A Review of the 2018 Fort Wayne TinCaps

Credit: Ryan Cox

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Credit: Journal Gazette

The San Diego Padres’ farm system is often regarded as one of the best, if not the best, farm systems in all of major league baseball. The job that the team’s front office has done in constructing an excellent system from the ruins left behind of an old regime is truly amazing.

Of all the talent scattered around the Padres’ minor league affiliates, the Fort Wayne TinCaps will look to build on the success they enjoyed last season. The Padres’ current number one prospect, Fernando Tatis Jr., called Fort Wayne home in 2017.

In 2018, the TinCaps are led by a plethora of talent with some serious big league potential.

We’ll start with Mackenzie Gore. The Padres selected the North Carolina native out of high school with the third overall pick in the 2017 MLB draft with hopes that he could be the staple of their future pitching staff. Gore has ace-level stuff written all over him and many scouts believe that he is the best left-handed pitcher in all of minor league baseball. While Gore may not spend his entire 2018 campaign in Fort Wayne, his impact will certainly be felt.

Joining Gore on the Fort Wayne pitching staff are some of the Padres’ more underrated pitching prospects. Mason Thompson, the current number 25 prospect in the organization, returns to Fort Wayne after missing most of last season with an injury. Thompson stands at a massive 6-foot-7 and oozes with potential, but Thompson will need to develop his secondary pitches in order to solidify himself as a legitimate rotational piece.

Making the jump from the Arizona League to their first full season in professional baseball are Nick Margevicius and Henry Henry. Margevicius is the more impressive of the two, posting a 1.31 ERA in ten starts with the Dust Devils last year. Both Henry and Margevicius will likely crack the TinCaps’ starting rotation, giving Fort Wayne one of the more potent pitching staffs in the Midwest League. It is also worth noting that San Diego’s number five overall prospect, Michel Baez, and their number 23 overall prospect, Chris Paddock, could potentially join the TinCaps after rehabbing from their respective injuries (Lake Elsinore is also a possibility for both).

Credit: Ryan Cox/Fort Wayne Sports Photo

Moving on from the pitching staff, Fort Wayne will also be home to some of the Padres’ highly touted positional prospects. Gabriel Arias (#11) and Esteury Ruiz (#12) will form one of the most talented middle infield duos in all of minor league baseball. Arias and Ruiz have both impressed since bursting onto the scene last season and will now get to show the world the damage they can do. Both are pure hitters with some power upside, and are also both above-average defensive players. Some have spoken about Arias potentially being the Padres’ shortstop of the future if Fernando Tatis Jr. is to move over to third base.

Luis Campusano (#24) was the first catcher selected in the 2017 draft and will now be the backstop for the TinCaps. Known for his power bat and excellent defensive abilities, Campusano could be the most intriguing prospect on this team. His ceiling is that of an advanced offensive catcher with excellent defensive abilities, which could lead the San Diego Padres to potentially make Campusano their catcher of the future if Austin Hedges does not pan out.

Patrolling the outfield for Fort Wayne will be Tirso Ornelas (#15) and Jeisson Rosario (#19). Ornelas is your typical power hitting, big-framed outfielder, where Rosario is more of a contact-leadoff type of player. Defensively, both Ornelas and Rosario can hold their own and should improve their defense as they gain more experience. If what most scouts say is true, the TinCaps outfield should be fun to watch.

There is a serious argument to be made that the Fort Wayne TinCaps will have a very similar season to the San Antonio Missions of 2017. Watching these young prospects develop right before our eyes is something that all Padres fans should be excited about. If all of this comes to fruition, the Fort Wayne TinCaps should field one of the most exciting lineups in all of minor league baseball.

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