Three straight years of excellent amateur draft selections
2016 amateur draft class
Reviewed on page one of this post.
2017 amateur draft class
Blister issues slowed Gore’s production in 2018, but he still has a very high ceiling. The mix of pitches he features is deadly. He is also armed with a mid to upper 90’s fastball, and he likes to pitch with an edge. Gore could very well be an ace of the future. He has that type of upside.
The Padres went back-to-back catchers with their second and third picks of the 2017 draft. Campusano was selected out of high school and was widely regarded as the best catching prospect in the draft. The bi-lingual catcher is a son of a former minor leaguer and comes with a plus bat. He has excellent defensive abilities as well and performed well last year in Fort Wayne as a 19-year-old putting up a .710 OPS in 70 games.
Of the two catchers drafted in 2017, Hunt is slightly better defensively. The large catcher is widely considered one of the best defenders in the system and has improved in every year he has played. Hunt has power but tends to get slightly too pull happy with his approach. At times last year in Tri-City, Hunt showed a plus bat, so there is plenty to be excited about in regards to his future.
This left-handed hitter has a beautiful swing. He generates a lot of power to all fields when he makes contact, but he does struggle with the strikeout. House did not do well last season out of the desert. Expect him to start in Fort Wayne this year possibly. There is a lot to like with his game, but he does need to refine his approach at the plate a bit.
Nick Margevicius 7th round
Margevicius has been stable since the team drafted him out of Ryder University in New Jersey. He continually strives to get better despite the fact he does not light up the radar guns. He typically sits in the low 90’s, but he spots his fastball well and has excellent offspeed pitches. The left-handed pitcher also understands how to use different plains of the strike zone. He is a bulldog on the mound.
Joey Cantillo 16th round
Flying under the radar is this left-handed pitcher from Hawaii. He has a funk to his motion and is starting to develop his mechanics under the tutelage of major league coordinators. Cantillo has plus size and a plus arm. In time, he could be a real factor in the upper minor leagues for the Padres.
Jason Pineda 17th round
19-year-old infielder Jason Pineda has done well since being selected out of high school in New York. He has shown an ability to walk, but still, need to make more contact. The power seems to be coming as he gains weight and gets bigger. The third baseman is stable at the corner but has also played some first base for the team.
Robbie Podorsky 25th round
Speed is Podorsky’s main contribution as he is extremely fast on the baseball diamond. The short in stature, right-handed hitter, has a compact swing. The 23-year old put up a .883 OPS in Fort Wayne last year in 2015 at-bats. He is a solid defender and a plus bunter. Podorsky is fun to watch as he brings an old school element to the game that is hardly seen.
2018 amateur draft class
This left-handed pitcher has plus intangibles. He comes from a baseball family and has an understanding of how to pitch. His stuff is getting better as he gets professional coaching. Weathers has an excellent command of his three-pitch arsenal. The 19-year-old should start in Fort Wayne but could be in the California League before you know it.
Switch-hitting infielder Xavier Edwards is exciting to watch. He has 70-grade speed and provides a plus bat from both sides of the plate. Edwards could be a special talent in the game. Defensively, he could stick at short though he is fully capable of playing second base. The 19-year-old will start in Fort Wayne and could be one of the league’s better players.
This Texas product has struggled with the bat since being drafted. There is still time for him to get better, but there needs to be an improvement from Little in regards to plate discipline and approach. He has plus defensive abilities and runs very well.
Miller has been impressive since he was drafted out of Illinois State. He made it to Double-A (playoff push) in his first season, though he may start in Lake Elsinore this spring. That remains to be seen. He regularly barrels up baseballs with his short, quick right-handed swing. He can play all over the infield, though he probably doesn’t have the arm for third or short at the higher levels. He looks to be a solid second base candidate for the team.
This hard-throwing right-handed pitcher out of Missouri State has excellent stuff. The Padres will leave him in the relief role, where he could eventually develop into a closer. Coleman made it to Fort Wayne last year where he performed well for the TinCaps.
Key trades for prospects
At the time of this trade, most of the hype surrounded Javy Guerra and Manuel Margot. Carlos Asuaje was also in the deal, but the Padres need for a shortstop of the future was supposed to be solved by the acquisition of Guerra. In the end, Logan Allen an 18-year-old (at the time) pitcher might be the best addition made by the team.
This trade is the big one. They will probably be talking about this for years to come. The Padres had interest in Tatis the year the White Sox signed him. Preller wisely waited in the wings until the time was right to wrestle the infielder away from Chicago. The Padres paid roughly $38 million to the Sox for Shields contract, so Tatis was not a cheap addition.
The Marlins were attempting to make a playoff run and needed relief help. Fernando Rodney had been terrific for the Padres to start the 2016 season. Preller and his staff wisely sold high on Rodney, acquiring Paddack from the Marlins. Not much was known on Paddack at the time, except that he was very young and full of potential.
Anderson Espinoza acquired from Boston Redsox for Drew Pomeranz (July 14, 2016)
Pomeranz was an all-star, and the Padres did well to sell high on him. The Red Sox stunningly parted with Espinoza who was widely considered one of the best right-handed pitching prospects in the game. Pomeranz, immediately reported arm issues which was not shocking news as he had already eclipsed his highest innings total for a season at the time of the trade. Espinoza required Tommy John surgery eventually.
This trade is not talked about much as Rodriguez had arm issues last year. At one time he was considered a top 30 prospect in the Padres system. The 22-year-old relief pitcher has excellent stuff and could emerge in time as a factor for the team in the bullpen. Just another example of handpicking a player from another teams roster.
Josh Naylor acquired from Miami Marlins for Andrew Cashner (July 29, 2016)
Almost one month after the Padres acquired Chris Paddack, the Marlins traded the Padres another one of their better prospects. Canadian slugger Josh Naylor was sent to the Padres for Andrew Cashner. Naylor is blocked at the moment at first base but has played outfield for the last 12 month or so. His bat is almost major league ready. He needs a position.
Esteury Ruiz acquired from Kansas City Royals for Brandon Maurer plus (July 24, 2017)
The Royals dealt Travis Wood, Matt Strahm, and Esteury Ruiz to the Padres for Brandon Maurer, Trevor Cahill, and Ryan Buchter. Ruiz himself is a steal for the Padres, but to get five-plus years of service time from Matt Strahm makes this trade a steal for the Friars. None of the three pitchers traded to the Royals in this deal are still with the team.
Yangervis Solarte was a favorite in the locker room, but he was shipped to Toronto before last season. The return was a skinny outfielder who has progressed with the Padres since they acquired him. Olivares was protected this winter on the 40-man as the Padres have high hopes for him. With more muscle, Olivares could turn out to be a decent corner outfielder.
The Padres took their time in dealing Brad Hand, and they were rewarded in obtaining the number one catching prospect in Francisco Mejia. He has a rocket arm and a plus bat from both sides of the plate. Mejia will battle Hedges for playing time and could eventually overtake him.
This whole recipe has produced the most robust baseball farm system in the game. The Padres have depth at virtually every position in every level. The team has set itself up for success for a long time. Not every prospect will become a success, but with the vast number of players accumulated, the Padres should have no trouble finding talent every season for the foreseeable future.