A Comprehensive Look at How the Padres Minor League System Blossomed Before Your Eyes

(Photo by Andy Hayt/San Diego Padres/Getty Images)

(Luis Patino) Credit: MiLB

This series of signings might be the most pivotal in the creation of the San Diego Padres you see before you.

With penalties, the Padres spent over $80 million on young teenage talent as the franchise has never done at any point in their existence. Seven of these men are already on the Padres top-30 prospect list, and a few more have the chance to be, in time.

Here is a glimpse at that rare class of players.

The 2016-17 international draft class

Luis Patino

This right-handed pitcher was initially drafted as a shortstop in 2016-17. The Colombian native always displayed a rocket arm while playing the infield, but who would have thought he would show plus secondary pitches and an ability to stay composed. He is athletic and a great student of the game. Patino broke out in 2018 and should continue to develop in the California League and beyond.

Adrian Morejon

Morejon came with much fanfare as the Padres spent $11 million on the left-handed pitcher from Cuba. He is 20-years-old and has excellent stuff. There are some concerns about his health as Morejon has yet to eclipse 65 innings in a season. He has a high ceiling and should take his game to the next step in 2019.

Michel Baez

Baez was signed for $3 million and has blossomed in the system. In 2017, his velocity was up in the 97-98 mph range, but a nagging back injury limited his speed last season. He was up to 96 at the Don Welke Classic in September, so everything seems to be okay with his arm. He has a very loose motion despite being 6-foot-8. Baez needs to be consistent with his secondary to remain a starter, but at the very least, he should be a late-inning reliever.

(Photo by Andy Hayt/San Diego Padres/Getty Images)

Gabriel Arias

Defense is his forte, but the bat is developing. The right-handed hitter from Venezuela has plus power. His swing can get a bit long when he tries to do too much, but there is a lot to like with his offensive potential. He has plus speed and a rocket arm. He should one day make the major leagues on his defensive abilities alone.

Jeisson Rosario

This left-handed hitter has excellent hand-eye coordination. He is ambidextrous and able to do a running backflip ala, Ozzie Smith. Rosario is an athletic outfielder. At 19, there is much reason to be excited about his ceiling. He played in Fort Wayne last year recording a .722 OPS in 112 games.

Tirso Ornelas

This 19-year-old outfielder from Tijuana has a beautiful swing. He battled some injuries last year only playing in 86 games recording a .732 OPS for the TinCaps. He has a great eye at the plate and added muscle this offseason. He could have a very nice offensive year in Lake Elsinore.

Tucupita Marcano

Marcano came out of virtually nowhere last year, to landing on the Padres top-30 list according to MLB pipeline. He recorded a .888 OPS in 52 games between the desert in Arizona and Tri-City. The 19-year-old left-handed hitter has a great ability to put the ball in play. He walked 30 times last year in 194 at-bats while only striking out 16 times. Marcano could be an extraordinary player if he can gain some weight and add power to his swing.

Jorge Ona

This Cuban outfielder has a ton of talent but is struggling to put it all together. He only hit eight homers last year in the California League (368 at-bats), and power was supposed to be his forte. There are some concerns for Ona, who is built like a fire hydrant. He has great muscle mass but is not the most prominent outfielder in the system. He will need to refine his approach and put the ball in play to advance through the system. There is still time for him.

Credit: AP Photo

Justin Lopez

Switch-hitting infielder Justin Lopez is progressing very well. He started last season in Fort Wayne as a 17-year-old and hed his own. Lopez has a developing bat and great size at 6-foot-2 to get better in time. In Arizona this spring he looked more muscular and was playing an excellent shortstop. He has the size and bat to move to third eventually, but he may be alright at short moving forward.

Jordy Barley

Barley has had issues developing but is still only 19 years old. The right-handed hitter shows flashes but has some real holes in his swing. He has yet to make it passed the Arizona rookie league in his career. Barley looked decent this spring but still is not polished as most of the J2 players signed in the same year as him.

Ronald Bolanos

22-year-old Ronald Bolanos has a terrific arm. The Cuban national threw 125 innings last year in Lake Elsinore but was hit around a bit. At 22, he has an excellent chance to start in Amarillo in 2019. He has a plus fastball but needs to refine his secondary to continue to start. He could be a relief option for the team eventually.

Ramon Perez

This left-handed Cuban pitcher is very impressive despite not being the most massive pitcher in the system. He pitched well last year as an 18-year-old and should get a start at full-season ball this spring. Perez has an excellent chance to remain a starting pitcher in the system as he commands his secondary pitches very well.

Michell Miliano

At 19, and armed with a power fastball, Miliano has been frustrating so far for the Padres. The Dominican right-hander has excellent ability, but mechanics and control are a severe issue for him. He strikes batters out but is also wild in the strike zone. The 6-foot-3 pitcher has decent size and could figure it out eventually.

Agustin Ruiz

Mexican outfielder Augustin Ruiz generally flies under the radar, but he has an excellent chance at being a decent prospect one day. He put up a .829 OPS in over 200 at-bats last season between three teams in the system. The left-handed hitter has great size 6-foot-2 but is very thin presently. The power should come eventually, and when it does, he could be a good one.

(Luis Almanzar) Credit: Baseball America

Martin Carrasco

This 19-year-old right-handed pitcher from Tijuana had a very nice 2017 season in the DSL. He struggled last year with injuries, only pitching 11 innings in the desert. Carrasco does not have a power fastball just yet, but at 19 there is time for him to improve on that. He knows how to pitch. 2019 could be a coming out year for this pitcher.

Luis Almanzar

He was supposed to be a plus hitter and one of the better signings from this J2 period. Instead, Almanzar regressed and hasn’t found his swing. He hit under .200 in Fort Wayne, looking overmatched last year in Indiana. In Peoria this spring he looked way better with the bat. He was also seen taking extra fielding work after a backfield game. There is still time for the 19-year-old to get back to prospect relevancy.

Alison Quintero

The Padres are stacked at the catching position, and Quintero adds to that depth. The 18-year old from Venezuela has a decent bat and is also a plus defender. He has added strength this winter and could be a factor for the team eventually behind the plate.


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James Clark
James was born and raised in America's Finest City. He is a passionate baseball fan with even more passion towards his hometown Padres. Editor-In-Chief of EastVillageTimes.com. Always striving to bring you the highest quality in San Diego Sports News. Original content, with original ideas, that's our motto. Enjoy.
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3 years ago

Owen Miller? Yeah, the Padre farm system is stacked so deep and wide with high ceiling prospects, I know a few may be overlooked. However, for a guy who went from short season Tri-City to AA (playoffs) in his first, SHORT year (i.e. he was still playing college ball last spring), and slashed .336/.386/.460/.846 his first year of professional baseball, I would think he would rate somewhere on your list. Plus, he played a very polished plus-level shortstop, a premium position. Add in a little power which should reasonably come as his game matures, and he’s Tatis II. The only… Read more »

3 years ago

This was nice. Like taking a trip down memory road. (Oh yeah, I remember that trade!) Thanks for writing it!

I spotted a typo. You call Mejia a pitching prospect. (I make typos like these all the time!)

3 years ago

Great article, but one question. Why isn’t there any mention of Osvaldo Hernandez. He had a very big year last season at Ft Wayne, but seems to be overlooked by all. Is there something I am missing about him?

Tom O'Boyle
Tom O'Boyle
3 years ago

Love this article! Being a Padre fan in South Dakota is challenging! It appears the system is balanced throughout with pictures and infielders. Hope the talent assembled can acquire the “hit” tool. I’m looking forward to getting down to Omaha to watch our AAA’ers perform this summer. Been a Padre man from their inception in 69. Feel great about the future….KEEP THE FAITH,,,,,

3 years ago

Trea Turner has posted 10 WAR combined for very little cost. Is currently projected to do double Myers projection in 2019. Is 3 years younger than Myers and plays a premium position. Myers has only 6.8 WAR during the same time, his cost is 5 times that of Turner. Ross is a starting pitcher who is projected for 0.4 WAR this year coming back from injury. Both G. Reyes and J. Castillo are RP who are both projected to pitch most of the season in the minors again. Both combined gave a 0.0 WAR projection.

3 years ago
Reply to  SDDon

@SDDon “Turner … posted … Myers has only … ” I’m still trying to relate this post to the rest of article. Maybe he posted it to the wrong article by mistake, i dunno …. Nothing in the post about the spectacular job AJ Preller & the Padres baseball ops department has done to turn a Padres “top farm system” of 2013 with low depth and filled with low-floor, low-ceiling prospects into arguably one of the best minor league systems of high floor, high ceiling prospects, with depth in these prospects going 3, 4, and even 6 deep. An oversight,… Read more »

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