress. The fact he is a switch hitter usually means it takes him awhile to figure it out. Reed currently is failing to have a constant approach at the plate. Reports are that he tends to change things up constantly with his stance and approach. The Padres will surely get him to find a consistent stride to the ball, and with that, he could be something very special. The 6′ 4″ 210 lb outfielder should also develop power in time. Expect to see him around 2018 or early 2019.
15- Austin Smith (20) RHP Fort Wayne TinCaps/Single-A
A.J. Preller’s first selection as the Padres G.M. was Austin Smith. The 51st pick in the 2015 draft is progressing well. He has a great fastball, but like most youngsters, is learning how to utilize his offspeed pitches. His ranking here might be a little higher than other lists, but I really do believe in this young man. He has the intangibles in his game that cannot be displayed on a stat sheet. His delivery is smooth and repeatable, and that leads scouts to believe he should be dependable on the mound for the long run. Smith tops out at around the 96 MPH range and his motion is really effortless. He needs to soak up all that he can in order to improve his game. The ability is there with this young man and he could figure it out rather quickly. His arrival in San Diego will probably happen late 2018 or early 2019.
16- Dinelson Lamet (24) RHP San Antonio Missions/Double-A
This late bloomer has really made some progression this year, making it all the way to Double-A. He is performing there too, and that means his growth is really taking off. He is striking out more than a batter per inning this season, featuring a mid 90’s fastball with a wipe out slider. The slider has been much better this season for him, but most importantly of all, he has gotten use out of his changeup. He lacked that third pitch before, and now with a three pitch arsenal, the game is getting easier for him. He projects as an end of the rotation option or could be a great reliever as well. The 24-year-old has an excellent arm, and at 6′ 4″, he has nice size. Lamet could crack the rotation next year or be brought in as a bullpen option. Either way, he is nearly ready for major league service time.
17- Enyel De Los Santos (20) RHP Lake Elsinore Storm/Single-A High
He was acquired from the Seattle Mariners in the Joaquin Benoit trade, and looks to be a decent prospect. The 20-year-old has a power fastball that tops out at 97 MPH. He also has a decent change, and a curve ball that is a work in progress. He started the season in Fort Wayne, but was bumped up to Lake Elsinore after performing well in Indiana. I was in attendance at his first start in LE and you could clearly see his ability. At the same time you could also see that he was a work in progress, as he gave up three home runs in his short work. He projects to be major league ready by 2018 or early 2019.
18- Jacob Nix (20) RHP Fort Wayne TinCaps/Single-A
The third round selection in last year’s draft has progressed really well in his short career. He has shown great control and poise on the mound this year in Fort Wayne. That is an excellent thing, as Nix struggled with his mechanics before the Padres staff smoothed him out this season. He has a mid 90’s fastball with an excellent curve. His change is developing, as he needs that third pitch to continue as a successful starter. He projects as a late 2018 or early 2019 starter for the Padres.
19- Luis Almanzar (16) SS AZL Padres/Instructional League
This 16-year-old received a $4-million dollar signing bonus by the Padres on July 2. He has a ton of upside and projects as a shortstop because of his above average arm and decent footwork on the field. His bat is special, but at his age, it is really difficult to predict his future. He has yet to play in a professional game and his addition is purely one of upside. Do not expect to see this young man until 2021 at the very earliest. He could be something very special, so keep your eye on him.
20- Jose Rondon (22) SS San Antonio Missions/Double-A
The right-handed hitter out of Venezuela has been hovering in the Padres top-30 list for the past few seasons. His year was cut short last season with a fractured elbow. Rondon has a decent bat, but has displayed virtually no power in the past. He is showing more strength this season, but power is not his game. He is a line drive hitter with decent speed. He is also an adequate defender with a strong arm. He has held his own this season in Double-A, and out of all the Padres shortstop prospects, he is the closest to being major league ready. He showed a little bit in his late season call up, but he is likely not the answer for 2017.
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