A glimpse at the Padres 2019 J2 players


Credit: Telemetro

Taking a look at the four top players signed by the San Diego Padres in this year’s July 2 signing period.

The San Diego Padres, of recent years, have a tradition of spending on the international market.

The team was penalty-free this season after two years of probation for their exuberant spending during the 2016 season. The Padres spent upwards of $85 million on young players that included Michel Baez, Adrian Morejon, Gabriel Arias, and Jorge Ona, among others.

Jason Pennini of prospects live had the pleasure of seeing all four of the Padres 2019 J2 players in person in the last couple of weeks. He sat down with the guys and did the EVT Podcast last week. In that podcast, Jason gave some excellent information about the newest Padres prospects.

Instead of going after one big star in the market, in 2019, like Jason Dominguez, Robert Pauson, or Luis Rodriguez- the Padres chose to sign four prospects within the top-30 list of international talent. Dominguez received $5.1 million from the New York Yankees. The Padres spent roughly $4.3 million on the following group of four.

Reginald Preciado (INF)  S/R  Chiriqui, Panama
6-foot-4  180 lbs DOB: 05/16/2003

Reginald Preciado

Signed for $1.3 million on July 2, Preciado was easily considered the best prospect out of the country of Panama. Traditionally, Panama is not a hotbed for talent, but the Padres found the young infielder who has a pretty decent floor. The switch-hitter is showing a decent bat for his age from both sides of the plate. At this year’s Don Welke Classic in San Diego, Chris Kemp spoke about Preciado and remarked about his ability to hit high-velocity pitching consistently. The left-handed approach looks more advanced at this point as he feels for the ball while striding right-handed. There is plenty of power potential from both sides of the plate as he grows. Preciado runs well but is not considered a massive speed threat on the basepaths.

Defensively, the Panamanian teenager has plus arm strength and is very smooth with the glove. Despite his size, he displays quick action on his feet and should remain in the middle infield for the time being. There is the potential to move to third base for the switch-hitter as he fills out his frame and gains power. At 16, Preciado will likely not play in the States until 2021, but he could show up in Peoria at some point during the 2020 minor league season. He is regarded as having a very high baseball IQ.

Ismael Mena (OF)  L/L  Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
6-foot-3  185 lbs DOB: 11/30/2002

The Padres spent $2.2 million on this talented young Dominican outfielder. Early reports indicate that Mena will have no problem hitting in the minor leagues. He has an excellent approach at the plate and covers the outside corner really well. The Padres are excited for his ability as the outfielder could blossom into a middle of the order bat when it is all said and done. He is displaying power from gap to gap with a swing that is very quick. Mena is regarded as a high baseball IQ player who has excellent makeup for his young age.

Running down flyballs and throwing out runners will not be an issue for the Dominican youngster, as he is a plus defender. The speedy outfielder has 70 scale speed and will be a stolen base threat. He uses those long strides and footspeed to steal long drives in the gaps from opposing hitters. The arm is reliable and has room to get better. The Padres paid the most for Mena out of the four prospects, and that is because he has a very high ceiling. There are Gregory Polanco comps when it comes to describing this young Dominican. They seem to be a fair comparison at this point.

Luis Guiterrez (P)  L/L  Cabimas, Venezuela
5-foot-11  170 lbs DOB: 07/31/2003

San Diego spent $75,000 on this left-handed pitcher, who shows some positive pitching ability. He just turned 16, and it will be a few years before he is seen consistently in the States, but Gutierrez has a very clean motion. He is hitting mid to high 80’s with his velocity, possibly hitting 90 mph or so with his velocity every once in a while. The southpaw is an advanced pitcher and is not categorized as a thrower. With the ability to change speeds at such a young age, Gutierrez could be a sleeper prospect in this group. He was signed for the least amount of money, but his age and mental state should factor in the end.

The left-handed pitcher from Venezuela displays a changeup and curve presently and could need a fourth pitch when it is all said and done, though. He commands all three pitches well, flipping up a potential plus curve with excellent 12-to-6 action to it through the zone. He will pitch to both sides of the plate and is aggressive in the zone. The mechanics on Gutierrez are very smooth as he repeats his motion with ease. At 16, there is a lot of uncertainty with this young pitcher. But he is showing positive signs already.

Brayan Medina (P)  R/R  Valencia, Venezuela
6-foot-2  180lbs  DOB: 10/06/2002

The Padres signed this young fireball pitcher for $700,00 on the first day he was cleared to ink a deal. Velocity on his fastball is presently at 92-94 consistently, and there are reports he tops out at 96 and 97 mph with the heater. That is pretty amazing for a teenager who just turned 17 early this month. Medina has displayed decent mechanics and control and should have no issues throwing strikes. That is very refreshing, as more often than not, pitchers with that type of fastball have no clue where the baseball is going. His motion is a bit herky-jerky, and he could end up in the bullpen when it is all said and done.

Throwing hard is not his only trait, though, as Medina is showing a decent curve and changeup combination. His secondary does need work, but he is beginning to show improved action with each pitch. His fastball has a nasty tail and sink to it that plays at the minor league level. He is very aggressive with his location and will need to learn how to be more fine with his control. The size and arm strength dictate that this young pitcher will progress reasonably quickly. Medina might spend next year in Arizona or the DSL, depending on how aggressive the Padres want to be with his development.

A special thank you to Jason Pennini for the video and the insight into these young men. Padres’ fans are sure to gain more knowledge on them in the coming years.

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